Connecting the unconnected


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Africa_internet The total bottom of the pyramid household market for information and communication technologies (ICT) is estimated at $51.4 billion and includes 3.96 billion people with annual incomes below $3000. The Economist writes about poverty penalty in Africa, where only four out of every 100 people have internet access:

Of its 48 countries, the 28 in central and eastern Africa are connected to the web by only the flimsiest of satellite technology. Apart from the occasional internet hook-up at a diamond mine or UN camp, whole regions of Congo and Sudan, sub-Saharan Africa's two largest countries, have no connection at all. Even countries like Uganda, which are go-ahead about the internet, start from a very low base. Research by Microsoft found only one in 200 Ugandans regularly uses e-mail.

The organizers of the "Connect Africa" summit held today in Rwanda hope to encourage a new "Marshall Plan" for ICT on the continent.

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Jeff Mowatt
October 29, 2007

Chris, I offer an article on a 'Marshall Plan' strategy for the unconnected, gaining attention in Ukraine which proposes a holistic approach combining ICT deployment, microfinance and a primary social purpose, childcare reform.

It originates from a whitepaper 11 years ago, calling for a new approach deploying business toward the eradication of poverty.

This announcement today and the conclusion of the Economist would appear to demonstrate that the author remains a decade in front of contemporary development thinking.

Dr. Sidney Okolo
November 03, 2007

From the desk of Dr. Sidney Okolo...

The lack of connection to the poor and the needy has made it impossible to reach many brilliant and intelligent young men and women in Africa, who cannot afford the cost of education. They are not able to receive information on how to obtain tuition free education in United States of America and Canada.

The information is absolutely free and at no cost to any individual. Therefore, any solicitation for money; on money for information should be ignored, and consider a scam.

At this point, it looks like a program designed to help the poor will ultimately not reach them because of the unavailability of internet. At the end, those, who do not need education assistance, will end up getting it.

Dr. Sidney Okolo