Digital Banking in Africa – the rise of EdTech

By Emmanuel Allottey

Digital innovation and adoption has grown exponentially in Africa due to COVID-19. Different sectors of the economy impacted by the virus have resorted to digital and technology to mitigate the impact. Government imposed lockdowns and movement restrictions have propelled the necessity of digital solutions as alternatives to continuity in daily activities.

The significance of EdTech or technology in Education has received the most acknowledgment as an area requiring investment in Africa. EdTech (Education Technology) combines innovative learning techniques with digital technology.

Africa has the lowest literacy rate in the world at an average of 70% compared to world average of 90%. Students worldwide are still affected by COVID-19 school closures, forcing hundreds of millions of students to rely on virtual or e-learning. For those without internet access, educational progress will be affected.

The Educational ecosystem from physical infrastructure to learning material has been lacking with many African governments looking for avenues to increase investment. Digital innovation through EdTech can offer cost efficient alternatives to delivery of affordable and high-quality educational content to learners.

Approximately 800 million people in Africa don’t have access to the internet. This represents a challenge for EdTech companies, trying to find a way to incorporate technology in areas with little to no internet connection. As this challenge intensifies, several African countries have looked for ways to keep learning going through remote learning. Government policy in many African nations are being reviewed to incorporate the use of an online curriculum.

Remote Learning involves a combination of real-time peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration, or with self-paced learning activities that take place remotely and independent of the teacher or instructor. Some stakeholders use satellite facilities (like satellite TV) and even radio for remote learning.

Education equals development. In developed countries people there is a correlation with education and development. According to World Bank Group estimates, universal and affordable access to the Internet will increase GDP growth in Africa by 2 percentage points per year and would boost employment opportunities, regardless of education level, between 6.9% and 13%. The interactive approach of educational technology encourages students to obtain digital skills, which will be vital to succeed in the labour market.

COVID-19 has shown access to the internet is crucial in facilitating continuity in education. Africa has made large strides in the improvement of technology infrastructure. The continuation of this investment towards digitization will fast track Africa’s transition into the fourth industrial revolution.

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