Digital economy:Ability to read and write isn’t enough

January 30, 2015

Talking to expert working with an Internet Service Provider earlier this week on pros and cons of digital economy, I learned that prerequisite for driving a country towards a digital economy is by making the Internet and communications infrastructure ready in terms of network availability, reliability and security. The expert told me that information and communications technology infrastructure was the key success factor for driving the digital economy. Governments must utilize the existing infrastructure and consider how much more it needs to invest and under what model and then invite more players to join in. According to the expert, ICT, particularly broadband infrastructure, is crucial for the growth of a country’s digital economy. As more sectors adopt ICT, they will increase productivity, become more efficient in use of resources, and reduce redundant costs as well as create more jobs as well as value-added products. To him, connectivity was the main requirement. The concept is to connect all stakeholders together through digital technology to allow them to interact and collaborate.

ICT infrastructure is important and figuring out how best to utilize it and benefit from it is also important.In a project he was involved in an African country to link up the whole country, not only are fibre optics and a land-line broadband network a must, satellites should be considered as part of the infrastructure.He is currently leading a team to conduct a feasibility study on launching a satellite to provide ICT services to the public.He said this satellite could play a key role in the far flung areas infrastructure. your blogger has traditionally strongly supported policies of promoting digital-based economy that would help increase a country’s competitiveness. For that to yield results, digital literacy is fundamental to the success of a digital economy.That would mean making sure people understand the concept and are able to apply digital technology effectively.

Gone are the days when being able to read and write was enough to survive.Digital literacy has become a must have 21st century skill.Most countries are however not ready and they need to invest both in basic learning for students and adult learning for workers. ICT will play a crucial role in transforming people’s lives by enabling access to opportunities and enhancing skills and creativity. And with the use of the right technology, there can be countless opportunities for doing business, opportunities in learning, and also opportunities for the government to provide efficient services.In Sub Saharan Africa, the priority is for the public sector to digitize itself along government-to-government, government-to-business and government-to-citizen lines. However, it is important the ICT industry play a role as an enabler in areas like technology, policy, rules and regulations, integration, privacy, standardization and security.

 

Contador Harrison