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GSMA launches digital inclusion fund for Africa



ImpactAlpha, October 29 – GSMA, the industry network for mobile operators, is using a grant-based fund to seed companies in Uganda and Ghana focused on digital inclusion, particularly for rural residents.

Recent GSMA research notes that countries with “high levels of mobile connectivity have made more progress in meeting their SDG commitments.” Rural areas often lag in connectivity because they are the most expensive to reach due to the infrastructure costs.

GSMA’s fund, called the Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity, is looking to help “close coverage gaps in rural areas so that more citizens have access to life-enhancing mobile services.” It is specifically targeting businesses working in core digital infrastructure, like base station technology, energy and backhaul, as well as passive infrastructure, operation and maintenance, or which are testing sustainable business models.

DFID, the U.K. development agency, provided £300,000 ($390,000) for the fund.

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