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The Gambia EXPERIENCE. AfriNet 2000, Abuja. Hon. Edward D Singhatey Secretary of State for Works, Communications & Information. Background. First country to benefit from the Internet Initiative for Africa – IIA Project.

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The gambia experience l.jpg


AfriNet 2000, Abuja

Hon. Edward D Singhatey

Secretary of State for Works, Communications & Information

Background l.jpg

  • First country to benefit from the Internet Initiative for Africa – IIA Project.

    • IIA (three year project) aims to provide Internet accessibility or enhance Internet facilities for 12 African countries.

    • Cost sharing basis

    • Guiding principles

      • Partnership – Government, NGOs, Civil Society

      • Capacity building – technical, marketing, managerial

      • Accessibility – to all sectors of society (private & Public)

      • Sustainability – continue to sustain after end project

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MOU Guidelines

  • Gambia Government (Gamtel) & UNDP (Africa Bureau) each provide 50% of US$1M.

  • Facilities to be available to all sectors of society(public, private and civil society) and be private sector driven.

  • Provide access for educational institutions, women’s bureau, health facilities, research facilities, Government Institutions

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Example of Co-operation

  • Approval granted by UNDP - June 1997

  • Appraisal Mission in August - September 1997

  • Government Contribution – November 1997

  • Tenders invited – December 1997

  • Contract awarded – February 1998

  • Installation began – April 1998

  • Commissioned – September 25th 1998


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Technical Facilities

  • Fully fledged Internet gateway to include internal e-mail facilities countrywide

  • 512Kbps bandwidth

  • Landing point with first level ISP - Teleglobe(Canada)

  • Points of Presence (PoPs) in Banjul and 11 towns (major growth centres)

  • PoPs connected by 2Mbps links mainly by fibre optic cable.

Internet backbone l.jpg




CISCO 2514

Teleglobe Canada

Earth station


CISCO 4500-M


CISCO 2514



CISCO 2514

CISCO 2514

CISCO 7505




CISCO 2514

CISCO 2514

CISCO 2514




CISCO 2514

CISCO 2514

CISCO 4500-M

Internet Backbone

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Cost of Access

  • Unlimited monthly access – US$13 by private ISP and US$15 Gamtel (at current rates).

    • deliberate Government policy to encourage Private Sector participation.

  • One-time installation charge – US$3.50

    • no charge for basic customer premises services

  • Telephone access charges - US$0.75 per hour

Government has reduced tariffs on ICT equipment from 36% to 10% over past two years

(Ultimate objective is ZERO tariff by 2001)

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  • Two commercial ISPs

    • QaNet – private (Quantum Associates) – 128kbps

    • GamNet – Telecommunications Company

    • No restrictions on number of private ISPs

  • Four major non-commercial ISPs – 64kbps (Medical Research Centre –128kpbs)

  • About 1800 Internet accounts

    • 800 GamNet

    • 1000 QaNet

  • Several Internet cafes (mainly in urban areas)

  • Internet Society (ISOC)

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Social Services Provided

As per requirements of the MOU

  • Educational Institutions

    • Tertiary :GTTI, MDI, RDI, Gambia College – access

    • 60% of secondary schools – computers, dial-up access

  • Encouraging access for rural primary schools

  • National Assembly – computer, dial-up access

  • Major rural hospital – computer, dial-up access

  • Women’s Bureau – dial-up access

    Training on Internet use including above

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Ongoing Developments

  • Increase bandwidth to 1Mbps and maintain second carrier.

    • Negotiating with major carrier for 1Mbps access in advanced stage.

  • Increase access modems by 100%.

  • Provide access and equipment to all secondary schools (junior and senior).

  • Working with DFID to provide access to Primary Schools

  • Work with development partners and NGOs to provide access for rural communities.

  • Provide Internet cafés in all major towns.

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Concluding Remarks

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to state that Africa has an opportunity not only to make a major route into IT globally, but also to take our rightful place in the global community. However, this will take full cooperation between government, the private sector, NGOs, African IT professionals and civil society as a whole, and I hope that the yearly Afrinet meetings will serve as a forum where we can learn how to make Africa a better place.