Telkom Kenya CEO Mugo Kibati has called on regulators across Africa to put in place the right policies and regulatory frameworks to close the digitalization gap in Africa.
Speaking at International Telecommunications Week Africa (ITW Africa) in Nairobi, the CEO noted that access to mobile internet and broadband is essential for the continent to thrive in this digital era.
‘’African nations are still trailing behind when it comes to the digital divide. The right policies and regulatory frameworks are needed to close the digitalisation gap in the continent”
Mugo said access to the Internet is a daily necessity, with the main challenge in the region being universal access.
According to the mobile internet connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa report by GSMA While mobile internet connectivity has improved over the last few years, the gaps are still wide. The report notes that regulators and operators should continue to step up their efforts to tackle the barriers to mobile internet adoption and use for greater digital inclusion.
Affordability, literacy and digital skills are most often cited as key barriers by those aware of mobile internet but not using it.
Not being able to afford an internet-enabled handset is also a critical barrier to using mobile internet according to the report. Although affordability has continued to improve over the last five years, purchasing a handset would still cost, on average, 25% of a person’s monthly per capita income (it’s worth noting this was 39% five years ago). Affordability remains a significant barrier, especially for the low-income, women and rural populations.
‘’Africa’s youth represent a major opportunity, but access to connectivity is key. A comprehensive approach digital inclusion is needed to address these barriers’’ Mugo said.
ITW Africa is the region’s dedicated meeting for the digital infrastructure community. The event which is being hosted in Kenya for the first time has brought together industry leaders, decision-makers, and experts to explore the vast potential of Africa‘s digital infrastructure and connectivity landscape.