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Dear AFRIK-IT Colleagues,
 
For sometime, Peter da Costa (IPS Africa Regional Director,based in
Zimbabwe) David Lush (of Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)) and
myself have been been exploring the possibility of involving those in
Africa who at present don't have access to e-mail into AFRIK-IT
discussions. The suggestion being put forward is: Will it be possible for a
number of key African papers to carry a synopsis of the general on-line
debate to enable the millions out there (in Africa) to participate in the
discussion off-line?
 
We thought, it is possible to have have a situation where the readers of
African papers and magazines willing to participate in this exercise could
for example, respond to some of the issues raised in the on-line discussion
via say 'letters to the editor'. We could then arrange for the posting of
some of the key off-line contributions to AFRIK-IT to establish a kind of
on-line/off-line exchange of views and ideas on crucial IT issues facing
the continent. The potential for this exercise to get people thinking and
talking about Africa Telematics/IT issues and how the direction the debate
on these issues should take is great. One other possible spin off of this
on-line/of-line exercise is that it will expose Africans (currently without
e-mail access) to what on-line discussion lists are all about and prepare
them for the real thing which is bound to happen sooner than later.
 
With the help of Peter da Costa I put the above preposition to Editors of a
number of African publications and I am happy to announce that, Alan
Dickinson the Editor of Computers in Africa has agreed to try it out.
 
Alan has requested that I send him one or two interesting postings to
AFRIK-IT which would be suitable as open letters on the 'Computers in
Africa' letters page. If he decides to use it he will, contact the authors
to ensure it is okay for 'Computers in Africa' to go ahead and reprint
them.  He also promised to put a credit on bottom of any letters  used
pointing readers to AFRIK-IT to join in the debate.
 
If it is OK with everybody, I will like to go ahead with this and see how
far it will take us. Any OBJECTIONS?
 
If you have any other SUGGESTIONS on how best to involve the millions of
off-liners in Africa into the on-going debate on crucial IT issues facing
the continent, lets hear from you. Perhaps some of you in Africa may be
able have a go at convincing some of the local papers in your country to
participate in this exercise.
 
Best rgds,
 
Clement