Africa should invest more on broadband coverage: Austin Okere

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Improved broadband coverage, availability and access to energy are at the centre of Africa’s move towards the 4th Industrial revolution, this is one of the views expressed at the World Economic Forum Africa summit taking place in Rwanda.

WEF Africa Summit is taking place in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, under the theme: “Connecting Africa’s Resources Through Digital Transformation”.

Electricity challenges are weighing on the continent’s outlook in the technology space and digital transformation, analysts have said. 

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“We have seen some leapfrogging but there has been a slowdown especially in Nigeria due to pricing, [the] gas situation and sabotage at the Niger Delta State due to insurgents,” Austin Okere, Executive Vice Chairman, Computer Warehouse Group told CNBC Africa.

Okere says there has been a decrease of power coming from the grid.  He adds that there is alternative power but the challenge was on inclusivity.

Okere said there was need to improve broadband coverage in Nigeria and the region at large.

According to reports, Nigeria has been struggling to grow its broadband penetration from six per cent in 2013, to eight per cent in 2014 and to 10 per cent in 2015.

“The target is to reach 30 per cent in broadband coverage by 2018 of which we are on track to doing that.”

Okere said the penetration of mobile phones was very high even among rural dwellers that if they could be brought into the banking sector through the use of mobiles that would allow them to transact, this would grow the sector.

According to some reports, about 67 per cent of Africa’s 1,13 billion population now has mobile phones.

The penetration is more linear than having multiple numbers because of the number portability issue. The linear penetration is helping more people to come into the digital environment.

Cyber security is another concern.

“People now have to give a lot of their information for transaction. Most people are on the blind side because they are not exposed to issues that could have happened in other geographies,” he added.

“There is an awareness that more has to be done.” 

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