5 March 2018

Africa: Stakeholders Must Improve Coverage to African Rural Areas

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Johannesburg — HUAWEI and the African Telecommunication Union (ATU) have appealed stakeholders to improve African rural network coverage.

The organisations jointly released White Paper on Rural Coverage in Africa in Barcelona, Spain on the sidelines of the just-ended Mobile World Congress (MWC).

It is predicted that providing coverage for the 400 million uncovered population would benefit African society and ecosystem significantly.

Abdoulkarim Soumaila, Secretary General of ATU, said all people must be able to access the internet.

"ATU is privileged to be part of this gathering in view of our role to ensure development of ICTs in Africa. Stakeholders should therefore cooperate and develop smarter strategies," Soumaila said.

Cao Ming, vice president of Huawei Wireless Product Line, said the company was committed to connecting unconnected populations with efficient business solutions.

"We will keep innovating specialized solutions and cooperate with other stakeholders," Ming said.

Connectivity has the potential to positively impact and transform rural people's lives and bring benefits in a number of areas, including health, education, financial services, transport, energy, agriculture among others.

ATU has advocated for rural connectivity to be addressed as a priority by governments and stakeholders.

The white paper analyses African nations' ICT plan and demographic and geographic features, revealing the political, social, economic and technical challenges of extending rural coverage.

Proposals are also given in the whitepaper such as proactive rural coverage standard, healthy business ecosystem and encouraging private investment.

In the whitepaper, infrastructure sharing and scenario-oriented solutions are recommended to address cost challenges.

As for far rural areas, targeted coverage solution with extremely low cost like Huawei Rural Star is recommended.

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