East Africa

ICT for Democracy in East Africa: Project Update

Title: ICT for Democracy in East Africa: Project Update
Author: Ashnah Kalemera
Publisher: Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
Date (published): 01/11/2011
Date (accessed): 14/12/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Launched in May 2011, ICT for Democracy in East Africa (ICT4DemEA) is a network of organisations undertaking collaborative projects where Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is used in various ways to promote transparency, accountability and democracy.

The network, with seed funding from the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (Spider) comprises of organisations in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. These are the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET); Transparency International Uganda (TIU); The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA); iHub (Kenya) the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Tanzania’s Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG).

The projects spearheaded by each organisation leverage on ICT with the aim to fight corruption, enhance the right to freedom of expression, monitor service delivery, hold leaders accountable and encourage civic participation. During the recently concluded Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Nairobi, September 27-30, 2011, the regional network partners met to discuss the progress of their projects."

How Broadband will get to Somalia

Title: How Broadband will get to Somalia
Author: Jeffrey Swindle
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 16/07/2011
Date (accessed): 18/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Last week, I interviewed Mohamed Ahmed Jama, CEO of Dalkom Somalia and board member of Frontier Optical Networks Ltd (FON) in Kenya. Jama described four potential Broadband cables that could be a part of a terrestrial backbone throughout East Africa, including in Somalia. A fifth was announced yesterday in Somaliland.
Though all three of these proposed links are just that—proposals—they are indicative of the rapid growth of Broadband connectivity in the region. Most East African governments are actively engaged in rolling out backbone terrestrial networks, while four years ago the World Bank called East African connectivity the world’s only “missing link.”
South Sudan is working with the CTO to develop an ICT strategic plan; Burundi recently received funding from the World Bank; and Uganda has also invested as well. And private companies are facilitating the expansion of Broadband cables as well as they are working with the national governments to lay the cables and to fund the projects.
The East African Backhaul System was recently announced as a combined $400 million partnership between Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo governments and a variety of private telecoms. The unique partnerships between the public and private sector make the ICT space in East Africa distinct from other regions."

ICT and Economic Growth: Evidence from Kenya

Title: ICT and Economic Growth: Evidence from Kenya
Author: Richard Heeks
Source: ICTs for Development
Date (published): 26/06/2011
Date (accessed): 06/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Do ICTs contribute to economic growth in developing countries?

In the 1980s, Robert Solow triggered the idea of a productivity paradox, saying “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” And for many years there was a similar developing country growth paradox: that you could increasingly see ICTs in developing countries except in the economic growth data.

That is still largely true of computers and to some extent the Internet, but much less true overall as mobiles have become the dominant form of ICTs in development. In particular key studies such as those by Waverman et al (2005), Lee et al (2009), and Qiang (2009) have demonstrated a clear connection between mobiles and economic growth and/or between telecoms more generally and economic growth. They all address the “endogeneity” problem: that a correlation between telecoms (indeed, all ICTs) and economic growth is readily demonstrable; but that you then have to tease out the direction of causality: economic growth of course causes increased levels of ICTs in a country (we buy more tech as we get richer); you need to try to control for that, and separate out the interesting bit: the extent to which the technology causes economic growth."

Will broadband internet establish a new development trajectory for East Africa?

Title: Will broadband internet establish a new development trajectory for East Africa?
Author:Mark Graham
Source:Poverty matters blog, guardian.co.uk
Publisher:Guardian News and Media Limited
Date (published):07/10/2010
Date (accessed):10/10/2010
Type of information:blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"East Africa is in the process of reinventing itself. The government of Rwanda has invested heavily in IT infrastructure to bring high speed internet connections to even the most remote parts of this small, resource-poor country. Kenya, similarly, has ambitious plans to become a highly wired nation and attract a share of the growing market in international business outsourcing.

Only a year ago, east Africa was the last major region on Earth without fibre-optic broadband internet connections. People were forced to rely on painfully slow and prohibitively expensive satellite connections. However, the recent arrival of three submarine fibre-optic cables into the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa has now fundamentally altered the connectivity of the region.
...
Nobody knows whether the East African gamble on IT and outsourcing will pay off. Vast resources have been invested, and there are high hopes among many in the public and private sectors that changes in connectivity offer opportunities for economic growth. But important questions remain. Will altered connectivity really allow firms in east Africa to become hubs in the global economy? Or will improved connections simply allow foreign firms to better exploit the demand in east Africa for IT services? Perhaps most importantly, who stands to benefit? And who will be left out of these transformations?

The answers to these questions are unclear. But it is likely that the sense of expectation and change in Kenya and Rwanda will be enough to bring about significant economic transformations, whatever they may be."

The Innovative Use of Mobile Applications in East Africa

Title: The Innovative Use of Mobile Applications in East Africa
Author: Johan Hellström
Pages: 104 pp.
ISBN: 978-91-586-4129-7
Publisher: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida
Date (published): 03/06/2010
Date (accessed): 15/06/2010
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
This report gives an overview of the current state of mobile phone use and services in East Africa. It outlines major trends and main obstacles for increased use as well as key opportunities and potential for scaling-up mobile applications. The report draws on secondary data and statistics as well as field work carried out in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya during 2008 and 2009.
The report identifies relevant applications in an East African context for reaching and empowering the poor and contribute to social and economic development. The identified mobile applications, listed in Appendix 2, range from small pilots to scaled-up initiatives – from simple agricultural, market or health information services to fairly advanced financial and government transaction services.

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