Telecoms Opportunities: Africa Infrastructure Series (Part 1)

Defining moments:

While on a trip to Africa recently, I visited my 84-year-old grandmother in the countryside. On arrival, I met her answering a call on her mobile phone while gardening. I was pleasantly surprised to see that mobile phone network has finally reached her in a rural village in West Africa.

It is on record that western investors came late to Africa telecommunication transformation because analysts and bookmakers failed to predict the mobile phone revolution when it started. For a continent with a population of over one billion and slightly over two million mobile phone subscribers a decade ago, having more than half a billion subscribers today is a remarkable economic achievement.

New approach:

The success story of telecommunication in Africa is mostly driven by large-scale private investments. According to Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), Sub Saharan Africa ICT sector has attracted over $60 billion in investment, which translates to 97 projects in 37 countries. To make return on investment quicker, telecom networks in Africa introduced pre-paid services, which resulted in astronomical growth of subscribers across the continent.

The governments of African countries also contributed enormously to the success of the telecommunication investors in their countries. The governments not only deregulated the sector, some provided market entry incentives to lure private investors that have successfully transformed the communication ability of an entire continent.

Regulating the market:

Telecom regulatory bodies across Africa are gradually evolving a stable regulatory system that guarantees sustainable growth and increased foreign direct investment. According to Secretary General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr Hamadoun Toure, over 45 African countries have good regulatory authorities with stable and predictable policies.

The McKinsey Institute in their 2010 report suggested that telecom regulators and African governments could further drive the growth of the sector by making lower-spectrum bands available, encourage infrastructure sharing, provide rollout incentives and potentially reduce rural telephony license fees.

How to get involved:

Investors that arrived earlier and recent acquisitions dominate telecom markets in Africa.

Nevertheless, there are still growing opportunities for both big and small businesses in rural telephony, recharge card solutions among others. Companies that are aspiring to explore opportunities in the African telecom market should consider collaborating with a local player in their target market.There are several opportunities to meet African telecom experts in industry events in Africa or outside the continent.

The opportunities below are spread across countries in the continent.

  • SIM Card Accreditation (software and hardware providers)
  • Repair and maintenance of telecommunications facilities
  • Collocation and co-sharing of infrastructure
  • Power management systems
  • Alternative energy for cellular sites/services (solar, wind, etc.)
  • Vehicle tracking systems
  • Satellite navigation systems Infrastructure companies – (building/Towers and Masts co-location)
  • Call logging solutions
  • Recharge card solutions and other value-added services
  • ICT/telecoms solutions for telematics and healthcare
  • Consultancy and business development services
  • Sales and installation of terminal equipment
  • Provision and operation of public pay phones among others.

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Seasons Greetings to our readersWelcome to OctoberFirst Consulting’s newsletter. Inside you’ll find articles and information on investment opportunities in Africa. Should you wish to discuss these further, do contact us.
This newsletter is published by Mr Frank Aneke, OctoberFirst Consulting, PO Box 83, Liverpool NSW 1871, Australia.
Telephone +61 (02) 9773 6672, email
This publication is supplied for information purposes. Some articles in this publication have been supplied by third parties and OctoberFirst Consulting does not take responsibility for any inaccuracies in these articles.

To read the full version of this newsletter click here, or use the links below to read individual articles.

In this issue…



Environment & Renewable

Telecoms & ICT

Mining & Energy

New Investment & Trade

Interview of the Month Interview with the lady behind successful M-PESA Mobile Money Transfer in Kenya…..Susie Lonie.

Central African Republic FlagCountry Stats: Central African Republic

Capital: Bangui
Area: 623,000 sq km
Total Population 2009: 4.4 Million
Urban Population 2009: 38.72%
Female Population 2009: 50.87%
GDP 2009: US$ 2.1 Billion
GNI Per Capita 2008: US$ 410
Inflation Rate 2009: 2.9%
Crude Birth Rate (per 1000) 2009: 34.88%
Human Development Index (scale 0 to 1) 2007: 0.369
Membership Date: 25/08/1970
Cumulative Approvals (1967-2009): UA 178.2 Million

Source: Africa Development Bank


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