Internet Connectivity Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic : Challenges and Perspectives

The covid 19 pandemic has forced people and organizations all over the world to adjust to new trends of work and life. It has led to an inevitable use of digital means of communication due to the social distancing norms and nationwide lockdowns. With the challenges of the covid 19 virus and social distancing measures in the world today, we are practically living our lives online. From distance learning to working from home through zoom meetings, Microsoft team etc, live streamed church services and meetings— even to weddings and funerals — the internet connects us to loved ones in this time of physical isolation.

Now more than ever, internet access is a necessity and not luxury. A necessity that over half the continent of Africa cannot access. Digital inequality deprives billions of people these critical connections. The coronavirus crisis has greatly exposed this shocking digital divide that persists around the world. Only 54% of the global population is connected today, with people in poorer and remote regions far less likely to be online. Among those who are even online, most are only connected through their place of work, school or in public access spaces such as libraries : meaning that the absence of such public places will mean more people will go offline. This means we are not only facing a global health pandemic. We also have a catastrophic digital divide threatening to deepen offline inequalities.

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