Sunday, March 4, 2012

How mobile broadband can transform Africa


Two boys play with a cellular phone in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia

In the next five years, there are likely to be as many mobile cellular subscriptions as there are people on this planet. By 2020, pundits predict more than 50 billion connected devices.
With seven billion people's needs to serve, information and communications technologies (ICTs) represent the single most powerful channel we have ever had to reach out to others, wherever they may live, whatever their circumstances. They also represent our best hope of accelerating progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015.
Can Africa reach its 2015 MDGs? If countries embrace the unique power of mobile broadband technology, I believe many have a good chance.
The eight MDGs cannot be separated. If you combat disease, you also reduce child mortality; if you give every child a primary education, you promote gender equality. It is because these goals are interlinked that broadband is so important.
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