Have you heard about the efforts of SpaceX, Google, and Facebook to bring Internet to those regions of the world that haven’t yet gone online? SpaceX has made the biggest splash to date, having already begun launching dozens of satellites to make the dream a reality. But fewer people have actually begun to analyze the lasting consequences of this massive effort. Half the world is still offline. What happens when the people who live in those dark areas suddenly have access to the Internet?
Well, a lot of things are poised to happen all at once.
Africa is perhaps the darkest region of all, but many companies are investing significant resources into the continent’s future. Billions live there. Those people don’t always have access to high technology like we do here. That’s why they aren’t always educated. They soon will be. When that happens, new companies will open their doors in Africa, and the economy could see a lot of growth depending on how resources are allocated.
Companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, which obtain most of their revenue online, will see an immediate and enormous boon to their businesses.
For law firms who use social media, millions of new clients will appear all at once.
But there are still obstacles to these goals. For example, dictators who rule in Africa often limit Internet access as soon as it develops. You can expect to see regional conflicts in Africa increase exponentially in the years ahead. It would hardly be surprising if bigger world powers in Europe of the United States of America begin to insert themselves into those conflicts in an effort to drive business ventures. Money buys politicians, and politicians go to war on behalf of the people who got them elected.
Countries like Chad, the DR of Congo, Gabon, Sudan, and Zimbabwe all shutdown Internet connections. New tech will face more obstacles in the next few years in trying to circumvent the lack of connectivity, while citizens of these countries will have to wait just a little longer to get on social media, where they can meet business leaders all over the world and change their lives in the process.
The speed of the Internet when it does get implemented is another obstacle. Most areas of Africa don’t even have 4G yet, which means it’ll be many years until they begin to make the advances that our own providers are making today with the implementation of 5G across much of the country.
Google and Facebook would like to lay high-capacity underwater fiber-optic cables around Africa, which might help somewhat. But only time will tell.