SEATTLE — The link between connectivity and economic growth has always been definite and widespread. When the access to internet, broadband and data services rises, there are amplified investments to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. This has been the case for many countries on the continent, as 2015 showcased Africa’s progressive connectivity.
The development of sectors in the economy will greatly influence and increase the capacities of the government.
Connectivity is a sustainable way to ensure the inclusion of all the people in the country, be it access to the internet or other forms of financial services. Additionally, increasing connectivity is essential for developing countries as it allows for people to be more economically self-sufficient. The value of output in services also increases substantially.
Entrepreneurship and business opportunities become a high possibility for the people with more education as there is more access to information due to the connection with the wider world.
The General Household Survey report by Statistics South Africa in 2013 reported that with over 40.9 percent of the population having access to the internet, only 10 percent have access at home in South Africa.
However, the bulwarks surrounding South Africa’s ICT sector has finally crumbled. The position of South Africa’s ICT sector has been bolstered as a result of the concurrent demand for mobile broadband and fibre optic networks.This heralds the transformation of the economy over the past twenty years.
South Africa’s progressive connectivity will open new markets for more financial services. Countries like Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria have thrived owing to this opportunity in the past. Despite attaining a ranking of only 33 out of 50 countries on a global connectivity index by Huawei, South Africa has still greatly reaped the benefits of the National Broadband Plan.
This initiative is presumed to run till 2030 and will be inculcated throughout government departments, medical and education facilities and other sectors.
Moreover, the plan set in motion could lead to the creation of 5 million new jobs and lift many out of the combined effects of unemployment and poverty, along with a boost in the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to South Africa and increased competitiveness.
South Africa’s progressive connectivity has also been greatly felt in the fields of e-commerce and internet banking.
A recent report by Akami has highlighted that South Africa has the second-best average mobile broadband speed in Africa. However, internet access in South Africa has been proven to be above the base average globally. With an estimated 40 percent monthly income spent on this service, it is a challenge for many. Higher costs may discourage those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds severely.
The 2016 Johannesburg business seminar has subsequently addressed this mater thoroughly. Services will soon be more flexible for both business and consumer needs.
Cable operator SEACOM has furthermore contributed to the successes of Africa’s progressive connectivity with investments in power and energy. Internet speeds have rocketed since the inception of new connection points at Kampala, Nairobi and Durban. SEACOM has also paved the way for better user service by establishing a connection between the Netnod internet exchange point in Sweden.
This development will help in the exchange of traffic along with increasing the propensity to invest between Europe and many parts of Africa.
Moreover, Intelsat and AfricaOnlines’s recent steadfast partnership will greatly alleviate the low internet penetration presently in Sub-Saharan Africa. The project will involve the provision of network management and broadband services, channeled by a virtual network operator. This ingenious and cost-effective methodology will boost infrastructure and lead to the expansion of various services.
Intelstate’s Ku-band satellite solutions will cement business developments along with providing local rural communities with medical and education services.
Overall, Africa’s progressive connectivity will help knit countries together with the rest of the wider world. Developing economies like South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya see connectivity as a gift to their economy and their people.
– Shivani Ekkanath