Bridging the digital divide, connecting the unconnected

africomDigitalisation has brought with it an era where nearly every facet of life can be controlled and developed digitally, from bank transactions, to shopping, paying utility bills, access to educational material through to lucrative business communications.

It touches most people every single day and this stimulation could provide more equal opportunities reducing the hindrances created by geography, class and gender gaps.

Africom is built upon DNA which seeks to address issues surrounding digital inclusion and connecting the unconnected. Digital inclusion can be defined as the way in which global connectivity and mobile internet adoption is expanded.

Global connectivity is an extremely important and crucial element aiding in the delivery of broader economic and social benefits to society by delivering communications services to populations that were previously unconnected.

Particularly within Africa, digital connectivity will assist greatly in reducing poverty, improving infrastructure and much needed services, while further increasing internet access and usage among isolated communities.

Without a conscious thrust towards digital inclusion, an unwelcome gap widens the digital divide within unconnected communities and under-served populations.

Within the very core of our vision, mission and values, Africom seeks to address the gaps created by the digital divide.

Our vision is to be the continental leader in stimulating economic growth through the provision of borderless ICT solutions.

Our mission is to consistently empower the community to fully participate in the information economy through the provision of differentiated relevant ICT borderless converged services.

Africom is progressively moving towards attaining both our vision and mission by providing voice and data connectivity through our Internet Protocol (IP) networks which are not hampered by the confines of geographic location, area or country code.

Internet access encourages participation, and at the same time educates and informs the recipient on issues that can generate development of ideas, craft, trade and community.

Through its voice and data solutions, Africom not only touches upon the urban communities that it traditionally serves, but is able to extend to rural and otherwise untouched communities stimulating economic growth through communication tools that can improve both formal and informal trade.

Within the heart of Africom are our values wherein lie three focal points: Continental Economic Unification, the betterment of the African community through equal opportunities, and Collaboration.

Continental economic unification aims to reduce the cost for both consumers and producers while increasing trade between African countries and retaining value within the continent.

We aim to provide communication tools that will seamlessly strengthen trade relations amongst Africans, which is key to retaining value and GDP within the continent.

All in all, Africom champions the idea of collaboration by seeking innovative ways in which individuals and organisations, government departments and mobile operators can work together to promote common goals and increased ICT participation in an information economy that plays a dominant and crucial role in development and sustainability.

As Africom seeks to achieve its vision, mission and hold up its values, it realises that there exist clear barriers which stifle technological advancement and rapid growth of mobile and internet uptake in unconnected communities – affordability and digital literacy being chief among these.

As a means to ensuring the provision and availability of locally relevant content and services, it becomes imperative to find ways in which to tackle affordability and digital literacy.

These solutions will prove to be the key to reducing the gap created by digital exclusion and connecting the marginalised communities that are covered by mobile broadband networks but remain unconnected.

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