Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Affordability inequality in African broadband

I've just finished an analysis of the cost of broadband versus individual wealth in 29 African countries. It makes disturbing reading. Simply put, the poorer you are, the more expensive it is to get a data connection.

The implication of this is pretty stark. We may be about to see a rapidly growing digital divide in Africa between those countries that have good cheap connectivity and those without.

If we believe (and I do) that digital technology will be an accelerator that will lift education and services in the continent much closer to developed market norms much faster than would have historically been possible then the total lack of affordable connectivity in countries like Sierra Leone, Malawi, Burkina Faso and Togo will doom their residents to falling further and further away from their neighbours and from desperately needed improvements in quality of life.

The World Bank has helped many of these countries get international connectivity. Now it's time to sort out the onshore problem. If someone doesn't, then hand outs are here to stay.

No comments:

Post a Comment