The unique power of mobile broadband technology in Africa is a good chance of meeting the MDGs deadline

According the article, the ubiquitous broadband has suddenly become the springboard from which nations seek to do so much for themselves within the interconnected world. In this report Olubayo Abiodun, Clifford Agugoesi and Chimezie Ndubisi highlight the nexus between high-speed internet connectivity and the attainment of the MDGs by African nations.

African governments are still fixated on how to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) given the many challenges that they have to deal with. The mandate has not been made any easy given the rising costs of governance, spiralling challenges and competing needs in the midst of dwindling fortunes in the political and economic spheres. From combating diseases to reducing child mortality, implementing Universal Basic Primary Education, ensuring gender equality, intractable security issues and political upheavals, the MDGs are somewhat intertwined. This is where mobile broadband has been described as the single most important hope left for Africa to accelerate towards meeting the MDGs by the target date of 2015.

Pundits have stressed that if African countries can embrace the unique power of mobile broadband technology, the continent has a good chance of meeting the MDGs deadline. The key areas of focus for Africa with regards to the MDGs are education, health and environment. The concern in the area of education was exemplified last month when statistical detailed unveiled that 10.5 million children of school age in Nigeria go about roaming the streets instead of being in the classrooms.

It is in these three broad areas (education, health and environment) that industry experts think the mobile broadband has a significant role to play in pushing forward the profile of the African continent. The argument is that mobile broadband is an easily deployable solution for providing education in under-served areas. Statistics showed that about 90 per cent of children in the developing world are enrolled in primary school. However, in some regions like sub-Saharan Africa, it is said that up to 30 per cent of children drop out before their final primary year. But from recent developments it has been observed that broadband can better engage children, equipping them with valuable ICT skills and opening a window on the world’s information resources, in a multitude of languages. Mobile broadband has also been helpful in the financial inclusion of the majority of Africans who reside in the hinterlands of the continent. For instance, about 70 per cent of Africans living in the rural areas make up the population of the continent.

Original article

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