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The Global Digital Report 2019 Has Some Interesting Stats About Africa

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The Global Digital Report 2019 by Hootsuite and We Are Social is out. The report brings about an exciting revelation of how the world is growing fast in terms of digital resources and utilization. The number of new users taking up and consuming internet resources is increasing by the second in all parts of the world. Additionally, the number of individuals using mobile phones is also increasing by the day. This means that more people are using the internet and mobile telephony technologies today than ever before.

In a day, more than one million people start using the internet for the first time ever in their lives. This means that there are one million new users of the internet daily. This huge number of new users have been added daily for the last one year. For example, when the day ends today, the number of internet users in the world will be one million more than it was yesterday. In order to understand the report well, we have simplified and compiled the most salient talking points.

Summary of the Global Digital Report 2019

Before we go deeper into the report, you need to understand the following salient points for the global digital report;

  • In the world today, there are 5.11 billion unique users of mobile phones. This is 100 million more than it was in the last year. The increase translates to two percent.
  • Since January 2018, people using the internet have increased by 366 million (nine percent) to stand at 4.39 billion today.
  • The number of people using social media has grown by 288 million (nine percent) to reach 3.48 billion today.
  • The number of people going social on their mobiles has increased by 297 million (more than 10 percent) to stand at 3.26 billion today.

The Global Digital Report 2019

For comparison, the world has 7.676 billion human beings today. When you compare the numbers above, you will realize that global mobile penetration stands at 67 percent. Internet penetration is at 57 percent while social media penetration goes to 45 percent. Additionally, those people using their mobile phones to access the internet amount to 42 percent of the total population in the world.

It is therefore not surprising that the global digital growth surpasses the average global population growth in all parameters. For example, while the global population growth rate is only 1.1 percent, mobile social media users’ growth is 10 percent.

The Report Contributors

This report that comprises thousands of charts taken from more than 200 other local and global reports was made possible by contributions of other data partners. These data partners were App Annie, GlobalWebIndex, GSMA Intelligence, Locowise, SimilarWeb, and Statista.

Internet Users in 2019

The Global Digital Report 2019 shows that the rate at which people are taking up the internet is very promising. In fact more than 11 people are going online every second around the world for their very maiden instance. This means that as you finish reading this sentence; more than 11 people will have joined the internet users’ bandwagon for the first time in their lives. Additionally, mobile phone accounts for about half of the time used online.

But where are people visiting when they go online? The surge of internet use can somehow explain the cause of increased social media use. However, the most visited website in the world still remains Google. Youtube comes second and as expected, Facebook. Social media, e-commerce and adult sites feature strongly in the list of popular sites. Here is a list of the most popular websites in the world.

The Global Digital Report 2019

Mobile Users in 2019

According to the Global Digital Report 2019, mobile penetration in the world stands at 67 percent. This means that more than 5.1 billion individuals around the world have made mobile calls. However, smartphone technology has slowly replaced the feature phones considerably. This is because the number of smartphone users is now two-fold compared to the original phones. This explains why the mobile app market is flourishing.

Africa Digital Report 2019

The global digital Report 2019 gave a complete digital picture for Africa. Among the most important areas included the following;

  • Out of the total population of 1.304 billion in Africa, 80 percent of Africans (1 billion) use mobile phones an increase of 5.2 percent from 2018. this is because 51 million more people started using phones.
  • Internet penetration in Africa stands at 36 percent where 473 million Africans have access to the internet. The growth rate was 8.7 percent meaning that there was an additional 38 million people with internet access from 2018.
  • The number of people actively using social media in Africa stands at 216 million (representing 17 percent penetration) with 202 million of these (16 percent) accessing the same using their mobile devices. Active social media users grew by 13 percent (25 million people) while those using social media on their devices grew by 17 percent (30 million Africans).
  • Internet penetration in was highest in Southern Africa (51 percent), followed by Northern Africa (50 percent), Western Africa (41 percent), eastern Africa (32 percent) and lastly Central Africa (12 percent). Social media penetration shows the same trend but northern Africa leads while southern comes second.

