Nonfiction in response to Partnerships for the Goals
May 2019

The Internet and Our Future

By Karen Wu

The Internet has been around for less than 30 years, but in that short time, it has transformed humanity. Not only can we chat with our friends and play fun games on it, but the Internet can also help developing countries through connecting the world.

 

One benefit of the connectivity is information, which allows people in developing countries to improve their lives. Take, for example, William Kamkwamba, a man from Malawi. He built an electricity-generating windmill with materials from a junkyard using skills he learned on the internet. Kamkwamba also built six laptop-equipped classrooms for the local school. In an interview with TED, Kamkwamba said that, “Everything I needed to learn had been hidden in the Internet the whole time.”

The Internet also helps businesses in developing countries. Usually, small businesses have trouble setting up relationships with distributors and customers. However, the Internet helps them do that. For example, a 2014 report by Deloitte, an auditing and consulting company, found that Indian farmers and fisherman who could track prices and weather through their phones had an 8% profit increase. According to a Brookings Institution blog, “A 10% increase in Internet penetration in a foreign country is associated with a 1.7 percent increase in exports and a 1.1 percent increase in imports.” Jason Njoku, a Nigerian entrepreneur, told the news site Africa Strictly Business that, “millions of Nigerians will be coming online and becoming more and more dependent on the Internet as a crucial part of their everyday lives.”

 

While it is clear the Internet can do a lot to help our world, we still need to make it more accessible. According to the UN, over four billion people don’t use the Internet, 90% of which are from developing countries.

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