Nigeria is arguably one of the leading countries in Africa with respect to spectrum deregulation and licensing. However while the country follows best practices on the telecommunications side, the process for allocating broadcasting licenses and frequencies lacks transparency and is still dependant on Presidential approval. As the two regulatory bodies prepare to merge to form a single entity, Nigeria to reconsider how it allocates broadcasting licenses, says Fola Odufuwa, ICT expert and author of a new APC report on spectrum management in Nigeria.
In 2008-2009, Ugandan organisation Toro Development Network (ToroDev) was awarded a small grant through the APC’s Gender and agriculture and rural development in the information society (GenARIDS) project. No more than a year later, the grass roots organisation has been awarded $12, 000 through the Africa Rural Connect contest, to continue its work in helping small-scale rural farmers – many of which are women – learn to use technologies such as mobile phones, radios and computers.
While the APC’s CICEWA research and advocacy —a project that aims to advocate for universal access and telecommunications reform in Central, East and West Africa, “our work has just begun,” says Sylvie Niombo a women and tech activist in the Congo. As part of CICEWA her small NGO has carried out research and advocacy within the scope of the CICEWA project, and managed to highlight the importance of involving women in the development of national ICT policy in the country. By using GEM, the APC Gender Evaluation Methodology, the research team was able to identify gaps in current policy and bring forward an action plan for decision-makers in the country to consider. APCNews talks to Sylvie Niombo.
More than a decade after the telecommunications policy reform in many African countries, there continues to be a deficit in universal affordable access to fixed telecom infrastructure. This deficit severely limits the possibility of information and communication technologies (ICTs) being used to foster social and economic development, yet, the problem persists despite the phenomenal increase in access to mobile telecom networks, and greatly inhibits access to information and knowledge through the internet, which still requires broadband connectivity through fixed networks. APC’s Communication for Influence in Central, East and West Africa project (CICEWA) project links advocacy, research, network-building and action for regional ICT development – here is what the project has taught us.
Two years ago, APC’s policy team led a project that would help strengthen African civil society to advocate for affordable broadband, adequate infrastructure, and in some cases, universal access funds which help put in place the necessary systems to achieve universal access to the internet. The Communication for Influence in Central, East and West Africa, or CICEWA, initiative was about identifying the political obstacles – what we called policy knots to extending affordable access to ICT infrastructure in Africa – and to advocate for their removal in order to create sound platforms for sub-regional connectivity. As the project comes to an end, participants reflect on their experience – the lessons learned, the challenges they encountered and what they found most rewarding — through interviews with APCNews.
Currently, about 20 million Kenyans own mobile phones. Mobile phones receive their signals over electromagnetic waves that are also used for everything from home appliances like microwave ovens and remote controls, to the radio and internet. These waves are assigned different frequencies or spectrum so that they don’t interfere with each other. However Kenya is at risk of running out of spectrum because of an outdated spectrum allocation framework and a disaster in day-to-day communications and the security of countless services is waiting to happen. A new study by Muriuki Mureithi commissioned by the APC proposes a solution.
With hundreds of telecommunications and broadcasting licenses granted since 1992, Nigeria is arguably the leading country in Africa with respect to spectrum deregulation and licensing. There are over currently 350 licensed broadcast stations in operation in the country. Simultaneously NCC has licensed over 300 telecoms licenses to private companies in Nigeria, though unlike for broadcasting, this study could not independently verify the utilization of these licenses. With the global trend that will see the two regulatory bodies merge, this report questions which regulatory body’s practice of assignment will prevail, and what steps will be taken to improve transparency and usage of spectrum – especially of the newly-freed broadcasting frequencies from digital migration.
Women’sNet invites you to a day filled with activities to reclaim Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) back by occupying Miriam Makeba Street and setting up an outdoor internet cafe.
Inter Press Service (IPS), YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon
CAMEROON Profits Were Only a Phone Call Away
08 December 2010
[…]Njepang is a resource person with a project funded by GenARDIS (Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society). “We thought that in this fast-moving world, it was necessary to put at the disposal of these village communities, a communication tool, namely, the mobile telephone,” said Njepang.
GenARDIS teamed up with the SB Mathur Foundation in a six-month project to provide women farmers in Santa district in the North West, and in Bangang, Bafoussam and Kamna districts in Cameroon’s West Region with cellphones with which to gain access to valuable market information. […]