How can access to technology address some of Africa's biggest problems?

Africa is a country rich in natural resources, but as resourceful as the country is, it still experiences challenges. Africa remains one of the poorest and under-developed continents in the world. People in this continent experience hunger, poverty, disease outbreaks, lack of clean water, unequal education and health care systems, and more. 

While the continent is making strides in the right direction, it still has a long way to go before Africa as a whole can progress into a developed country and navigate all the issues they have. Technology has played a major role in developed countries and can help Africa address some of its challenges. 

This article discusses what technology can do for Africa’s problems. 

Improve the health care system 

Africa’s health care system is one of the biggest problems on the continent. Governments in these countries face a lack of funds, poor infrastructure, poverty, and epidemics. With various disease outbreaks and high poverty rates, many people don’t have the means to afford proper health care. Hospitals and clinics don’t have sufficient resources and funds to help them address patients' concerns. The use of technology can bring about innovation and change within the health care sector. It can increase accessibility to treatment by ensuring proper research can be done to save lives. There are inventions of equipment that improve care and efficiency, and adequate software can help improve disease control. 

Reduce youth unemployment 

According to this article, 60 percent of the unemployment rate in Africa is accounted for by the youth. Northern African countries have the highest youth unemployment rate as well as Southern African countries such as Botswana, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal and South Africa. This is a harsh reality as Africa has the largest population of young people in the world. And those that do find work don't receive good wages, develop new skills, or experience job security, which makes any efforts to fight poverty null and void. With access to technology, there can be an improvement in the education system, and young people can improve their digital literacy skills to enter the job market and find well-paying jobs. Since we are in the fourth industrial revolution and on the move to digital transformation, many jobs now require people to have the necessary digital skills. With technology at their disposal, the youth can acquire those skills and potentially create more jobs using them. This will tackle youth unemployment and unemployment in general and help improve economic activities within the country. 

DBSA’s role in addressing Africa's biggest problems  

The technology gap in Africa is concerning as it hinders the continent from improving. There are many ways to improve science and technology in Africa in a way that can benefit everyone. Our job at the DBSA is to address digital inequalities and find solutions that will help improve access to technology for every citizen. This is why one of our focus areas is Information and Communication Technology. ICT plays a role in stimulating job creation and uplifting communities out of poverty, and in turn, helping reduce inequality which is rampant on the continent. As the DBSA, we work on finding meaningful opportunities across the ICT value chain. To do that, we help seek financing for a range of projects, including international connectivity, network infrastructure, towers, fibre, data centres, satellites and more, as well as fund management. Through doing this, we can positively impact business and the lives of all citizens and enable economies to grow and participate in global markets. But to do that, funding is critical as many African countries lack infrastructure development to truly benefit from technological advances. DBSA continues to seek investments from the private and public sector and co-financiers to get ICT projects developed. 

Final thoughts

It is without a doubt that Africa can benefit from access to technology, and it can help alleviate or address some of the problems this continent faces. The world continues to move into the digital age, and it is time for Africa to do the same. Most of the issues within the continent, such as poverty, inequality, lack of jobs, and poor health care, can all be addressed when digital transformation initiatives start taking priority.