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Deepen broadband, mobile internet infrastructure to drive education, business in Africa—Report

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A new report released on Monday by the Internet Society during the Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue has called on African governments to introduce policies capable of encouraging private sector investments in internet connectivity via broadband and mobile internet so as to fast track use of technology in schools and business.

Though the report noted that expanded connectivity has enabled about 341 million people in African countries to have access to the Internet, it stressed the need to do more considering the trending global drive from resource economy to knowledge economy.

It said “Thanks to increased access to mobile broadband and the development of submarine cables, more than a quarter of the African population had Internet access in 2016”.

“This represents a significant opportunity to use the Internet to provide education and learning opportunities,’’ the report said.

The report entitled: “Internet for Education in Africa, Helping Policymakers to Meet the Global Education Goals”, assesses how the Internet is used in the education sector in Africa.

It also looked at the untapped opportunities by examining experiences in other regions, and provides recommendations for policymakers to help encourage learning via the Internet.

According to Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society, Dawit Bekele, “a skilled workforce that can use ICT effectively to solve Africa’s problems will determine Africa’s competitiveness in the global economy”.

“Policymakers have a critical role to play in creating the necessary ecosystem for integrating ICT in education,” he said.

It would be recalled that the first Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue was organised in partnership with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT.

Analysts say though the report averred that over a quarter of African population connected to Internet in 2016, more still need to be done if Africa must meet up other continents in the emerging knowledge based economy.


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