Africa in Urgent Need of Broadband Internet to Help School Children Affected by COVID-19: ECA

Africa is an urgent need broadband Internet to the reach of children affected by the school helps COVID-19 on the continent continuing education online, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) urged.

Technology Director, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management ACE Jean-Paul Adam, told reporters during an online press conference on Wednesday that Africa produces less than one percent of the digital economy in the world, representing around 15 percent of world GDP.

Currently more than a quarter of a billion school-age children in Africa have been affected by COVID-19 and most of them lack the digital tools to continue their education online, the director said.

“This is very disturbing and sends a strong message that broadband connectivity is absolutely crucial for educational institutions and businesses to continue to provide essential services”

According to Adam, reliable, high-speed Internet is also key to ensure that hospitals and medical institutions can access network information and resources needed to fight the global COVID-19.

He said the continent needs about 100 billion to achieve universal, affordable and good quality Internet access by 2030.

Currently, only 17.8 percent of households in Africa have Internet at home and the continent represents only 21 percent of users in the Internet world.

He referred to accessibility as one of the greatest obstacles to access to the Internet in Africa, stating that “The average cost of 1 GB of data on the mainland is 7.12 percent of the average income, with some countries having rates up 20 percent, which is well above the 1 to 2 percent is considered affordable “.

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