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Data costs impacting African economies

Education is food for the mind. It nourishes the brain. It develops intellectual and emotional maturity. Collectively it creates innovative people who improve their economy.

Inequality traps people and stifles their growth. Inequality was passed on from generation to generation through education: the rich could afford the best teachers and access the best resources enabling their children to become richer while the poor were trapped in the worst education, unwilling sentencing their children to the same plight.

Then came the internet and access through smartphones. Now the poor have access the best online teachers and educational resources which allows them to break out of the poverty trap.

There is equality on the world wide web except they are now prevented access by the cost of data.
Project Isizwe researched how much data can you buy in various African countries if all you have is $1. The country where you get the most data for your dollar is Rwanda (560MB) and the least data is Zimbabwe (45MB).

How much data can you buy if you are rich and have $100 in your pocket? The price per GB of data is three times less for the rich than the poor. It’s an even better price per GB if you analyse contracts that simply are not available to the poor.

It is no accident that Rwanda has the best price per GB data. There is continuing government focus and investment on providing affordable access to the internet for its citizens.

South Africa needs to watch out: access to the internet provides education, which develops minds that uplift the economy. The mobile operators in South Africa are clearly profiting from the poor. If this is allowed to continue, South Africa will be overtaken by other African economies.

The key to growing minds and future economies is to have no cost barrier to data.
Free Wi-Fi projects will unlock and develop the minds of Africa’s youth. Free Wi-Fi bridges the inequality divide providing equal educational opportunities to all.

About Duduzile Mkhwanazi

Duduzile Mkhwanazi is the CEO of Project Isizwe.
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