Digitalizing Sub-Saharan Africa: Hopes and Hurdles
Digital connectivity has increased rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa. While the global digital divide is still large, the gap with the rest of the world is narrowing fast. Internet penetration in the region has increased tenfold since the early 2000s, compared with a threefold increase in the rest of the world. The proliferation of mobile technologies has been particularly pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, with most people accessing the internet via mobile rather than fixed line broadband. In many sub-Saharan African countries, digital tools are supporting efforts to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. In Rwanda, for example, anti-epidemic robots are monitoring patients, delivering food and medication, while free e-consultation tools are helping Nigerians to self-assess infection risk and get tested based on symptoms.