Internet access is a critical driver of growth and development in Africa. Many African countries will have discovered over the last year that providing access to information for all people in a timely and accurate manner can be difficult. The importance of internet access for all citizens has been demonstrated by the dissemination of educational information and precautions around the Covid-19 pandemic.
Improving internet connectivity in Africa should be a priority for all governments. This will enable billions of people to take advantage of the life-changing socio-economic opportunities that access to the internet provides. Internet connectivity will significantly minimise the digital divide and accelerate development. Currently in Africa, only one in every five citizens has access to the internet, whereas in the rest of developed countries, more than 82 per cent of people are now online.
Increase access to educational resources
Connecting people and schools to high-quality internet increase their access to information, educational material and other services for educational purposes. Under-resourced schools could be able to provide their students with inexpensive or free online materials, as well as furthering their teachers’ background knowledge and training.
Individuals can now access free courses online to direct their own education, giving them a better chance at succeeding in life. However, they need guaranteed access to the internet in order to do so, which comes down to the connectivity infrastructure available in their country. This is why businesses and governments need to collaborate to improve their existing connections.
Improved communications through connectivity
A dependable and fast internet connection enables governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and companies to disseminate critical information to people and consumers. It enables these organizations to directly reach a target audience through cell phones, tablets or computers.
Traditional mass media, such as newspapers and radio, can take longer to compile, edit and disseminate information than an online news source. The internet also offers permanency and round-the-clock visibility of information, whereas many traditional media outlets do not. This ensures that during a situation such as a global pandemic, safety guides and frequent alerts can be provided to individuals in underdeveloped areas on a daily basis.
Improve governance and community engagement opportunities
The internet is a critical component of responsible governance and accountability – both of which are essential pillars of democracy. Much information can be found online by journalists and citizens, allowing them to uncover corruption or reveal crimes. Connectivity increases transparency and can boost public trust in a national government or company.
Widespread internet access encourages governments to transfer services online and allows a larger number of people to access public services that were previously unavailable to them. This improves community engagement and makes it easier to perform certain tasks, such as passport renewals and filing taxes.
Internet connectivity in Africa allows billions of people to link to take advantage of new opportunities and to further their knowledge or awareness. Nothing has highlighted this fact more than the Covid-19 pandemic.
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