Africa

Local governance and ICTs in Africa : case studies and guidelines for implementation and evaluation

Title: Local governance and ICTs in Africa : case studies and guidelines for implementation and evaluation
Authors: Timothy Mwololo Waema, Edith Ofwona Adera
Pages: 357 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-55250-518-2, 978-0-85749-032-2
Publisher: IDRC, Pambazuka Press and CAFRAD
Date (published): 08/04/2011
Date (accessed): 12/07/2011
Type of information: book
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"With governance high on the agenda in Africa, many governments are using information and communications technologies (lCTs) to develop ways in which they deliver services to citizens. E-governance has the potential to enable local governments to engage citizens in greater participation, leading to socio-economic developments at local and national levels. But this potential remains largely unexploited and until now there has been a lack of evidence on information technology in local governance in Africa. This book addresses that gap. It offers studies from nine African countries that explore how lCTs can transform service delivery, tax, financial management, land management, education, local economic development, citizen registration and political inclusion. A synthesis of the findings and a roadmap for implementing and evaluating e-local governance projects mean that this book is not only relevant to researchers and students but is also a practical handbook for government decision makers. With lCTs increasingly available in Africa, this timely book speaks to the current issues."
(via zunia.org)

Opportunities and challenges for use of mobile phones for learning

Title: Opportunities and challenges for use of mobile phones for learning
Author: Bas Hoefman
Source: Educational Technology Debate
Publisher: infoDev and UNESCO
Date (published): 11/07/2011
Date (accessed): 12/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The Mobile landscape in Africa has rapidly evolved over the past decade with 380 Million mobile subscribers and 1 million added every week. This growth has been fueled in a large part by the liberalization effort resulting in the formation of independent regulatory bodies and increased competition in the market. This has enhanced numerous grassroots efforts to empower the poor and marginalized by providing access to knowledge through technology, more so a platform for communication. SMS and voice is being used in innovative ways to share knowledge and improve learning among students in Africa.
...
Technology role out for learning is still stalled by a number of factors in Africa including:

* Poor ICT policy implementation especially in the areas of Health and Education. These two areas are complimentary – will you educate an unhealthy nation?
* Most schools in Africa still do not accept mobile phone possession in classroom or even at school. Aspects of high teacher absenteeism and quality of teachers are still apparent.
* Limited mobile coverage especially in the rural areas which has also led to poor internet connectivity. Mobile operators are always seeking a win-win market situation– how then should we package these programs to make them interesting to the operators?
* Africa is characterized by too many ICT pilots of which most have not materialized to ongoing impact generating programs.
* Technology is powered by Electricity, which is a challenge to most of rural Africa."

Africa’s First National Open Data Initiative: Kenya

Title: Africa’s First National Open Data Initiative: Kenya
Author: Erik Hersman
Source: WhiteAfrican
Date (published): 07/07/2011
Date (accessed): 10/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Today Kenya becomes the first country in Africa to launch a national open data initiative. There have been many people pushing for this, over many months, and it’s been an exciting process to watch unfold. Foremost amongst the drivers on this has been Dr. Bitange Ndemo, the Permanent Secretary of Information and Communications. This is indeed a very proud moment for Kenya, and a leading position to take on the continent.

The Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI) goes live this morning in a big event that includes President Kibaki, as well as many politicians, government officials and local technologists. The World Bank, who has been instrumental in organizing and helping publish the data is here as well, along with Google, Ushahidi, the iHub community and a large selection of youth.

The data is available online through the Socrata platform, which allows users to view different data at national, county and constituency levels. They can compare different data sets, create maps and other visualizations.

Data sets are categorized into 6 main categories: Education, Energy, Health, Population, Poverty and Water & Sanitation. It includes data from the national census, the ministry of education, ministry of health, CDF projects and many more."
(via https://twitter.com/#!/ajussis)

Updated: African Nations with Active National ICT Plans

Title: Updated: African Nations with Active National ICT Plans
Source: Online Africa
Date (published): 31/03/2011
Date (accessed): 01/04/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The successful implementation of a national ICT (NICT) plan, also known as national information and communication infrastructure (NICI) plan, requires a great deal of planning on the part of the government. National ICT plans face an array of challenges including costs, stubborn government leaders, lack of infrastructure (ie. electricity), and a limited number of trained consultants. The initial process of deciding to create a plan, researching the best options for a plan, collaborating with experts and leaders, and approving the plan often takes years in itself. At that time, the country is perhaps in a different social and economic state. Plus, the government may or may not have seen drastic shifts in power. Additionally, if a plan is enacted, it can lose government support, face corruption, or lack adequate funding.
...
Below you will find a list of African nations with relatively current and well-publicized ICT plans. Plans that are known to be current within the past 3 years have the greatest chance at still being effective"

Using Mobile Money, Mobile Banking to Enhance Agriculture in Africa

Title: Using Mobile Money, Mobile Banking to Enhance Agriculture in Africa
Author: Judy Payne, Krish Kumar
Pages: 4 pp.
Publisher: USAID
Date (published): 20/12/2010
Date (accessed): 18/03/2011
Type of information: briefing paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"This is one of a series of briefing papers to help USAID missions and their implementing partners in sub-Saharan Africa use information and communications technology (ICT) more successfully — via sustainable and scalable approaches—to improve the impact of their agriculture related development projects including Feed the Future projects.1
In this context, this paper provides a brief overview of mobile money and mobile banking services. As the resource list at the end of this paper illustrates, there are many other sources of information available to inform the reader regarding the many aspects of m-money and m-banking related to security, risks, legal and regulatory issues, and key challenges for implementers. In contrast, the paper explains the basics of such services; their current and potential use for agriculture related projects; a few lessons learned to date related to such usage; and a few issues to consider when looking ahead."
via http://www.ictworks.org/

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.”
via http://twitter.com/#!/marcozennaro

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