A4AI to “empower affordable internet access across Africa”, starting with Ghana

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A group called the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), which is able to list Google, Cisco, Facebook and Microsoft among its members, will be meeting today with several involved and concerned parties in Accra, Ghana to discuss ways that more affordable broadband internet access can be brought to that country. This is just the first step in an initiative that will eventually spread to other developing countries.

Part of what the group and civil services, researchers, government entities and technology gurus will be discussing includes how to improve on a lack in infrastructure – as well as ways that taxes and policies related to internet can be implemented so as not to stifle growth. They will also be talking about what to do about telecoms equipment costs, an item that has been made more expensive thanks to recent tax increases, and how to spread the word to the citizens of Ghana specifically concerning the advantages of the internet. Currently Ghana has about 17% internet penetration due to the costs involved in using it.

The A4AI’s Sonia Jorge said in a media statement “Today, we hope to plant the seeds of further policy change in Ghana, unlocking the benefits of technological advances and innovation, and driving down the cost of access. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that can make universal access a reality, so our work here will be grounded upon the principles of consultation and open dialogue. In Ghana, we are particularly concerned with affordable access for those living below the poverty line and those who are most excluded, including women, rural populations and minority groups.”

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