Africa: Internet Growth Accelerating
04 June 2009
Until recently, the experience of the internet in Africa has been like having to eat a three-course meal by sucking it through a straw: time-consuming, unreliable and expensive. .. [but prices are dropping] and cheap international bandwidth is an essential component for any developing country to remain competitive in a changing world.
The telecoms situation in Benin is unique. The array of mobile telephone enterprises established during Mathieu Kérékou’s regime has resulted in the average Beninese owning three, four, or even five SIM cards for their daily communication needs. Facilitated by corruption and skyrocketing prices, it was not until the arrival to power of the new president Yayi Boni in 2006 that reform in this sector began. Despite the current progress and lower prices, networks remain segregated and there is still much to be done in relation to ICTs and the standardisation of the telecom sector in a legislative and regulatory environment that is open to investment. APC investigates to find out more.
Since the APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor started in 2001, significant inroads into raising the profile of the need for progressive ICT policy approaches in Africa have been made. The need for a portal like the Africa ICT Policy Monitor that collects and organises news and resources on a vast array of issues has diminished, but APC’s policy programme’s Africa wing will continue to report on issues of strategic importance through Chakula, a periodic newsletter.
Is the cellular phone a tool for oppression or empowerment? An innovative new campaign by Girl’sNet, a daughter project of Women’sNet aims to ensure that the cell phones are are used to empower young South African women through positive self-expression.
The recent South African elections, held on April 22 2009, seem to be the most vibrant yet to grip the country. Political parties launched their manifestos and a striking issue was the absence of women’s concerns in the political parties’ agenda, in spite of the fact that women formed the majority of this years registered voters. This special edition newsletter on gender and politics by Women’sNet explores the question of women, gender and politics and will leave you wanting to read more…
Computer World Kenya, Zambia
Tanzanian telecenters share costs of wireless 'Net'
07 May 2009
"Telecenters in rural Tanzania have challenged the idea that the ICT needs of rural communities are being met by mobile phone operators, according to a recent report by the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), a network of nonprofit ICT development organizations."
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.