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


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