KaiOS chief tips phones to help close digital skills gap



INTERVIEW: KaiOS CEO Sebastien Codeville (pictured) argued digital education efforts should focus on handsets as a key training tool, but warned more affordable options were needed to capitalise on the opportunity.

Speaking with Mobile World Live, the executive noted “the phone is the first access to internet for most of the people in emerging markets. People don’t have a computer but they have a phone”.

He suggested a focus on handsets for training could help close a skills gap in regions such as Africa, where he said only 50 per cent of countries offer digital skills training as part of their education programmes, compared with 85 per cent of countries in the rest of the world.

But Codeville noted cost and accessibility of internet-enabled devices remain key barriers: approximately 3.7 billion people are still unable to afford a basic smartphone, a challenge KaiOS is trying to solve with a focus on “smart feature phones” with a significantly lower price than smartphones.

Such accessibility is “critical to move people from a voice and text device to a phone that is able to connect them to internet and applications”.