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ICT and Telecommunication Sector of South Sudan

ICT and Telecommunication Sector of South Sudan

South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011 and is a member state of the African Union and a member state of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

The country is still in the process of building its economy, there is already a significant amount of activity within the country’s ICT sector, particularly efforts to expand broadband connectivity and mobile services.

The telecommunications industry is still very much in development and this is expected to lead to increased competition for the country’s growing mobile consumer base.

Current Situation in the sector

South Sudan is one of the growing African countries in ICT following her independence on July 2011 after civil war that disrupted in the country for a number of decades. For South Sudan, the expansion of the ICT sector is essential for the promotion and modernization of public and private activities and to better integrate the economy.

There are several opportunities for growth for the ICT sector including e-commerce and e-services, mobile technologies, automation and ICT training

Characteristics of the sector

  • Five nationwide mobile operators including Zain, MTN, Vivacell, Gemtel Ltd and SudaTel have set up operations.
  • Communications tariffs are still too high
  • Lack of power is a challenge
  • People don’t not know the importance of ICT
  • The importance of ICT is not well known by decision makers
  • Very low Internet penetration ,Internet services are available mainly in Juba
  • The low per capita income
  • South Sudan has not yet back bone networks based on optical fiber
  • ICT uptake in is still very low with most of the ICT facilities concentrated in the capital city Juba.
  • inadequate infrastructure
  • Very high cost for international bandwidth/calls and access for Internet services

There is vested interest in connection with existing sub-marine cable systems (including SEACOM and EASSy) to replace satellite-based connectivity which is viewed as being costly and slow.

The quest for more broadband is expected to satisfy the requirements of the country’s growing online user base.

South Sudan government is looking to deploy a fibre optic network to connect the country’s capital utilising submarine connectivity.

Government of South Sudan is looking to Rwanda as a source of expertise, ICT – resource, investment. There is significant interest in the ICT development of neighbouring countries, with a view to increased investment in what South Sudan could ultimately offer.

Challenges

  • Lack of ICT equipment.
  • Electric power supply is not widely available to facilitate use of ICT.
  • The costs of radio and TV broadcasts are currently too high.
  • Increased taxes especially for telecom companies that has been increased from 20% to 30%
  • Lack of Awareness among Policy and Decision Makers
  • Insufficient ICT Infrastructure
  • Insufficient number of ICT Experts at all levels and sectors
  • Institutional Networks yet to be setup for most of the sectors
  • Awareness in the importance of ICT and all the related services among potential users
  • Very low Connectivity if not totally inexistent
  • High illiteracy in ICT
  • Weak sector regulation