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CW announces Bahir Dar Digital Infrastructure Initiative

CW News published by CW (Cambridge Wireless)

CW is collaborating with Regional State Government, Bahir Dar University and local delivery partners to deploy world-class connectivity infrastructure in a rapidly growing city in Ethiopia.

Register to attend the Cambridge workshop

CW is offering its members and wider network the opportunity to take part in a pioneering programme that explores the potential, opportunities and challenges of green field urban internet connectivity and applications deployment in Ethiopia.

Interested parties have the chance to be part of the roadmap planning process for deploying the latest telecommunications infrastructure in a blossoming city, Bahir Dar, that is on the edge of Lake Tana at the source of the Blue Nile. This is an unmissable business development activity for firms working in network infrastructure seeking international expansion.  The collaboraton will be led by Dr Tesfa Tegene, director of the University’s ICT4D Centre, and Dr Mengiste Abate, director of the University’s office of the Bahir Dar City Infrastructure Plan Project, which is working with the municipality to develop a master plan for the city.  With a population of 170,000, Bahir Dar is Ethiopia’s fifth largest city and typical of a large number of very fast-growing mid-size towns throughout Africa. It is also home to Bahir Dar University, which has 40,000 students and has been identified by the government as suitable for technological investment. 

With 110 million people Ethiopia is Africa’s most populous, least developed country. However, with a GDP Annual Growth Rate of over 10% it also has one of the fastest growing non-oil economies in the world. Over the past year, Ethiopia has seen unprecedented political and economic reforms. A new prime minister came to power in April 2018, and Abiy Ahmed has released political prisoners, negotiated peace with Eritrea and is making aspects of state-owned enterprises available for private investment. In short, the telecoms and media sectors are opening up, generating a brief window of unprecedented opportunity to design and roll out digital infrastructure and allied services differently. 

By differently, we do not mean just in terms of quality and reliability. A functioning and accessible network has the potential to transform the socioeconomics of a region dramatically, and the programme leaders are keen for businesses who participate to consider questions around sustainability, such as:

  • How could the proverbial digital divide be more equitable and less divisive?
  • How can we ensure that delivery prioritises the wellbeing and economic development of all the city's residents?
  • How can a region ‘leapfrog’ older communications technologies and create a truly smart African city?
  • What are the risks and dangers associated with such an initiative, and how can these be mitigated?

CW is delivering this programme in collaboration with the Centre for Global Equality, Cambridge Wireless, Cambridge Global Challenges, the Trust & Technology Strategic Research Initiatives (University of Cambridge), and Bahir Dar University. The launch workshop is on 13th February at the Maxwell Centre, Cambridge. Register via the CW website to secure your firm's place.

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