John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Telecom"

Yet Again, No Mo Ibrahim Prize Awarded

by John Campbell
Mo Ibrahim Foundation Founder and Chair Mo Ibrahim (L) looks out into the audience as he and Equity Bank Group CEO James Mwangi participate in a panel discussion on investment during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington August 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

In February, the Ibrahim foundation announced that, yet again, it would not be awarding it’s famed Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. Mo Ibrahim, a British-Sudanese telecom billionaire, established the award in 2006. It is probably the richest international prize in the world. It awards laureates $5 million over ten years, then $200,000 per year for life. In addition, laureates may apply for an additional $200,000 per year for their own philanthropy. The prize appears to have been designed to recognize and encourage African leadership of the highest quality and also to free them from post-presidential financial burdens. The selection committee, numbering seven, is of outstanding quality: it includes former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, former first lady of both Mozambique and South Africa Graca Machel, and former president of Bostwana (and laureate) Festus Mogae. Read more »

Mobile Phones, the Internet, and South Africa

by John Campbell
A worker walks past cell phone accessories at a Vodacom shop in Johannesburg February 4, 2015. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

The Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) Centre for Risk Analysis has published a study that shows the dramatic increase in mobile phone usage in South Africa and its importance as a portal to internet usage. During the 2000-2014 period, fixed line subscriptions per one hundred people dropped by 38 percent while mobile phone subscriptions increased by 702 percent. The increase affected all races, but the growth is especially striking among ‘Coloured’ and ‘Indian’ South Africans. For Black South Africans it was 405.3 percent; for ‘Coloureds’ it was 763.6 percent; for ‘Indians’ it was 708.3 percent; for Whites it was 470.6 percent. The lower rate of increase among Blacks may reflect the higher levels of poverty among that demographic. Among whites, the lower level may reflect that many of them have long had access to land lines and to cell phones, resulting in a lower rate of usage growth. Read more »