Internet access increases but gaps remain – CAJ News Africa
of PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI, (ACJ News) – EVEN with the impressive growth of mobile internet connectivity globally, stakeholders must accelerate work to bridge the digital divide.
This is indicated by the State of Mobile Internet Connectivity 2021 report, launched by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), released in Kigali, Rwanda at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Africa.
The report notes that more than half of the world’s population of over 7.9 billion now uses mobile internet.
The use of mobile Internet results in just over 4 billion people connected. That’s 225 million more than in 2019, and a third of the world’s population six years ago.
However, the digital divide remains worrying.
Of the 3.8 billion people who are still not connected, only 450 million people do not live in areas covered by mobile broadband.
The much bigger challenge concerns the 3.4 billion people who live in areas already covered by mobile broadband but do not use it.
“As more people use mobile internet than ever before, there are some fundamental barriers preventing too many people from using mobile internet,” said John Giusti, Regulatory Director for the GSMA.
He called on government and industry to close the gaps and remove key barriers to using mobile internet services, including literacy and digital skills as well as affordability.
“It is only through focused and collaborative action that we can bridge the digital divide,” said Giusti.
MWC Africa 2021 ends Thursday.
This year’s theme is “Power of a Continent”.
– CAJ News