The digital wave is taking no prisoners in Africa, with entrepreneurs working daily to bring solutions to some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, including access to quality education. This is why the recent partnership between Econet Wireless and Snapplify is so exciting: Hundreds of thousands of e-books will be made available to African readers across multiple digital platforms on mobile, tablet and desktop – from educational materials to bestselling leisure reads. The cherry on the cake is that there will be no extra costs for downloads.

This innovative and solutions-driven partnership between these two African powerhouses means that millions of people who had been barred from accessing e-reading by the prohibitive cost of data on the continent are no longer confronted by that obstacle. In a press release, Snapplify says all e-books and digital educational content will be zero-rated.

Snapplify’s operations director, Mark Seabrook, says Snapplify has always worked towards addressing education challenges. And not only does Econet share this strong focus on education but, like Snapplify, they are specifically interested in practical solutions for common problems, such as access to materials and the high cost of data.

“We are excited at the opportunity to work with Econet, and as we continue to expand into Africa, we hope this partnership will allow us to reach more readers and improve access to digital educational materials on the continent,” Seabrook said.

Tendai Mashingaidze, Econet’s education chief executive, reiterated Econet’s long-standing commitment to leverage their reach to impact diverse audiences and equip them with quality tools and resources for growth and empowerment.

He said, “It is common knowledge that educational materials are difficult to access across Africa. Econet is passionate about using our strengths and assets to make a sustainable change in this regard and looks forward to working closely with Snapplify as leaders in our respective industries.”

The growth of the digital space in Africa requires innovative solutions and approaches to access to education. The mountain that needs to be climbed in the digital space, known as the digital divide, will also need to be addressed as learners without access to mobile phones or any smart devices may not benefit at the same level as active users of the digital space.

One of the most outstanding aspects of this partnership is that it combines Econet’s strong presence across Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana, Lesotho, Ghana and Uganda with Snapplify’s award-winning technology and content catalogue.

Established in 2012, Snapplify is a leading global Edtech company focused on content distribution, mobile publishing and innovation for digital education. It can boast that it is the largest e-book aggregator in Africa, with 240 000 titles from leading publishers, both on the continent and abroad. The partnership will also benefit local publishers, who are invited to join in the project to increase access to digital educational content for schools that are increasingly moving towards digital education in their classrooms.

Econet is a privately held diversified telecommunications, media and technology group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America, North America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, offering products and services in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephony services, broadband, Internet, satellite and fibre optic networks.