It is without doubt we live in the information era of humanity. We take our smartphones out of our pockets or spin up our laptops and we can access the world. We have instant entertainment, shopping, news, education, meetings, healthcare, finance, travel, social connections, and other areas of our lives that intertwine with word data. Connectivity so much infiltrated our lives that we don’t even notice the complexity behind it until we have a malfunctioning router or a bad connection that tends to drive us crazy.
On the other side there are countries that still lack proper broadband infrastructure, with people that are still not able use basic financial instruments or even have a means of identifying themselves. Tackling connectivity therefore means not only building out a telecom infrastructure but also providing means of identification and payment.
Our lives as individuals are controlled by our connections but our communities as a whole even more so. Without connections world economy would not exist as we know it today and even though it comes with some pitfalls, it solves a lot more problems. Countries today cannot develop properly without having a connection highway to the world that can accommodate most of their populations.
Imagine your private or business life without a fast and reliable internet connection. Unfortunately, this is the reality of many people in developing countries. Now imagine the troubles of such for a country as a whole.
Countries in development need to focus on multiple areas including economic development, social development, environmental protection, poverty eradication and others. Solving them is hard and occasionally conflicting but solving them without information and connectivity is virtually impossible.
Some even argue that information is the most important commodity of the 21st century (The Economist, 2017) (Madison, 2020). The biggest informational database to date is the internet. And without connectivity there is no internet.
Good relationships and cooperation are now being built even over long distances with modern technology and each country development depends on it.
We could argue that there is no optimal development of a country without proper connection to the world wide web.
Today going to school or to the bank can be just getting out of bed and behind the computer. Imagine the value of proper education and banking in Africa.
The potential is enormous.
Now even more than ever with the premise of delivering on Satoshi Nakamoto’s idea of trustless finance (Nakamoto, 2008). The 1 billion unbanked people, that right now do not have any tools to preserve their wealth, could finally start participating in the global economy, simply with a connection to the internet. If we want to bank the unbanked, we must first connect the unconnected.
Broadband has the potential to:
- reduce poverty,
- improve education,
- promote gender equality,
- improve health services,
- ensure environmental sustainability,
- provide a platform for global partnerships for development.
3air is creating equal opportunities for people in Africa
You can read more about on how broadband, and digitalization impact a society here.
Blockchain does make a difference
As we have seen recently with El-Salvador, global financial inclusion is possible. Since El Salvador declared Bitcoin legal tender (Renteria, Wilson, & Strohecker, 2021), they have seen an exponential raise in its adoption. Just 3 weeks after the new Bitcoin legislation came into effect, president Nayib Bukele stated: “Chivo is not a bank, but in less than 3 weeks, it now has more users than any bank in El Salvador and is moving fast to have more users that ALL BANKS IN EL SALVADOR combined.” (Bukele, 2021). For comparison, despite the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador being a member of Alliance for Financial Inclusion and signing a joint Maya Declaration Commitment in 2013 (AFI Global, 2017), there where are only 30.4% of El Salvadorians owning a bank account in 2017 (World Bank, 2021).
As it seems Bitcoin has done more for financial inclusion of El Salvador’s population in 3 weeks than the traditional banking system in decades.
As it seems the next obstacles to overcome will be connecting and educating people. The latest statistics show 60% of El Salvador inhabitants having mobile internet access (Holst, Statista, 2021) and only 8.14% have fixed-line broadband (Holst, Statista, 2021).