August/September 2019, Issue 56
Raising the bar for internet access:
Introducing “Meaningful Connectivity”

At the end of 2018, as half the world’s population was online for the first time, it was clear to us that our efforts to secure basic affordable access were not enough. Far too many people remain offline, mostly in low and middle income countries, and among those who are connected, there is a wide disparity in the quality of internet they access. We must do more to ensure that everyone can access an internet that is transformational and life-changing.

To raise the bar for internet access, A4AI has developed “Meaningful Connectivity” — a new standard that measures not only if someone has access to the internet, but the quality of connection they have.

Spotlight stories

GSMA Mobile 360 Kigali

Onica Makwakwa and Eleanor Sarpong attended GSMA’s Mobile 360 Kigali. Onica spoke on a panel on the emergence of smart cities on the continent and the need for smarter development for access; and Eleanor participated in a roundtable around mobile taxation to highlight the impact of tax on affordability. 
Digital inclusion in Latin America

Yacine Khelladi spoke on several high-level panels. He joined a panel on how Universal Service Funds in Latin America and the Caribbean can close the digital divide at the 7th Latin America Telecommunications Congress in Argentina. He also discussed the status of digital inclusion in the region at ITU Politics and Economy Week in Americas in Dominican Republic.

Why we need a new approach towards taxation of data and ICT services in Africa

Eleanor Sarpong wrote on the urgent need for governments across Africa to adopt a holistic, dispassionate, evidence-based approach to taxation of data and ICT services, and why all stakeholders must pay particular attention to the impact of these taxes on the bottom income earners, especially women.

Advocating for Gender Responsive Policy
A4AI and Web Foundation hosted a second #eSkills4Policymakers workshop in Accra for over 30 participants representing government ministries, ICT regulatory authorities, ECOWAS, The West African Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly (WATRA), A4AI national coalition leaders, and civil society partners from Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Participants engaged in an open discussion on gender and culture to understand their influence on policy making, and established that every problem has a social, economic, political, and cultural dimension that needs to be assessed and addressed in gender-responsive policy.

Research Update


  • Good Practices Database: Case studies from across the globe on how policymakers and regulators have taken steps to make internet prices more affordable and help bring millions more online.

  • 2019 Affordability Report: Coming in October, this year's report looks at how market competition affects internet prices and what powers regulators and policymakers can exercise to help increase affordability.

Country engagement

Nigeria | At the A4AI Nigeria coalition meeting in Abuja on July 30th, ecosystem stakeholders provided inputs to and discussed the coalition’s recommendations and commitment to shaping a robust broadband plan for Nigeria, including building a responsive Broadband Plan for Nigeria, towards achieving Vision 2020, Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and beyond. A4AI will soon submit its recommendations for the Nigeria Broadband Plan to the Ministry of Communications.

A4AI welcomes Dr. Isa Ali Pantami as the new Minister of Communications. Dr. Patami was recently the Head of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). 
Guatemala | The winner of the August presidential elections, Dr. Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla, was one of the eight candidates who signed a commitment to implement strong digital inclusion policies and programs during the A4AI coalition event held on May 21, 2019 (see all signatories here). A4AI looks forward to establishing an effective working relationship with the President-elect of Guatemala and his team, which will assume office in January 2020, to support the government’s development and implementation of a vibrant digital agenda, a broadband plan, and ensure digital inclusion in the country. Watch the video from the A4AI event and read more about it here.

Member News

Upcoming Events

September 21-22 | Broadband Commission Annual Meeting, New York, United States
>> Sonia Jorge, Adrian Lovett

September 21 | EQUALS Principles Meeting, New York, United States
>> Maiko Nakagaki, Sonia Jorge

October 9-10, International Institute of Communications Annual Conference, London, United Kingdom
>> Sonia Jorge

October 9-11 | mEducation Alliance Symposium, Washington, DC, United States
>> Maiko Nakagaki

October 18-20World Bank Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, United States
>> Maiko Nakagaki, Dhanaraj Thakur, Sonia Jorge

News & Noteworthy

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About A4AI

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) is a global coalition of public sector, private sector, and civil society organisations working to advance the shared mission of affordable internet access for all.
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