Traditional approaches to Internet adoption isn’t working in developing countries

September 23, 2019 • Digital Transformation, Education, Internet of Things

“Connecting the world’s population to the internet is about collaboration, collective approaches and partnerships across different sectors and across borders,” says Commission Co-Chair, Carlos Slim in response to a report issued on Monday, 23 September 2019, by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.

According to the report, traditional approaches to driving internet network roll-out and uptake are failing to reach the remaining half of the global population still lacking online access. And the implementation of new collaborative strategies to drive ‘meaningful universal connectivity’ is essential to counter the slowing global growth.

The notion of ‘meaningful universal connectivity’ is made up of eight key points:

  1. Availability
  2. Accessibility
  3. Revelancy
  4. Affordability
  5. Safety
  6. Trust
  7. User-empowerment
  8. Positive impact

The report reveals that the number of households connected to the Internet globally is slowing, rising to 54.8% from 53.1% in 2018. In low-income countries, the rate of adoption is even slower with only 0.8% of households maintaining an active Internet connection.

UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay says, “today, the main factor preventing people in developing countries from using mobile internet is not affordability but poor literacy and digital skills. Gender inequality in digital technology is even more alarming. Women are less likely to have internet access than men, and this gap is widening”.

“It is about understanding the needs of people in terms of connectivity, literacy, access to content in different formats and languages, and services. It is about bringing the costs of services and devices down. And it is about empowering people who lack standard basic ICT skills with the means to participate in the digital ecosystem” says Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation for the Republic of Rwanda.

Edited by Jenna Cook

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