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.”

 



me - Dec. 10, 2012, 4:29 p.m.

Forward

Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE TELECOMS NEWS

Musical chairs in the BTCL boardroom

Change has come for the Botswana Telecommunication Corporation Limited Board of Directors with the appointment of its new crop of board members, led by legal expert Daphne Matlakala.  Read More

Kenya mobile subscribers top 31.8m

The Communications Authority of Kenya reports that the number of mobile subscribers in Kenya rose 1.8 percent to reach 31.8 million in the first quarter of this year. Read More

World Bank to help rehabilitate DRC telecoms

Dilapidated, outdated and unreliable telecommunications infrastructure in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be rehabilitated, rebuilt and modernised. Read More

30 phone brands registered with SON

The Phone and Allied Products Dealers Association (PAPDA) at Computer Village, Lagos says it has registered 30 brands of mobile phones with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.  Read More

TNM dishes out K2.5m in Independence promotion

Premier mobile telecom operator TNM has dished out K2.5m worth of Mpamba value during the first draw of its commemorative promotion as Malawi celebrates 50 years of self rule. Read More

Airtel chief explains Touching Lives initiative

Airtel Nigeria says its launch of Touching Lives, a new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, is meant to raise hope and inspire people. Read More

Vodacom Mozambique partners with Flytxt

Flytxt, a Big Data analytics solution provider for Communication Service Providers, has announced a strategic tie up with Vodacom, Mozambique’s leading mobile network.  Read More

CEC Liquid Telecom Zambia appoints new MD

The Liquid Telecom Group and Copperbelt Energy Corporation PLC have announced the appointment of Andrew Kapula as Managing Director of CEC Liquid Telecom in Zambia. Read More

MTN enhances data communications in Western and Central regions

MTN now has over 2275 2G sites and 1090 3G sites in as well as over 4000km of fibre in place in Ghana, to empower customers to do more with voice and data.  Read More

NCA lifts ban on Vodafone

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has lifted the ban imposed on Vodafone Ghana. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

Widening ICT skills gap: Cause for concernWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern

Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.

IN DEPTH

Kenya rolls out e-extension to improve agricultureKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture

In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.