(Ecofin Agency) - According to data from the GSM Association (GSMA), approximately 60% of the African adult population does not have access to the Internet. Microsoft wants to help reduce this digital divide by connecting 100 million people to broadband Internet by 2025.
U.S. tech giant Microsoft announced, Tuesday (May 16), new agreements with Internet service providers Mawingu and Tizeti. The goal of these collaborations is to connect 20 million people to the Internet in Africa by 2025.
Mawingu, which operates mainly in East Africa, will bring broadband connectivity to an additional 16 million people in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Tizeti, a Nigerian start-up providing wireless Internet connectivity over a solar-powered network, is expected to connect nearly 5 million people in Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire.
The initiative is part of Microsoft's "Airband" initiative, launched in 2017. The initiative aims to advance access to affordable internet and essential digital skills around the world through partnerships with industry players. Through this initiative, the U.S. company wants to extend high-speed internet connectivity to 250 million people worldwide, including 100 million in Africa, by 2025.
In March 2023, Microsoft signed a partnership agreement with pan-African Internet service provider Liquid Intelligent Technologies to connect 20 million people, in several countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. Before that, it had signed in December 2022, an agreement with satellite telecom services operator Viasat to connect 5 million people in DRC, Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, and Angola.
“Through partnering with Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, organizations have additional support to create the infrastructure needed to provide connectivity support in many different ecosystems that ultimately drive self-empowerment and sustainable development and growth. These partnerships are essential in providing local expertise and experience to help achieve a greater goal tied to what can be harnessed with the support of connectivity,” explains Vickie Robinson, General Manager of the Airband Initiative.
Isaac K. Kassouwi