MOBILE INTERNET PENETRATION IN AFRICA: AN END TO LARGE GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE?
Africa holds the number two position after Asia as the continent with the 2nd highest mobile internet users.
Africa has not heavily invested in physical infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads. This puts it in a unique position compared to other continents who have already heavily invested in these physical infrastructures. This means that Africa can afford more room for innovative mobile –internet-based solutions to augment roles played heavily by Governments.
In regions where African Governments have not heavily invested in building schools such as North Eastern Province in Kenya, the internet can augment the need for heavy physical investment especially in secondary and tertiary education level.
For example, the need for students to enroll in secondary or tertiary institutions so as to learn mandatory subjects such as calculus, periodic table, human anatomy e.t.c which chances are very high that they might not use in their life. In such situations, students should be able to learn only what is of interest to them through the millions of tutorials available in the internet in written and video format.
This will in turn lead to less Government involvement in Education sector. Students will be able to follow their passions to very detailed education levels.
The Government can in turn assist and regulate this by changing the curriculum such that students can be able to specialize at n early age. For instance, if a student shows interest in biology, he/she can pursue the knowledge online beginning form Primary school until PhD level.
Political deliberations can be designed such that political representatives can deliberate both physically in parliament and online through forums. This will enable representatives in fur areas or on travel to equally participate in deliberations. This will also enable citizens to join in the debates and air their views.
The use of internet portals that allow for Local Authority to communicate with building, land subdivision and other applicants online such as this http://www.a4architect.com/submit-drawings/ will go a long way in reducing Government expenditure in terms of mobilizing for transport, stationery and time.
There are many other Government ministry roles that can be made more efficient through use of internet. The number is only limited by our imaginations.
Now that Africa has not invested in heavy physical infrastructure, it’s time for new solutions to this using unique and innovative methods. This lack of physical infrastructure could be the proverbial lemon that Africa should now make lemonade with so as to make the big leap into economic prosperity.
Architect Francis Gichuhi Kamau.