COVID-19: Africa in urgent need of affordable broadband internet


The director of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Jean-Paul Adam, told journalists that Africa contributes less than 1% to the world’s digital economy, which accounts for about 15% of global GDP.
He said the continent needs about USD100 billion to achieve universal, affordable and good quality internet access by 2030 (according to the World Bank). Presently, only 17.8% of households in Africa have internet at home and the continent accounts for only 21% of worldwide internet users.
It is estimated that over a quarter of a billion school children in Africa have been affected by COVID-19 and most of them lack the digital tools to continue their education online.
“This is very concerning and conveys a strong message that broadband connectivity is absolutely crucial for educational institutions and businesses to continue to provide essential services,” said Mr. Adam, adding “reliable, high-speed internet is key to ensuring that hospitals and medical institutions can access the global information network and resources necessary to fight COVID-19.”