G20 Foundation Publications Australia 2014 - Page 54

54 DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT The internet bandwidth currently available to Africa has improved signifi cantly in the last fi ve years, although more needs to be done From digital divide to digital opportunity In spite of the remarkable recent progress, the continent’s broader internet usage is quite limited. The causes range from the low levels of economic development and the relatively high cost of ICT infrastructure. The evidence of the digital divide includes: ■ Turning Africa’s digital divide into digital opportunity ■ Only a very limited number of Africans – mostly in urban areas— reside within reach of a 3G network, which allows for high-speed mobile access to the internet; ■ The internet’s contribution to Africa’s GDP, at about one percent in 2013, is only a third of that for developed economies; A closer look at the digital gaps reveals a range of spatial and policy obstacles to the use of the ICT especially among rural populations, youth, women in impoverished urban areas, and unskilled workers. The latter most often do not own internet-capable devices, nor are they able to go online regularly if at all. Key barriers to the use of ICT are as follows: ■ Limited Access – less than twenty percent of the population in Africa can go online, mostly due to the lack of ICT infrastructure. The internet bandwidth currently available to Africa has improved significantly in the last five years, although more needs to be done. ■ Inadequate Motivation/Incentives – for some households, especially low-income ones, the incentive and motivation for using the internet for personal or professional needs is quite low. In many cases language barriers are part of the challenge. ■ Limited Education and Skills – the use of the internet requires a level Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank Africa is the fastest growing mobile market in the world, and on the verge of an internet boom. More than 720 million people have access to mobile phones, and there are some 167 million internet users. Africa was the first region in the world to offer free, mobile roaming services across several countries. All this has taken place in the \XYK[\KH\\HXZ[\Y\HY\[ܛX][ۈ[[][X][ۈXH P B\ZH[YXK[H[YY[›ܝ[]Y\و[HY][]YH[HH]HYX[][Y[[˂YXx&\\YY[ۈوPH\YY[ۈ[ܛوP\[\\YYX[%H[X[›X\]Y[XXZ\Y[œݚY[H[[]HY[]ܛB܈\Y\ˈݙ\Y[\H\[H[\][[ؚ[HXH[\XH[]\K^X[ۋ[[\[Y[[Y[][ۋY\YYH\KYݙ\Y[ P\˜[Y[H[YH[\[X[\B[YX][ۈ[]\KH\ق[Y\ Kˈ][XK[JH]B]\[[]H^[\\[P Y][XY\\HܝXX[[[[YXH[]Y[ۜY[ۘ[[ؘ[[YHZ[˂ Z[[ۈ[H]H[Z]Y܈˜X\Y[ۛX[ۜ%]X] Z[[ۈ][YBLHHHXH܈XHY[ۛX[ۋ[H\]š[\]X\][›وYX][ۈ[[ٝ[X[˜[[ۙH[][۸%]X[HZ[YXHHYX][ۈ\[KH[X[ۈوH[\Hق&Y[ۙX\[&H[H[\ܝ[ [\[[\Y[Y[8$[\B\Y][Y\[\YY\HقH[\] ܈^[\K[\Y\[\[X\YX][ۋ]\\\YYHXX[XX][]\و\]HY[\X][ۜ܈\]X[]H[X\H[\] ^[ٙZ\[P\H[YXH\œX[X[ ^[ۙۛX]]K[Y\]X]HP[\X\H]ܚ[]Hو[\[\˜[[H[[X[[\[ۋ[HY][]YH[XH[[[Y[X]]K[\]\H[Y [[ۂHYX\YXx&\H BX[^Hؘ[[]]K LKX][Y[[YXH\˜H[[ܚ]BHYX[][Y[[&\[YX\]YHY[YY\P\H^HX܈܂YXx&\[ٛܛX][ۋ[X[YX\H[\\ܝYH[[[›وHX\\YXHXX\[H\[BXHڙX XۛX[Y\š[HY[ۈH\وHܛ H[\[[[YH[[YX[X؛ۙHܘ[KH\[BوXK[XX\[[YX[[Y\ˈ[ LH[][YHYXH L[ \Yۈ[[[¸'[ٛܛX]]x'H[\X\HڙX[Y[[P 8X[ܘ\BYX[][Y[[ܙ[^][ۈ܂XۛZX\][ۈ[][Y[ [XۛZX[Z\[ۈ܈YXH JKYX[XۛZX] KYP [PKX[^Hؘ[[]]H LK[ۜY][H[\]8&\[ٛܛX]]H[X[[YXKX[^Hؘ[[]]N\[ۈ˂M