Africa: the technology is possible

Africa: a continent with over 800 million souls (one seventh of the world population), representing over 20% of the land and is the second largest (over 30 million square kilometers) and the number of humans. A land where the technology is patchy, where the growth opportunities are harnessed by the failure to achieve certain assumptions.

Over 40% of the population is in a state of chronic poverty, living on less than a dollar a day. According to the UN, in 2005 more than 62% of the population living in deprived areas, with unemployment rates that touched 18% among those aged 18-24. 4 of 100 Africans use the Internet and broadband penetration is below 1%.

The area is, therefore, the last in the world in terms of penetration and use of the network, as demonstrated by the scarcity of spurious traffic that originates from those areas. Dr. Hamadoun Toure, head of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has called attention to the respect for "immediate action" and said: "If broadband has spread to 1%, there are 99% of opportunities . If Africa is having, in these conditions, the highest rate of growth of the world in the field of mobile telephony - twice the global average over the past three years - for the first time economic indicators for Africa are positive ".

The substantial differences between the various countries in Africa also show that the respective economic systems reflect the state of electronic literacy and use of services arising from the highly uneven spread of information technologies, as they are currently.
A quote, a thought that brings the Nigerian writer Eziokwu Bu Ndu, which says: "In Africa, we tend to look at services like things for the rich and powerful. This mentality needs to be changed."

In confirmation of the correctness of such thinking, one need only consider the evidence of the need to change some methods of approach to the network and its services. According to reports from Dr. Toure, over 70% of Internet traffic in Africa goes abroad, and then return often in the same Africa. This, on the one hand produces more connectivity costs, the other reveals a serious lack of access internal resources between the different African countries. To demonstrate the lack of backbone, we read in The Guardian, it is illustrated by the example of Uganda, where there are less than 5 fixed telephone lines per 100 people.

In the less affluent areas, says The Guardian, a major barrier to the spread of mobile telephony, however, it is the cost of terminals. According to some experts, it is expected to fall below the $ 20 they may breed in assonant proportions with the number of total souls. Then there is the scarce presence of electricity, which puts in place singular circumstances such as the one in which, to keep fed a radio base station that stoke a zone of cellular telephone service, it is necessary to resort to diesel generators. The latter, however, have operating costs not quite affordable. But that's not all: their usefulness to feed other machines or, anyway, to have electricity, it means that they are often subject to theft.

Another singular demonstration of the low uptake of electricity, reports Tony Durham ActionAid, is the spontaneous business of charging the battery of the cell: in some rural areas where electricity is scarce or missing altogether significantly, you get to pay up to 20 Kenyan shillings to connect a charger to a solar panel or a car battery and recharge the phone.

Big business, as is clear from the summit will be to balance, level and refine the spread of technology, especially with regard to mobile and fixed telecommunications. According to forecasts, this will be the key that, if exploited, by 2015 Africa could lead to technologically advanced levels.

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