At Invested Development, one major investment focus is information and communications technology (ICT) that promote global connectivity. This week’s articles highlight progress towards connectivity for all. Grow Connectivity for the Developing World by Daniel Burrus on Huffington Post Internet access is arguably a basic human right, much like access to clean water. And it should be: connectivity provides people with information at a relatively low cost, unlocking opportunities to accelerate economic development. Unfortunately, there are many parts of the world, specifically large parts of Africa, South America and Asia, where wirelesses internet access is sparse. Many think that connecting these parts of the world will be too expensive or too difficult but Burrus, author of Flash Forward: How To See the Invisible and Do the Impossible, urges people to anticipate technology trends and organize to provide reliable internet to those who are still without. Burrus references successful initiatives that are making the internet more affordable and accessible in the developing world. Our portfolio company, BRCK, made the list with their affordable connectivity device built specifically for use in regions with unreliable electricity and internet connections. Kenya to Install 1,600km of Fibre Optic Cable this Year on Ventures Africa The Government of Kenya will be rolling out an additional 1600 kilometers of fibre optic cables later this year through the Ministry of ICT as part of the National Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) project. This project is expected to ease communication between countries and improve government services offered to citizens. The project aims to connect all of Kenya to high speed broadband and has already been executed in numerous phases. 38% of Global Population Connects to Internet as Rate of Growth Slows by Frank Catalano on Geek Wire A new report published by Internet.org, estimates that there are three billion people online worldwide. Disparities are clear by the state of development in a country. Developed countries have a 78% online access rate while developing countries have a rate of only 32%. The full report explores three factors to connectivity – infrastructure, affordability and relevance – that need to be addressed in order to achieve global connectivity. Connectivity is Productivity: How Mobile Technology Can Support Decent Work by Heather Franzese on Huffington Post The Mobile World Congress will be held in Barcelona from March 2-5, attracting 85,000 attendees discussing how mobile technology has the potential to improve the quality of life globally. Over the last four years, Labor Link technology has polled 200,000 workers in 15 countries about their working conditions and delivered the data to employers, buyers and NGOs. Direct worker feedback has allowed better tracking and support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically:
- Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
According to Franzese, Executive Director of Good World Solutions, if we leverage mobile to support workers globally, we can turn connectivity into productivity.