The Commonwealth African Rural Connectivity Initiative (COMARCI)

Client name: Government of Malta; Commonwealth Secretariat; BT Global Services; Telkom SA, Vodacom
Duration: August 2007 – December 2008


This study highlights various examples of how ICTs are making a difference in the general development of rural communities in Commonwealth African countries. This research sheds light on how policies, trends and initiatives are either impeding or facilitating the process of improving rural connectivity.

Moreover, best practices and lessons learnt are drawn from five selected, non-African, comparator countries, namely Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia and the United States, each selected because of the significant relevant progress it has made in rural connectivity.

The research areas are as follows:

  • National ICT Strategies for Rural Connectivity
  • Liberalisation, Competition, Independent Regulation and their Impact on Rural Connectivity
  • Technological Convergence and the Opportunities for Rural Connectivity
  • Implementing Universal Access Regimes to Accelerate Rural Connectivity
  • Harnessing Innovative and Cost-Effective Technology
  • The Need for Human Capacity Building for Rural Connectivity
  • Enhanced Role of ICT Consumers and Stakeholders
  • Partnerships for Rural Connectivity

Expected impact

A number of recommendations on the development of an appropriate policy framework, sound legislation, and effective regulation to drive rural connectivity are made throughout this report for Policymakers, Regulators, Operators, Financial Institutions, Infrastructure Owners, Technology Manufacturer and PPPPs.

COMARCI has begun the construction of a set of specific criteria, indicating what characteristics of ICT initiatives are necessary for their success and sustainability

10 promising ICT pilots which the CTO proposes for large-scale adaptation and replication across Commonwealth Africa through PPPPs including NYnet Rural Broadband, North Yorkshire, UK Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection, India Vodacom Community Services Phone Shops, South Africam, Ericsson Gramjyoti Rural Broadband Project, India and so on.

Useful links:

COMARCI Executive Summary and Conclusions

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