Only 34 per cent of African women on average are using the internet compared to 45 per cent of men, even as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) disclosed that it has mobilised over $28 billion to curb the gender divide.
The secretary general of ITU, Doreen Bogda Martin who disclosed this at this year’s International rural women’s day at an event organised by Women in Technology in Nigeria (Witin), in Lagos, explained that there is a wider gap between women in technology in Africa compared to their male counterparts.
Martin, while expressing her support for the organisation’s initiative for rural women on enhancing food security in Africa, stated that records showing that over 70 per cent of Africa food are produced by women.
“In Africa, only 34 per cent of women on average are using the internet compared to 45 percent of men. That gap is still less in the least developed countries compared to 130 that have any kind of internet access in rural areas. Rural women face even more barriers because ITU figures show only 15 percent of rural home dwellers are connected compared to 50 percent of the urban areas,” she explained.
The secretary general stated that the ITU is in place to address the gap with women in technology as the organisation has mobilised over $28 billion to curb the gender divide currently expressed in Nigeria and other countries around the world.
Martin however lauded the event organiser, Martha Alade, for championing the course of rural women and assuring the ITU to be of support to foster the growth of rural women in the application of technology to enhance better agriculture production.
Founder/CEO, of Women in Technology in Nigeria, Martha Alade, described the roles of technology in the advancement of farming as an important tool to boost the life of rural women and their produce in line with the theme “ Rural women’s cultivation of good food for all “ showcase the important role played by the females in the agricultural sector.
Alade describes the importance of technology in the agricultural sector from the point of farming to the selling of the product can not be overemphasised. Alade, while speaking to Badagry women farmers at the event, pledged her organisation’s continuous support for aiding research on programs for better agricultural yields for female farmers with provision of education to the female child’s inclusion in the ICT space, facilitating training for information technology teachers, and also helping to curb the cases of gender-based violence.
In the same vein, the executive vice chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communication Commission, (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbata who was represented by Mrs. Oladoyin Aiyenitaju, explained the importance ICT plays in bringing efficiency into food production chain in the rural communities, as modern agricultural technology increases employment and efficiency in the production of food, saving on time and reduction in cost.
Farmers, majority of whom are rural women, gain significant benefits from high innovation of technology, and the ability to communicate with their phones helps with the dissemination of information and its application to their farming process improves productivity, better ways of harvesting, setting up of agency banking points in their community to promote digital financial inclusion among others.
Danbatta however reiterates that the NCC under the ministry of communication and digital economy in partnership with the ITU remains committed to this digital inclusivity agenda to raise awareness and ensure gender balance and equal opportunities for men and women in Nigeria as the vision aligns with the ITU strategic framework 2022-2023 focusing on digital inclusiveness to bridge the digital divide and ensure providing broadband access to all.