Youth, Deprivation and the Internet in Africa

The Internet is presented as a panacea for the challenges that young people face, but this is not necessarily the case. Despite being drivers of Internet take up, young people’s use of the Internet is not optimal, especially within contexts of deprivation. The arising policy question this research seeks to answer is: what are the best approaches to ensuring that Internet access and use benefits youth within a context of poverty. The study investigates - from young people’s perspective - whether the Internet could be used to help them deal with the various issues they face. With a focus on Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania, the paper considers what the policy implications of this are and proposes possible policy interventions. This research, seeks to understand the way in which young people make use of the Internet within particular contexts. If access to and use of Internet is to be harnessed to support youth development and to attempt to break the cycles of poverty in many of the African countries, it is vital to ensure that more young people – male and female, and also in remote rural areas – have access to affordable devices that allow them to search for the information they need, in a language that they speak and understand.