Africa: Internet Capacity Update, 02/13/01

Africa: Internet Capacity Update, 02/13/01

Africa: Internet Capacity Update Date distributed (ymd): 010213 Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +economy/development+ Summary Contents: This posting contains two recent press releases announcing steps toward increased capacity in use of the internet for Africa. News site reports a strategic alliance with the BBC's Africa-related programming; and internet service provider Africa Online reports acquisition of the second largest internet service provider in Egypt.

For an earlier posting with a summary update on internet connectivity in Africa, see the September 2000 report by Mike Jensen at:

The latest estimates available (from November 2000), report only 3.11 million people online in Africa, less than 1 percent of the 407.1 million estimated worldwide. Even so, almost every African country now has at least one on-line newspaper.

Starting points for links to these and additional sources for news and background information, organized by country and theme, can be found at

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Note to Readers:

New on Africa Policy Web Site, in 'From the Desk of Salih Booker'

Commentary by Salih Booker, Los Angeles Times. February 9, 2001 'Pandering to Abortion Foes Cripples Global AIDS Effort'

Commentary by Salih Booker, The Nation, February 26, 2001 'Bush Medicine for Africa'


AllAfrica Global Media and BBC World Service Announce Collaboration


February 5, 2001 Washington DC

AllAfrica Global Media, which operates the leading Africa site on the World Wide Web, has signed a strategic agreement with the British Broadcasting Corporation. Under the agreement, AllAfrica's web site,, offers access to an array of Africa-related programming from the BBC. The webcasts include five-minute news bulletins, updated regularly, and the award-winning Focus on Africa, a daily show featuring political and economic reports and analysis. Other programs cover business, sports, arts and popular culture.

The BBC World Service is widely regarded as the premiere international news organization, with a global audience of over 150 million, including more than 45 million in Africa. Independent research identifies the BBC as the most trusted source of news worldwide. The agreement with AllAfrica offers the BBC a prestigious platform for the diverse productions of the World Service for Africa. is one of the largest news and information sites on the Internet, posting hundreds of reports daily from its own correspondents and from more than 70 African news organizations. The site, which went live in September 2000, logged over six million monthly page views in January through word-of-mouth growth. About three-quarters of the visits are from North America; the other 25% are widely distributed internationally. "There is a hunger for African news that other sources fail to provide," says AllAfrica Global Media's president Amadou Mahtar Ba. "AllAfrica fills that gap. And we are pleased to add the respected productions of the BBC to our offerings. No other broadcaster can match the range and the depth of the BBC's Africa reporting."

Barry Langridge, head of the Africa & Middle East Region for the BBC World Service, also welcomes the partnership. The agreement will heighten the profile of the BBC in the U.S. market, where it has been less well known than elsewhere. "We are delighted to extend our reach through the platform of," he said. "The agreement brings BBC offerings to a new forum, known for the breadth of its Africa coverage." In addition to adding more than 500 new stories a day, has a searchable archive of over 220,000 reports. Using its proprietary editorial tools and rapid-download software, the site sorts and displays stories by countries, regions and topics, including business, art, sports, health, science and religion.

Eight BBC programs are available on the site initially: "African News Bulletin"-- five-minute newscasts, updated regularly; "Focus on Africa" -- a daily magazine of political and economic reports; "Network Africa" -- interviews, sports and music every weekday; "African Business Report" -- a daily roundup of business news; "Fast Track" -- a weekday examination of African sports; "Talkabout Africa" -- weekly debates and chat on topical issues; "Postmark Africa" -- an encyclopedia of the air, answering audience questions weekly; "Artbeat" -- a weekly look at the music, art and the culture that enlivens Africa.

In addition to operating, AllAfrica Global Media is the largest single source for current African news, serving hundreds of clients, including Comtex, Bloomberg, Reuters, iSyndicate, and for wireless applications OmniSky and AvantGo.

AllAfrica has strategic relationships with two non-profit agencies: Africa News Service, which administers the Center for Africa and the Media at Duke University and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Fellowship for African Journalists; and the AfricaNet Trust, an African broadcast production company whose programming will be webcast by Visit the allAfrica/BBC program page at

For further information contact: Tamela Hultman Chief Strategy Officer 202-546-0777


Africa Online - Press Release


London, 12th February 2000: Pan-African Internet Service Provider, Africa Online, has extended its operations into North Africa by acquiring MenaNet Communications, the second largest ISP in Egypt.

The $8.7 million deal gives Africa Online a foothold in North Africa & the Middle East and adds Egypt, one of the most important markets in Africa, to a network that already covers eight countries - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.

