Vodacom and Google Give Smartphones to Rural Communities in South Africa


Vodacom has partnered with Google to give away hundreds of Android-powered smartphones to communities across Limpopo, South Africa.

This move forms part of the companies continued efforts to “reduce the digital divide” and offer many who reside in deep rural communities “access to the internet for the first time”.

“At Vodacom we are optimistic about how technology and connectivity can enhance the future and improve people’s lives. Through our business, we aim to build a digital society that transforms communities, embraces everyone, leaving no one behind. Our purpose is to ‘connect for a better future’, improving the lives of the next 100 million customers by 2025,” says Imran Khan, Managing Executive for Vodacom Limpopo.

“In our pursuit to build an inclusive and sustainable digital society, we prioritise investing in deep rural communities as this is part of our vision to make sure that we connect everyone, irrespective of where they live.”

The second phase of this project will entail educating people from these villages about the Internet, basic digital skills, how to use an Android smartphone, data, apps like Google Search, YouTube and Google Maps.

“Android’s goal has always been to bring the power of computing to everyone. Access to the opportunities the internet offers is critical for any nations’ economic growth & social inclusion. We believe that this collaboration will bring more South Africans online and help them take advantage of the opportunities,” says Mariam Abdullahi, Director of Android and Platforms Partnerships for Africa.

For example, learners and students enrolled in schools and universities can access relevant information on this platform for free, with no data costs.

“Closing the digital gap in deep rural communities must start with network investment in these areas, providing tools that will enable people to access the internet exposing them to new digital education tools, and e-government initiatives that connect citizens with services. This is a model we are pioneering in Limpopo and we know that this is going to transform people’s lives for the better,” concludes Khan.

Edited by Jenna Delport
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