In conclusion, The Global Digital Report shows that internet, mobile and social media technologies continue to improve worldwide. Voice control technology is also bound to improve significantly over the next phase. However, some parts in Africa still has low penetrations in all technologies. For this reason, Africa needs to develop strong digital strategies to tackle the digital divide. Although some of the worst countries in term of digital development and penetration fall in Africa, the very worst of them is not; North Korea.

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Business and Development

Microsoft Wants To Promote Digital Transformation in Africa And Here Is How

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South Africa is the home for Microsoft’s first data centers in Africa. The two data centers are located in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The new data centers are serving Azure, with Dynamics 365 and Office 365 scheduled to be added by end of 2019.

The company had, in 2017, announced that it plans to have data centers in South Africa. Overall, the multinational technology company has 54 cloud regions announced around the world.

Data Centers and Digital Transformation

The location of the new data centers in Africa

Map showing the location of the new data centers in South Africa

The new data centers in South Africa make Microsoft the first global provider to offer cloud services from data centers in Africa. The company aims to help in promoting digital transformation in Africa.

The location of the data centers in Africa means regional users are guaranteed of resilient cloud services, enhanced security, compliance needs, and data residency. Furthermore, the new data centers will help promote global investment, improve access to the Internet and cloud services in Africa, and increase business opportunities in the region.

Projections from IDC–International Data Corporation–indicate that adoption of the cloud services will generate around 112,000 jobs in South Africa—by end of 2022. The data centers will facilitate improved environment for building digital businesses. Nedbank for instance, plans to utilize Microsoft Azure to increase its agility, customer focus, and competitiveness.

Furthermore, Azure provides companies with data privacy and security. This makes it a suitable service for banks like Nedbank. The Peace Parks Foundation and eThekwini Water have also signed up with Microsoft for computing services.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service. It can be used for building, testing, managing, and deploying services and applications through Microsoft data centers. The service supports different tools, frameworks, and programming languages.

Users of Azure can enjoy instant computing resources on demand. In addition, businesses or individuals using the service do not have to build on-site data centers or have server cooling environments. Also Azure users do not endure maintenance costs, electricity costs, and use of floor space. As such, Azure brings down the costs of computing.

Microsoft’s Investment in Africa

Microsoft has a 30-year history of operations in Africa. With over 10,000 local partners on the continent, the new data centers in South Africa add to the company’s long list of investments in Africa. The expansive investments in Africa took a new direction with Microsoft’s launch of 4Africa Initiative in 2013.

The initiative seeks to facilitate the company’s engagement with startups, partners, and governments. The aim of these engagements is to help the youth develop locally relevant technology, 21st-century skills, and affordable access to the Internet.

Other global tech giants with plans to open data centers in Africa include Huawei and Amazon. Facebook announced it will set up a content review center in Nairobi, Kenya.

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Politics

Tshisekedi and Kabila Agree to Form Coalition Government in DRC

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Kabila handing over power to Tshisekedi, few months before an agreement to form a coalition government

Joseph Kabila and Felix Tshisekedi during the inauguration ceremony

President Felix Thisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and his predecessor Joseph Kabila have agreed to form a coalition government. Tshisekedi, who won the recent presidential elections, was not able to gain enough support in Parliament.

Kabila’s party holds the majority seats in parliament. Through this agreement, Joseph Kabila finds himself in government again. Kabila did not vie for the top seat in the December 30 2018 elections.

ALSO READ: Ethiopia PM Resigns In Bid To Sustainable Peace and Democracy

Factors Leading to the Coalition

President Tshisekedi could not push through his choice for Prime Minister in parliament. The stalemate effectively held back Tshisekedi’s ambitions to reform the country. Whereas President Tshisekedi’s CACH–Heading for Change Coalition–has only around 50 seats, Kabila’s FCC party—Common Front for Congo– has 337 seats, out of the 485 seats.

A sitting president in DRC is required to select a prime minister from the parliamentary majority. Essentially, a prime minister is chosen from a political group, coalition, or party that holds the majority in the National Assembly. The FCC coalition blocked Tshisekedi’s proposals in parliament.

The dominance of FCC put Tshisekdi at a difficult position in pushing his agenda, and a coalition government was seen as an ideal solution.

