Bridging the Digital Gap in Africa

By Michael Kachitsa

With all the excitement about the role of technology in contributing to social change and improved development outcomes across Africa, it is easy to forget that only 11% of the world’s Internet subscribers are Africans, while only 35.2% of Africans use the Internet.

An effective science and innovation system in any country, and globally, I believe, depends on strong basic research and higher education infrastructure. In addition to knowledge production, basic research facilities, development of human resources, and applications are critical.

But in the course of conducting, applying, and managing research, both researchers and managers of research and innovation have information needs. These needs must be satisfied in order for the scientists and the science innovation system to function effectively.

Africa is leapfrogging information and communication technology development, which is also fueled by mobile broadband, but there are also worrying trends, such as a growing the digital divide between men and women, and between urban and rural areas.

While organizations need to address barriers around the digital divide, I also think if we champion a course for the combination of low and high-tech approaches to ensure that citizens are able to access critical information that can help improve their lives as well as contribute to our quest in connect the unconnected.

Source – Internet Society