I once advised my father to learn how to use the internet and he responded by asking me if I knew how to use a gramophone. For context, I am a 90’s baby so you could imagine the confused look on my face. But I can tell you what I could use though, they were called mp3 players and iPods, and I could listen to music whenever and wherever I wanted. Sounds like a winning situation to me to be honest.
But let us think of record players for a second. The evolution of the bulky gramophone to music apps that you can download on your pocket-sized device to listen to any type of music? Pretty insane if you ask me. If someone had told the Victorians that this would be our reality in the 21st Century, I am fairly certain they would have nailed them to a stake for practicing witchcraft. Lol just kidding. Or am I?
That is the thing about the world, the innovations keep it moving and evolving. When the telephone was invented, the businesses who stuck with the telegraph lost customers to the early adopters of the landline. And how many people still use landlines these days?
Now enter mobile devices. First it was cellular phones - you know the type with the antenna and the foldable mouthpiece? Yeah, that one. Then someone figured out how to get these phones to access the internet and then Motorola debuted 3G, HTC followed with 4G, Apple integrated an app store to the iPhone, and it was game time.
From that point, the world became smaller and more connected. Jobs were created, standards of living were improved, healthcare got better and the unbanked got banked. But is that really the case for the 400m people living in poverty in Africa? Yes, that got intense quickly but stay with me, you are already committed at this point.
If you are an African reading this, you are amongst the 24% that have access to the internet. Numerically, this means that over 800m people in Africa cannot read this beautiful blogpost that I stayed up late to work on. Truly breaks my heart. Truly.
So how can we improve these deplorable figures? I will tell you one way – collaboration. The telcos, FinTech, HealthTech, EdTech and all the other “techs” that exist need to come together to form a solution to this problem because guess what? More internet users translate to better business outcomes for everyone.
Oh, wait before you go. I very casually just remembered that there is indeed a solution which was borne out of such partnerships - it is called LearnAM, and you should check it out. It is the best digital skills learning platform out there which also has a digital inclusion and mobile adoption angle to it. And I am totally unbiased btw.