Tag Archives: internet

Africa online?

10 Apr

Image: Jon Gosier

Africa’s ccTLDs. (Country code top level domains) On the map they’re scaled to represent the number of millions of internet users in each country. 

Before Egypt’s so called ‘Day of Anger’ on the 25th January 2011, when in retaliation to widespread protests, the government shut down the internet, Egypt was number 1. According to internetworldstats.com there were just over 17 million internet users in Egypt in February 2010. (Read more about Egypt and it’s ‘moment of silence’  on Appfrica’s blog )

Other big players are Nigeria and Morocco, numbers 2 and 3 . Kenya and Uganda are also up there at numbers 7 and 9 respectively.

But what about the others, as the map shows there are many of them. In June 2010, Ethiopia had 450 thousand internet users. Only 0.5% of the country’s population. In comparison, 33.4% of Moroccan people were using the internet in December 2009. 

Of course, these figures are changing all the time, and with constantly increasing speed. But huge disparities remain and the reality is that even in countries with higher stats, many people are living without internet. – Difficult for us to grasp, glued to our monitors, blogging and tweeting away.

Connecting people is powerful. So in places that the internet can’t reach, projects like FrontlineSMS see mobile phones as having an important role to play.

Founder and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Ken Banks explains…

Video by NationalGeographic. Ken’s blogpost: Mobile as exploration Follow Ken on Twitter

For more on mobiles take a look at this proposal by blogger Erik Hersman on White African

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The bottom billions…

8 Apr

Today I came across this little video, made by VocalPress ( @vocalpress ) As you can see they’ve got some exciting plans for the next few years aiming to share information with people that don’t have access to the internet. And what a great video. Simple is beautiful!

It’s a fact. In the developed world we take the internet for granted. But the reality is we’re in a minority. Only 30% of the world’s population have access to the internet. And many amongst these people would not be computer literate enough to use the internet.

Now compare this to what we know about mobile phones in Africa for instance. (A beautiful graphic isn’t it.) Mobile phones are the obvious link to the billions of people that don’t have access to the internet and the information that the internet makes available. Important information about health, money, education and natural disasters.

There are so projects many across the world which are using mobiles. They’re working for change and progress in all of these areas and many many more. Just pop the tag #ICT4D into Twitter (ICT4D = Information & communication technologies for development) and you’ll get a bit of an idea of the scale we’re talking.

It’s projects that are thinking along these lines that my documentary will be following. It’s all very exciting. Keep checking back and I’ll be taking a look at some of them in more detail.

In the meantime, there was a fab online symposium on Twitter today. Take a look at the Small Media Initiative, or search the tag #SMS2011 and keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for more.