My first time in Africa

If you are a reader of my blog, a friend of mine or you simply look for my name in the web, you can think I am a liar. That’s true, I visited many African countries in the last twenty year, as a tourist or tour leader (it means the same for me!)

But my next trip will be a very special one for me. For the first time I’ll go there for a serious project. Thanks to Italian no-profit organizations Informatici Senza Frontiere (it sounds like IT without borders) and Yungar per la pace (Yungar for peace) me and two other friends will teach basic computer in Senegal.

That’s why I feel like my first time in Africa. I deeply believe that facilitating access to computing, helping to fight digital divide represents a step towards democracy, and social inclusion.

I hope to tell you soon about this story here, or if you’d like to practice your Italian also here.

Stay tuned!

 

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IPhone versus Digital Divide

La Jolla - Queuing at Apple Store

La Jolla - Queuing at Apple Store

July 11th, 2008: in many Western countries, people stand in a queue waiting for the new IPhone. I took this picture in La Jolla, but I saw similar pictures on the website of the main international newspapers: from London to Rome, from New York to Berlin, from Milan to San Diego.

In the meantime, only few fortunate Africans are able to get a dial tone.

For most people in that continent even making a telephone call is still a remote possibility.

The gap between those with access to ICT (internet, computer, communication) and those without is called “Digital Divide”.

There are many factors that contribute to the digital divide: economic instability of the country, lack of communication infrastructure such as roads and electricity, lack of broadband capability, low education level.

In our times, communication is becoming a human right, as the chance to communicate definitely changes the people life. Just think about some simple things like getting in touch with a doctor.

However, new technologies such as satellite communication and cellular phones represent a tremendous development opportunity, as they can easily provide communication infrastructure even in isolated areas.

I had my personal experience many years ago, in Tanzania. In 1993 I visited that country for the first time and I went to Arusha. Arusha is a small but important city, because all the safari games to the most famous national parks start from there. At that time, it was just a dusty small town and even calling my parents in Italy was really difficult.

Digital Divide

Digital Divide

I went to Tanzania again in 2001 and was very amazing for me to find many internet points crowded with local young people.

I wonder what about now in Arusha, in 2008 …

If you have any information … please, let me know!

PS: if you need any further information, you can also read:

African Telecommunication/ICT Indicators 2008: At a crossroads

http:www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/publications/africa/2008/index.html

Africa takes on the Digital Divide” by Africa Recovery, United Nations

http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/afrec/vol17no3/173tech.htm