Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

Connecting Africa Podcast: S1 Ep. 9 – Tackling the digital divide

Article Image

In the final episode for the series, hosts Tobi Lafinhan, Tien Fu and Paula Gilbert discuss Africa's digital divide.

Recent GSMA data shows that more than half of the world's population is now using the mobile Internet, but sub-Saharan Africa is home to 47% of the world's uncovered population – an estimated 210 million people in 2020.

What's more is that in the region over half a billion people are living in areas with a mobile broadband network but are still not using the Internet, despite substantial increases in mobile broadband coverage since 2014.

The team discuss why this digital divide still exists and the challenges keeping this mobile-first continent from connecting the unconnected – including affordability, education and general access to devices and networks.

They also argue over whether or not Internet access is a basic human right and where it falls in the hierarchy of basic needs for people living below the breadline.

In addition, the podcast hosts discuss rural-urban gaps and the significant mobile gender gap which still exists.

The GSMA's 2021 Mobile Gender Gap Report shows that in sub-Saharan Africa women are 37% less likely to use mobile Internet than men making it the region with the largest mobile gender gap globally.

That led to a discussion about what is keeping women offline and the financial and social implications of not improving the digital gender gap.

The region's rural populations are also 60% less likely to use mobile Internet than those in urban areas. The hosts try to identify the challenges that rural communities have when it comes to connectivity options and a lack of access to devices and infrastructure.

The discussion on connectivity challenges leads into the topic of affordability of mobile devices and the high cost of mobile data on the continent.

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) defines affordable Internet as 1GB of mobile prepaid broadband costing 2% or less of average monthly income, but in Africa the average is between 5% and 6% of average monthly income.

However, things are improving. We discuss some of the innovative connectivity projects being tested on the continent, including Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Project Taara's effort to beam connectivity across the Congo River.

Finally, the hosts share their wish list of things to help narrow the digital divide and what they hope will change in the next five years.

Image source: GSMA
Image source: GSMA

This is the last episode for 2021 but if you missed the previous episodes you can go back and have a listen via Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts or find other podcast platform options on our main page on Anchor.

You can also find the hosts online here:

Paula Gilbert (@paulajgilbert)

Tobi Lafinhan (@TobiLafinhan)

Tien Fu (@tienchifu)

Related posts:

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Orange Ventures, Digital Africa promise more funding for startups

Orange Ventures and Digital Africa are teaming up to invest more in tech startups in Africa and the Middle East through Digital Africa's Fuzé program and the Orange Digital Center network.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Rwanda's Ampersand

Connecting Africa's hot startup this month is Rwanda's Ampersand, which designs, builds, and manufactures electric motorcycles and battery packs for motorcycle taxis.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: April 2024

By Omdia Analysts

April 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included a license for Starlink in Ghana, new mobile termination rates in Ethiopia, and 6G trials in Bahrain – that and more in the latest Omdia View.

Story

Leveraging agritech to build resilience against climate change

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook discusses agritech in Africa and how the agricultural sector is using technology to build resilience against the negative effects of climate change and to ensure food security.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002