With the increasing global connectivity, the fear to be expected is the inability to reach the global scope through one tap. There’s a simple term for this and that is; THE DIGITAL DIVIDE. Research-based indicators imply a Continental Digital Divide where less than a quarter of African countries are connected to the global link <the Internet>. Being on the marginal side of the digital divide, Africa stretches the dynamics further presenting a Gender-Based Digital Divide (Digital Gender Divide), where the ratio of men connected to the Internet to the women stands at approximately 10:1.
Between the uneducated or unemployed woman and highly intellectual woman, this sure is nerve aching number to stand by. A focused analysis accrues the highly uneven numbers to the high costs of the internet within African countries. Most of mobile phone users depend on their phones to access the mobile internet and approximately 9% of an individual’s monthly income is used to access 1GB of data (A yardstick for average connectivity).
On top of the charges levied, the users part with another fee to cater for the tax levied on the use of social media in some countries such as Uganda. Fiscal implications to stay connected leave the women that do not earn or even don’t have the technical ability and literacy to make payments left out of the cyber circle. The tax policy within many African Countries is therefore not gender-neutral as per working women to men. It also leaves out the education disparities where the enlightened see it as a means of taking responsibility for what one posts and the rest a limit to their freedom of expression as to lack of affordability.
The failure of the policymakers to rationalize the dynamic situation of their population leaves the ordinary individuals to alienate themselves in connectivity, implying that “the internet is for the rich.”
Between issues concerning the young and dependent internet users, illiterate with limited skills and the poor, the tax policy and financial implications are analyzed as not gender-neutral. Also, the limitation policies distort the public use of the internet and connectivity in general, shrinking the Civil Society space. The taxpayers remain in a fragile place and in turn, the revenue targets are not achieved.
Efforts should, therefore, be veered towards the inclusivity of the dynamic aspects of the countries’ population with at-most consideration of the humblest being. The public, therefore, should be consulted on the policies that affect them.