The following story appeared in the Sept/Oct 1996 issue of the magazine
HEALTHLINK published by The National Council for International Health. It
might be old news to some of you, but it was new to me, so I thought
that I'd share it with AFRIK-IT. I hope I'm not violating any copyright laws
by quoting it.
Bill Lester [AVSC International]
CONNECTING AFRICA TO THE INTERNET
When US Vice President Al Gore spoke at the NCIH 23rd Annual
Conference last June, he said that the Administration was committed to
assuring basic Internet connections to the African continent. The plan
proposed by the administration aims at connecting sub-Saharan Africa -
and in particular tropical Africa - to enhance information sharing
activities, particularly regarding new and reemerging infectious diseases.
NICH has learned that the US Governmnet plans to provide Internet
gateway hardware, initial training, and very low-cost satellite links. The
degree of initial subsidy will be reduced over several years. In return,
host African governmnets will be asked to complete a memorandum of
understanding which will allow all users to access the Internet gateway
at affordable rates. (agreement to the "affordable rates" will be
determined by a joint market study, if necessary.)
The US Governmnet believes that scientific and educational links to
capoital cities in Africa can be available within one year.
- Internet services to Mali and Madagascar should begin in 90 - 120 days;
- Agreements and start-ups with the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin,
Rwanda, Eritrea, Kenya, and Ethiopia are expected to be completed in 4 -
6 months; and
- Connections to other countries depend on the speed of those
governments to respond.
According to USAID, agreements to complete Internet services to Africa
are being negotiated by UNDP, Sprint, and others. A large agenda
remains in ensuring connections to areas outside the captital cities.