Can Senegal consolidate ICT gains?

TELECOMS

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Can Senegal consolidate ICT gains?

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Dakar, Senegal

Senegal, a lower middle income country that spent an average of 10% of its GDP on ICT investments for four years in a row (2005 to 2008), overtaking the likes of South Africa, Kenya and Egypt, appears to be a telecommunications giant lurking in the shadow.

Senegal’s mobile base topped10.7 million at the end of June 2012, a performance that pushed its mobile penetration to 88% and its total internet subscriptions to 528 358, of which 18.1% were on ADSL and the rest on mobile accounts, according to figures released by the regulator, Agence de Régulation des Télécommunications et des Postes (ARTP).

Mobile broadband internet in Senegal, currently accounting for nearly 80% of the market from 28.5% in June 2011, is very popular and growing, reports say.

Apart from being second in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of teledensity in landline phones behind South Africa, Senegal was the fourth country in Africa behind South Africa, Nigeria and Tunisia to adopt the ADSL technology.

“For a country with very limited resources to perform like this, it’s heart-stopping and unexpectedly true,” Dakar-based IT consultant Birame Ndiaye told Biztechafrica this week.

“These figures clearly demonstrate the strong political interest of our leadership to invest in ICT, a field very critical for educational and socio-economic development of a country.”

“When they talk about ICT in Africa, the first countries that come to everybody’s mind are the top five economies, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia and Nigeria. Nobody even knows us, and knows where Senegal is located. That’s good because it helps us flourish in the shadow free of unnecessary pressures.

Ndiaye said he was hoping that the government of Macky Sall will keep Senegal’s ICT flame burning.

“His predecessors have done a lot, most importantly enacting policies that introduced reforms in the sector,” he said. “We’re watching him with an eagle’s eye.

A World Bank report titled Telecommunications SectorReforms in Senegal compiled by Jean-Paul Azam,  Tchétché N’Guessan and Magueye Dia said Senegal privatised its incumbent operator, Sonatel (Societé Nationale des Télécommunications du Sénégal) in 1997, granting it seven years of fixed-line exclusivity while introducing ‘managed competition’ in the cellular market and free competition in value-added services.

A new era consequently dawned in this West African nation of 13-million people.

BRVM-listed Sonatel, now partly owned by France Telecom, owns 2 200 km of fiber optic cables.

The company is also a co-owner of several submarine cables in the world, including the world’s longest underwater fiber optic SAT3/WASC/SAFE (28000 km-long), connecting Europe, Africa and Asia, inaugurated in Dakar in May 2002.

The company, which finally launched its IPTV service  over ADSL early this year, also co-owns Atlantis 2, the first optical system landing at Dakar that entered service in February 2000 between Senegal, Portugal, Spain, Cape Verde, Brazil and Argentina.

Senegal still has one of the lowest internet penetrations in Africa despite Sonatel boasting that it has one of the largest Internet bandwidths on the continent, with a capacity of 6.5 Gbits/s. Sonatel has a presence in Mali, Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau through its mobile arm, Orange.

Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye said African governments have a key role to play in the creation and consolidation of scientific and technological capabilities.

“The government can be both a catalyst and an inhibitor of development, and it should encourage the development of the ICT sector, while taking into consideration the realities of the country,” a Senegal telecoms report, published by the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington DC, points out.

“It should also work towards increasing access to the internet in households at advantageous prices.”

 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE TELECOMS NEWS

MTN to empower African businesses with AWS Direct Connect

MTN Group today announced it would be the first African company to offer Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect to business customers across multiple countries on the continent. Read More

MTN leads in Cameroon with 11.2 million users

The third-quarterly verdict delivered last week by ART, the Cameroon telecom regulator, shows that MTN had 11.2 million users in Cameroon by 30 September 2014, and is therefore the leader of the mobile market in this Central African nation of 20 million people. Read More

MTN is Ivory Coast mobile market leader

With eight million subscribers out of a population of 22 million, South Africa’s mobile operator MTN has claimed the title of mobile market leader in Ivory Coast. Read More

TNM constructs bridge as part of promotion

Telekom Networks Malawi Limited (TNM) has constructed a bridge in the country’s former Capital City of Zomba as part of a promotional activity the company launched last year. Read More

Telecoms operators donate K20.5 m towards flood victims

Malawi's Association of Telecommunications Operators (ATOL) has donated K20.5m towards the relief assistance going to communities affected by floods and hailstorm in the country Read More

Airtel Kenya drops roaming rates in Uganda

Airtel customers can now browse for as low as Ksh 10 per MB while roaming in Uganda, a 78% drop in price.  Read More

MTL appoints new CEO

Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) has appointed Harry Gombachika as its new Chief Executive Officer with effect from January 6, 2015.  Read More

MTN transforms enterprise business unit in South Africa to enhance overall client experience

MTN South Africa has announced the start of a process to reorganise its MTN Business unit, to strengthen its competitive advantage in the enterprise business solutions market. Read More

Vodafone Foundation Ghana donates new incubator to hospital

Vodafone Foundation Ghana on Tuesday donated a brand new incubator to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Nsawam Government Hospital at Nsawam in the  Eastern Region of Ghana.  Read More

M-Shwari loans help customers acquire smart devices

Following a month of trials, the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom have formally introduced a new proposition that will enable M-Shwari customers to access affordable loans to acquire smartphones and tablets. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika

FEATURED STORY

UCC launches 2015 ACIA awardsUCC launches 2015 ACIA awards

Uganda has launched the fifth Annual Communications and Innovation Awards, which celebrate and foster ICT innovation and achievement.

IN DEPTH

Kenya’s digital TV battle hots up Kenya’s digital TV battle hots up

Kenya’s journey to Digital TV broadcasting took a new turn this week, when the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) accused three local media firms of intent to disrupt the process.

COMPANY NEWS

VMware reports fourth quarter and full year 2014 results

VMware, the global leader in virtualisation and cloud infrastructure, has announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2014.

MTN to empower African businesses with AWS Direct Connect

MTN Group today announced it would be the first African company to offer Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect to business customers across multiple countries on the ...

“All Systems GO!” for the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards in Zambia

It’s “All Systems GO!” for the winners of the fourth edition of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards to be announced at the awards ceremony in Lusaka, Zambia ...