Transforming Africa

Transforming Africa

As many of you know I have been keeping an eye on what is happening in Africa when it comes to Internet connect and how it is and is going to radically change the landscape there. Africa just help the transform Africa Summit. There have been some great articles written on what was discussed at the summit. I thought I would just share some information via news reports and quotes that have me shaking my head in excitement. Rwanda recently signed a $140 million (£87 million) deal with Korea Telecom, which will see the company deliver 4G LTE internet to 95 percent of citizens within three years. Despite 5,000km of fibre-optic cable already being laid in the country, only 8.3 percent of the Rwanda’s 12 million citizens are currently connected to the internet. The government is hoping that the rollout of 4G, which kicks off this week, will change this. (wired UK) Nsengimana demoed the new 4G in action. In a side-by-side test, it reached speeds 90Mbps, while the 3G network managed just 0.5Mbps. For education, he said, this means the difference between being able to study texts online and enabling students to access multimedia and participate fully in online classrooms. (wired UK)(Bold by me) “They should adopt a leapfrogging approach,” he said. “They should take advantage of broadband, because they are not impeded by legacy industries.” (wired UK) Last year, 40 tablet computers were delivered to the children of two remote Ethiopian villages. The villagers were 100 percent illiterate—the kids had never seen road signs, product labels, or printed material of any kind. Within weeks, they were singing their ABCs, picked up from the English-language learning software installed on the tablets. Within five months, some kid figured out that the tablets had built-in cameras—they had been disabled for ethical reasons—and hacked the Android operating system to activate them. (reason.com) One Laptop Per Child considered the Ethiopian kids’ hack a success. “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ [sic] tablet looked different. We had installed software to prevent them from doing that,” a contrite Ed McNierney, OLPC’s chief technology officer, told the MIT Technology Review. “And the fact that they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.” On Oct. 1, LAUSD pronounced its ed tech experiment temporarily out of control and admitted that several schools were...

Read More

Africa Exciting Me Again

Africa Exciting Me Again

Today I woke up to find an article in my Flipboard on Rwanda striking a deal with a South Korean Telecom to roll out 4G across the country. (Click here to subscribe to my Flipboard Magazine and get all my favorite articles dealing with Ed Tech) I am excited about the future of Africa and what this means for the people there. I have talked about Africa before and can’t wait to go back to experience more of this amazing continent and its people. There is so much to get excited about in Africa…here are just a few of my favorite quotes from today’s article (bolds are mine). On Monday, the government said KT Corp of South Korea would inject about $140m (£90m) into a joint venture company that will create a 4G LTE broadband network for 95% of citizens. Debt and vendor financing will also be required. To put this into perspective in 2011 President Obama laid out a 5 year plan to have 98% of American’s covered with 4G networks. That would be 2016 or about the same time as Rwanda residents get their 4G. Up to a dozen countries in Africa – including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – operate 4G in one form or another, Goldstuck added, but Rwanda “will be the first to have this comprehensive approach”. He also praised the laying of 1,865 miles of fibre optic cable as an impressive achievement. It is estimated that 95% broadband penetration will translate into a 10 – 13% boost in GDP growth. The Rwandan economy grew by 9.4% in the 2011-12 fiscal year. We have a long way to go in Africa and the many nations there, but all of this points to a future where the youth of Africa (the largest in the world at 200 million) will be coming online and soon. What does the world look like when Africa is connected? When more people have access to knowledge, and can create and spread messages faster than ever before? Are we ready for this? Are we excited for this? The world is changing and Africa very much could be leading the...

Read More

I’m Excited About The Future!

I’m Excited About The Future!

Sitting here in my hotel room after six great days with the ICSAddis COETAIL cohort that we kicked off this week and I can’t stop thinking about what an exciting time to be in Ethiopia. In fact what an exciting time to be alive! I have a lot running through my brain right now so this might be a bit disjointed…but it’s my reflection and thoughts….so deal with it. 🙂 Our Connected World We continue to talk about and try to understand just how connected our world is becoming and just how fast this change is happening around the world. Ethiopia is no different. This is a country prime for change, prime for the connection, and they are moving there quickly. Most people outside of Africa don’t give much thought to the development that is happening here. We hear about Asia, about the Middle East, but Africa and the changes that are affecting this continent are not mentioned much in the Western world. But make no mistake of it, Africa is primed and coming on fast. Let’s just look at the hard facts about Ethiopia. The GDP of Ethiopia has been in a double digit climb year over year since 2004. Even during the recession Ethiopia saw 8% and 7.5% growth of their GDP. In a recent news article while here Ethio Telecom (State ran Telecom company) released its latest numbers. Ethio Telecom’s customer base has reached 18.28 million people, registering a 59pct increase in the last fiscal year. Mobile services, which constituted the vast majority of the customer base, had anticipated reaching 21.9 million subscribers and in actuality attracted 17.28 million customers. This was an increase of 700,000 people, a 79pct achievement of the target. Fixed line numbers reached 805,000 people or 81.4pct of intended performance targets. Internet and data service customers reached 221,000, 89pct performance. This does not  include 2.44 million users who receive mobile Internet service. There were more than 4,000 SIM and Voucher card retail distributors by the end of the fiscal year, while the number of wholesalers increased from six to 45, as the number of points of sale in the country reached over 45,000. “The number of mobile phone subscribers we have currently ranks us in the sixth position in Africa and first in east Africa,” said Abdurahmin adding that prominent countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt are the ones beating Ethiopia’s...

Read More