Now more than ever, Information and Communications Technology has become one of the most important things throughout the world. It connects people, it allows people the chance to learn new skills, giving them a chance to compete in the workplace.
“Curriculum that includes courses on basic computer skills and that which uses ICT for the instruction of other subject areas is typically a reflection of policies advocating ICT in education. The early integration of ICT into primary and secondary curricula through formal recommendations is an important lever to ensure children and adults will develop digital literacy, not only for general life and work skills but also to empower youth in their ongoing education throughout secondary, post-secondary and tertiary education levels. While it is evident that curriculum cannot be implemented prior to the integration of the vital infrastructure, recommendations for ICT in curriculum can play an important role in promoting its use at the school level.”ICT in education in Sub-Saharan Africa, UNESCO, 2015.
However, ICT doesn’t just happen, it has to be powered – it needs power, and Africa as a whole is falling behind when it comes to electricity. The household electrification rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest in the world, averaging 42 percent in 2016.
According to the ‘African Pulse: an analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future’, some countries, such as Gabon, Swaziland, and Kenya, the pace of electrification has been rapid, with access rates increasing by more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2016. In contrast, electrification has lagged population growth in Zimbabwe, so that electrification rates declined.
Industrial and commercial tariffs in Sub-Saharan Africa are among the highest in the world. In many countries, industrial tariffs are high to hold down household electricity tariffs, while higher consumption households and firms subsidize minimum consumption by low-income lifeline consumers (RISE 2014).
Having higher tariffs in a continent where almost all countries rate amongst the poorest in the world and are still in developing stages, some, even worse, are still underdeveloped, Africa is probably not going to catch up yet if matters continue as is.
Mduduzi Mbiza is a writer, content strategist, researcher, consultant, speaker and author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’. He has contributed his articles on education to Daily Maverick, The South African, Voice360 and EduOne.