Free Wi-Fi roll-out in Africa


Free Wi-Fi access is spreading to a number of different countries in Africa as company and city initiatives seek to provide people, especially those in low income areas, with the internet.

South Africa

Project Isizwe is a non-profit project which enables the implementation of free Wi-Fi in public spaces in poor communities. Alan Knott-Craig Jnr, CEO and founder of Project Isizwe believes the project will aid in boosting the economy and providing employment.

“The focus is to cover open public spaces around educational institutions within low income communities, as well as congested metropolitan areas. Our Pilot Projects currently are in Stellenbosch and Tshwane (Pretoria),’ he commented.

Delft, a suburb in Cape Town will be the first of four areas to benefit from a free Wi-Fi pilot project undertaken by the Western Cape government. According to Alan Winde, MEC of Western Cape finance, economic development and tourism 90,000 people will have access to the internet in these spaces.


Through a partnership between the State House Digital Team and the Nakuru county government, Nakuru County in Kenya provides its citizens with free Wi-Fi. Dennis Itumbi, State House director of digital media and diaspora communication said, “The business community can use the internet to conduct international trade while university and college students can get free study materials.’


Designated areas in the city of Kigali in Rwanda allow residents to access free Wi-Fi through an initiative called Smart Kigali which was set up by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the Rwanda Hotel and Restaurant Association, and the City of Kigali and internet service providers (ISPs). Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and Information and communications technology said, “Smart Kigali will significantly contribute towards delivering better services. We want internet broadband to be accessible for everyone to be able to access information anytime.’


BASL, iWayafrica and MultiChoice Nigeria have created an initiative which affords passengers at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammad Airport Two (MMA2) access to free Wi-Fi. BASL spokesman Steve Omolale-Ajulo commented, “We are the only airport terminal in Africa to offer free Wi-Fi to passengers. We are the only airport in Nigeria with live arrivals and departures on the net and this is just the beginning. When it comes to working, investing and maintaining in the interest of the Nigerian public, we will make sure we remain far ahead.’

Visafone Communications, a Nigerian mobile services provider, has created a free Wi-Fi service for its existing customers. Sailesh Iyer, Managing Director of Visafone Communications explained, “Visafone customers can walk into any of the 18 designated Visafone shops in Nigeria between 08h00 to 18h00; Mondays- Fridays with their laptops, iPads, iPhones, tablets and other Wi-Fi enabled devices to enjoy a superb browsing experience.’

Oxygen Broadband Networks and the Chicken Republic restaurant chain partnered to provide customers in Lagos with free high-speed internet access at a number of branches. Wande Adalemo, Chief Executive and Co-founder of Oxygen Broadband said this would give customers freedom to work or play on the go.


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