Digital literacy is fundamental to the success of digital economy

December 16, 2014

There is an urgent prerequisite for driving African countries towards a digital economies by making the Internet and communications infrastructure ready in terms of network availability, reliability and security. Information and communications technology infrastructure is the key success factor for driving the digital economies. The concerned governments have to utilize the existing infrastructure and consider how much more they need to invest and under what model. Countries should take action on this and invite more players to join in. CT, particularly broadband infrastructure, is crucial for the growth of the continent’s digital economies. As more sectors adopt ICT, they will increase productivity, become more efficient in use of resources, and reduce redundant costs. It will also create more jobs as well as value-added products. Research shows that 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 importance cannot be underestimated, but figuring out how best to utilize it and benefit from it was also a must.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.

Digital literacy is fundamental to the success of a digital economy, according to an Australian researcher involved in ICT industry across east and Southern Africa countries.This means making sure people understand the concept and are able to apply digital technology effectively.Digital literacy is also a necessary skill for the 21st century and no one will avoid a digital life. Just being able to read and write is not enough to survive in modern era. Currently, African continent is not ready in this regard. It needs 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. 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 a publication I read recently,sustainability of policy is also a crucial factor in making the digital economy work long-term. In East African countries of Tanzania and Kenya, the priority was for their public sectors to digitize themselves along government-to-government, government-to-business and government-to-citizen lines. ICT industry should play a role as an enabler in key areas like policy, rules and regulations, integration, technology, standardization, privacy and security. A digital-economy road map with a solid framework would help the continent gear up for the digital economy.

Contador Harrison