The imminent arrival of broadband in Rwanda has exposed a policy vacuum that desperately needs to be filled if the poor in the country are going to benefit from the information society. Having good plans is not enough, argue Emmanuel Habumuremyi and Alan Finlay.
Advocacy Strategies and Approaches:
Roxana Barrantes Caceres
By most standards, Tanzania’s information and communications technology (ICT) policy looks ambitious. In just six years, it wants to make the country a hub of telecommunications infrastructure to help build the economy and end poverty. But John Mireny argues that when it comes to broadband, this vision lacks practical application, and is out of step with the real limitations on the ground….
For twenty days in July, land-locked Niger was without internet connection owing to damage to the undersea cable which goes through neighbouring Benin, and on which Niger depends for 70% of its bandwidth. This APC investigation seeks to understand why this West African country is almost exclusively reliant on Beninese infrastructures, when an alternative satellite solution could have minimised the severity of the situation.
On 12 December last year – Kenya’s 44th independence-day celebrations – journalists, media owners and civil society activists took to the streets in Nairobi. They were protesting the publication of Kenya’s Communications Amendment Bill (2007) which was later passed into law. But the media protests overshadowed a more complex challenge that lies at the heart of policy convergence in a networked world, write Rebecca Wanjiku and Alan Finlay…
In Latin America there is still a lack of universal access to telecommunications infrastructure in general and broadband in particuar. Some countries have chosen to develop national and local internet traffic through national access points (NAP) to keep prices down by avoiding international networks. However Venezuela has not yet taken the decision to install a NAP. APC research takes a look at the situation behind the deadlock.
Analysts argue that governments in cash-strapped developing countries often tread a tightrope between a need to shore up the state coffers for public spending, and a responsibility to address critical telecommunications access for the poor. Telecommunications make money – lots of it – and many governments know that this money can be used to fund basic services, such as water, housing and electricity. But in the process universal access promises go adrift, as is the case with Uganda’s high taxes on telecoms services, write Wairagala Wakabi and Alan Finlay.