FrontlineSMS bring a free, innovative solution to African broadcasters

Title: FrontlineSMS bring a free, innovative solution to African broadcasters
Author: Sylvain Beletre
Date (published): 29/08/2012
Date (accessed): 09/09/2012
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Sylvain Beletre, Senior Analyst, Balacing Act talked to Amy O'Donnell, Project Manager at FrontlineSMS on how SMS can be a very powerful media tool.

The future of education in Africa is mobile

Title: The future of education in Africa is mobile
Source: BBC
Date (published): 22/08/2012
Date (accessed): 28/08/2012
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: United Nation’s mobile learning specialist Steve Vosloo argues phones could be the future of education on the continent.

An E-Reader Revolution for Africa?

Title: An E-Reader Revolution for Africa?
Authors: Geoffrey A. Fowler, Nichoas Bariyo
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Publisher: Dow Jones & Company
Date (published): 15/06/2012
Date (accessed): 14/08/2012
Type of information: blog post
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Schools in developing countries are experimenting with digital books; endless titles, spotty electricity

The eLearning Africa 2012 Report

Title: The eLearning Africa 2012 Report
Editors: Isaacs, S. and Hollow, D.
Pages: 56 pp.
ISBN: 978-3-941055-15-5
Publisher: ICWE, Germany
Date (published): 25/05/2012
Date (accessed): 13/08/2012
Type of information: book
On-line access: yes (pdf)
This book is a collective e-Learning experience of 41 African countries. There are 15 "opinion pieces", for example: Critical content and communication capabilities: foundational for African education in a digitally-mediated age; African youth, identity formation and social media; Why radio still matters; How African entrepreneurs are training for new opportunities etc.

Digital and Other Poverties: Exploring the Connection in Four East African Countries

Title: Digital and Other Poverties: Exploring the Connection in Four East African Countries
Author: Julian Douglas May
Pages: 17 pp.
ISSN: 1544-7529
Publisher: USC Annenberg
Date (published): 30/03/2012
Date (accessed): 13/08/2012
Type of information: referred article
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:„Although improved access to ICT has been put forward as a possible pathway from poverty, the mechanisms by which this takes place remain unclear. This is due, in part the need to further develop the conceptual and methodological tools necessary for such analysis. This article suggests a way in which indicators of multidimensional poverty can be incorporated into the analysis of access to ICT. Using data from a four countries in East Africa, households without ICT are found to be poorer in all dimensions than those with ICT. A multivariate analysis shows the associations between these dimensions of poverty and ICT access, revealing the importance of human and financial capitals. The use of digital poverty and the inclusion of multidimensional measures of poverty improve the estimation of the predictors of ICT access, and conversely, are likely to be important for future attempts to measure the impact of ICT on poverty reduction."

Towards priority actions for market development for African farmers

Title: Towards priority actions for market development for African farmers
Pages: 402 pp.
ISBN: 92-9146-260-8
Publisher: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and International Livestock Research Institute
Date (published): 30/01/2012
Date (accessed): 05/03/2012
Type of information: conference proceedings
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
„From dairy cooperatives, text messaging and grain storage to improved credit, transport and trade initiatives, new book presents “high-payoff, low-cost” solutions to Africa’s underdeveloped agricultural markets and chronic food insecurity…As a food crisis unfolds in West Africa’s Sahel region, some of the world’s leading experts in agriculture markets say the time is ripe to confront the “substantial inefficiencies” in trade policy, transportation, information services, credit, crop storage and other market challenges that leave Africans particularly vulnerable to food-related problems.”
See also:
Linking farmers to markets critical to rural development and efforts to combat Africa’s food woes

Open Government: Which Way Africa?

Title: Open Government: Which Way Africa?
Pages: 4 pp.
Source: CIPESA ICT Policy Briefing Series
Publisher: Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
Date (published): 26/09/2011
Date (accessed): 13/12/2011
Type of information: briefing paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The Kenya government scored what many billed a first in Sub- Saharan Africa, when it launched an open data website in July 2011. To put it plainly, the government opened itself to greater scrutiny from citizens and oversight institutions by providing them better access to information in its hands, including on expenditure and procurement. Increasingly, other African governments will be put to task to follow suit, as progressive governments the world over move to embrace the concept of open government, of which open data is a crucial element.
South Africa seems to be leading the pack in Africa in embracing open government, a benchmark on which governments should increasingly be evaluated in terms of their commitment to be accountable to their citizens. In fact, South Africa is the only African country that is part of what is set to become a powerful and popular global movement to place openness at the centre of governance and development.

Who is in The Open Gov Partnership?
The Open Government Partnership (www.opengovpartnership. org), or OGP, is a new multilateral initiative that aims “to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance”. The African countries currently eligible to join the OGP are Kenya, Liberia, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda – and of them, by September 20, 2011, only Tanzania and Uganda had not indicated their plans to join the OGP. These countries derive their eligibility from their “demonstrated commitment to open government” in the key areas of budget transparency, access to information, asset disclosure by politicians and officials, and citizen engagement.

