Just to add on to the comments and responses made by Clement Dzidonu,
David Dion and Valery Bruce on information technology in Africa.
Indeed the introduction of IT into African organizations lags behind
those of North America and Europe. However, this is so mostly in Sub-
Saharan Africa (with the exception of South Africa). In spite of the
situation being like this, it is important to note that introduction
of information technology in most African countries is now growing at
a relatively steady pace. Use of computers is now proliferating in
almost all sectors of the economy and IT is being applied in banking,
agriculture, education and research, transport and communication and
in the health sector. In the past the major use of computers in most
African countries has been in the public sector. Now, computers are
being used in all sectors of the economy. This use is mostly found in
One notable example in the use of IT in Africa is in the health
sector. The introduction of HealthNet into Africa is slowly
revolutionizing the communication of health related information
between health workers in Africa and those in North America. A number
of medical institutions in various countries have access to the
network and this system is gaining popularity across Africa. Medical
doctors can now have access to important information from computers
installed in their offices. Of course this system is being facilitated
by the e-mail networks that have been installed in most countries.
At the individual level, the story is different. The average citizen
still can not afford to purchase a computer even though he may
have need to use it. The price of computers in Africa is still beyond
the reach of most people and this is so because almost all
computers are imported from outside and most government have
imposed high import duties on such equipment. This in turn
is hindering the proliferation of computers into the African homes.
A special comment on Valery Bruce's comment that in 1989 when she was
in Lesotho they were using manual typewriters and the cost of these
were prohibitive. "Changes since then?"
Yes there has been some changes. Microcomputers are being used for
word processing in almost all the major organizations in the country.
At the National University of Lesotho, where I am working, all
processing of documents is done on computers. In fact it is one of
the requirements when employing secretarial staff in the University
that candidates should have word processing skills and be familiar
My overall observation regarding IT in Africa is that in spite of it
proliferation into various sectors of the economy, most countries
still experience a shortage of experienced and well qualified
information technology personnel, and this has led to the under-
utilization of most computer installations.