Connecting Africa: BT provides internet access to remote African villages

Our award-winning Connecting Africa programme has now been completed.

Last updated: 5 April 2018 - 9.07am

We’ve given 180,000 people in 13 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa access to the internet, e-learning and improved healthcare thanks to the successful completion of our award-winning Connecting Africa programme.

[Read more: Tech4Good Awards 2018 officially open for nominations]

We launched the programme in 2013 in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages, an international charity that focuses on children at risk, initially to connect 20 villages.

Later, we extended our reach to 30 villages in some of the remotest parts of the region.

Many people in Africa pay 10 times as much of their salary for broadband as those in the rest of the world.

But Connecting Africa uses satellite services from our Madley operations centre to bring free broadband to villages, helping protect children from social isolation.

School pupil with laptop

We’ve also fulfilled our ambitious aim to design and implement an electronic medical records system in village medical centres.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) presented us with its New Vision for Development Award in recognition of the transformation this has brought to healthcare in parts of Africa. It showcased our achievements at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

To connect these African communities to the internet, we designed and built network infrastructure in each country - and our engineers trained SOS Children’s Villages’ local IT support teams to maintain and operate it.

[Newsweek Green Rankings: BT ranked the world’s greenest Telco]

BT Director of Sustainable Business Anna Easton said: “Connecting Africa is a powerful example of our purpose in action.

“Our technology has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, giving them access to education and improved healthcare.

“Thanks to the dedication of our engineers, who shared their skills with SOS’s own ICT team, the satellites are locally maintained and will continue to provide a critical service for years to come.”

Medical staff with computer

Our introduction of electronic medical records has transformed healthcare for people in the African communities we’re supporting.

Women now receive improved post-natal care, and we’ve ensured better treatment for thousands of HIV and AIDS patients.

And it’s made clinics more efficient, with waiting times down and more patients being treated, as well as leading to a dramatic reduction in time spent on administrative functions.

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