Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cyber Savannah - South Africa's Great Opportunity


South Africa stands on the verge of something amazing, again. A mere 20 years after one of the great bloodless social revolutions in history, Africa's new economy and society are on the brink of a unique digital age.

Much of South Africa, and Africa in general, has no infrastructure for advance data access  for the public.  Broadband wireless is about to change that. In the very near future, the most remote or under served communities will have the same access to the internet and other digital vistas as anyone else.

Code knows no color, age or status. It speaks all languages and does not care where it is written or used - Soweto, Miami or Tokyo

Yes, there will be economic barriers, but they will be low compared to the burden of wiring and maintaining lines over endless miles of veldt. Mobile devices also have the advantage of offeting a much lower cost entry point .

But just as South Africa has a chance to launch a new chapter in its economy, it is also vulnerable to tech predators and social divisionists. Cyber safety is an area that requires special attention in Africa. Not only is there a vast spectrum groups and issues, but the threshold to violence runs shallow in many places,  making incitement an important issue.

Challenges have always accompanied opportunity. In developing markets and emerging societies the stakes are even higher.  It is incumbent on the internet industry, government stake holders and civil society to foster growth guard against abuse in this special place, at this interesting time.



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