Launched by President Biden at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in December 2022, the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA) initiative will expand digital access and literacy and strengthen digital enabling environments across the continent, in line with the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy and the U.S.-Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.
With the aim of fostering the growth of a healthy, inclusive, resilient, and secure digital ecosystem in Africa that is built on an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, this initiative will focus on three key areas: 1) Digital Economy and Infrastructure; 2) Human Capital Development; and 3) Digital Enabling Environment.
The White House named the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and U.S. Department of Commerce as co-leads of the Digital Economy and Infrastructure pillar.
USTDA’s leadership is based on its 30-year record of collaborating with local stakeholders and U.S. industry to expand digital access on the continent through more than 100 project preparation and partnership-building activities.
USTDA’s current portfolio of digital infrastructure-related activities includes:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: A feasibility study and pilot project for internet service provider Global Broadband Solution SARL (GBS) will help expand rural internet connectivity for half a million people in the DRC’s eastern region using U.S.-based connectivity technology.
- Malawi: A feasibility study is supporting Converged Technology Networks Limited to expand fixed wireless and fiber access networks to underserved small and medium enterprises as well as private households across Malawi.
- Nigeria: USTDA is supporting the efforts of Hotspot Network Limited to expand digital access for millions of Nigerians living in underserved rural communities through feasibility study to support the deployment of secure and interoperable Open RAN technology.
- Nigeria: A feasibility study and pilot project for Aldreda Fields Ltd. will help develop aerially installed broadband networks to connect multiple neighborhoods across Lagos to broadband infrastructure. This open-access model offers a potential solution that can be replicated in other parts of Nigeria.
- Nigeria: USTDA partnered with internet service provider ipNX Nigeria Limited by funding a feasibility study to support the expansion of the company’s fiberoptic network to more than 200,000 residences in Lagos and other locations, including Abuja and Port Harcourt.
- Nigeria: A feasibility study is supporting Ekovolt Telco Limited’s intent to increase access to connectivity through the deployment of fixed wireless broadband across the Niger Delta region over a five-year period. This project has the potential to connect 550,000 users including private households, small- and medium-sized businesses, and large enterprises.
- Regional Sub-Saharan Africa: USTDA funded a feasibility study for Kenya’s Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group Limited, to help expand affordable broadband access to more than 200,000 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
- Regional Sub-Saharan Africa: USTDA’s feasibility study grant to Nairobi-based internet service provider Poa Internet Kenya Ltd will help expand affordable internet connectivity to one million households in low-income urban areas across Africa.
- Regional Sub-Saharan Africa: A feasibility study is supporting SEACOM, a pan-African service provider, to expand telecommunications services in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda for enterprise customers. The project will provide affordable, reliable high-speed connections across East Africa, enhancing business growth and spurring innovation and productivity in the region.
- Regional Sub-Saharan Africa: USTDA partnered with South African internet service provider Jenny Internet by funding an assessment of the economic and technical viability of expanding affordable last-mile connectivity infrastructure in rural areas of Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Mozambique, and South Africa.
- Regional Sub-Saharan Africa: A USTDA-funded feasibility study for Kenya-based internet service provider and telecommunications infrastructure company Mawingu Networks Limited will support its deployment of broadband services throughout rural and underserved areas in East Africa.
- South Africa: A feasibility study is supporting the Western Cape Government to assess the economic and technical viability of expanding broadband infrastructure in South Africa’s Western Cape province.
- South Africa: Through a feasibility study, USTDA is facilitating access to secure and reliable internet for underserved populations in peri-urban and rural areas of South Africa in partnership with Dark Fibre Africa, a South African wholesale open-access fiber infrastructure and connectivity provider.
- South Africa: A pilot project for the Wireless Access Providers Association is enabling the expansion of internet access to rural and semi-rural areas in South Africa through the use of U.S. TV white space technologies. By harnessing unused digital spectrum, this technology will provide fast and affordable connectivity.