On May 10, 2:50pm, INNOCENT KABENGA wrote:
> Subject: Re: Internet influence on rural development
> . . .
> Communiction is the foundation of technology and internet would be a good
> thing for African technologcal development. However, I think Africa needs
> basic infrastructure such as roads, simple telephone etc.more than it
> needs the internet. For those who know our continent,it may take you days
> from your home town/village to the capital city, and several hours/days
> before you have access to a telephone line. Therefore, internet cannot be
> a national priority at all because maybe 5% to 10% of the population
> would benefit from it and its influence in rural development would be
> insignificant. Nevertheless, internet is needed in Universites, research
> centers etc.
> Innocent Kabenga
> Brock University
> Ontario, Canada.
I read your post and understand your position clearly. Yes, Africa does need
the basic infrastructure as you have so indicated. Yes, it is difficult to
place a direct call or get a leased line in Africa... the waiting period up to
a decade in some countries. However, let's look at the larger picture.
There has been much debate about "leapfrogging" certain stages of technological
development. However, even with the "outdated" equipment that we are
discussing, sophistication is possible (see comments on the current thread,
'Computers in Africa'). Africa indeed has great potential. If you have read the
'Internet Influence in Rural Development' thread closely, you would have to
concur that there ARE applications that would greatly benefit rural Africa. If
you have the time, go back a check the thread once more.
Your statement concerning road and simple telephone systems brought to mind an
article I read in Harvard Business Review (Nov-Dec 1993) about Satyan Pitroda
of India and his efforts to build a telecommunications structure for his
country. Mr. Pitroda fought an uphill battle because (non-governmental
organizations) NGOS felt that India needed what he calls "two-penny"
solutions... immunizations, basic literacy, disease- and drought- resistant
cereals and oilseeds, simple pumps and deep-drop toilets. A technological
infrastructure wasn't a priority the NGOs asserted. He stated that these low
standards placed on India threatened to mire his country into a cycle of
underdevelopment. To make a long story short, Mr. Pitroda has almost
single-handedly laid a workable infrustructure in India reaching into the rural
The point here is that while we must be realistic in our efforts at
technological development, we must refuse to place so low standards on
ourselves that we deem the Internet infeasible. It can work!!
Pray for success.
Clark Atlanta University
Atlanta, GA 30314