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IBM:非洲通讯革命商机无限

Bruno Di Leo 2011年09月21日

IBM公司成长市场部门总经理称,人口规模世界第二的大陆正在快速城市化,这个进程意味着无可比拟的商业机遇。

    非洲的城市化进程为成千上万人带来了巨大的希望,前提是基础设施能保持建设力度。而技术手段则大有希望提高非洲基础设施建设进程的速度和效率。

    非洲大陆的人口多达9.55亿人,是仅次于亚洲的世界第二大人口密集大陆。与其他各大洲的居民相比,他们正在经历速度更快的城市化进程。尽管超过半数的非洲人仍然生活在贫困线以下,但按照德克萨斯大学(University of Texas)教授,也是《非洲崛起》(Africa Rising)一书的作者维贾伊•马哈扬的估测,约有35%的非洲人已迈入中产阶级。

    今天,非洲大陆上人口逾百万的城市已经有37座。约有41%的非洲人居住在城市里,而据为联合国(the United Nations)所做的一份报告预测,到2020年,将有超过半数的非洲人在城市安家。这些人之所以迁往城市,是因为他们希望获得比在乡村和农场更高的安全感和更好的发展机会。但是他们往往发现,城市并没有做好准备来满足他们的基本需求,比如洁净的饮水和烹煮食物的燃料。

    建设基础设施,保证新进入城市的居民安居乐业并能创造更大价值,已经成为这些城市和国家领导人的重大责任。

    虽然多数非洲城市的基础设施十分匮乏,但正因为如此,公共与私营部门的领袖们才有机会建设新型的供水系统、电网和交通控制系统。与世界发达地区老化的基础设施相比,这些系统会更高效,也更节能。电子传感器和控制器等技术可对电力进行可变定价,对用水消耗量进行精确计量。与美国适应汽车需求的大规模道路和停车场系统相比,智能交通系统将更好地管理非洲的交通。

    目前,非洲已经在一个关键的基础设施领域取得了快速发展,这就是通讯业。

    代表全球通讯业利益的全球移动通信系统协会(Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA)称,各家无线通讯公司将在未来5年内在撒哈拉以南非洲地区投资500亿美元。一项由GSMA和德勤公司(Deloitte)联合开展的研究估测,在发展中国家,移动通讯渗透率每增加10%,其国内生产总值(GDP)年增长率就可提高1.2%。移动通讯渗透率是指拥有移动通信覆盖并直接联接到移动通讯系统的人数。

    在非洲向城市生活和现代经济体系转型的过程中,无线通讯革命正在迎来发展的转折点。在各种技术中,无线通讯技术能够跳过建设大量基础设施的阶段,从而确保获得最快的投资回报,同时带来提高生产力的最快捷途径。蜂窝网络和最终的无线宽带无需昂贵的物理联接就可确保通讯、信息、教育和金融实现互联。

    The urbanization of Africa offers great hope for hundreds of millions of people -- if the infrastructure can keep up. And technology holds huge promise to make building that infrastructure faster and more efficient.

    The 955 million people in Africa -- the world's second most populous continent after Asia -- are urbanizing more rapidly than residents of any other region. While more than half Africa's population lives below the poverty line, an estimated 35% have entered the middle class according to University of Texas Professor Vijay Mahajan, author of the book, Africa Rising.

    Today there are 37 cities on the African continent with more than one million people. An estimated 41% of the people in Africa live in cities and, by 2020 more than half will, according to estimates done for the United Nations. Those people are moving to the continent's cities because they expect more security and better opportunities than they have in rural villages and farms. But often they find that cities aren't prepared to provide basic needs like clean water and fuel for cooking.

    Establishing an infrastructure that will allow newly arrived settlers to thrive and become more productive is a key responsibility for the leaders of those cities and nations.

    While infrastructure in most African cities is adversely inadequate, public and private sector leaders have an opportunity to build basic water systems, electricity grids and traffic control systems that will be much more efficient and less energy intensive than the aged infrastructure in developed parts of the world. Technology such as electronic sensors and controls would permit variable pricing for power and finely-tuned measures of water consumption. Smart transit systems could manage traffic far more efficiently than the massive road and parking-lot systems required by vehicles in the U.S., for example.

    And Africa is already moving rapidly in one key infrastructure area: communications.

    Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) -- which represents the interests of the global communication industry -- says wireless companies will invest $50 billion in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years. A GSMA and Deloitte study estimates that an increase of 10% in mobile penetration -- the number of people who have mobile coverage and are directly connected to the mobile system -- can increase the annual GDP growth rate up to 1.2% in a developing country.

    The wireless communications revolution is coming at a turning point in Africa's transition to urban life and a modern economic system. By bypassing the need to build extensive physical infrastructure, wireless telecommunications promise the fastest payback and quickest route to improved productivity of any technology. Cellular networks and eventually wireless broadband promise communications, information, education and finance connectivity that bypass costly physical connections.

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