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AFRIK-IT  May 1997

AFRIK-IT May 1997

Subject:

Re: Year 2000 problem

From:

Chris Anderson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Wed, 28 May 1997 03:54:25 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (108 lines)

Hi Patrick. I was most interested to see your posting. (And thanks for the
Cinderella Plug). I had not heard of ANITEP and would be most interested
to know how to join their list.

Y2K is definitely a problem relevant to Africa. "Low Use" is not a term that
really
describes our position. Nobody "donated" our equipment, we bought it with
hard cash. You might be surprised at how technically advanced some of
us "Jungle Bunnies" are. The age of  our systems is the same as everywhere else.
And computer usage is critical to our Economies. Banking, Communications,
Industry, Mining ,etc. And we are not just Peecee Weenies either, we use
100+MIP real
steam machines.

I suspect that there is a real communication problem regarding Y2k however.

Going back more years than I care to remember, I can recall attending
various sales
recognition events for IBM EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) where South
Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, Kenya and others were attendees and we were all
producing hefty numbers in Sales. That was all more than ten years ago and
I am somewhat out of date, but there is a considerable amount of iron scattered
about the Dark Continent.

I remember someone telling me that there was more compute power on the
island of Manhattan than in the whole of South Africa, but that must apply to
other places as well.

Capers Jones mentions the Y2k cost to South Africa  as $2.5Billion and
Egypt as $2.4Billion. I would guestimate that Nigeria and Kenya are
up there in the $2 Billions as well. This is not chump change for us,
as we have far more pressing things to do with our money. Things
like survival, food and water. These numbers may seem small compared
to US companies, but we have to cough blood to buy dollars.

I can only speak for the position in South Africa. Big Business and
the Multinationals are making progress. The rest are in denial.
There is  some new work being done by the SASIG started by the
Computer Society, but there is not a vast amount of awareness as yet.

Having followed the "traditional" Y2k mail lists and postings for the last
two years I cannot remember any sightings from "African" countries.

Many of these sites are "big mippers" (i.e. IBM) so I would suspect that
august Corporation has spread the word about Operating System upgrades
etc but the programmer problem has not yet become an issue.

Many South African technical people are participating in a rather
serious "brain drain" and hiving off to greener pastures (so they think).

Something like 70% of South African companies are using Windows 3.1x
and have no plans to change until the "bugs" in '95 /'97 are resolved and
a reasonable cost effectiveness is achieved. "Skills" are a constrained
resource.

Many smaller businesses use anything from XT's to Pentiums so are
typical "Cinderella" candidates. But the problem of "spreading the word"
is as bad as everywhere else.

I would be delighted to hear any comment on this. Maybe we can start
an "African" Special Interest Group. I would certainly devote some of the
(somewhat slim) Cinderella resources for this.

Chris Anderson
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At 14:13 1997-05-27 +0100, "Patrick O'Beirne" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I haven't seen any discussion of the infamous Year 2000 problem on this list.
(referring to  "African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP)
List"              <[log in to unmask]>)
>As I am sure all IT people know, the traditional practice of most software
>to handle the year as two digits only will have its comeuppance in 2000,
>when the entry of "00" as the year will cause systems to miscalculate
>negative dates, or simply refuse the entry as invalid and stop working
>completely.
>
>Do people feel that the low use of computers in Africa is a benefit in that
>they are less dependent on them if they fail? Or that they are used to other
>kinds of failures, and one more is no surprise?
>
>Or do people feel that Africans are especially at risk because of the age of
>many systems in place?  Because these systems are donated rather than
>bought, there is less sense of ownership or responsibility to fix them, from
>either donor or recipient side?
>
>A good source of information is the "Cinderella project" run by Chris Anderson:
>
>Any queries on this, I'd be happy to discuss.
>
>Thanks,
>
>Patrick.
>
>-----------------------------------------
>My Y2K web page: http://www.iol.ie/~pobeirne/year2000.htm
>
>Patrick O'Beirne B.Sc. M.A. MICS, Systems Consultant, Clipper Developer;
>Personal Software Process (PSP) Trainer;  TickIT trained ISO 9000 Auditor.
>Compuserve: 100023,1304  WWW: http://www.iol.ie/~pobeirne/index.html
>Systems Modelling Ltd, Gorey, Co. Wexford, IRELAND. VAT NO. IE4625958Q
>
>
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chris Anderson          email:                       [log in to unmask]
Y2K Cinderella Project          [log in to unmask]
http://www.cinderella.co.za             Striving for Year 2000 Compliance
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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