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> In October, 1998, approximately forty-nine African nations and territories had some level of Internet access in their capital cities. The greatest part of the available network bandwidth in these locations is reserved for multinational firms with regional headquarters in the cities, or for university and government employees. Eighty percent of Africans live in rural areas. Network nodes outside of the largest ities--and there are very, very few of these--are punishingly slow and expensive, making them ill-suited for anything besides FidoNet-style store-and-forward email. Local PTT and power infrastructures are notoriously unreliable and weighed down with bloated, inefficient state bureaucracies held over from the colonial era. In many regions, these
> infrastructures are at risk of sabotage and pillage from warfare between and within states, political corruption, or outright thievery. Outside of the wealthiest commercial concerns and the largest universities, much of the computer hardware and software in sub-Saharan Africa is antiquated, unevenly distributed, and costly to maintain and update. Repairs usually require hard or foreign currency badly needed for other social services. The lack of a well-developed cadre of computer scientists and technologists (only a few African nations offer advanced degrees in computer science and telecommunications) and of a skilled mid-level managerial class poses enormous barriers to efficient network implementation and support (Odedra 26).