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The digital migration in West Africa will be one of the biggest upheavals in African television since the medium was first launched on the continent in the 1960s. It is a process of change that will affect both the broadcasters themselves and those who watch television. And costs will be widely felt – particularly amongst the poor.

As new digital TVs may need to be subsidised, it is not yet very clear what the benefits will be or where the resources will come from. In a continent that has so many pressing economic demands, spending money to subsidise television may seem strange, and Africans may simply not see the point in making the transition to digital broadcasting.

However African governments having committed to migrating to digital broadcasting by June 2015. But only a few African countries have started on the policy work needed to create the transition.

By working with civil society, broadcasters, policy-makers and regulators to create tools to make informed decisions, this new research has been carried out in Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal [in French] by APC and Balancing Act. The research compares those countries to five others (Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda) where the digital transition is more advanced.

A number of papers have been translated into English and/or French. A new website provides tips, tools and recommendations for broadcasters, policy-makers and civil society on digital migration.

Principle issue reports

Background paper on the challenges and benfits of the transition: Digital broadcast migration in West Africa:Getting the most out of the transition – Russell Southwood
Overview of the state of play in sixteen African countries: Digital Broadcast Migration in West Africa: An overview and strategies to accelerate the transition – Russell Southwood

Or read the summary articles:

Digital broadcast transitioning: The benefits – and the obstacles
Digital TV in West Africa: Who’s taking the plunge and how?

Country articles

First things first: Nigeria needs a regulatory framework to continue digital migration
To DVB-T or not to DVB-T? Ghanaian committee must make up its mind
Digital transition in Senegal – let’s not forget the social costs

Country reports

Digital broadcast migration in West Africa: Ghana Research Report – Internet Research, Ghana
Digital broadcast migration in West Africa: Nigeria Research Report – Fola Odufwa
Migration vers la radiodiffusion numérique en Afrique de l’ouest: Cas du Sénégal [French only] – Coura Fall

Workshop reports

Watra one-day workshop on analogue to digital migration: Regional report – Nnamdi Nwokik
Digital broadcast migration in West Africa: Nigeria Workshop Report – Emmanuel Edet
Digital broadcast migration in West Africa: Ghana Workshop Report – Tanko Mohammed
Migration vers la radiodiffusion numérique au Sénégal: rapport d’atelier [French only] – Coura Fall

Learn more about the research project or go to the digital migration in West Africa project site.