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Africa Races to Catch the Internet Wave

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Five new cables on the continent—worth $2.5 billion – are bringing increasing speeds at lower prices for Africa’s internet-hungry population with user growth in the last decade up by 2000 percent!

The International Telecommunication Union projects 5.3 billion cell phone owners by the end of this year. "The mobile phone revolution continues," says a U.N. report charting the phenomenon that has transformed commerce, healthcare and social lives across the planet. Mobile phone leases in Africa rose from 54 million to almost 350 million between 2003 and 2008, the quickest growth in the world.

“Tremendous progress has been made in the adoption and use of information and communication technologies,” declared Dr Hamadoun I. Toure, head of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at a conference last summer.

“What is most interesting to me,” Toure said, “and what highlights the critical role of connectivity in Africa – is that once people have access to information technologies, they don’t give it up, even when their social or economic situation changes. Put simply, Africans want to stay connected, and they work hard to make sure they stay connected.”

Toure continued: “In Africa, we are seeing new broadband capacity coming on-stream fast, and I was delighted to be personally present in Kenya in March when a new submarine cable was brought onshore, and then to be in French Guiana earlier this month to see new satellites for Africa being launched.

"These are truly inspirational events, and signs of the very positive times in which we live.”

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