Africa lagging behind in network readiness, says WEF report

Connected - Craig Rodway - FlickrNetwork readiness allows countries to take advantage of information and communication technologies. (Image source: Craig Rodway/Flickr)Countries in Africa need to take advantage of information and communication technologies (ICT) to drive social and economic transformation, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF)

WEF’s Global Information Technology Report 2015 states that according to its Networked Readiness Index, several countries in Africa have dropped in the rankings of countries worldwide. Kenya is an exception, rising six places to the 86th position. Other major economies of the continent, including Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt have slid down the list. The rankings are an important indicator of a country’s ability to implement and take advantage of ICT.

The lack of Internet access is keeping citizens of many African countries from taking advantage of opportunities associated with e-learning as well as online health, financial and data services. It is up to the governments to shape policies that will promote the development of broadband access in the continent, stated the report.

According to executives at IT company Cisco, most countries in Africa face a significant challenge in developing the infrastructure, institutions and skills needed to fully enjoy the benefits of ICT, despite the continent having a very high penetration of mobile phones. ICT can help people solve problems by combining human ingenuity with technological innovations.

Dare Ogunlade, general manager at Cisco for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, said, “As home to nine of the world’s 15 fastest growing economies, Africa is ripe for transformation and is an increasingly attractive environment for global business investments. Technology is at an inflection point and African economies need to prioritise ICT adoption.”

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