Towards digital communication
The figures on the explosion of African mobile telephony give the impression that anything is possible. The fact is that in Africa today, one in two people possess a mobile telephone. Digital communication is within everyone’s reach, and there is no limit to what can be achieved.
The economic growth on the African continent has been hindered for a long time, not only by the distances involved, but also by the lack of infrastructure. With the arrival of digital, it appears that several sectors such as sanitation, ecology, agriculture, politics and the economy have been greatly benefited. It is true that digital access favours the growth of GDP in all countries. According to the INED (National institute for demographic studies), Africa by 2050 will have around 2,4 billion inhabitants, which will account for a quarter of the global population. Digital infrastructures will, therefore, be indispensable for the demographic evolution of this continent.
Today, despite a difficult beginning in 2006, we are witnessing a multiplication of forums, meetings, debates and fairs on the theme of African digital communication. In line with this, the government of Ivory Coast welcomed the second African ministerial forum on ICT (Information & Communication Technology) Integration in Education, to Abidjan from 7 to 9 June 2016. The forum’s theme was “Advancing inclusive knowledge societies in Africa, implementing Africa’s agenda 2063 and the SDG’s”. The Ivory Coast’s Minister for National Education, Kandia Camara, states that she is ready to continue efforts in light of the popularisation of the new means of communication and information.
Following this forum, the Intel Corporation and the Ministry of National Education signed an agreement for the transformation of education within public schools, via the ICT. This collaboration aims at preparing African youth for a knowledge-based economy, and to promote the sustainable development of Ivory Coast. This agreement will promote digital culture and the capacities for innovation.
This educative transformation is contained within the programme “1 citizen 1 computer”, proposed by the ministry of the ICT via l’ANSUT (National telecommunications agency).
The agreement also provides for the modernisation of ICT infrastructures
Africa is setting its hopes on the proposed strategies to help bridge the gap between access and learning possibilities. The expected results from this agreement are numerous. First and foremost, Africa is investing in a pertinent understanding and incorporation of ICT. This knowledge and experience, moreover, must be shared. It will be necessary to create a network by regrouping ministries, the education system, the regional European communities as well as development cooperation agencies, international organisations and the telecommunication providers.
Even if the African governments are completely committed to incorporating information and communication technologies into the education system, the challenges remain numerous. The most pressing problem is to remedy the lack of electricity. Today Nigeria is the country with the greatest number of inhabitants without electricity. At the end of 2015, 600 million Africans were still without electricity, and of these the vast majority lived in rural and isolated regions.
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