The transformational power of information communication technologies and the associated solutions has been observed in several advanced nations all over the world. Its ability to drive the economic advancements, innovation and entrepreneurship in African nations cannot be undermined. It is possible to deduce the potential of information and communication technologies through the revamp of different sectors for instance agriculture and education. The increased use of mobile devices has increased accessibility to various services for instance information, financial credit, games and entertainment. Through increased accessibility, the ease of conducting business as well as communicating has increased in Africa.
Despite having a geopolitical unanimity and a shared past, Africa is also widely diverse.
The continent is so vast it is almost impossible to adequately describe it. The continent hosts some of the fastest-growing economies while at the same time being home to some of the poorest nations in the world. However, Africa is richly blessed with resources which can be utilized in driving positive growth and development. By exploiting the solutions brought about by ICT, it is possible to ensure sustainable use of the resources within the continent hence achieving social and economic development.
As such, ICT has contributed to the development of basic services such as education and health information and increasing the participation of the public in various community process through augmented access to information. The internet and mobile devices are aiding in the process of realizing the dynamism existing on the African continent. By enhancing the dissemination of information, every member of the society is armed with the ability to create and participate in development activities. While the continent still faces connectivity challenges, the ever-expanding ICT sector is rapidly growing. Smartphones, Wi-Fi connectivity and data packages are becoming increasingly affordable and offer numerous opportunities in different economies.
To advance developed, equitable, open and hands-on knowledge societies in Africa, four main elements must be ensured. These include access to the information within the public domain, equal access to edification opportunities, freedom of expression and respect for dialectal and cultural diversity. Knowledge-based societies are therefore able to identify, process, disseminate, transform and produce and utilize information to create and apply knowledge for human advancement. The enhanced use of information and communication technologies for empowerment, social participation, governance and capacity building is one of the strategies that help in creating knowledge-based societies. Furthermore, information and communication technologies strengthen the capabilities for systematic research, data sharing and cultural innovations, exchanges and performance within knowledge societies hence creating a haven for development opportunities. Finally, the access to diversified content and delivery systems through information and communication technologies have enhanced the learning opportunities which is one of the vital aspects contributing to the development of African nations.
In conclusion, ICT presents a huge opportunity for Africa as a continent to grow and thrive. By utilizing the solutions brought about by the technologies, Africa can compete favourably within the global economy.
By Jean Paul Mackio