What is digital transformation?
The definition of the word ‘Transformation’ by different online sources gives the impression of a drastic, one-time affair. But is it though? In this article by McKinsey, they describe digital transformation as the creation of value by first of all ‘rewiring’ the way an organisation or body operates. Thankfully, ‘digital transformation’ was painted as a continuous process there.
When people hear of digital transformation, their thoughts race towards the latest technologies; flying cars, cameras that can capture aliens moonwalking on Neptune, TV screens that allow you perform with the acts, etc. They forget about the time when the internet was a thing of wonder. They forget that Tim Berners-Lee must have been considered crazy by a lot of people. But that single act of inventing the world wide web set in motion whatever technological wonder we are witnessing today on the internet.
When was the internet introduced in Africa?
The internet was considered to be invented in 1983. The internet made its way to sub-Saharan Africa in the early 1990s with Kenya taking the lead in 1993, Uganda and Nigeria following suite in 1995, and Togo in 1996. And as at 2013, this report states that in every 100 individuals, 30 and 41 people were internet users in Cape Verde and Seychelles, respectively. In the same vein, Nigeria and Mauritius had 28.43 and 24.90, respectively. These countries were termed to be ‘Clearly ahead of others’. At the lower end were countries like Guinea, Niger, The Republic of Congo, and Liberia who out of a hundred inhabitants had 0.9, 0.83, 0.71, and 0.07 internet users, respectively.
Getting the gist yet?
Transformation takes time. It involves people who are willing to dare to be different. Remember a time when our television sets were considered the devil’s instrument by a certain spiritual group in Nigeria? Or very recently when the introduction of 5G network was considered the end of the world by conspiracy theorists.
In Africa, we have these technological infrastructures because someone dared to. Therefore, we need people who are willing to take meaningful risks in order to bring us up to standard on where the world is technologically.
Empowering through Education
In Adbell’s opinion, one of the crucial steps towards bridging the digital divide is promoting digital literacy and skill development. However, we cannot leap into digital literacy without addressing basic literacy first. In his words “From recent data… in sub-Saharan Africa, we have about 67% of people who are literate. And if we are unable to even address or tackle that, we can't start talking about digital literacy.” If we are to embark on a journey of digital literacy, we must ensure that the foundation of basic literacy is solid.
Imagine a world where everyone can read and write, and then imagine introducing them to the digital realm. That's the goal we should be striving for. Education is the key to empowerment, and it starts with ensuring that every individual has the fundamental skills to navigate the digital landscape.
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