Panafrican News Agency

NEPAD commissions study on broadband cost reduction in West, Central Africa

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - A significant step towards achieving a lower communications cost within the West and Central Africa regions has been taken by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, with a private ICT consultant commissioned to do a study on broadband cost reduction.

A statement, made available to PANA here Thursday, by the South Africa-based continental Agency, said Detecon International had been selected to conduct the study.

It said that the company would also design the networks and develop business plans expected to attract investments in broadband in the two regions.

Speaking during the agreement-signing ceremony in Johannesburg, NEPAD’s Director of Corporate Services, Bankole Adeoye, said "The speedy development of broadband infrastructure is key to Africa’s socio-economic development," promising that NEPAD would ensure the follow up on the implementation of ICT regional projects.

According to the statement, "Ultimately, it is believed that countries in the west and central African regions will experience lower costs towards their broadband use.

”The outcomes of this consultancy will be an important milestone in the development of the regional broadband backbones that will lead to improved connectivity and broadband services in 25 countries in West African and Central African States.

“It highlights that reduction of communication costs will have a significant impact on service costs in these regions and as such make West and Central Africa regions more attractive for investors. The realisation of those regional networks will also be an important milestone in continental integration and will contribute to intra-African trade expansion."

The consultancy is conducted in partnership with the two regional economic communities involved -- ECOWAS and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

The study falls in line with the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

The grants for the project running costs and consultancy were provided by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Union (EU) Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF), added the statement.
-0- PANA SB/VAO 15Aug2013