Africa’s telecoms industry forms a vital component to the continent’s economic growth, affecting all aspects of the business and social sphere. Dramatic expansion in the telecoms sector has taken place over the past five years, with a 72% penetration on average in mobile subscriptions across the continent.
Consequently, a huge amount of investment is happening to improve Africa’s infrastructure to manage the rapid increase in data usage and the need for better connectivity, particularly in rural areas. For example, Millicom Ghana (Tigo) is to invest $24 million in the expansion of its 3G network in the country, according to local reports, with phase one of the expansion expected to include 114 cell sites installed in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Western regions of Ghana over the next four months.
The international telecoms community regards Africa as an area of high value for new business. In East Africa for example, the construction of a fibre ring connecting five East African countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi) has just been completed by Liquid Telecom, to ensure reliable and continuous connectivity. Amb Dr Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), the regional intergovernmental organisation of the five countries, said of the deployment: “By providing our nations with a 21st-century broadband network that directly connects us to each other and the outside world, Liquid Telecom continues to help the economic development of our region.”
Due to the size and scale of investment opportunities in African telecoms, wholesale telecoms carriers from across the globe meet annually at Capacity Africa (http://www.capacityconferences.com/Capacity-Africa.html), the largest pan-African wholesale conference to network, develop business and hear industry leaders deliver future commercial strategy. Taking place on 8 & 9 September in Dar es Salaam, 400+ senior telecoms executives from over 65 countries will take advantage of the entire African telecoms ecosystem being represented, all looking to secure new deals in the region’s lucrative telecoms market.
Discussing the event’s importance, Mike Last, Director, Marketing and International Business Development, WIOCC said: “Capacity Africa is without a doubt the best networking event for the African wholesale telecoms industry.” He added that it attracts “a very strong set of African and international carriers and creates a great environment for doing business”.
Expanding networks means increased demand for infrastructure and competition amongst operators. Regulators are playing a key role in providing stability to these operators active in the region ensuring a market driven industry. Capacity Africa recognises this, offering an agenda which brings together both the C-level executives of major telecoms organisations such as Seacom, Liquid Telecom and WIOCC, as well as the regulators such as the Nigeria Communications Commission to discuss the latest growth opportunities in front of an audience made up of the key decision makers in African telecoms.