Young Scientists

Scientist and entrepreneur - 12. Mamadou Sidibé: the illiteracy problem

How could the Internet support the economy of a country where 40% of the population cannot read or write?

"So we can talk a lot about literacy, about empowering women, but how can we be sure to give real empowerment to the woman who sells mangoes at the roadside?

How are we going to do something that may succeed in Africa? Lenali.

In classical economics, there are distributors, producers and customers. In the early 1990s with Web 1.0, you could access the Internet.

Then in the 2000s all these actors came on social networks. Social connection, direct communication, is the characteristic of every human being, hence the great popularity.

All this is working very well here in Europe, Southeast Asia and North America of course, and figures are there. In 2016, in North America it is nearly 1,500 billions, in Europe it is more than 1,000 billions. In Africa and the Middle East combined, it is only 217 billions in turnover. Why?

Scientists have studied these subjects. There are of course infrastructure and cost issues. But in Mali, only 40% of the population can read and write. Women, only 30%: less than one in three women can read and write in Mali. It's not very better in the neighbouring countries. It's better in Kenya or Tunisia, they're more advanced.

So, how can we explain these people how to take AIDS or other issues into account? Literacy! But the cleaning lady told me she doesn't give a shit, she prefers to go and earn money. We must create the need.

For men it is 48%, so good, so there is a bigger effort to be made for women than for men."


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