Call rates to Gabon from Rwanda are set to go down significantly following the launch of a one-area network between the two countries recently. The initiative, launched by President Paul Kagame and his Gabonese counterpart Ali Bongo, will see both countries scrap roaming charges, thus allowing their citizens enjoy reduced call rates.
President Kagame said the development will serve greatly to integrate the continent and enable citizens of the two countries communicate cheaply. Going forward, he said, such developments and digital integration would serve to achieve the goal of having a single digital market.
“The One Area Network marks one step forward toward our goal of having a single digital market for Africa. I hope to see more of these launches to serve our citizens, to communicate more cheaply,” Kagame said.
The President said the Smart Africa Alliance was an important agent for integration in the continent. The alliance has 11 member countries that had committed to put ICT at the centre of their socio-economic development and started in 2013 at the inaugural Transform Africa Summit.
Smart Africa Alliance Executive Secretary, Dr Hamadoun Toure, said that implementing the alliance’s agenda was part of the ways to actualise the dreams of African Union founding fathers. By working closely to form a single market, Toure said Africa would be in a better position to attract multinationals operating in the ICT sector as well as be in a better position to negotiate better deals with the firms. The Smart Africa alliance targets to attract at least $300 billion worth of investments in ten years.
Already, firms have begun entering the Alliance’s member countries because of the investment climate created by implementing the initiative. Sunny Ntayombya, the Tigo corporate communications manager, welcomed the initiative.”Since the One Area Network was instituted, the number of calls between the OAN partners has increased exponentially. This proves that there was a huge thirst for affordable communication,” he added.