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AFRIK-IT  July 1997

AFRIK-IT July 1997

Subject:

Re: AFRICA-DEVELOPMENT: More Than Just Internet Connections

From:

Jeff Cochrane <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 30 Jun 1997 18:42:23 -5

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (88 lines)

Greetings Afrik-ITers!

Menghestab Haile writes:

> Jeff you mention about giving training to sombody to wire
> themselves. Do you think you were required to travel all the way
> to Africa to give the training or whatever.

Your question includes a false assertion.  I didn't give the
training.

The training in Maputo was organized by SANGONeT, based in
Johannesburg, about a one hour flight from Maputo, and was conducted
with the support of Eduardo Modlane University, where Venancio works
(the guy who spoke in Toronto at the Global Knowledge conference).
This week SANGONeT is conducting another training in Mbabane,
Swaziland in collaboration with a local service provider there.  In
early June SANGONeT assisted with another workshop for scientists in
Gaborone, Botswana in collaboration with Info-Botswana and SACCAR.

Me, I'm in Washington, hearing about it by email...

But it is true that many donors do pay to send people to Africa to
provide trainings.

> I think there a lot of guys out there in that part of the continent
> who could have done it such as Dr Eberhard.

Agreed.  I think during the Maputo workshop, or maybe just after, he
was in Johannesburg attending a big AFCOM technical workshop.

> BTW, Jeff who paid for the scientists travel and training costs? He
> must have been a total useless anyway if as a scientist he does not
> know what is happening in his own country.

That seems more than a bit unfair, and most unkind.  When I do travel
to Africa and talk to scientists, I find that many are uninformed
about Internet developments in their own country.  I think this is to
be expected.  Indeed, most Americans have little real knowledge about
how the Internet works in the USA.  Why should a scientist studying
root crops be an expert on Internet access?

As for the scientist in question, he traveled to Maputo to
participate in a scientific meeting of colleagues from the region
who do research on similar subjects.  They meet once a year to
exchange academic papers and conduct other business of their
research network in Southern Africa.  Their work is aimed at helping
develop new varieties and practices for growing root crops (cassava,
sweet potatos, etc.) to resist pests and improve yields for large
and small farmers.  The workshop on the Internet was simply a
special session of that overall meeting.

As for funding, in Maputo much of the funding came from the research
network itself, which receives foundation support I think, involving
IITA if I'm not mistaken (the International Institute for Tropical
Agriculture).  Many of the scientists receive major support for
their work from their host governments, paid by the region's
taxpayers.  Some or all of those various sources paid for the
participants to be there. The training expenses were paid by USAID on
contract to SANGONeT.  The training cost was about $150 per person
trained, including rental of the facility at the University and
payment of SANGONeT staff to travel to Maputo.

> For me the only way forward is for DONORS and NGOs to support local
> companies and small enterpirses. Obviously most of them will start
> in the big towns but competion will push them to the rural areas. We
> have already started witnessing such trends here in Ethiopia. At
> present, there is no  mechanism for private business people to have
> access to DONOR money.

Excellent points, and I fully agree, though I think there is a role
for NGO service providers, universities and others.  But donors can
and do support private business Internet providers in Africa
now.  If a donor provides a grant to a research institute and
includes funds to allow that research institute to procure Internet
access from a private business Internet provider (instead of
providing a direct satellite link for example) isn't the donor
supporting the private business?

Cheers!
Jeff @ Washington
--
[log in to unmask]
http://www.info.usaid.gov/alnk
1111 North 19th Street Suite 210
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
Tel 1-703-235-5415  Fax 1-703-235-3805

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