A team of experts from the Linkoping University, the University of Nairobi and a number of other institutions of higher learning have blamed access to electricity as the biggest barrier to the expansion of ICT across Africa.
The experts, who were discussing the role of ICT in creating relationships between people, government, business and other stakeholders, noted that access to ICT is hardest in areas with no electricity, adding that Internet availability is not much of a constraint.
The experts led by William Jobe, an assistant professor of ICT at Stockholm University, observed that access to ICT was not limited to financial welfare of the population, with people living in slums such as Kibera in Nairobi better equipped in ICT and with higher numbers of ICT literate inhabitants than many areas that lack electricity.
According to the experts, the provision of energy to power various machines would uplift the livelihoods of people living in the rural areas.
Once electricity is not a problem, the experts, who are attending the ‘Uplifting the Poor Conference’ in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, say the provision of low cost devices can follow, to be used in sectors such as education and agriculture.
The delegates say the availability of locally created software and applications will go a long way into uplifting the lives of the poor with local programmes likely to address the problems facing the society.
The two-day conference aims to showcase positive examples of how people can improve their livelihood and get out of poverty. It continues tomorrow with education and sports top of the agenda.