LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for AFRIK-IT Archives


AFRIK-IT Archives

AFRIK-IT Archives


AFRIK-IT@LISTSERV.HEANET.IE


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

AFRIK-IT Home

AFRIK-IT Home

AFRIK-IT  April 1996

AFRIK-IT April 1996

Subject:

Re: Internet influence on rural development

From:

Valerie Bruce <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sun, 14 Apr 1996 14:32:26 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (129 lines)

In response to the very thoughtful and articulate comments by Haines Brown:
 
I am not totally against the use of emerging computer technologies in
Africa.  But I do question its relevance to the average African struggling
to survive on a daily basis, at this point in history.  I am going to make
some points that it is not politically correct to verbalize.
 
To respond specifically to  your comments:
 
>1. If world trends indicate that the perpetuation of traditional social
>bonds is unlikely, and new social relations transcending the local com-
>munity must be constructed in their place, then it seems a significant
>investment in rural education and communications would be mandatory.
>If computer mediated communications in the long run promises the most
>cost effective method for education and telecommunications, then wouldn't
>it make sense to make this a long range goal now?
 
It would seem that the world is in a state of upheaval, that traditional
economic and social bonds are being quashed, or cast aside, and that new
relationships on a more global level are emerging, as borders as we've known
in the past appear to be more soluble.    To what extent does this apply to
Africa?  It seems to me that borders in at least some portions of  Africa
are being redefined in terms of traditional nations of peoples, as in
Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, ?????????  The borders
of the colonialists are disappearing, and tribal borders are reappearing.
Perhaps this is beside the point.  But I see it as another important factor
to consider from the point of view of the viability of putting technology
into place and being able to maintain it, and encouraging/training the
population to use it.  If, as an adult, you are concerned, on a daily basis,
with your physical safety and with getting food into your stomach and those
of your children, are you interested in the internet?
 
The ruling classes are a different matter.  They live in a different world.
Many were educated in the West, and have some understanding of Western
culture and values, and they may see the internet as useful to themselves,
as a means of preserving their positions of power, and for financial gain.
I'm curious to know how people in this privileged class view the internet
and its use in rural Africa.  Certainly those in gov't do not wish the
populations to gain access to the means of upsetting the status quo.
 
Long range plans - depends on the development of peace, the availability of
food and education for the general populations, and the whims of the local
governments.  The equipment is the least of the problems.
 
Why are we insisting that Africa get wired?  I think it has more to do with
Western businesses and NGO's in Africa than with anything else.  It's
primarily  those people who want the internet, for their own interests, in
my opinion.  They want to communicate with each other, with their head
offices abroad.
 
I realize I'm making some very broad statements here, and there are
exceptions, of course, but, by and large, I think the above describes the
general picture.
 
 
>2. In the past of other societies, it has been long considered a major
>objective to subsidize the extension of mail and 'phone services to rural
>areas. If digital communications promises cheaper, higher quality, and
>more reliable phone service, and the transmission of images more cheaply
>than traditional mail and telephone service in advanced economies, why
>wouldn't that be desirable for rural Africa?
 
I'm not against upgrading phone services to the rural population, if the
cost is reasonable to the recipients.  I question the fact that these
services, as well as many others, as paid for by donor countries, with local
national gov'ts contributing nothing, or next to nothing.  I don't believe
it's in the best interests of a population to have everything done for it,
to have everything paid for.  They become reliant on outside aid, and it
discourages innovation and risk taking in the local populace.  And outsiders
impose their inventions, their will, their values on the recipient society.
 I I think local gov't officials have to be held accountable.  They have to
provide responsible leadership.   How this can be encouraged in the big
question.  But they certainly aren't motivated to do it if foreigners do it
all for them.
 
>3. There is probably no practical way to bring education into rural
>areas in many parts of Africa without computer mediated distance lear-
>ning.
 
This is very long-term planning.  The larger obstacles  are not the
technology itself,  but all the other factors involved.  I don't think local
national gov'ts are going to co-operate if they see internet access by the
general population as threatening their positions of power and wealth.  The
more ignorant the population, the easier it is to keep them under tight
control.
 
 As is often pointed out, distance learning offers a far greater
>opportunity to reconcile traditional local culture and cosmopolitan
>world culture than the traditional metropolitan-based school system,
>which because it tends to be unilateral ends by displacing traditional
>culture altogether.
 
I don't agree that traditional metropolitan-based school systems displace
traditional cultures altogether, and that distance learning is more likely
to result in the preservation of traditional local cultures.  Logically, I
think the opposite, that more wide-spread exposure to the world at large
through images and personal contact will result in the dissatisfaction with
and gradual dissolution of traditional cultures in the developing world.
I'm not commenting on whether or not this is good or bad.  That's another
issue.  You could say it's all just part of the evolution of the world's
socieities.
 
 
 The computer might seen irrelevant today in most
>rural settings, but history is a process, and planning must take that
>fact into account. The rural situation must change one way or another
>in today's world, and without planing for techniques that create
>opportunities for dialog in shapping that future so that rural societies
>and traditional values acquire a stake in that future, I suspect the
>eventual outcome for rural society and traditional culture is simply
>extinction. This is the usual pattern in world history; computer
>mediated communications might offer an alternative.
 
 
I think that over a period of decades traditional African cultures will
become extinct, as will other cultures in other parts of the world.   At
present, the Western world is dominant, and its values and English are
spreading throughout the world, via telecommunications and economics.  I see
the internet as a form of imperialism, as a tool used by the West to conquer
and convert.  Sounds dramatic, and maybe ridiculous to some people, but
that's how I see it.  I don't see it as an evil, but simply as the world
evolving.  In another era another group of peoples will become dominant
 
Constructive criticisms of my comments are welcome.  I'm always willing to
learn.
 
Valerie Bruce
[log in to unmask]

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
September 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
April 2008
March 2008
November 2007
August 2007
July 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
November 2005
October 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995
October 1995
September 1995
August 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.HEANET.IE

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager