South Africa is on the cusp of major broadband infrastructure roll-out. Seacom, a submarine cable initiative, will link South Africa to India and Europe by mid-2009, breaking the state monopoly and bringing down the cost of international bandwidth. And the new government isn’t ready for this, say a coalition of South Africans. So to help, they’ve put together a policy framework that could ensure that broadband develops so that all South Africans benefit and that’s been signed up to by thousands of their compatriots.
Does broadband really make a difference to economic growth? Are there other similar broadband campaigns elsewhere in Africa? The South Africa broadband campaign has answers to these questions on its campaign site:www.broadband4africa.org.za. APC has translated this essential information into French and Portuguese for our African readers and Spanish for Latin American readers fed up of paying over the odds for what’s now the basic internet connectivity required to access today’s interactive sites.
APC member, Fantsuam Foundation established the first rural community wireless internet service provider (ISP) in Nigeria in 2006. On Tuesday April 21 the ISP took a huge blow as the central communication tower was destroyed in a storm. Several buildings including the old network operation centre, a Cisco Laboratory and a neighbouring building were seriously damaged. No people were hurt. This is the second major natural disaster that Fantsuam has suffered in a few months. In August 2008, a lighting strike destroyed a large part of their power and wireless infrastructure. APC is waiting for news of how you can help Fantsuam rebuild. For now visit the IT46 site for more details.
Women in Africa may be accessing the internet, but are they getting the information they need? Whether they are students, members of civil society, leaders of indigenous communities or women and youth affected by HIV/AIDS, patents and copyrights are making it increasingly difficult for women in Africa to access the information they need. This edition of Gender Centred, a periodic bulletin produced by APC's programme for the GenderIT.org policy site, focuses on the challenges copyright and the lack of information exchange bring to those who need it most, and explores the different issues surrounding open source software, copyright and rights to information.
In the past decade, a new type of environmental threat has begun to appear on the radar: e-waste. Well-intentioned citizens from Europe and North America have been happily handing over their used electronic goods to be recycled or resold; however, these items often end up in electronic landfills, such as the one featured in this short CNN documentary. Organisations like APC member Computer Aid International work to help quality and functional second-hand electronics make their way to schools and IT training centres in emerging economies, like the Iya Abubakar Resource Center in Nigeria. CNN’s Christian Purefoy explores the growing problem of e-waste and how organisations like Computer Aid are taking this “waste” and helping empower students, businessmen and women in the countries most affected by e-waste.
Launch of draft framework for a national broadband strategy highlights policy vacuum in South Africa
A draft framework towards a broadband strategy in South Africa was launched in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Representatives from 29 different African parliaments met last week in Kigali to reaffirm that “equitable access to information is a right for all” and urge governments to enact laws that promote access to information, knowledge and communication for all citizens. Traditionally seen as civil and political rights, information rights are now becoming acknowledged as rights that are also social and economic, said APC’s Anriette Esterhuysen in her presentation which was framed by APC’s internet rights charter. The charter has just been translated into its twentieth language, Esperanto.
What are some of the most important challenges South African NGOs face in their communication and networking efforts? According to SANGONeT’s IT Programme Officer Botswang Kgeledi, limited ICT resources and knowledge are among the biggest challenges to effective communication and networking. Hear more about how SANGONeT is capacitating civil society with new tools to learn to make the most of these resources, in an interview by Frederick Noronha.
South African tech site, ITWeb, interviews APC’s Willie Currie on the forum being convened by APC and SANGONeT along with South Africa Connect and the Shuttleworth Foundation with the aim of drawing up a framework for a national broadband strategy.