Intersectional inequality inhibits digital substitution aimed at mitigating COVID-19 effects in South Africa

Research Internet Africa (RIA) conducted a COVID-19 rapid response phone survey in South Africa which revealed that digital and internet access was increased amid the COVID-19 lockdown due to smartphone access. According to the survey, the profile of South Africans who are more likely to have greater economic opportunities and access to social protection services is male, urban, and young people. This could be further explained by the fact that access to government social protection services, remote learning and work, and e-commerce flows are linked to those with higher education credentials, men, and urban residents. Additionally, the RIA survey found that introducing the COVID-19 app as a government crisis contact tracing strategy appealed to urban dwellers, women, and the youth but not rural residents, men, and the elderly.