Connecting underserved regions of West Africa requires new efficiencies and innovative business models. Here are three reasons why, elaborated on by Jim Teicher, CEO of CyberSmart Africa during his keynote panel remarks at WESTAFRICA COM, the premier telecom conference held this week week in Dakar, Senegal.
1. Government(s) are not serious enough about connecting the unconnected: Existing bureaucracies are not structured to benefit from the efficiencies of connectivity and technology. In fact, efficiencies can create unwelcome risks that threaten the socio-economic fabric of West African nations. Understanding these challenges will enable the private sector to advance faster.
2. Telecoms must work harder to leverage government finance extending connectivity to the unconnected. The current model is just the opposite, meaning that governments attempt to leverage external financing to implement a variety of connectivity and technology initiatives. Governments are not in the Telecom business and boundaries need to be better defined.
3. We should not complain that closing the digital divide is too expensive when affordable technologies and solutions do exist. There are ways to bring improved connectivity, information, and knowledge to everyone in West Africa — including rural villages and schools without electricity.
CyberSmart Africa has developed an innovative solution to bring advanced education technology to schools without electricity. We have proven the concept in Senegal with a model for growth that can achieve massive scale.