According to a new report by International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in its annual flagship report, Measuring the Information Society 2012, the UN agency notes that Rwanda, Kenya and Ghana have increased efforts to bridge the “digital divide.” These three African countries were identified to have made the most progress in adopting information and communications technology.
Meanwhile, the overall cost of ICT services is down by 30 per cent, reports the agency. Although fixed-broadband Internet services showed the biggest decline in average prices, by 75%, mobile broadband continues to display the sharpest growth. Over the past year, mobile broadband grew 40% worldwide and 78% in developing countries, the report notes.
Despite the surge in mobile- broadband subscriptions, notes Brahima Sanou, director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, prices still remain too high in low-income countries. “For mobile broadband to replicate the mobile-cellular miracle and bring more people from developing countries online,” he says, “3G network coverage has to be extended and prices have to go down even further.”
Meanwhile, Rwanda continues to enjoy its standing as number one in East Africa, as ranked by the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development. In 2012 it took seventh place among all African countries with active mobile-broadband subscriptions. Rwanda’s policy is to increase mobile connectivity in rural areas and make it affordable to the masses. A government-run portal, the Rwanda Development Gateway, says that the country is “determined to take full advantage of the digital revolution” to grow the country’s economy.