4 February 2008

Africa’s portal to the internet

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Cell phones keep Kenyans in touch
Nicole Ferraro investigates in a long article in Information Week if cell phones and other inexpensive wireless devices can close the digital divide in the world’s poorest countries.

“For the developing world, the Internet experience is going to be a wireless experience,” says Susan Schorr, the head of the International Telecommunication Union’s Regulatory and Market Environment Division. Sixty-one percent of the world’s 2.7 billion mobile phone users are in developing countries, compared with 10% of the world’s 1 billion Internet users, Schorr says.

Online communities and markets are emerging in Africa, which accounts for more than half of the world’s poorest countries, with people using low-cost cell phones rather than PCs for connectivity. They’re providing vital data and information to community-based workers, connecting farmers with trading networks for their crops and commodities, and more broadly, providing access to political and social information that’s changing people’s lives.

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The article seems to be a synthesis of a longer article “The Internet and the Developing World” that was published on InternetEvolution, as part of a series of eight articles assessing the future of the internet.

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