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2013 VOF Week 1: Youth Access to Internet and Communications

In a world that has totally become evolved with Information, Communication Technology (ICT), most countries continue to be left behind.

What would we call access to internet? The access may be there, but at what cost? When we look at the average youth in Zambia today and I will not just limit it to the urban youth but also include the rural youth. How many of them have the access to a simple computer and get the skills to use them? Yes, you may argue that technology has come much closer to everyone by the use of mobile phones that come in all makes and prices. Whilst I am appreciative of the fact that mobile technology has saved a lot of people including myself on a number of occasions.

So youths can easily make use of it as long as they have a mobile device with WAP and so long as they know how to go about using their mobile phone than just for facebook and whatsapp. The hidden challenge is the fact that most of these youths do not know how to make use of the functionalities of the devices.

The limitations are not on the devices but in the users. Well the options are there not at the level we would want but look at it from this perspective internet bandwidth is a scarce resource and the level of use determines the service in turn.

I probably think the service provider is charging too much but if the internet I use is for downloads and business support, my concern won't be cost it will be entirely about reliability and availability to my business because it indirectly or directly generates revenue or income for me. So if the internet fails or network is unavailable I will then claim am not getting value for my money.

In a nutshell, for youth to communicate effectively they need access and availability to internet and other communication channels.


Aurore's picture

Good questions

Hi Limpo!

I like how you acknowledge what the web 2.0 offers but also the challenges that still exist in access. It's true that it has become crucial for economic development and businesses to have regular and stable access to the Internet.

I don't know the conditions of access in Zambia very much, actually: how is network connection there? Is it good enough to be reliable? and you talk about costs: is it expensive compared to what most people earn?

I would love to know more about that!
Thanks again and good luck in VOF,


limpo's picture


Hi Aurore,

Well, it depends really. Sometimes the network is good and other times its so slow. Sometimes its reliable and other times quite a let down. Depending on what plan or service provider you use. So more or less one needs to be on top of the game with regard to access. But that's quite a challenge.

The costs are quite expensive, it depends on the salary bracket that one is under. See people have certain responsibilities and for some internet is not one of them especially if they have a number of bills to pay. More so for a youth that is in school or is out of employment.

It would really be interesting to carry out a study on this actually.

Thanks for your thoughts Aurore. Appreciate them.

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