Thanks to Jeff for relaying that article on the World Bank and Zambia.
ZamNet (http://www.zamnet.zm) is certainly one of the most fascinating
Internet success stories on the continent. Great combination of
business savvy, strong client service orientation, excellent local
content development (I love `Lusaka Lowdown' and its combination of
reports on potholes, local restaurants and local happenings), reasonable
prices and good management.
As far as I know, the full ZamNet story has never been written up. It
would also make a great video documentary to look at an example of "best
practices" and to help share lessons learned. I don't know how much
assistance ZamNet received from the World Bank, but I doubt it was very
much money in the big scheme of connectivity things in Africa - an
example of how a little money can go a long way when it is used to
strengthen local ISPs.
One thing that would really help support local ISPs like ZamNet would be
for the big UN agencies and other big donors like the Bank to actually
source their regional and country field office connectivity from local
ISPs instead of building their own dedicated leased-line networks. The
money spent on these dedicated networks can be astronomical compared to
the cost of sourcing connectivity from a local ISP. Despite the Bank's
assistance to ZamNet, I don't think their office in Zambia uses ZamNet.
Rural Extension Studies
University of Guelph
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