Overseen by a steering committee of eight governments and nine civil society organisations, the Partnership launches in September 2011, when the eight governments on the steering committee will embrace an ‘Open Government Declaration’ and announce their country action plans. More countries will subsequently be invited to join the partnership."

The State of Research and Education Networking in Africa

Title: The State of Research and Education Networking in Africa
Author: Boubakar Barry
Source: Educational Technology Debate
Date (published): 30/06/2011
Date (accessed): 10/12/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Research and education networks (RENs) are dedicated networks for the research and education community. Unlike the “general” Internet, often referred to as commodity Internet, they carry only data related to education and research.

RENs were first established more than 20 years ago in developed countries in Europe and the Americas to support bandwidth-intensive applications in research, when it became evident that using the commodity Internet on demand for these applications, and for moving large quantities of data between institutions within a country, between countries, and between continents was not feasible. An example is the transport of data from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to various research centers worldwide.

RENs have also been places of innovation in networking technologies and have substantially fostered scientific collaboration at national, regional and international levels.

Why are research and education networks crucial for Africa?
RENs have a huge potential for improving the quality of education and research. The gain in productivity through access to high-speed networks for teaching, learning and research activities is obvious. For Africa, access to such networks through RENs is even more important for various reasons:

African researchers are isolated. There are very few institutions that have the critical mass of researchers in any particular field to allow them to collaborate and carry out research activities with world standard outputs. Having an adequate NREN infrastructure can enable remote collaboration and the building of the needed critical masses;
Resources are scarce in Africa, and some equipment and applications are too costly for single institutions: NREN infrastructure provides a means of sharing such resources. In fact, RENs can even provide a more efficient mean of sharing human resources by using video-conferencing tools for remote lecturing while at the same tile avoiding expensive and sometimes risky travel;
Cutting-edge research is increasingly carried out by multiple, inter-disciplinary research teams located in various countries of the world: coordination, data exchange and even experiments are mostly done using the global REN infrastructure. Not being part of this global community means that African researchers cannot participate in such global research projects;
In most African countries, higher education faces a big challenge called massification: due to lack of investment in infrastructure and equipment during the last two decades, universities and other higher education institutions cannot efficiently meet the high demand for access to higher education. Here again, REN infrastructure can support e-learning applications and blended learning models that can help reduce the pressure on the universities’ physical infrastructure and address the increasing legitimate demand for higher education..."

Undersea cables set to launch African bandwidth explosion

Title: Undersea cables set to launch African bandwidth explosion
Author: Rowan Puttergill
Source: memeburn
Date (published): 28/11/2011
Date (accessed): 09/12/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Many years ago, I worked for UUNET Internet Africa in South Africa. I remember sitting in the Operations room and looking at an international undersea cabling map, which showed each and every cable connecting the different continents of the world. It used to amaze me that South Africa’s connection to the rest of the world was so fragile. If I remember correctly, we really relied on one or two undersea cables at the time. I believe one of them was SAT-2, which had a total bandwidth of 560Mbps to carry all of our international telecommunications and internet traffic. Meanwhile, up in the northern hemisphere the sea-bed was positively littered with cables connecting Europe and North America in a multitude of ways.
Things have changed though, and it seems that Africa is finally catching up. This week, Wasace Cable Company announced that it intends to lay fibre-optic cable that will connect four continents, including Africa, with a total bandwidth of 100Gbps.
This year has seen a massive surge in efforts to improve the undersea cabling that connects Africa to the rest of the world. Earlier in the year, work started on the WACS cable, a 14 000 km cable that will link South Africa to London. Its 15 terminal stations running up the West Coast of Africa will provide additional bandwidth to a number of countries, and will become the first direct connection to the undersea cable network for Namibia, the Congos and Togo. WACS should go live early in 2012, and will increase South Africa’s bandwidth by an estimated 23%.
But WACS isn’t alone..."

Farming By Phone

Title: Farming By Phone
Author: Isaiah Esipisu
Date (published): 30/11/2011
Date (accessed): 06/12/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Francis Mburu used to keep indigenous cattle in Entasopia village in the semi- arid Kajiado region, 160 kilometres southwest of Nairobi. However, increasing temperatures and frequent droughts in Kenya have made this difficult in recent years.
But now, in an area that has never had electricity, where education is not a priority or sometimes not an option at all, residents of Entasopia are using a solar-powered internet facility to adapt to the changing climatic conditions.
The Nguruman community, largely composed of the Maasai ethnic group, now has access to an ICT facility locally known as Maarifa (“knowledge” in Swahili) Centre. Here they are able to access climate adaptation information via the internet, videos and books. The Arid Land Information Network (ALIN), in collaboration with the Kenyan government, founded the project.
According to Samuel Nzioka, the field officer for ALIN, most of the videos shown at the centre are practical lessons in local languages aimed at boosting the understanding of the concepts of climate change and adaptation, and basic dry-land farming knowledge..."

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