Under the terms of the agreement, MenaNet Communications will become a fully owned subsidiary of Africa Online. Africa Online's services to the Middle East and North Africa will be offered under the 'MenaNet' brand name, while maintaining the 'Africa Online' brand for services to sub-Saharan countries.

MenaNet began trading in April 1999 and has quickly established itself as a leading ISP in Egypt with 60 employees, over 7,300 dial-up subscribers and over 9,000 users on Freenet, a toll-based Internet access service operated on a revenue sharing basis with Telecom Egypt. The company has a service network that extends to Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, 6th of October city, Hurghada, Assiut and Sinai as well as superior technical infrastructure for high speed Internet access and extensive value added services that include Web Mail, e-calender, Global Roaming, ISDN & XDSL service.

In addition to traditional ISP internet access services, MenaNet has formed a joint venture with Nile Sat to provide Egypt's first readily available broadband Internet infrastructure. The service, known as 'MenaSat' uses NileSat's satellite to deliver satellite Internet access to North Africa and the Middle East.

With the acquisition of MenaNet, Africa Online now has a combined dial-up user base of over 33,000 subscribers. The Group also runs e-touch, a programme that provides email and Internet access to customers without their own computers through a network of over 700 walk-in centres in urban and rural areas all over Africa. The service has attracted over 26,500 active users in the first 15 months of operation.

Africa Online also recently announced the formation of a joint venture company with UUNET SA to develop Internet services across 14 countries in Africa. UUNET SA is Southern Africa's leading Internet-based network service provider and is a joint equity partnership between Datatec Limited and UUNET Technologies of Fairfax, Virginia, the Internet services division of the global technology giant WorldCom. The joint venture is expected to provide Africa Online with access to upgraded network infrastructure for the benefit of its private dial-up subscribers and will allow Africa Online itself to focus more on its consumer activities including the continued roll-out of its e-touch centres.

Group Chief Executive Ayisi Makatiani said: "Our entry into Egypt has been a key part of our growth strategy and is an excellent foundation for further expansion throughout the North Africa and Middle East region. Our pan-African growth in top-tier regional centres will continue, giving customers the very best local services AND the most comprehensive ISP network and product range in the business."

'MenaNet's goal has always been to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to enjoy the benefits of the internet' said Gamal Marwan, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of MenaNet Communications 'Joining with Africa Online will help make that goal a reality. We're very excited about the opportunity to integrate MenaNet's state of the art technology and services into the Africa Online network'.

Ayisi Makatiani concluded: "The whole Africa Online group continues to operate on this premise - local focus and knowledge combined with pan-African reach; personal attention combined with global resource - to offer levels of service and innovation that are unrivalled in quality, detail, scope and technical performance."

Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, the Managing Director of Cairo-based Sigma Capital Investment Banking, the financial advisor to MenaNet on the transaction noted, 'Egyptian ISPs are seeking strategic partnerships in the wake of rising local competition and the synergies involved in the MenaNet/Africa Online transaction are huge, not only in terms of economies of scales and geographic expansion but also in terms of technology transfer and product development'.


Note to editors:

Africa Online is backed by The African Lakes Group plc, a trans-African enterprise focused on the provision of Internet access, online content, e-business services and solutions as well as IT distribution in the continent. The Group's vision is 'Connecting Africa'.

African Lakes, which is fully listed on both the London and Nairobi Stock Exchanges, initially invested in Africa Online in October 1998 by way of convertible loan notes and has funded its growth since then. However, the Company has recently moved to acquire 100 per cent control of Africa Online the purchase or TelCorp Limited, Africa Online's parent company.

MenaNet is one of the leading Egyptian ISPs with dial-up coverage offering services in Cairo, Alexandria and Sharm el-Sheikh in the South Sinai. Based in Cairo, it offers a wide range of ISP services including dial-up, leased lines and web design. In addition, MenaNet has developed a free web-based mail service branded separately as FreeNet (, which offers a range of value-added services, including SMS. As at 31 December 2000, it had approximately 7,300 dial-up subscribers.

The company also has a 50 per cent stake in Global Data Broadcasting System, an Egyptian joint stock company trading under the name MenaSat, which provides high-speed broadband access to the Internet via satellite downlinks. Customers in the Middle East also use this service.


Sam Nganga Corporate Communications Manager Africa Online Email: Tel: 254 2 243775

Ayisi Makatiani Co-founder and Chief Executive Africa Online Email: Tel: + 254 2 253613


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 13:48:38 -0500 Subject: Africa: Internet Capacity Update

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific