These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
“In every country, sound laws are a key foundation of democratic governance and economic development. Crafting such laws, however, is only part of the path to success. The other half is making sure that the laws are properly implemented – which is often more challenging.
When laws and regulations are not properly adopted, such discrepancy creates an implementation gap – the difference between laws on the books and how they function in practice. This gap can have very negative consequences for democratic governance and the economic prospects of countries and communities. When laws are not properly implemented, that undermines the credibility of government officials, fuels corruption, and presents serious challenges for business, which in turn hampers economic growth.” READ MORE
Meet the first smartphone made in Africa
“Congo-based VMK is blazing the trail again -creating mobile devices in Africa. Its Way-C tablet proved that Africa could go its own way without leaning on Asia or Europe. Presented on September 6 at a VMK Show held in Brazzaville, the smartphone called VMK Elikia (hope) features a 3.5-inch (and 480 x 320) display, 512MB of RAM, a 650MHz processor and both 5-megapixel rear as well as front VGA cameras with the Android 2.3 OS underneath.
You'll have to sign on to local carriers Airtel, MTN or Warid to use an Elikia in the near future. Available at $170 off-contract.” READ MORE
Bringing Information to Ghanaian Voters
“December 7th 2012, will be an important day for Ghana and Ghanaian voters. Ghana has already established a reputation for a being a vibrant and stable democracy, and expectations are that the upcoming election in December will be yet another opportunity to reinforce the well-deserved reputation. During the election campaign period, the Internet is increasingly playing a role in how Ghanaian citizens’ search for information about elections, and in how politicians seek to engage with voters.
To meet this growing demand for information online around the elections, we embarked on several activities. From training local journalists and political parties on digital tools for elections, to partnering with local media partners like Citi FM to hold Google+ Hangouts with leading candidates and local civil society groups, to livestreaming the IEA Evening Encounters in Partnership with IEA Ghana and MMG, to partnering our Google Student Ambassadors in Ghana with local civic group Ghana Decides - our focus has been on making elections-related information accessible and driving citizen engagement.” READ MORE
“Phone calls and text messages from 15 million mobile phones may help track the spread of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, new research shows.
Mosquitoes that carry malaria have a limited flight range, but that doesn’t stop the disease from traveling long distance—people infected can carry it anywhere a car or plane can reach.
Eliminating it can be challenging, because available resources for health care and mosquito control are limited and need to cover a large geographic region. In Kenya, researchers are using cell phone records to identify which regions should be targeted first to maximize the benefit of control and elimination efforts.’ READ MORE
“A recent article in the New York Times argues that Twitter is used by citizens in Saudi Arabia to increase the political space for public discourse that did not exist before: "Open criticism of this country’s royal family, once unheard-of, has become commonplace in recent months. Prominent judges and lawyers issue fierce public broadsides about large-scale government corruption and social neglect. Women deride the clerics who limit their freedoms. Even the king has come under attack. All this dissent is taking place on the same forum: Twitter."
The NY Times staff writer Robert Worth, an often-astute chronicler of the MIddle East, argues that ‘Unlike other media, Twitter has allowed Saudis to cross social boundaries and address delicate subjects collectively and in real time, via shared subject headings like “Saudi Corruption” and “Political Prisoners,” known in Twitter as hashtags.’” READ MORE