Nigeria to benefit from ITU’s €15m broadband mapping initiative

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

The International Telecommunications Union has selected Nigeria and ten other nations to benefit from a €15 million broadband mapping effort aimed at boosting Africa’s digital development.

This was disclosed by the global ITU on Thursday during the Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-24) in Kampala, Uganda, according to Nairametric.

According to the statement, other countries to benefit from the initiative include Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“The Africa National Broadband Mapping Systems (AfricaBBMaps) project, supported by the European Commission, will help establish broadband mapping systems to foster investment and digital transformation in Africa. With a budget of EUR 15 million over four years, the project will initially benefit 11 countries,” a statement from the ITU read.

According to the ITU, broadband mapping is required for investment in long-term, inclusive broadband infrastructure that ensures no one falls behind.

It further stated that AfricaBBMaps aspires to build broadband mapping systems capable of delivering easily accessible validated data to identify internet connectivity gaps in coverage, quality, and affordability in beneficiary nations.

This is anticipated to enable data-driven decision-making for investments in digital infrastructure, ensuring a brighter future for ICT in the chosen countries.

A network development expert at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Vladimir Daigele describes mapping as “important to understand the reality in a place, as it allows different stakeholders to come together and plan optimal network technologies and financing solutions.”

Nigeria’s selection as a beneficiary of the AfrcaBBMaps supports the country’s ongoing execution of the Nigeria National Broadband Plane (NNBP 2020-2025).

Under the Plan, the country aims to achieve 70% internet penetration by 2025. However, meeting this aim is already proving challenging due to a lack of significant infrastructure investment, with the country’s penetration at 43% as of March 2024.

Meanwhile, the ITU noted that ICT regulators that participated in the GSR-24, which ended on Thursday, have accepted a set of principles to maximize the benefits of transformative information and communication technologies (ICTs).

According to the body, the “GSR-24 Best Practice Guidelines” agreed by ICT regulators include a series of considerations for balancing innovation with regulation to create a positive impact on societies and economies from emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).

The ITU, the UN Agency for Digital Technologies, organized the conference, which brought together over 600 participants, including Ministers, Heads of Regulatory Authorities, industry executives, and academics, to debate critical regulatory challenges.

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