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AFRIK-IT  April 1996

AFRIK-IT April 1996

Subject:

Re: Internet influence on rural development

From:

Nemo Semret <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sat, 20 Apr 1996 19:42:02 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (36 lines)

Afrik-ites of the world,
 
On the topic of connectivity and rural populations, how does this
rhetorical statement strike you:
 
"The vast majority of African peasants don't --and will not in this
lifetime-- ever drive cars. Therefore, building roads is not a
priority."
 
I think all experts, whoever they are, agree that the above is
nonsense. Roads are needed even in the remotest part of the poorest of
poor nations. Now, given how often the "information highway" metaphor
is thrown around, it's surprising some would fail to see the obvious
parallel, and argue that connectivity is a luxury we can't afford.
 
My second point: perhaps the real tragedy in African connectivity is
that all the blabla about impact on this population, that population,
etc., occurs *before* the actual work is even close to being done. In
America, the "hot-air" or "BS" curve lags behind the technology curve:
the work gets done, and as the doers move on to the next thing, the
talkers wake up and analyze and discuss to their hearts' content. Some
of what they say is truly important and interesting, but the point is
the engineers are not forced to wait for their conclusions, they plod
on. If we had to wait for the social impact assessment of every bit of
technological progress before implementing and deploying it, we would
still be in the stone age. Come to think of it, we (Africans) *are*
still in the stone age.
 
By nature, government is risk averse, so it doesn't like to do things
without first talking about them for years. In the meantime, it should
let private enterprise give it a shot -- or many, as many as there are
risk takers willing to. That is the best and fastest way we can
develop connectivity in Africa.
 
        -nemo-

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