Africa

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

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.

Kenya’s agriculture minister opens Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week

Title: Kenya’s agriculture minister opens Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week
Author: Nadia Manning-Thomas
Source: ICT-KM
Publisher: CGIAR
Date (published): 11/06/2010
Date (accessed): 15/06/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Kenya’s agriculture minister opens Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week and calls for efforts to take geospatial information to the ‘last mile’

While addressing the 2nd Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW) that opened this week at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) campus in Nairobi; Kenya’s Minister for Agriculture, Hon Dr Sally Kosgei, 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.

Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa

Title: Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa
Authors: Jenny C. Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti
Pages: 45 pp.
Source: Working Paper 211
Publisher: Center for Global Development (www.cgdev.org)
Date (published): 01/06/2010
Date (accessed): 02/06/2010
Type of information: research paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
Jenny Aker Isaac Mbiti examine the growth of mobile phone technology over the past decade and consider its potential impacts upon quality of life in low-income countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. They first provide an overview of the patterns and determinants of mobile phone coverage in sub-Saharan Africa before describing the characteristics of primary and secondary mobile phone adopters on the continent. They then discuss the channels through which mobile phone technology can impact development outcomes, both as a positive externality of the communication sector and as part of mobile phone-based development projects, and analyze existing evidence. While current research suggests that mobile phone coverage and adoption have had positive impacts on agricultural and labor market efficiency and welfare in certain countries, empirical evidence is still somewhat limited. In addition, mobile phone technology cannot serve as the “silver bullet” for development in sub-Saharan Africa. Careful impact evaluations of mobile phone development projects are required to better understand their impacts upon economic and social outcomes, and mobile phone technology must work in partnership with other public good provision and investment.

It’s Different. African Open Source Technology and ICT4D

Title: It’s Different. African Open Source Technology and ICT4D
Author: Nana Kwabena Owusu
Source: www.233tech.com
Publisher: Ignite
Date (published): 16/04/2010
Date (accessed): 07/05/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
An interesting conversation sparked by a blog post on the Ushahdi blog is the main reason for this post. The post by Erik Hersman raises issues about open source software and tools created in Africa and ICT for Development (ICT4D). In the post Erik contends that although it is great that these tools are being used for development oriented Non Profit work, the technology (tools and software) themselves should be separated and not classified as ICT4D tools.

via http://twitter.com/ICT_Works

On Love and Hate for 160 characters

Title: On Love and Hate for 160 characters
Author: Oliver Christopher Kaigwa Haas
Source: Appfrica.net
Publisher: Appfrica International
Date (published): 03/05/2010
Date (accessed): 06/05/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
“SMS till you drop!” A phrase that reflects well, the growing popularity of the 160-character text message in Africa. As is often the case with the implementation of simple technologies in low-resource settings, the creativity that has stemmed out of the use of SMS on this continent is truly amazing. As mobile phones become increasingly ubiquitous across Africa, SMS technology is being used to provide a host of innovative services in the health, financial and education sectors. While I am very excited about these developments, I have recently become increasingly sceptical about the potential for SMS to bring about a true revolution in end-user mobile technologies and applications in Africa.

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