Internet connectivity became less affordable around the world in 2021, according to the latest statistical analysis by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).
The share of people’s incomes spent on fixed broadband and mobile Internet services increased globally last year, in parallel with upticks in demand and usage compared to 2020, reveals an ITU-A4AI policy brief, The affordability of ICT services 2021.
Relative prices of fixed broadband services climbed to 3.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) per capita globally in 2021, up from 2.9 per cent in 2020. The relative prices of mobile broadband services around the world also edged up to 2 per cent of GNI per capita, from 1.9 per cent a year earlier.
Yet people have sacrificed other goods and services to maintain reliable Internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who can have largely stayed connected, even at relatively higher prices.
“Broadband services have ceased to be a mere luxury,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “They are a necessity for communication, teleworking, online education, and other essential services. Still, we must urgently address the issue of affordability if we hope to achieve our goal of universal and meaningful connectivity.”
At the regional level, users in Africa paid more than three times the global median price for mobile broadband services, and over five times the global median for fixed broadband.
“The affordability gap for Internet access between those living in low- and middle-income countries and those living in high income countries is inexcusably high,” said Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI. “Moreover, people in rural areas, and women everywhere, are disproportionately affected. A continued failure to address this worsens the situation for those who need help the most. The public and private sectors must work together to connect humanity with affordable and meaningful access.”
MTN Unveils Plans for 2025 African Domination
The Chief Strategy and Transformation of Officer, MTN Group, Mr. Chika Ekeji said MTN plans to become the leading player in the fintech solutions (Momo), digital finance (Ayoba), enterprise services, network as a service (NaaS) and API marketplace (Chenosis) spaces over the next three years.
Ekeji stated this in a presentation made to MTN Media Innovation Programme Fellows who visited the company’s headquarters in Fairlands, Johannesburg, South Africa as part of their study trip to University of Witswatersrand and MTN Group, said MTN intends to connect 100 million mobile money (MoMo) users, 100 million Ayoba users, $0.5 billion enterprise service revenue, become number one Africa’s NaaS platform and API gateway respectively.
On connectivity, “We intend to have 300 million total mobile users, 200 million mobile data users, 10 million home broadband users and $0.5 billion fiber investment. On the financial side, intend to achieve 15 per cent revenue growth par annum, 25 per cent of revenue from platform, Rand 6 billion cost savings and 40 per cent EBITDA margin. Rand 25 billion ARP proceeds, 1.0x holdco leverage, $2 billion capital expenditure per annum maintained and 20 per cent return on equity (ROE),” he said.
Why Turaco Is Investing $10m In Nigeria, Others
Turaco, the leading insurtech driving mass market insurance adoption, which closed a $10 million Series A equity round, plans to free people from the fear of financial shocks caused by unexpected health risks.
Turaco is able to achieve this through a B2B and B2B2C business model, forming partnerships with top tech-enabled companies with a large pool of customers or staff in emerging markets, including some of the continent’s most trusted brands such as Sun King, One Acre Fund, Tugende, M-KOPA and VisionFund.
Founded in 2019, Turaco is a distributor, broker, and key customer interface between the underwriter and the end consumer. Through its active partnerships, the insurtech has designed and delivered a suite of bespoke medical, life, asset, and vehicle insurance packages that have already covered over half a million lives across Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. Targeted at underserved customers and low-income earners, Turaco embeds its service as a white-labeled offering that is bundled with a partner’s core product or service while integrating with their existing payment processes to collect premiums.
Google Invests in Lori Systems to Help Bring Digital Transport Management to Africa
Lori Systems (www.lorisystems.com), the e-logistics company digitizing haulage and providing shippers with solutions to efficiently manage their cargo and transporters, has announced an investment from Google.
Named by the Financial Times earlier this year as Africa’s seventh fastest-growing company, Lori Systems has helped thousands of shippers and carriers move over $10 billion of cargo across the continent since its founding in 2017.
According to Knight Frank’s Logistics Africa report, 75% of the price of a product in Africa is attributed to logistics (compared to just 6% in the U.S.). On the continent, logistics operators face a host of problems; from fragmented supply and demand markets to inconsistent pricing, paper documentation and little or no access to financing.
A pioneer in e-logistics in Africa, Lori Systems lowers the cost of goods by eliminating pain points along the cargo journey: seamlessly connecting shippers to transportation, providing shippers with solutions to efficiently manage their cargo and transporters, and digitizing their entire transport operations from sourcing transportation to documentation and payments.
This new investment is the third from Google’s $50 Million Africa Investment Fund, which CEO Sundar Pichai announced in October 2021. It comes off the back of the launch of Google’s first product development center on the continent, in Nairobi, Kenya, the city where Lori Systems first launched.
“At Google, we understand the transformative power digitisation can bring to the African continent. There is so much potential in the region, but it’s only through innovation that this can be fully unlocked. Lori Systems is a great example of how technology can be scalable across Africa, and how, in turn, this can drive meaningful economic development. We’re excited to see where the future takes a business like this.” comments Nitin Gajria, Google’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Jean-Claude Homawoo, Lori Systems Co-founder & CPO, comments, “In recent years the global logistics industry has seen much innovation. However global supply chains are in dire need of modernization, with technologies yet to reach critical scale.
On the continent, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to lead to an 81% increase in intra-African trade, providing a $21.9 Billion opportunity in untapped trade potential that the 54 ratifying countries are hoping to capitalize on over the next 5 years. Logistics is key to unlocking this opportunity.”
“We’re excited to have Google as a partner as we continue to build the operating system for emerging market logistics. Our vision of the future of logistics in Africa is one that is digital, scalable and more efficient.” said Lori Systems CEO Uche Ogboi.
“We have been successful, achieving up to 20% price reduction for cargo owners and nearly 2x increase in truck utilization for transporters on our platform. We are excited about this funding as it will allow us to continue driving superior efficiencies across logistics on the continent,” Ogboi added.
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