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Internet Access Connects Communities in Africa

Only 16 percent of Africans have Internet access, but the number is growing.
Only 16 percent of Africans have Internet access, but the number is growing.

Expanding access to nutritious food, clean drinking water and lifesaving health care are all important in the fight against child poverty. Although it may not be as obviously beneficial, increasing access to high-speed Internet can also substantially benefit families living in poverty. According to a recent report, Senegal and Kenya are at the forefront of expanding access to broadband Internet among African nations.

Competing on a Global Scale

Neither Senegal nor Kenya is among Africa's largest economies, but that hasn't stopped either country from making substantial gains in expanding access to high-speed Internet. Although just 16 percent of Africa's population of 1 billion are online, data in the report suggests that this is changing rapidly, in part because of greater access to smartphones and tablets.

The report, which was published by global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, examined the iGDP — the economic impact that Internet-based businesses have on a country's economy — and found that Senegal lagged only marginally behind the United States, as 3.3 percent of Senegal's GDP came from Internet-related business ventures. Kenya's iGDP of 2.9 percent eclipsed those of both Canada and China, suggesting that the governments of Senegal and Kenya and private-sector entrepreneurs are investing in Internet access as a means to solve complex economic and social problems.

The Digital Future

In terms of what expanding access to high-speed Internet access could mean for children in need and their families, the potential is great. Children can receive a higher-quality education with greater access to technology in classrooms. People living in rural areas also could benefit from the expansion of remote health diagnoses and treatment; Africa has only 1.1 doctor for every 1,000 people, and even this number is somewhat misleading, as most doctors are centered in major metropolitan areas. Meteorological forecasting and pest control, as well as financial and management resources, would assist farmers and business owners, along with communities in general.

Empowering Families

ChildFund works in many of Africa's poorest nations, including Senegal and Kenya. One of the best ways you can help a child today is by becoming a child sponsor. For just $28 per month, you can help provide a boy or girl living in poverty with the nutritious food, clean drinking water, essential health care and educational opportunities that he or she needs to become an independent, healthy adult. We couldn't help as many children without your support, so please consider sponsoring a child today.

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