Bridge The Electronic Divide

Is Internet able to save the world ?

Digital divide refers to the gap we may have between the poeple conneted to the web or in a way with the computer science world. We usually talk about the global digital devide to describe the digital difference between countries.

WHEN it comes to computing power, the gap between Africa and the western countries
is still huge. Less than 5% of Africans have access to the internet. African connection fees are the most expensive (around $250-300 a month)for a very awful quality (the slowest connection speeds in the world). E-commerce does not even exist. There are something like few thousands websites. Blogging activities existes but is quite peripheral.

Of its 48 countries, the 28 in central and eastern Africa are connected to the web thanks to western satellites. Apart from the occasional internet based system at a diamond mine or a Uited Nations camp, whole regions African country such as Congo and Sudan, (sub-Saharan Africa's two largest countries !!!), have no connection at all.
And as regards the other countries which developped the internet technology, they still start from a very low base.

Internet can't be eaten. That is a fact. We don't have and cannot expect Internet to change the way poeple live in the poor rural world, however, the internet science is able to connect Africa to foreign countries and may be a way to increase the general level of development in Africa ! It can also help the western countries which have troubles with poor poeple who are suffering from social exclusion (in the European suburbs or the British and American Inner Cities). Reserchers and business men such as Nicolas Negroponte or Bill Gates are trying to develop prototypes of cheap computers and are trying to lower the Internet connexions cost. Spreading the access to Internet is an important strategy to the development of theses country. Such strategy can be a way to integrate poor poeple in the new digital economy and world.

This is not a perfect strategy but it is still is a step forward a better world.

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