NEPAD-Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility and COMESA Secretariat launch market analysis for the Africa Cloud Ecosystem Project
The project's signing ceremony took place on July 13, 2022, and was followed by a workshop for representatives from both institutions.
The Secretariat for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Development Bank have launched phase one of the Africa Cloud Ecosystem Project, which will be funded by a $550,000 grant from the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility Special Fund (NEPAD-IPPF) to support the project's market analysis and pre-investment study.
The project's signing ceremony took place on July 13, 2022, and was followed by a workshop for representatives from both institutions. A market analysis is the first step in getting the project off the ground.
By making consumers more accustomed to online national and cross-border transactions, the regional cloud ecosystem project will contribute to innovation and the development of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises on the continent.
African Development Bank Zambia Country Manager Raubil Durowoju noted: “The Africa Cloud Ecosystem project (ACE) will be a first of its kind, laying the foundation to facilitate the African continent to undertake this shift in the key sectors of economy, education, government, agriculture, and health, through the provision of a reliable ecosystem of data centres.”
The Africa Cloud Ecosystem project will house a cutting-edge facility that will provide vital and long-term digital infrastructure and services to COMESA member countries and the entire continent. It is expected to improve regional connectivity, lower business costs, and boost global competitiveness. The project also aims to provide Africa with an affordable, secure, reliable, and fast cloud hosting system.
Speaking on behalf of the Secretary General of COMESA, Assistant Secretary General, Programmes Kipyego Cheluget, stated: “We at the Secretariat, are fully convinced that the development of the Africa Cloud Ecosystem project will increase the sustainability and viability of information. The Africa Cloud Ecosystem will provide a pivotal way of transitioning Africa’s community into a digital economic community.”
Despite being the world's second-largest continent after Asia, internet penetration in Africa is the lowest at 20%, compared to more than 90% in Europe and North America.
Only 22% of Africans live in areas with 2G and 3G cellular network coverage, and 52% do not use digital services due to issues with access, affordability, digital capabilities, content relevance, cybersecurity, and trust.
With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement now in effect, ICT centers will be critical in connecting production centers to markets in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.