A4AI is committed to strengthening the internet ecosystem around the globe to achieve universal affordable access and meaningful connectivity. This is no more true than in Africa, the region with the lowest internet penetration at around 28%, compared with 53% globally. We have extensively highlighted the need for increased investment as well as multi-stakeholder engagements and policy dialogues to bring more people online and close the digital gender gap on the continent.
As part of this effort, A4AI is pleased to announce a strategic collaboration with Smart Africa, an alliance of 30 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with setting Africa’s digital agenda. The alliance is empowered by African Heads of State and Government to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent, ushering Africa into a knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and usage of ICT. This agreement formalises our existing relationship with the alliance. Through the years, we have worked together to advocate for affordability and increased access at international and regional foras, including Smart Africa’s Transform Africa Summit. We are excited that this partnership will allow us to further advance this work.
Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI, said: “We are delighted to partner with Smart Africa to strengthen our ability to collectively advance affordable and meaningful connectivity in Africa. Through joint research and advocacy efforts, we can increase the impact of our work and leverage each others’ resources and capabilities to speed up policy reform and achieve universal access across the continent. We look forward to working with Smart Africa to make our partnership a model of digital cooperation.”
Lacina Koné, Smart Africa’s Director General and CEO of Smart Africa, said: “Universal access to broadband is critical for Africa to achieve the benefits of its demographic dividend and any other aspect of the digital economy. Our partnership with A4AI is an essential step forward in achieving improved access to connectivity across Africa. It signals our collective commitment to unlock the potential of Africa and her people. We are excited about the potential that lies ahead.”
A4AI and Smart Africa will specifically pursue our mutual goal of advancing affordable internet access in and meaningful connectivity in Africa by:
- Engaging in joint advocacy efforts related to universal affordable access
- Pursuing joint research efforts on topics related to affordable and meaningful access to the internet;
- Pursuing mutually agreeable events related to and in support of affordable and meaningful access to the internet.