We were onsite in Kigali this week for GSMA Mobile 360 Africa, where we discussed the rise of the digital citizen across the continent. Given the fact that mobile connectivity is at an all-time high (200 million individuals connected to 4G since 2014, according to GMSA intelligence) and technology continues to drive change within every aspect of society, it was exciting to connect with others working to eliminate the digital divide.

Key takeaways from the educate to empower panel discussion

On Tuesday, July 16, we sat alongside representatives from Orange, Safaricom, Prepclass, Mara Phone Rwanda, Bankable Frontier Associates (BFA), and DialTel, as they discussed the true impact of the fourth industrial revolution.

The panelists emphasized that in order for Africa to be a part of, or even lead the fourth industrial revolution, a local tech ecosystem is mission-critical. This doesn’t just mean ensuring that hardware production and software development are taking place regionally (although Mara Phone provided an excellent example of that), it means ensuring that there are educational resources to equip people with the skills and information they need to be successful, not just knowledgeable. In other words, teaching someone to code, but also how to manage a product, prioritize a product roadmap, etc.

There was also much discussion surrounding the role governments can play; pushing digital transformation, generating demand for such skills, and creating opportunity for actual work experience. Governing bodies also hold the power to make tech skills a part of a high school curriculum, instead of waiting for university, which is still reserved for middle class or those with greater personal wealth.

Mobile Internet skills training toolkit for KaiOS-powered smart feature phones

Millions of people gain access to the internet for the first time every year, but a “usage gap” of 3.2 billion people around the world remains. One of the biggest barriers to adoption, alongside affordability, is digital illiteracy, which is why KaiOS Technologies and GSMA are excited to announce that a new Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT) specifically designed for KaiOS-powered smart feature phones, is coming later this year.

The visual, easy-to-follow curriculum will integrate into the existing MISTT materials and cover topics from internet safety to using Facebook, and everything in-between. It will also serve as a how-to guide for local carriers, retail staff, and users themselves to better explain smart feature phones and the many important features/services they host.

These training materials are further testament to KaiOS Technologies and GSMA’s dedication to eliminating the digital divide, as they serve as a transition to digital literacy and encourage the connection of the next billion users.