Smart Africa Summit mulls a sustainable financing mechanism

The Smart Africa Alliance is considering a sustainable financing mechanism for its operations and the programmes it supports. The alliance, which was set up in 2013 following the inaugural Transform Africa Summit, has in previous years depended on contributions by members.

The Smart Africa Alliance is considering a sustainable financing mechanism for its operations and the programmes it supports.

The alliance, which was set up in 2013 following the inaugural Transform Africa Summit, has in previous years depended on contributions by members.

 

However, countries did not have stipulated contributions.

 

Dr Hamadoun Toure, the executive secretary of Smart Africa Alliance, said during the board meeting of the alliance in Kigali yesterday that the issue of a financing mechanism will feature prominently.

 

Among the sources of funding is a newly-introduced membership fee of $50,000. The alliance also collects membership fees from the private sector.

Toure said they were looking at creating additional revenue streams from services that could see them operate on a business model.

“Presently, all operational costs have been met but we are also looking into ways to get revenue from services that could see us be self-sustained. We are looking at ways of collecting revenue from services that we might be offering to members,” he said.

This could reduce the vulnerability of the organisation in the event membership contributions are not forthcoming due to tough economic conditions.

Some of the revenue sources include attendance fees for summits.

Toure said, as of December last year, the organisation had collected about $1.8 million which was allocated to expenditure such as scholarship fund.

According to a report presented to the Smart Africa board in January, Rwanda had contributed about $0.8 million and private sector $779,873.

The scholarship fund raised $1.1 million in contributions from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Rwanda, South Sudan and International Telecommunications Union.

Partnership

The alliance is keen on attracting investments worth $300 billion in the African ICT sector by 2020.

Toure said among the areas they seek involvement of the private sector are infrastructure development in sectors such as fibre networks, and data centres satellite connectivity.

“We would also like to have the private sector and other partners to come in content development and capacity building,” he said.

African entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa, the founder of Econet, said public partnership with the private sector will require both parties to listen to each other to build practical ecosystem.

Masiyiwa said Africa’s demographics make the continent ideal and attractive for investment with promising returns.

Nikolay Nikiforov, the Russian minister of telecom and mass communications, said from his country’s experience, an increase of private sector players would present  healthy competition, improved services and alternatives for governments.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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