Digital Infrastructure Moonshot for Africa

Working Group Co-Chaired by:

Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank

The Sustainable Development Goals include a number of goals that require the intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), notably in achieving universal identification, more efficient delivery of government services, financial inclusion and job creation. Underlying these goals is target 9c) to significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to internet in LDCs by 2020. While significant progress has been made in this regard, notably in Asia, there is a danger that in Africa, where most of the Least Developed Countries are located (some of them being by affected by Fragility, Conflict, and Violence), this target will be missed, on the dimensions of both access and affordability. ​

Africa cannot afford to think small nor act slowly. At the current, incremental pace of economic and social advancement, too many of today’s youth will continue to be denied the opportunity to live up to their potential.  African countries will not be able to create the huge number of new jobs needed to match the coming youth bulge, nor provide alternative livelihoods for farmers displaced by industrialization of agriculture and factory workers displaced by automation. 

The rise of digital technologies and the digital economy offers a once in a generation chance to disrupt this trajectory – unlocking new pathways for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation and access to services across the territory which would have been unimaginable only a decade ago. However, the window of opportunity is short.  The continent will need to act quickly and boldly, or risk being left behind.  To become tomorrow’s innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, Africa’s youth need to be empowered with the digital skills and access to technology, ideas and markets that are essential to thrive in an increasingly digitized global economy.  Governments need to find more nimble and effective means of delivering services and interacting with citizens. Businesses need to utilize digitally-centered business models to connect with the hundreds of millions of customers previously out of reach due to geography or low incomes. 

To achieve the goal of universal affordable access to ICTs for All Africans will therefore require a sustained and committed effort on the part of governments, the private sector and development partners. In short, what is required is a “digital moonshot” where exceptional and coordinated efforts are made to achieve a seemingly impossible goal, namely to ensure that all Africans have universal and affordable access to ICTs by no later than 2030. To reach this goal and interim goal of doubling broadband connectivity is set by 2020​.  Universal connectivity is an important pillar of the digital economy moonshot but needs to be complemented by similar efforts on digital platforms, digital financial services, digital skills and entrepreneurship. This working group will only focus on the infrastructure pillar. Work on additional pillars could be engaged in subsequent working groups.

Objectives of the Group:

​Under the leadership of the World Bank Group, and combined efforts of others: the African Union, the International Telecommunication Union, and other Commissioners the group was proposed and established under the name​ “Broadband for All: A Digital in​frastructure Moonshot for Africa“. The objective of the Working Group is to achieve universal and affordable access to ICTs for Africa. 

  1. ​​​​​​​​​The group was launched in September 2018 during the Broadband Commission’s Annual Fall Meeting.

  2. The Group held its kick off call on December 11th 2018.

  3. The final report was launched during the World Bank Annual Meetings on Thursday, October 17 at the World Bank headquarters in Washington ​DC.    

  4. The session will focus on the report’s roadmap and action plan to achieve Universal Broadband Connectivit​y in Africa by 2030.​ For more information visit the session page here​.


connecting africa through broadband

Connecting Africa Through Broadband

A strategy for doubling connectivity by 2021 and reaching universal access by 2030

The Working Group on Broadband for All: A Digital Moonshot Infrastructure for Africa was formed as a multistakeholder consultation group to engage key ICT industry partners, estimate the investment needs, and prepare a roadmap to help countries and development actors coordinate, accelerate and prioritize their efforts to help reach the SDGs by improving digital infrastructure in Africa. This report summarizes the findings and recommendations from the Working Group.


Broadband Commissioners

  1. Mr. Bocar Ba, Samena Telecommunications Council
  2. Dato’Ir.(Dr.)Yee Cheong Lee, ISTIC
  3. Mr. Marcin Cichy, Poland
  4. Dr. Carlos Manuel Jarque, America Movil
  5. Mr. Adrian Lovett, Web Foundation
  6. Mr. Patrick Masambu ,International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)
  7. Dr. Speranza Ndege, Kenyatta University, Kenya
  8. Mr. Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat plc
  9. Mr. Stephen Spengler, Intelsat
  10. Mr. Rajeev Suri, Nokia
  11. Ms. Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu, UN-OHRLLS
  12. Mr. Robert Kirckpatrick, UN Global Pulse
  13. Mr. Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski, EUTELSATIGO
  14. Mr. Amir Dossal, Global Partnerships Forum
  15. Mr. Mats Granryd, GSMA
  16. Dr. Chang-Gyu Hwang, Korea Telecom
  17. Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, BDT, ITU
  18. Ms. Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO
  19. Mr. Paul Mitchell, Microsoft
  20. Mr. Kevin Martin, Facebook
  21. Mr Achim Steiner, UNDP
  22. Mr Andrus Ansip, European Commission

External Experts

  1. A4AI (Alliance for Affordable Internet)
  2. Research ICT ​Africa