African leaders come together to build a stronger continent focused on high-speed networks

African Telecommunications Union (ATU) secretary general, John Omo. Picture: Supplied

African Telecommunications Union (ATU) secretary general, John Omo. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 14, 2023


A group of ministers from various regions in Africa came together at a Ministerial Forum on building a future-oriented, intelligent digital infrastructure for Africa.

The forum forms part of Africa Tech Festival taking place in Cape Town from November 13 to 16.

The Forum was co-organised by the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) of South Africa, with the aim of advancing the digital transformation agenda in Africa.

The meeting was geared at creating a space where the ministers of communications and digital technologies could exchange their views on the development of Africa’s digital infrastructure.

A key notion was the fact that all digital infrastructure and growth is essential in achieving the socio-economic development goals of the continent.

Africa, and in particular South Africa, is committed to creating a global digital economy that is focused at strengthening the construction of high-speed networks (4G, 5G and fibre) to meet the needs of everyday consumers.

ATU secretary general, John Omo told delegates that, “in the space in which this forum operates, we have the ability to create consensus on which way to go in building future-oriented digital infrastructure for Africa”.

“We know the place of digital infrastructure in the global arithmetic that defines the compass of progress. We also know that to find our bearing on this compass, we must be deliberate about the actions we take to protect the future of Africa.”

South African Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Philly Mapulane, said that this gathering marked a significant milestone in Africa’s collective pursuit of a digitally empowered continent.

“We are here not merely as representatives of our respective nations and organisations, but we are here as architects of a shared vision — one that envisions an Africa propelled into a future where the possibilities of connectivity are boundless,” Mapulane added.

Leo Chen, president of Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa, underlined how much progress the continent has made when it comes to building the digital infrastructure it needs.

These improvements, he said, are best achieved through the One Network, One Cloud approach advocated by Huawei.

“To build One Network, countries should continue to build national broadband backbone networks to serve as the arteries of national network connectivity,” he said.

It should be noted that the event concluded with the signing of a joint communique underlining the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders in building a future-oriented digital infrastructure for Africa.