The Global Innovation Fund has invested $450,000 in Isizwe, a South African internet service provider that promotes access for minimal-income communities (GIF).
GIF is offering this funding as part of ADVANCE, a collaboration with Anglo Americans that allows private investment to grow creative business models in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In towns and conventional settlements, Isizwe provides cheaper, pay-per-use limitless WiFi access. In South Africa, customers pay R5 ($0.33) for 24 hours of internet access, as opposed to R100 ($6.63) per gigabyte.
Tim Genders, CEO of Isizwe, noted that this is a wonderful investment for Isizwe and demonstrates that the globe cares about Africa’s connections.
Over 90% of African households only have access to the internet via mobile data, which is charged per gigabyte, making it prohibitively expensive to connect.
He went on to explain that the price is comparable to the expense of bathing in bottled water. Governments in affluent countries recognize the hazards of a digital divide and are investing heavily to link their rural populations. Because connectivity is the new key to breaking free from poverty, it’s fantastic to see GIF and Anglo Americans taking it to Africa.
As such, every household within walkable reach has a WiFi Zone, with each zone encompassing approximately 100 homes.
The team has constructed 80 Wifi Zones since its debut in 2020, and one for a community of scholars aiming to promote online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Isizwe plans to develop over 25 000 Wifi Zones in South Africa by 2022.
Isizwe collaborates with remote communities, employing sales representatives known as WiFi entrepreneurs to interact with residents and generate direct marketing.
It also enters into offtake arrangements with corporate sponsors to supply WiFi access to full-time students and staff.
Men are 21 significantly more likely than women to be connected internationally, thus more affordable internet access could help reduce the digital gender boundaries.
Women and girls who do not have internet access have fewer options, but inventions like Isizwe assist to increase equality between the sexes by giving them more internet access, ultimately helping to find extra income-generating hobbies and employment prospects.
According to GIF Investment Director Khuram Hussain, the firm has seen the benefits of last-mile connectivity in India, Latin America, and parts of Africa, and hopes to demonstrate that its investment can sustainably offer internet access to those living in rural and peri-urban areas of South Africa while creating both huge social advantage to consumers and appealing investment rewards for investors.
Anglo American supports digital connectivity, especially as a means of supporting South African mining communities in building livelihood opportunities and revenue streams in the wake of mine closures.
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