APCNews 110 – Broadband in Rwanda, rural internet and Latin American women

APCNews – October 29 2009 – Year X Issue 110
The news service on ICTs for social justice and sustainable development
It can be a struggle for new and emerging democracies to figure out how to best ensure that their citizens’ civil, economic, social and political rights are met. Recent research carried out by APC on how ICTs can support democratisation has just been published by Swedish development organisation Sida. However, a new report from the UN (http://benton.org/outgoingframe/29176) warns that many developing countries risk missing out on the benefits of ICTs because of their lack of broadband infrastructure. Rwanda, a country that still bears the scars the 1994 genocide wants to promote ICTs for the same reason but a lack of broadband policy is undermining the chances of successful roll-out in the country. Whereas in many Latin American countries, the infrastructure for access may be there, but women in their thirties face an entirely different obstacle – the stereotype that they are “too old” to learn how to use the internet.


Rwanda’s policy vacuum could mean trouble for broadband

JOHANNESBURG (Emmanuel Habumuremyi and Alan Finlay for APCNews) – 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.

Ecuador: Getting to where cables and commercial interests don’t reach

QUITO (María Eugenia Hidalgo and AL for APCNews) – The new Constitution of Ecuador which was passed in October 2008legitimises the use of wireless networks as a way to achieve universal access to the internet. In the debate leading up to the new constitution, supporters of the wireless networks cited their low cost, sustainability and the use of existing and free waves to the communities and organisations using them. In an attempt to connect paper to practice, APC conducted a study on the possibilities and the political and regulatory context for this type of nationwide network and explores a number of success stories that have taken place over the past few years.

Women over 35: Too old for technology?

BUENOS AIRES (Dafne Sabanes Plou for APC) – In rural Latin America, women are fed up of hearing that they are “too old” to use computers. “ The lives of many women in Latin America have changed significantly in the past few decades. Rural women in their thirties have at least primary school education and know their rights thanks in many cases to community radio,” says APC’s Dafne Sabanes Plou. “They are ready for a place in today’s networked world.”

New study: ICTs for democracy bring empowerment
STOCKHOLM (Sida) – The path to democracy is often rocky and uneven, as power dynamics shift from governments to their people. This is why it is so important to support efforts by governments – particularly young and emerging democracies – in their efforts to learn more about their citizens’ rights, and what processes are needed to ensure that they are being met. This study by the APC and the Swedish International Development Agency explores the potential information and communication technologies have for advancing democracy and empowerment, with a special focus on Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.



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Association for Progressive Communications (APC) 2009