3rd February, 2005

Press Release

For Immediate Release

(Contact; Eric M.K Osiakwan – eric@afrispa.org, 0244.386792)

AfrISPA’s input on development and financing of African ICT Infrastructure

Given that Africa is the most unwired continent in the world, and yet is part of the Information Society, action should be taken: -

In recognition of the various projects already looking at establishing key infrastructure in and around Africa;

In recognition of gaps both in funding as well as scope of coverage of these projects;

In recognition of the fact that even these existing projects barely scratch the surface of the dire need for reliable, accessible and high capacity Africa infrastructure;

In recognition of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and action plan arising thereof;

In recognition of many African countries’ commitment to embrace Information Communications Technology as a key component of national development plans;

In recognition of the concerns regarding African infrastructure that have been expressed by the private sector, civil society, government and donors.

The African Internet Service Providers Association (AfrISPA, www.afrispa.org) makes the following recommendations as action items from the Accra WSIS Prepcom;

A regional multi-stakeholder co-ordination body be mandated to co-ordinate and ensure collaboration among the numerous existing projects in Africa under the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD);

High priority should be given to the development and financing of ICT Infrastructure (fiber optic) within and around Africa in an Open Access Model in order to ensure equal opportunity in ownership and access. For this to happen we request that: -

1. Governments create a policy environment that ensures nationwide and cross-border connectivity.

2. Regulators adopt an open and transparent licensing and regulatory regime that propels the access to and building of ICT infrastructure.

3. The private sector participates in the technological dynamics of the development and also provides hard investment.

4. Civil society creates interest in consumers to demand and ensure service delivery quality and return for money.

5. Donors support this development by providing and facilitating access to soft financing and expertise where necessary for PASSIVE infrastructure.

6. Finally, that all the stakeholders above subscribe to the horizontal layering of the communication system in the manner of physical layer (infrastructure), followed by the logical layer, applications layer, content layer etc.

Concessions similar to those granted for other types of major infrastructure projects (e.g. roads) should be extended towards communications projects;

Establishment of a suitable special purpose vehicle that could provide financial instruments for financing based on a Public/Private Partnership (PPP) model;

Internet eXchange Points be established and linked on a city-by-city, country-by-country and region-by-region basis, building towards an African backbone.

Government should reduce drastically taxation on ICT infrastructure projects as well as providing other concessions.

About AfrISPA

The African Internet Service Providers Association (AfrISPA, www.afrispa.org) is a regional non-profit trade corporation representing the interest of African ISPAs and ISPs with a focus on building Internet Infrastructure. We uphold the following objectives;

1. To provide industry perspective on policy formulation and regulation as it relates to the Internet industry and to act as an interface with Governmental bodies and the public at large.

2. To develop policies and positions in the best interest of the Members and protect and promote these interests in regional and International Fora.

3. To promote the development of key Internet Infrastructure on the Continent.

4. To promote the development of a free and open telecommunications market.

5. To facilitate the establishment of national ISP Associations in Africa and to provide common services to them.

6. To provide and promote educational opportunities that will enhance and empower technical and policy understanding of the Internet.

7. To build, maintain, and publish relevant industry data for Members.

AfrISPA is currently made up of ISPA SA, GISPA Ghana, TESPOK Kenya, FAIR Mauritius, UIXP Uganda, ISPAN Nigeria, TISPA Tanzania, ISPA DR Congo and other ISPs within Africa.