Africa

ICTs: Digital divide or digital bridge?

Title: ICTs: Digital divide or digital bridge?
Author:Aloyce Ndeleio
Source:www.thisday.co.tz
Publisher:
Date (published):30/11/2010
Date (accessed):02/12/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„ Fifteen years ago, the only option used to send an urgent two-paged document from Dar es Salaam to London was the fax. But, it was laborious, time consuming and sometimes difficult to send the documents, not to mention the costs.

Today, without worrying about time and costs, one sits behind a computer and send messages along with documents by electronic mail. On the other hand, in as much as it was difficult to engage yourself in debates and other discussions with people far away, nowadays, everything has changed for the better.

You can log on different websites and get a good picture of the current discussions and debates. The new information and communication technologies (ICTs) mean little less than a revolution when it comes to cost and convenience of communication for development organisations in most parts of this world.

This is a revolution that left a question that, revolution for how many? Nearly 90 per cent of all internet users are in industrialised countries according to the International Labour Organisation’s World Employment Report 2001.

In contrast, internet users in all of Africa and the Middle East together account for only one per cent of the global internet users, – the digital divide. Yet, the highest growth rates in internet users are found in Africa.”

Survey reveals bridging digital divide between urban and rural Africa represents major growth opportunity

Title: Survey reveals bridging digital divide between urban and rural Africa represents major growth opportunity
Author:Denise Duffy
Source:ModernGhana.com
Date (published):03/11/2010
Date (accessed):12/11/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Connecting rural communities has become a major issue for the telecommunications industry in Africa, according to a recent survey conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media. 75% of respondents* surveyed said that the improvement of access to and adoption of telecommunications services in rural areas is “very important” to their business. A further 20% thought it “moderately important”.

Commissioned as a part of Informa Telecoms & Media's Rural Connectivity in Africa research, which is due to be published this month, the findings of the study reveal how the mobile revolution has failed to touch all parts of Africa. That this is the case is holding the continent back from becoming a fully joined-up member of the global knowledge economy.
...
Access to power emerges as a recurrent theme throughout the results of the survey as a barrier to greater rural connectivity. When asked what is the single biggest barrier facing operators in the greater adoption of ICT services in rural areas, over a third of respondents from Africa cited “access to power” as the single biggest obstacle for operators, ahead of cost of ownership and lack of awareness. Very low electrification rates across sub-Saharan Africa and especially in rural communities, where they tend to fall well below 20%, have a huge impact on the availability of ICT services in remote areas."

AfricaCom: Africa’s mobile industry needs to re-invent itself to meet tomorrow’s challenges

Title: AfricaCom: Africa’s mobile industry needs to re-invent itself to meet tomorrow’s challenges
Author:
Source:Issue no 529
Publisher:Balancing Act
Date (published):05/11/2010
Date (accessed):09/11/2010
Type of information:aricle
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„Four thousand people are slated to attend the industry’s biggest continent-wide talk-fest AfricaCom next week, which has been given the upbeat title of Driving the Next Stage of Telecoms Growth in African Telecoms. However, the mobile masters of the universe face tough challenges ahead with growing competition and the levelling off of market growth. Operators face a slalom of obstacles that will begin to separate those who have the skills from those who have simply been lucky to have been in the right place at the right time. Russell Southwood looks at whether the mobile operators have the courage to re-invent themselves and if and when an insurgent challenger will come to market with a disruptive business model.”

Africa Analysis: The benefits of open source software

Title: Africa Analysis: The benefits of open source software
Author:Linda Nordling
Source:SciDev.net
Date (published):05/11/2010
Date (accessed):07/11/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Africa should embrace open source scientific software, cutting costs and boosting IT skills across the continent...In science, open source software users are still a minority, but such programmes are no longer the exclusive preserve of those who love to tinker with computers...Cash-strapped African universities could be fertile ground for such open source packages, yet few academics know they exist.
...
Many African governments and intergovernmental organisations, including the African Union, want to promote open source programming and software. But the political support rarely filters down to institutional level.
...
What is needed is an awareness campaign, perhaps driven by researchers themselves, to raise the visibility of open source software at the coalface of African science. Research funders should also come onboard, so that they can encourage applicants to use open source packages where suitable."

Futures of Technology in Africa

Title: Futures of Technology in Africa
Author:Jasper Grosskurth
Pages: 83 pp.
ISBN:978-90-809613-7-1
Publisher:STT, The Hague, the Netherlands
Date (published):22/10/2010
Date (accessed):05/11/2010
Type of information:research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
„Technology holds many promises as a driver of positive changes, as a tool to address the problems and as an enabler to fulfil the potential. Economic development requires modern technology and technology plays an important role in most strate- gies for alleviating hunger and poverty. Technology can reduce transaction costs, save lives, facilitate education, strengthen entrepreneurship, provide access to markets and help to deliver basic ser- vices, ranging from water and sanitation to public administration. However, the same technology can also be destructive and a cause of problems. Some technological developments can be facilitated or managed, others happen and require an adequate response.
It is this manifold interrelation of technology with its environment that makes exploring the future of technology so interesting and valuable. There is a need to explore how technology in Africa will or might evolve; to discuss the drivers and the obsta- cles, the issues technology might resolve and the problems it might cause; to identify how technology changes society and how African societies might change global technology. These are big and com- plex questions and the STT foresight project, which ends with this publication, is a contribution to this discussion that is still in its infancy with respect to Africa.”
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Mobile Technologies for Social Transformation

