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: 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

Google's Equiano subsea cable lands on SA shores

Google’s Equiano subsea cable, which seeks to connect Europe to Africa via the ocean, has made its final stop landing in Melkbosstrand, Western Cape, South Africa.

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

More Innovation hub

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on inclusivity with Digital Council Africa's Juanita Clark

Digital Council Africa founder and CEO, Juanita Clark, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and what needs to be done to make the tech industry intentionally inclusive.

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Partner perspectives

5G is lighting up the future of North Africa
By Chris Meng, VP of Huawei Northern Africa Carrier Business Department

The moving target that is telecoms fraud
By Clémentine Fournier, Regional VP Sales, Africa, BICS

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

Story

Omdia View: May 2022

By Omdia Analysts

SpaceX-owned Starlink's plans to launch a satellite broadband service in Africa was a major highlight in May 2022, says Omdia's analysts.

More Guest Perspectives

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival
November 7-11, 2022
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Archived webinars

Africa Green ICT: Lighting Up a Sustainable Continent

The ICT industry is the leading industry in the commitment to carbon neutrality, whose focus has shifted from setting ambitious targets to taking initiatives. The push for zero-carbon and for green energy development, it isn't just about CSR – it's also good for sustainable business.

The path to sustainable development requires green energy. Governments are looking at potential policy approaches to make green energy more widely available and affordable. Without sustainable energy, there will be no digital transformation and no chance of making Africa more economically competitive in the post-pandemic era.

Africa Green ICT Webinar 2022 will bring together ICT industry leaders and senior industrial analysts to provide insight, best practices and key learnings on how to achieve zero-carbon targets and practice green development in Africa.

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Flash poll

All polls

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up