“How does technology enable us to get access to water? How does it enable us to get access to health care? How do we fast-track education using technology?” asks Kah Walla, one of Cameroon’s political leaders and entrepreneurs, who manages to inspire an entire generation. In the case of her country, 50% of the people don’t have access to electricity and clean water.
For her continent, she says in an interview with Lukas Kubina at DLDwomen 2012, technology is seen as a tool to help close the development gap. “For us Africans we’re using it to make a gigantic leap,” she says. It gives a voice to people who traditionally are not part of the power structure, like women and young people. In Africa, where there are still a number of totalitarian governments, the Internet is becoming an alternative source of information for people.
Although Internet penetration is still very low in most of sub-Saharan Africa, 10% or less, the people who are on the Internet are innovators. “They are thought leaders,” Walla says. With their spirit of creativity, she argues, “just putting the technology in the hands of people is going to enable us to really reveal extraordinary things.”
First, basic infrastructure needs to be provided, says Walla. She means access to the Internet, broadband cables, and computers for everyone. This is the final ignition for the African leap.