…setting the standard for excellence!
Africa has now proven to the world that it is a rising star in the realms of practical technological solutions. African initiatives with hi-tech inclinations are gradually making inroads into the world of business. Their cumulative efforts are assisting in the developmental drive long sought for the continent. The continent has transformed itself from a mere recipient of technical gadgets to a partaker in the drive towards education and participation in the manufacture and sale of such equipment. Various African educational institutions and SME’s are raising the bar a notch higher and as such gives the continent enough confidence to predict a boom in its industrial acumen in a few years to come. This trend is not without challenges though.
In terms of the broadband divide, in 2010 in Africa, 0.2 of every 100 inhabitants had a fixed broadband subscription, whilst in Europe and the Americas the correlating numbers are, respectively, 23.9 and 15.5 (ICU, 2010). In terms of the number of Internet users, in 2010 in Africa 9.6 of every 100 inhabitants used the Internet; in Europe and the Americas, respectively, 65 and 55 did (ICU, 2010). Added to this very low penetration rate, the financial burden is not her obstacle to wider Internet use. Indeed, even for the few segments of the population who can access the Internet, their usage is constrained by the high costs of international bandwidth.
These new developments call for commensurate tactics to ensure that areas that are in dire need of access to ICT are paid the necessary attention.
Africa is currently at the receiving end of various ICT innovations, and this is ultimately pushing forward the overall growth and development plan. Research indicates approximately about 650m mobile subscriptions in Africa as at the start of 2012, leading to a huge boom in the African telephony market with parts of the Western world lagging behind. It is to be further noted that about 68,000km of submarine cables and over 615,000km of national backbone network have already been put in place, thereby assisting in the expansion of access to internet bandwidth to more than 1bn people currently in Africa, about 20 – times the figure since 2008.
Kenya has in recent years become the dark horse of Africa’s ICT renaissance. With national technology – inclined plans in place to a current standing as one of the emerging forces to reckon with, the country is determines to repackage itself as the powerhouse of African – inclined technological products and services.
ICT has permeated several areas of endeavour in Africa; from business and finance through media publishing to access to basic information, the resource is gradually developing African roots for a permanent stay. Since the 1990s, the prospect of using information and communications technology (ICT) to improve accountability, transparency, fairness, and effectiveness of authority has attracted general optimism (UNCTAD 2006). In 2005 in Zimbabwe, New Zimbabwe.com had a higher readership than the country’s largest daily newspaper, The Herald (Ndlela, 2009).