Innovation & Digitalisation

Bridging the Digital Divide in Africa

The Role of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in overcoming connectivity challenges, ensuring economic and social development in remote areas and creating jobs in Africa

Today, there is a consensus among policy-makers at the European and African levels on the central role that ICT plays in development issues, as reflected in the proposal for a “New EU Consensus on Development” in 2016, the AU’s Agenda 2063, the EU Commission concept note “Towards an Improved Delivery of Development Aid through Digitalisation” released in June 2016, and the EU Council conclusions on “Mainstreaming Digitalisation on Development Issues” adopted in November 2016.

Digitalisation provides new cost-effective solutions to long standing issues, driving inclusion by removing physical boundaries between people. It can accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), enable sustainable growth and boost job creation through a variety of concrete solutions and applications in the fields of education, health, and agriculture. However, while the impact of digitalisation on development is recognised, the global digital chasm remains a reality and a challenge.

In addition to the success of digital technologies in developing countries, the lack of connectivity remains an issue for the large-scale deployment of e-services and e-projects in Africa. Worldwide, nearly six billion people do not have access to high speed broadband Internet, with about four billion people with no Internet connectivity at all and about half a billion-people living in areas without a mobile signal, excluding them from the economic and social advantages of the connected world.

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