Nigeria, others to benefit from ITU’s €15 million broadband mapping initiative

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has selected Nigeria and 10 other countries as beneficiaries of a €15 million broadband mapping initiative aimed at accelerating digital transformation in Africa.

The global telecommunications body announced this on Thursday during the Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-24) in Kampala, Uganda. Other countries that will benefit from the initiative include Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“The Africa National Broadband Mapping Systems (AfricaBBMaps) project, supported by the European Commission, will help establish broadband mapping systems to foster investment and digital transformation in Africa. With a budget of EUR 15 million over four years, the project will initially benefit 11 countries,” a statement from the ITU read.

Why broadband mapping?

According to the ITU, broadband mapping is a prerequisite for investment in sustainable, inclusive broadband infrastructure that leaves no one behind.

It added that the AfricaBBMaps aims to establish broadband mapping systems that are capable of producing readily available validated data to identify internet connectivity gaps in coverage, quality, and affordability in beneficiary countries.

This is expected to enable data-driven decision-making for investments in digital infrastructure, promising a brighter future for ICT in the selected countries

Vladimir Daigele, a network development expert at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), describes mapping as “important to understand the reality in a place, as it allows different stakeholders to come together and plan optimal network technologies and financing solutions.”

​​​​​​​​​​​The selection of Nigeria as one of the beneficiaries of the AfrcaBBMaps comes as a boost to the country’s broadband quest through the ongoing implementation of the Nigeria National Broadband Plane (NNBP 2020-2025).

Under the Plan, the country sets an ambitious target of achieving 70% broadband penetration by 2025. However, achieving this target is already proving difficult due to lack of adequate investment in infrastructure, leaving the country 43% penetration as of March 2024.

New guidelines for ICT

Meanwhile, the ITU stated that ICT regulators that participated at the GSR-24 which came to a close on Thursday, have endorsed a set of guidelines to maximize the benefits of transformative information and communication technologies (ICTs).

According to the body, the “GSR-24 Best Practice Guidelines​” agreed by ICT regulators include a series of considerations for balancing innovation with regulation to create a positive impact on societies and economies from emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).

“With one-third of humanity still offline and women and other vulnerable groups on the wrong side of the globe’s digital divides, GSR-24, and the Best Practice Guidelines highlight the innovation, trust, and inclusivity that we need in the policy and regulatory environment,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin.

“With change being the only certainty facing regulators and policymakers, we must work together to pursue regulatory approaches to leverage transformative technologies such as AI, promote the space economy, encourage innovation, and support climate action and the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” she added.

What you should know

Organized by the ITU, the UN Agency for Digital Technologies – the symposium brought together over 600 participants including Ministers, Heads of Regulatory Authorities, industry executives, and academics to discuss pressing regulatory issues.

Nigeria was represented at the symposium by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida.



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