Sub-Saharan Africa is working on a number of country-specific projects aimed at improving internet connections, access, and speeds. Angola is one of the latest countries to launch web projects that have long-term goals of connecting millions to the internet. The “Angola Online” project aims to roll out internet access to 5 million users by 2017 as part of a partnership between Angola’s Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies and the National Center for Information Technology.
Biz Tech Africa reports that the project includes the nationwide installation of free internet access points “in areas of higher population density”. The initiative’s launch occurred at the School Ngola M’bandi in Luanda, and was announced by the Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, José Carvalho da Rocha. The news outlet quotes the deputy governor of Luanda for Technical Services and Infrastructure structures, Agostinho da Silva: “Let’s take the project to other parts of the country so that more and more young people have access to internet in places like schools.”
VISUAL CONTEXT: AFRICAN INTERNET PENETRATION AS OF 2012
As Angola works towards more stability in the wake of its civil war which ended in 2002, the country is looking to lessen its dependency on offshore crude oil production, and build out its telecommunications markets. The country still maintains a duopoly of sorts with two companies dominating the telecom space. According to BuddeComm’s research, Unitel and Angola Telecom’s Movicel are the two telcos that account for most of the business in that sector, but the Angola Online project targets the growing use of mobile devices and web connectivity. The research firm notes that large operators have also made it clear they want to invest in Angola’s broadening of its telecom sector, and forecasts the penetration rates of certain telecom markets by the end of 2014: mobile will be at 70%, fixed-line at 1.5%, and internet at 26%.
So the country still has a long way to go to reach its 5 million user count by 2017, but Angola Online is a good place to start, particularly to drum up competition in the telecom sector. Citizens will be entitled to two hours’ free internet daily in the following access areas: Luanda’s Cazenga Historic Landmark area, Independence Square, Casa da Juventude de Viana, Samba Recreation Park, Largo Schools, High Institute of Telecommunications (Itel), Largo da Igreja São Domingos, the University City and the Family Square.