Cellphone coverage tops basic services in African nations

  • TECH
  • Friday, 21 Nov 2014

WOEFULLY INADEQUATE: A study has found that Africans in general have better access to cellphone coverage than they do basic amenities like electricity or piped water.

JOHANNESBURG: More Africans have access to cellphone networks than basic services like tap water and education, according to a survey. 

According to polling group Afrobarometer, 93% of African communities had mobile phone coverage, while access to critical sewerage infrastructure languished at 28%. 

The study sampled communities in 34 African countries, mainly in the sub-Saharan region, between 2011 and 2013. 

In Mali, only 9% had no mobile phone service, while Madagascar had a 29% rate of non-connectivity, the highest measured.

It revealed that poor access to basic infrastructure remained “a key impediment” to the welfare of African communities, where water and electricity supply remained scarce, particularly in rural areas. 

At 89%, Liberia topped the list of countries with no piped water supply, while more than half of Namibian communities did not have schools within walking distance. 

Liberia also had the highest number of areas without electricity. 

The report said the findings highlighted “the enormous needs still confronting much of the continent for a basic infrastructure of development services.” — AFP

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