GSMA provides up to £330K fund to deliver mobile connectivity to unconnected communities in Ghana and Uganda

GSMA announced the winners of its Connected Society Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity. Fairwaves Inc., iSAT Africa, and NuRAN Wireless are granted £330,000 to test and evaluate new innovative mobile Internet connectivity solutions for unconnected rural communities in Africa. The fund, which is scheduled for 18 months, is allocated in partnership with Vodafone Ghana and MTN Uganda. Further support for the implementation of this fund is provided by local partners. For example, the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) has assisted in the provision of land and waivered tax and duty exemptions for imported equipment of up to 38 percent for fund grantees. All savings provided in these waivers have been reinvested to enable more coverage site to connect more citizens in rural communities in Ghana. “This collaboration is ground-breaking in its aims to connect unconnected communities in rural locations and deliver a range of essential digital services. The challenge is not only bringing mobile internet coverage to rural areas, which can be twice as expensive as in urban areas and with smaller revenue opportunities but to do so in a way that ensures long-term commercial sustainability. Innovation and partnership is essential to addressing this challenge, and the Innovation Fund, in association with the mobile ecosystem and government partners, is playing a key role in identifying new ways of using mobile technology to connect the unconnected,” noted GSMA, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Akinwale Goodluck.