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The African ICT Era

local_ictWhile 2008 was a horrible year for most Information, Communications, and technology(ICT) firms worldwide, many African industry participants demonstrated above average performance.  The African Telecoms sector posted the fastest growth rates in the world increasing by at least 50% over the last few years. That’s twice the rate of the global market. Internet usage rates increased well over 1000% between 2000 and 2008. The sector within the continent continues to attract enormous amounts of multi-lateral, government and private sector investment. Five Fibre optic undersea cable projects are underway, At least 2 of which are scheduled for completion this year(2009). These are just some reasons why we are coining this decade, ‘The African ICT Era.’

Realizing the benefits, Action is being taken by various African Governments to position themselves as more competitive in a global marketplace.  Record Investments in ICT infrastructure signal the importance of this sector as a conduit to realizing key development goals, in many cases.   A good example is Kenya’s government which set up the Kenya ICT board to oversee and coordinate it’s ICT initiatives. The board which was set up almost two years ago, has already set it’s sights on making Kenya a top ten global ICT hub. These exponential increases in investment show an increasingly vibrant private sector, which has been stimulated by the opening of most African telecommunication markets to competition. This increasingly dynamic environment has resulted in lower prices for consumers and significantly widened access to telecommunications, particularly for mobile services in urban areas.

Look for us to cover issues and comapanies in the ICT industry.  The industrys success and influence is having an enormous impact on governments through increased tax revenues and more efficiencies; The private sector through increased profits for companies beyond the sector such as marketing and other services that act as suppliers to industry participants like Telecoms; The NGO sector through increased sponsorships and improved efficiencies; and finally employment. Seeing the success of the Business Process Outsourcing(BPO) sectors in Asia, has prompted serious attempts by several governments to position themselves as BPO hubs.

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