March 6, 2018 IBOMLLC Team

How ‘Mobile-First’ internet models could be increasing the digital divide in Africa

Innov8tiv – Blacks In Technology in USA, UK, Caribbean Islands & Africa

Across Africa, internet services and products are consumed mainly via the mobile phone; all thanks to the advent of smartphones. Africa has indeed been on the front line championing for a mobile-first solutions ton internet-based services.

But could the mobile-first approach (praised so much for leapfrogging the continent over multiple stages of development) be holding Africa back? Well, some panelists at last month’s Africa Tech Summit in Kigali, Rwanda seem to think so.

We hear about mobile-first Africa; it sounds sexy. But how much meaningful work can you get done through your mobile? Are we creating a divide? We are not going to be equal if mobile is the only way. Because mobile is for consuming,” said Nanjira Sambuli, a digital equity advocacy manager at the World Wide Web Foundation.

Those views were shared by Ben Roberts, the CTO of Liquid Telecom Group, who said there are grave limitations with mobile-first approach.

Mobile-first is nice, and it is getting people connected, but you can’t do everything you want to do. There is never going to be enough spectrum for a city like Lagos to have 25 million people …read more

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