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National Pavilion case studies
An interview with Chad
What do ICTs facilities look like in Chad?
We have already laid 870 km of optical fiber from the southern part of the country to the capital city, N’Djamena. We are presently laying the 1,482 km fibre which connects N’Djamena to Adré and Sudanese border. In the short term, we will increase our outlets through our connection to Nigeria and Niger by laying on 699 km of optical fibre; in the medium term, 2,214 km of fibre will interconnect all our major cities, with fibre to the home connecting to the national backbone throughout the country.
Our three mobile telephone operators cover the entire country, providing approximately 36% penetration. Before the arrival of 3G and 4G, three Internet Service Providers were already providing access to 5% of the population. This figure has doubled since Tigo and Celtel started using 3G and 4G last year.
What flagship ICTs projects are in the pipeline? What is Chad’s dream or vision?
Our vision is to become the ICT hub of Africa by 2025, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, the north of Africa to the south, by optical fiber. Our medium term plan is to interconnect our 22 universities and university institutes, including the 200km FTTH project surrounding N’Djamena and connecting all major institutions to the trans-African backbone. Important initiatives also include the CATI African IT Centre, the Internet Exchange Point, and the creation of the Higher School of ICT Development (ENASTIC) as a cornerstone of our capacity building. We are also focused on creating an enabling environment for public private partnerships, and fostering small businesses (SMEs) in the ICT sector as key source of future wealth and job opportunities.
What are the major challenges you are facing?
Chad is a landlocked country, which makes connection to the optical fibre landing points very difficult. This is this is why we are driving our efforts towards interconnecting the country to the Sudan seaport on the one hand and to the Atlantic Ocean on the other. We are also facing a lack of skilled soft power. The energy issue is another challenge, creating price hikes in ICT services; a one minute call is priced at 250 CFA (0.39 EUR) as power is supplied by generators in both rural and urban areas.
What are the main benefits of ICTs for the people of Chad?
People communicate more, save time, are better informed, and are connected to the global network. E-health and e-learning are important services improving living conditions across the country; new developments such as e-payment and social media are changing people’s everyday life. Over 15,000 direct and indirect job opportunities have been created over the past 5 years thanks to the activities of the mobile telephone operators.
What were your main objectives in taking part in ITU Telecom World?
We went to ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha to highlight ICT opportunities in Chad, and use this international platform to present the CATI project championed by our Head of State. We wanted to share our ambition of becoming an African ICT hub by 2025, and to explore how we can develop our international ICT exhibition, SITIC, into a mini ITU Telecom World for the Central African sub-region.
What was your experience of ITU Telecom World 2014?
We attended key sessions such as the Opening Ceremony and the Leadership Summit, as well as meeting with the incoming ITU Secretary General and other senior ITU representatives at our National Pavilion. Many participants were very interested in our projects, in particular the optical fibre national backbone and CATI. We actively participated in the Investment Workshop, and organized a very successful CATI Panel Lunch.
Our delegation was honoured to meet with the outgoing ITU Secretary General, key stakeholders from Unesco, and multinationals such as the Alcatel Group. We met with Huawei, who operate in Chad, including talks between our ministers and Huawei’s CEO; and took part in extremely useful discussions on spectrum management with leading LS telecom representatives.
How successful were you in meeting your aims?
The immediate return on investment was the sharing of best practices during sessions with other delegates. We were aware that many African countries would be represented at the event, with ministries, regulatory boards or both. The event enabled us to popularize our SITIC 2014 manifesto, reaching our peers in a global campaign to offer CATI to the African Union. In terms of capacity building, master classes organized by the ITU and discussions on various themes were very interesting for our delegates. Our parastatals were in dire need of reliable and efficient partners to boost their activities; several high-profile consultants and experts have now seen Chad as a potential business hub in Africa in addition to our tourism assets.
Return on investment is a long-term project; as a saying in our country goes, “you cannot sow the millet in the morning and harvest it in the afternoon.” We need an observation period and a permanent assignment to ensure pledges and actions made in Doha are sustainable.
An interview with Soudan
What is the state of the ICT industry in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country?
Our country is poor and underdeveloped, with many differing priorities. We are looking for ICT infrastructure to be in place, to be up to date, to connect to other country. We currently have no landline telephony, and four mobile GSM operators reaching about 30% of the population. These operators are rolling out to rural areas, selling SIM cards and setting up internet cafe, with a direct impact on the economy and local entrepreneurs growing. But there is a lot of work to do to increase access and the benefits of ICTs.
What is your vision for South Sudan’s ICT sector?
Our vision is for an inclusive, empowered, dynamic and prosperous ICT-based nation.
And your strategy?
We have benefited from ITU experts in helping to establish a regulatory body. We propose connecting South Sudan to a submarine cable, but as a landlocked country, we need to confirm where our international landing point should be. We are looking for investment for our national fibre optic backbone. We aim to start in urban areas offering e government services. An ICT institute to train engineers and develop ICT skills at national level is also vital.
What are the main challenges you face?
We are a young country with many competing priorities such as education, agriculture or clean water which are seen as more important than ICT. We are trying to establish ICT as a priority for investment, with e applications as the key enabler cross cutting all these areas. Commerce, telemedicine, schools, universities can all benefit from ICTs – it’s a question of getting funding approved and allocated.
What were South Sudan hoping to achieve with a National Pavilion at ITU Telecom World?
We wanted to benefit from the exposure of our young country to an international event, to interact with vendors and regulators in the telecoms field, and see what new technologies are available. As a new nation, it is important to learn from other countries how we can best build out ICT in South Sudan, in terms of technologies and best practices.
What was your experience of ITU Telecom World?
Our delegation included the Minister of Telecoms, the Minister of Information, National Assembly representatives, industry stakeholders and operators. The Minister personally attended many of the Forum discussions, learning in particular on the regulatory experience in other nations. We made useful contacts with regulatory bodies in different countries, and learnt from other pavilions’ presentations in specific areas.
The Minister and delegation also benefited from meeting with CEOs from vendors and private sector companies potentially interested in coming to South Sudan to see how they can best participate and invest in the development of ICT in our country.
How successful were you in meeting your aims – and how do you measure that success?
We were very successful in gaining exposure for South Sudan, meeting with different regulatory bodies, countries and private sector companies, and making important contacts with regional and international partners. We met counterparts from the East African region, including representatives from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, to discuss cooperation on improving broadband and ICT infrastructure. Following our private meeting at ITU Telecom World in Bangkok, we have met again locally to continue our discussions and build the relationship.
We had a very good return on investment for our national pavilion in terms of the visibility we gained for South Sudan, the information we learnt, the advice we received from more experienced countries, the cooperation at regional level and the contacts we established with different stakeholders such as vendors and regulators.