Africa must embrace digital revolution Part 1

Africa must embrace digital revolution Part 1

In order for African countries to leapfrog and lead, our policies should be forward-looking, aimed to enable countries and citizens to reap the benefits of new technologies, improving lives and livelihoods of many and furthering social inclusion. 

Digital technologies bring the benefits traditionally available only to the “few” to the “many,” in a digital world; an individual or small business can attract an audience or a market and compete with the largest players.

Figure 1: GSMA 2017
According to GSMA (2017) If the positive trends of recent years continue (or accelerate), the effects could be beneficial for all. The developed and developing world will see increased economic productivity and growth and the quality of life will improve owing to better accessibility to high quality education, better access to information and rising quality of life-bettering services.

While digitalisation will do away with some “legacy” jobs, it will create more new ones as happened during previous major economic transitions.

productivity gains in the manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and the service (Service 4.0) economies will be fairly distributed and workers whose positions are made redundant are able to find a new job in digital arenas.  However there need to investment in continuing education and skills training programmes.


As affordable connectivity becomes more widely available and other preconditions, such as basic skills training and education, are met, people put digital and mobile technologies to work in way that rapidly improve daily life, sometimes radically. Rural farmers can check crop prices, school children can attend class, sick people receive medical advice and treatment and users join the mainstream economy using mobile payment applications. New uses are invented all the time. 

If we dont take this seriously, at a very basic level, the uneven distribution of access and use of digital technologies means that many people will not participate in the digital economy and do not benefit from improved access to information, health care, education, and numerous social and commercial services.  Its all up to policy makers.

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