African governments, corporations, and development groups want to build a single digital market on the continent — a unified space aimed at boosting integration and development. A key organization behind this push is Smart Africa, an alliance of 22 governments, international organizations including the World Bank, the African Union Commission, and the United Nations, as well as private sector firms such as Microsoft, Intel and Inmarsat.

Earlier this year, Smart Africa’s steering committee approved a series of major initiatives that includes strategies to increase bandwidth affordability and capacity across the continent, to further interconnect it through submarine and terrestrial links, and to eliminate roaming charges.

“Creating this single digital market is the overall mission of Smart Africa.”

Right now, a lot of the [voice, SMS, and data] traffic is being routed via carriers that take it outside the continent and back down to Africa. Yet there is no technical or economic reason for this beyond the fact that networks have been configured this way. We want to correct that: We will start by managing the traffic of voice and SMS, and later on data.

Read more about a digitally unified Africa by Gloria Pallares at Devex