President Tshiskedi and Kabila’s parties pushed the two leaders to form a coalition government—after several weeks of failed talks. Both Kabila’s FCC and Tshisekedi’s CACH are coalition parties in themselves.

Coalition Government Talks

After Tshisekedi vented his frustrations on his inability to push through his choice for Prime Minister, it was time for coalition government talks with Kabila. On Sunday 17 February 2019, Kabila and Tshisekedi held talks on the possibility of forming a unity government. Although Kabila is no longer president, he is still the head of FCC.

On Wednesday, March 6 2019, both parties issued a joint statement confirming an agreement to form a coalition government. According to the issued statement, the decision to form a joint government was a move that reflected the will of the people.

What this Means

A coalition government will now make it easy for President Tshisekedi to have his proposals approved in parliament. As such, the President can comfortably appoint a new Prime Minister and cabinet. President Tshisekedi can now govern the country.

The Democratic Republic of Congo now joins Kenya and Zimbabwe as some of the African countries that have formed coalition governments during a specific period. In Kenya, former president Mwai Kibaki formed a coalition government with Raila Odinga—from April 2008 to April 2013. Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe formed a coalition government with Morgan Tsvangirai—2009 to 2013.

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African Ingenuity

One of The Oldest Tribes In Africa Was Kicked Out Of Their Homes And Here Is What Happened

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Displaced Batwa Tribe

The Batwa tribe is one of the oldest in Africa. They originally resided in the rainforests of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. They survived many decades through hunting and gathering. However, in the 1990s, the government evicted them from the rainforest leaving them homeless. This and subsequent events threw them into poverty.

The actions of the governments of the three countries were prompted by the need to create a national park. The national parks helped to preserve the population of endangered gorillas in the Virunga Mountains. Since then, the population of the gorillas has grown to 880 in 2018 from 284 in 1981. Tourists now pay a huge amount to spend one hour with the apes. The parks have become a huge money spinner for the East African countries. However, the Batwa tribe paid the price.

A glimmer of hope for eighteen Batwa families

Volcanoes Safaris, a luxury lodge operator was drawn to the plight of the Batwa tribe condemned to squat in Uganda’ farmland. The founder of Volcanoes Safari, Praveen Moman was touched by their appalling livelihood. Moman first met the Batwa tribe when he opened the Mount Gahinga Lodge in 1997 on the outskirts of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The encounter sparked their relationship.

Through the Volcanoes Safari Partnership Trust, Moman gifted ten acres of land to the tribe.  When asked about what motivated his actions, Moman said,

“Generally, we want to support people and improve their livelihood in relation to the work we do at our lodges. It was a bunch of rocks on which they built little shacks of twigs, of tarpaulins, of cardboard—whatever they could get.”

All the material used for the construction of the new village were donations from the guests at Mount Gahinga lodge and the Volcanoes Safari Trust. However, Uganda-based Studio FH architects’ contribution was in terms of supervision services and free designs.

A glimpse into the new settlement for the Batwa tribe

The village consists of eighteen houses each measuring twenty square meters. Each of the homes boasts of a bedroom, common room and a covered veranda which also serves as the kitchen. Eucalyptus poles with bamboo crisscross form a grid and make up the walls. However, the roofing consists of metal sheets with papyrus coating.

Batwa Village Home

The builders took some steps to ensure the safety of these eco-friendly homes. First, the buildings have compact spacing for wind protection as well as to conserve farming lands. Secondly, the verandas face opposite of the direction of strong winds from the volcanoes. To ensure proper sanitation, two buildings containing latrines lie in the slopes on one side of the village.

The Batwa tribe village also has a community center on a 100 square meter space. Consequently, the dome-shaped community center is intended to be used for multiple purposes that involves public gathering. The official opening of the village was in May 2018.

Batwa tribe village community center

The 2018 Emerging Architecture Awards

The contributions of Studio FH Architects to the Batwa tribe also earned them a place on the 2018 Emerging Architecture Awards list. The prestigious award instituted in 1999 honors young designers who create a positive impact in their environment through architectural designs.

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