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April 2017, Issue 38
FEATURED STORY
Hon. Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful—pictured with A4AI's Eleanor Sarpong and Estelle Akofio-Sowah (Champion of infrastructure sharing working group)—commits to working towards "1 for 2."
Ghana Second Country to Endorse “1 for 2” Target
The Government of Ghana has endorsed the “1 for 2” affordability target — aiming to make 1GB of mobile broadband cost only 2% or less of average monthly income. Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana Minister of Communications, made the announcement at the A4AI-Ghana coalition meeting on March 28th and committed to leading efforts to drive down prices and achieve this target through policy and regulatory changes.

The announcement makes Ghana the second country, after Nigeria, to take this major step towards ensuring that income is not a barrier to access. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), an A4AI Member, has also endorsed the target and is advocating for its adoption across the region.

In Ghana, 1GB of mobile data currently costs 4% of average monthly income, and the country ranks 26th (out of 58 countries) on the 2017 Affordability Drivers Index. To learn more about the rankings and policy recommendations for improving internet access in Ghana, we encourage you to explore the Ghana highlights from the 2017 Affordability Report and how the A4AI-Ghana coalition is addressing the key barriers:

COUNTRY ENGAGEMENT
A4AI-Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo, March 2017.
Progress on Fiscal Policy and Infrastructure Sharing Advocacy in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic coalition held a productive workshop on ICT fiscal policies and their impact on adoption and the digital economy. The workshop included a presentation of the study conducted on behalf of INDOTEL and the A4AI-DR Coalition to assess the fiscal impact of dismantling the luxury tax on telecoms, conducted by Harold Vásquez, as well as presentations by Prof. Raul Katz (Columbia University), Fernando López Gutiérrez of ASIET, and Fabricio Gómez Mazara* of INDOTEL's Board. Pavel Isa Contreras, leader of the A4AI-DR fiscal working group, published a summary of the findings and discussion (in Spanish) and will work with the group to develop concrete policy proposals.

Among other recent achievements, the coalition formally submitted the final report from the infrastructure sharing study and recommendations for the infrastructure sharing resolution, which is currently open to consultation. The Coalition's working group is drafting an updated work plan outlining next steps in advocating for implementation.

Please visit the A4AI website to view all materials presented at the March 27th-28th coalition meeting and fiscal policy workshop.
Jacqueline Pateguana to Lead A4AI-Mozambique Coalition

A4AI has appointed Jacqueline Pateguana as the new National Coordinator for Mozambique. Jacqueline brings more than 7 years of experience in the ICT sector and currently serves as Advisor to Mozambique’s Minister of Transport and Communications.
As National Coordinator, she will advise working groups in delivering their outputs and policy recommendations, as well as advocate for their implementation.

At the coalition meeting on April 6th, Jacqueline led an assessment exercise to align working groups' plans with 2017-18 priorities. We will share the finalized work plans on the A4AI-Mozambique by the end of Q2. In the meantime, the coalition is awaiting approval for the proposed regulations for infrastructure sharing delivered in 2016 and further discussed in 2017, with a confirmation expected by the end of Q2.
Nigeria Renews Partnership with A4AI

The A4AI-Nigeria Coalition held its quarterly meeting on April 25th, during which the Honourable Minister of Communications Technology Adebayo Shittu renewed Nigeria's Memorandum of Understanding with A4AI and the Web Foundation for another three years. The MoU signifies the Ministry's ongoing commitment to make internet access affordable for all Nigerians.
Why Access Remains a Challenge in Asia

While Asia accounts for more than 40% of global mobile revenue, thanks in part to multiple SIM ownership in East Asian markets, 68% of the region's 4.5 billion people remain unconnected.

A4AI Asia Regional Coordinator Shaddy Shadrach recently wrote about the barriers to access in the region — including perspectives on India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the Philippines — and the strategies to continue expanding affordability. READ MORE.
 
MEMBERSHIP


Ending the Gender Digital Divide in Myanmar


IREX released findings from an assessment of Myanmar's gender digital divide — the first analysis of its kind. Among the findings, IREX highlights the shortage of local champions for digital inclusion, with stakeholders often either are unaware of the gender divide or have more incentives to prioritize integrating ICTs into their work than advocating for gender equality. Moreover, while mobile phones are increasingly affordable overall, many women do not earn enough to invest in them. 

Preliminary findings from the assessment were shared at the A4AI-Myanmar coalition meeting in November 2016. The full report is now available.

Photo: Tech Age Girls in Magwe; courtesy of Beyond Access. 
CIPESA Leads Weekly Chat on Internet Freedom

Research Manager Dhanaraj Thakur recently joined an online chat with A4AI Member CIPESA to share highlights from the 2017 Affordability Report and insights on how gender influences access. The conversation led to the report being shared across a national network of individuals and organizations that champion the role of ICTs in Uganda's economic development. 

Thanks to CIPESA for inviting our participation! Explore CIPESA's latest work on the State of Internet Freedom in Africa and in Uganda, and join the conversation with @cipesaug on #InternetFreedomAfrica.
 
INTERNATIONAL ADVOCACY
Nanjira Sambuli leads session on gender and digital rights. 2017 Internet Freedom Forum, Lagos.
A4AI and Web Foundation colleagues recently returned from an exciting week at the 2017 Internet Freedom Forum. The team collaborated with Paradigm Initiative to hold the A4AI coalition meeting alongside the forum, as well as to organize a panel on gender and digital rights that many participants reported as the highlight of the event. Many ideas for future activities and partnerships emerged from the week's activities — in the next edition of this newsletter, we will share a roundup of our key takeaways and our next steps!
UPCOMING EVENTS
May 3-5 | World Economic Forum on Africa
Durban, South Africa
* Onica Makwakwa speaking

May 9-11 | DSA 2017 Global Summit
Cape Town, South Africa
* Onica Makwakwa speaking


May 10-11 | Transform Africa Summit
Kigali, Rwanda
* Eleanor Sarpong and Nanjira Sambuli participating
May 15-18 | Stockholm Internet Forum
Stockholm, Sweden
* Sonia Jorge, Dhanaraj Thakur, Onica Makwakwa, Nanjira Sambuli, Nnenna Nwakanma participating and will be joined by several A4AI members and local partners.


If you would like to connect with A4AI team members at future events, please reach out to karolle.rabarison@webfoundation.org to coordinate.
NOTEWORTHY
Colombia introduces tax exemption on basic mobiles, a reform that's expected to contribute $1.4 billion to the GDP over five years.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee spoke at the World Economic Forum about why internet access is crucial in the fight for equality.

From Facebook Insights, a look at how people in Sub-Saharan Africa come online.

TetraTech's Nilmini Rubin advocates for integration in expansion of energy and internet infrastructure.

ICYMI: Sonia Jorge joins the Visceral Podcast for a conversation on affordability and changing technology policy across Africa.
 
Thank you for reading! We welcome your feedback and suggestions. A4AI members that would like their updates featured in the newsletter may send their inputs to karolle.rabarison@webfoundation.org.
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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 access to mobile and fixed-line Internet for all.
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