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December 2015, Issue 26
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Monthly Newsletter

Lagos, Nigeria. Photo credit: Flickr user satanoid, CC BY 2.0.

Nigeria's New Comms Minister Adebayo Shittu Commits to Improving Broadband Access

The A4AI-Nigeria coalition welcomed the Honourable Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu—the newly appointed Minister of Communication Technology—to the latest coalition meeting. Led by Dr. Omobola Johnson (A4AI Honorary Chair and former Minister of Communication Technology) and Dr. Ernest Ndukwe (National Coordinator of A4AI-Nigeria Coalition and former EVC of the Nigerian Communications Commission), the forum gathered 60 stakeholders to address barriers to connectivity in Nigeria and the country’s progress towards affordable broadband access.

Dr. Johnson noted how such an early outing for the new minister affirms the importance of promoting affordable Internet. She went on to encourage the public to give the minister the same support she enjoyed in that role, and also acknowledged National Coordinator Dr. Ndukwe’s tireless work on behalf of the coalition.

Minister Shittu highlighted the Internet’s role as key driver of economic growth, adding that the administration of President Buhari recognizes the special role ICTs play in society. Attendees engaged the minister in a lively Q&A session that touched on topics such as Nigeria’s readiness for spectrum trading, ICT’s role in agriculture and education, and access to data. The minister committed to continue implementation of the National Broadband Plan and called for proposals on the best way to ensure the internet is available at affordable rates to every Nigerian.

Working groups then had the opportunity to share their progress in the priority areas of spectrum, infrastructure sharing and open access, and consumer advocacy and pricing transparency. View presentations and event documents.

Mrs. Busayo Obisakin, representing the coalition's Consumer Awareness & Pricing Transparency group, shared a personal testimony on how Internet access changed her life and enabled her to start an NGO—the Women Inspiration Development Center. “Access to the Internet is like access to life itself,” she said. We could not agree more.

To learn more about the coalition’s activities and to join a working group, visit the A4AI-Nigeria page.

In this issue:

 
Have new research, an upcoming event, or other exciting developments you'd like to highlight in the next newsletter? Email submissions to karolle.rabarison@webfoundation.org.
Country Engagement

Progress for National Coalitions

It has been an exciting few months as A4AI national coalitions made progress on their work plans and look to conclude 2015 on a high note.

Photo: Participants at the youth consultation for the Dominican Republic's Digital Agenda. Photo via INDOTEL.

A4AI has continued to work with stakeholders in the Dominican Republic to support the development of the country’s strategy for ICT towards drive social and economic development. The most recent public consultation, held on November 24th, focused on youth’s contribution to the Digital Agenda. Mirna González, manager at UTEA/CNSIC, emphasized that investments in broadband of between $770 million to $1.8 billion over the next three years can move one million Dominicans out of poverty. Meanwhile, A4AI-DR National Coordinator Wanda M. Pérez Peña expressed enthusiasm for the young people already participating and called for youth to play a leading role in defining the DR’s 2016-2020 Digital Agenda.

In Ghana, more than 40 participants gathered the A4AI-Ghana Coalition meeting on November 26th. The forum offered coalition members the opportunity to review key issues in Internet and broadband affordability in Ghana. Much of the discussion focused on taxation, and how the coalition might encourage the Government of Ghana to implement its stated intention to eliminate duties on the import of smartphones.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that Liberia is the newest member country to join A4AI. The Web Foundation and the Liberian Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications signed an MOU in November 2015 to collaborate on policy and regulatory reform toward affordable broadband. Stay tuned for more news on specific activities in Liberia in 2016.

Membership Features

APC: Capacity Building on Infrastructure Sharing

The APC report Unlocking Broadband for All: Infrastructure Sharing for Supporting Better Broadband and Universal Access, has now been translated into French. The research shows that the cost of network deployment can be dramatically reduced if operators collaborate with each other in deploying fibre optic backbones or masts for wireless broadband. Workshops to raise awareness of the conclusions were marked by high attendance and interest, and regulators’ associations CRASA and WATRA are working to assist member states in adopting infrastructure-sharing regulations and related projects.

Two more regional workshops are planned for 2016, one for the east African countries supported by EACO and one for central Africa supported by ECCAS.

World Pulse: Women Weave the Web

In 2014, World Pulse crowdsourced women’s testimonies for improving digital access, digital literacy, and digital empowerment. The Women Weave the Web campaign gathered insights from hundreds of women in 71 countries. It culminated in the release of a recommendations report with actionable steps individuals and organizations can take to make women’s global digital empowerment reality. View the Women Weave the Web Recommendations.

 
GSMA: Online Capacity Building

Following the successful launch of its online training portal, the GSMA’s Capacity Building programme has just opened registration for its next two online courses for policymakers and regulators: Principles of Mobile Privacy and Mobile Regulation for Socio-Economic Development. Both courses will start on 11 January 2016, are free of charge, and require a commitment of 2-4 hours per week. Learn more at www.gsmatraining.com/courses or email capacitybuilding@gsma.com.
International Advocacy

The past month saw multiple opportunities for A4AI to share the affordability message at major events:

  • Following publication of the first research brief for the project "The Impacts of Emerging Mobile Data Services in Developing Countries," A4AI Research Manager Dhanaraj Thakur presented the results and contributed to discussions on several panels at the Internet Governance Forum in Brazil. This included the main session panel entitled "A Dialogue on 'Zero Rating' and Network Neutrality" and the workshop "SIDS Roundtable: The "Free Internet" – Bane or Boon?"
     
  • On November 17th, A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on the importance of women's access to technology. The panel of witnesses also included Joyce Warner, IREX Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, and Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actress and Founder and Chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in MediaLearn more about the hearing: Women and Technology: Increasing Opportunity and Driving International Development.
     
  • Sonia Jorge also traveled to São Paulo to deliver the keynote at Cetic's 10th anniversary event, and to San Francisco to participate in a panel on mobile and broadband affordability hosted by the World Affairs Council as part of Social Innovation Summit West 2015.
Photo: Sonia Jorge (A4AI), Chairman Royce, Joyce Warner (IREX), and Geena Davis at the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Upcoming Events

December 11

A4AI-Myanmar Working Group Meeting
MCF office, MICT Park
Yangon, Myanmar
*hosted by A4AI, RSVP

December 15-16

WSIS+10 High-Level Meeting, UN General Assembly
New York City
*A4AI members, please let us know if you are participating

January 27-28

A4AI-Dominican Republic Workshop & Coalition Meeting
Santo Domingo, DR
*hosted by A4AI, details TBC 

February 22-25

Mobile World Congress 2016
Barcelona, Spain
*A4AI team to launch 2015 Affordability Report


 

In the News
The state of internet connectivity around the world in 9 charts.

With input from A4AI, Will Burnfield (Great Village International Consultants) recently published a short paper that examines how a public-private partnership to invest in key telecoms infrastructure increased affordable Internet access in São Tomé & Principe.

Ericsson predicts 1 billion mobile subscribers in Africa by the end of this year. Learn more in the latest Mobility Report.

The 2015 edition of ITU's Measuring the Information Society Report is now out, featuring key ICT data and benchmarking tools, including the ICT Development Index.

In the new report "School Connectivity for the 21st Century," Cisco uses case studies to demonstrate that broadband Internet connectivity, as a complement to educational programs, improves educational outcomes.
 
Job opportunity: A4AI is looking for an Executive Assistant to join our team in Washington, DC. Apply to jobs@webfoundation.org by December 20, 2015.
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