Why Africa is lagging behind the world

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Thu, 30 Jun 2022 Source: Christian Obeng Boateng PhD

In the whole world, one continent that seems to be lagging behind the whole world is Africa and there are many reasons why that is happening.

Weak connectivity, trade infrastructure, and knowledge ecosystems, etc are just a few of the shortcomings as to why is Africa lagging behind the world in terms of digital technology.

Let's have a look at some of the Top Reasons Why Africa Is Lagging Behind The World In Technology:

1. Education Gap And Illiteracy

One of the most powerful instruments that can be used for reducing any sort of inequality, reducing poverty, and laying a foundation for a sustained economy is education and lack of education is one of the leading reasons why Africans are lagging behind the rest of the world.

Inequality in Africa has always been there and currently, it is on the rise, especially in urban areas. 33 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa don’t go to school and out of these, 18 million children are girls.

And out of all the children who start primary school, only two-thirds of children reach the final grade of primary school.

Although in the past few years, the literacy rates have improved substantially in Africa, still 40% of Africans over the age of 15, and 50% of women above the age of 25 are illiterate.

The education levels have been further hampered by the prevailing unhealthy macroeconomic environment created in the last 2 decades or so that has had a huge impact on the education and expertise level in the continent.

2. Outdated Government Policies

Another leading reason why Africa is still lagging behind the rest of the world is because of the outdated government policies. Technological innovation, industrial growth, and improved living standards, all are fuelled by the governments but sadly in Africa, the governments are not paying much heed to all of this.

The governments have implemented such policies that aren’t helpful at all for development. In the investment sector, African governments have invested way less than the whole world.

Where the whole world spends an average of 2.6% of their GDP on Science and Technological research and innovation, the African governments have invested way, way less than this which has resulted in the African nations lagging behind the rest of the world.

3. Poor Infrastructure

The poor infrastructure in Africa is also a contributing factor to Why African nations are lagging behind. In Africa, the connectivity is very less as compared to the rest of the world but rural areas are less connected and more information poor than urban areas.

The demand for information in rural areas is high because of the costs and expenses involved in all of this, this hasn’t been yet achieved.

Another dividing factor in African countries is accessibility to electricity in the first instance. Some people have access to electricity in the first instance while others don’t and this creates a division between the people.

In most of the countries of Africa, only a slight percentage more than half of the households have access to electricity and in some countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia have electricity available to less than 20% of the households.

This all creates a huge difference and because of the unavailability of electricity, the African people are not able to enjoy the latest technology as the rest of the world.

For instance, where the rest of the world has gone digital and even paperless in their homes and offices by making use of digital documents such as PDF, Word, Excel, etc and also using the digital tools to make editing possible such as Word to PDF, Excel to PDF, PDF to Word, etc, the African nations are still on the traditional methods because they don’t even have full access to electricity yet.

4. Corruption

Last but not least, another leading factor to why Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world in innovating technology is corruption. Let’s have a look at how a corrupt government can hamper the growth and development of a nation.

A corrupt government leads to poor education, a poor healthcare system, poverty, the economic gap between classes of people, economic instability, malnutrition, non-existent security, etc, and all of this leads to nothing but deterioration of a nation.

Individuals who are born in such societies or nations don’t get to go to school since they are forced to learn a technical skill or forced to work in labor because of extreme poverty and some even die before reaching adulthood because of malnutrition, suffering from diseases and others going through violence.

And for those who happen to escape from all of this unscratched, happen to find out about the bureaucracy that is in the hands of fat, corrupt industry players who are trying their best to prevent any bright, young mind from rising up and challenging them.

They prevent any competition and block out bright young minds that would have otherwise done much more for the development of the nation and its economy.

Columnist: Christian Obeng Boateng PhD