Title: Mobile Technologies for Social Transformation
Author Editor:Peter Holt
Pages: 20 pp.
Publisher: Nimbus Consulting Ltd
Date (published):11/10/2010
Date (accessed):05/11/2010
Type of information:research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
„Every year US$100s of millions is spent on projects in developing countries that have an ICT element. In addition, mobile networks are spending US$10s of billions on improving their infrastructure and rolling out data coverage. Over 4.5 billion people now have a mobile phone and the highest growth rates are in developing countries1. Even in the poorest communities most people either own or have access to a mobile phone.
Both governments and development agencies have been slow to exploit the unprecedented opportunities presented by ICT. There have, however, been many small scale pilots that have given people access to information via ICT and in most studies this has seen an improvement in wealth within the pilot community. The most well known studies with fishermen saw average profits rise 8%.2 Whilst ICT and more specifically mobile phones are beginning to be used both to provide access to information and for data collection, there is still much more that they could be utilised for.
Many development programmes provide immediate support and training programmes. Health programmes have provided vaccinations, and agricultural schemes have provided best practice training on crop rotation and the use of fertilizers etc. There is, however, a distinct lack of follow on support and continuing input. How do you provide ongoing coaching to farmers to ensure they have fully understood the training advice and are actively implementing the new ideas? How do you mentor individuals with health issues to ensure that they are taking the best care of themselves on a daily basis?
A new technology has crept onto the African scene that has enabled a step change in the way that the poor can access and share information. This concept paper outlines why we believe that Instant Messaging (IM) through services such as Mxit and JamiiX can make a significant difference, not only to the provision and impact of information services, but more importantly to the ongoing coaching and mentoring of individuals and communities. This technology offers benefits in terms of lower cost and greater ease of use, whereby users can enter into a “conversation” with a service provider. It is this ability to establish a relationship through the multiple exchange of texts that distinguishes the system from SMS based information services, and it is relationships that hold the key to translating information into practice and thus lasting transformation.”

African Ministers Pass ICT Directive

Title: African Ministers Pass ICT Directive
Source: eLearning Africa
Date (published): 13/07/2010
Date (accessed): 14/07/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
African countries have to balance their spending on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for education better. Skills development among teachers, which accounts for only 10% of most countries’ ICT budgets, has to be strengthened. Spending on costly hardware, which covers 90% of most countries budgets, should rather be reduced. This is one of the key recommendations of a communiqué released by participants in the Third African Ministerial Round Table on ICT for Education, Training and Development.

A Dedicated Satellite for Meeting Health Education Needs of Afro-Asian Nations: Possibilities, Action Plan and Benefits

Title: A Dedicated Satellite for Meeting Health Education Needs of Afro-Asian Nations: Possibilities, Action Plan and Benefits
Author: Praddep Kumar Misra
Pages: 12 pp.
ISSN: 1681-4835
Source: The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, EJISDC (2010) 41, 6, 1-12
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Date (published): 06/05/2010
Date (accessed): 28/06/2010
Type of information: peer-reviewed article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that regardless of promises of better healthcare by governments and donor countries, millions of mothers, newborn babies and children continue to die each year in Africa from preventable diseases. The Asian countries are no exception. This situation warns us to analyze existing health education challenges in Afro-Asian nations and look for innovative strategies to overcome these challenges. The launch of a dedicated Afro-Asian Satellite will help to overcome health education challenges by strengthening the system that serves the people and by creating a partnership between the providers and users of health services. Considering this approach, the present paper discusses about possibilities, benefits and action plan for launching a dedicated satellite to meet the health education needs of the Afro-Asian nations.

Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW) 2010 Roundup

Title: Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW) 2010 Roundup
Author: Mary Schneider
Source: ICT-KM
Publisher: CGIAR
Date (published):
Date (accessed): 27/06/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
The 2nd Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW) opened earlier this month in Nairobi with a speech from Kenya’s Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Dr Sally Kosgei. Her thought-provoking address challenged researchers and GIS practitioners to ‘discuss steps towards the development of delivery mechanisms for making geospatial information accessible to poor smallholders in the villages across Sub-Saharan Africa,’ – a timely topic that was already high on the event’s agenda.

Location, location, location: Geographic techies explore ways of navigating a better future

Title: Location, location, location: Geographic techies explore ways of navigating a better future
Author: Susan MacMillan
Source: ILRI News
Publisher: International Livestock Research Institute
Date (published): 16/06/2010
Date (accessed): 18/06/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
A group of some 80 international and developing-country experts in the use of geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing and other high-tech tools developed in the field of what was once innocently called ‘geography’ met in Nairobi last week (8–12 June 2010) to see if they couldn’t, by working together better, speed work to reduce world poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. (Oddly, this gathering of people all about ‘location’ tend to use a forest of acronyms — GIS, ArcGIA, CSI, ESRI, ICT-KM, AGCommons, CIARD, CGMap – in which the casual visitor is likely to get lost.)

The participants at this meeting, called the ‘Africa Agricultural GIS Week’, aimed to find ways to offer more cohesive support to the international community that is working to help communities and nations climb out of poverty through sustainable agriculture.

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