Internet Evolution's Web Wide World takes us to Rwanda, a country torn apart by genocide, and now attempting a radical transformation from an agrarian society to a knowledge-based economy, via the Internet
Excellent video. Steve mentioned mobile devices in the video.
When I was at the Web 2.0 conference earlier this year, someone on a panel mentioned what seemed to me a very significant point.
While the primary device for accessing the internet in the US or Europe is the computer, in Africa, it is the mobile phone. At the end of 2007, there were about 280 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa. Africa has become the fastest growing mobile market in the world with mobile penetration in the region ranging from 100% to 30%. (source: African Mobile Factbook)
The mobile phone has broken a huge cost barrier allowing access to the Internet. This should help many people in the world.
What opportunities does this bring? It definitely should make anyone whose target market is Africa rethink their mobile strategy.
Thanks for the compliment. Tried to hit a lot of different levels in one short piece. And to stay as far away from the current trends in reality/documentary film-making as I possibly could (have you seen "Whale Wars"? - uh... can't believe it's on network television)
There are two reasons why i say Rwanda is a country that could potentially become a technology Bigwig in Africa and consequently a powerful country.First is the fact that Rwanda is like a Newborn child right now, still very young after the Genocide dust has settled. It is always easier to train a child in the way he should go than it is to reform an adult. countries like kenya are trying their best in the ICT revolution but it is takes more to overhaul an already long existing and deep rooted system.The other good thing with Rwanda is that they have realised in good time that they need not go through all the phases that developed countries have gone through. They can actually leapfrog into the developed world as the in-betweens have been done .The wheel is here, no need to re-invent it. While their economy and political system is still young they should pray now that greed and bad politics does not creep in and they could rise to the skies.
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man
to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
Here is the modern equivalent,
where the introduction of low cost computing and free access Internet
provides self education, self reliance, and the most important
ingredient, hope for the future for the next generation. The Rwanda video and the topic in itself clearly demonstrates how we all can change the world via the Internet.
For me it should be the priority for the developed countries, in helping the developing world. Before those shout to argue for basic medical and financial aid as the priority, we should all remember it is primarily education that ultimately leads to the eradication of disease, hunger, and poverty.
If modern history has told us anything about Africa, medical aid primarily deals with the symptoms of poverty and much financial aid ends up in the hands of corrupt politicians that buy the weapons used in genocide.
Is this the only answer for the problems in Rwanda and many other developing countries, of course not. But perhaps one of the top priorities to help the developing world, help themselves?
This was an impressive video. Kudos to the government of Rwanda for having the vision and courage to invest in the future of the country with such commitment.
The genocide was horrible. The internet existed then, journalism existed then, the world knew it was happening. I knew it was happening. There were journalists covering the story and there were many people bringing the horror to the attention of world leaders. As the video indicated, the country's most valuable natural resource is its people. The world powers will never waste their riches protecting people, unless those people are sitting on top of vast natural resources. The bottom line is that there was nothing to be gained for any country that would intercede.
Rwanda appears to be well on its way to a better future. Education and hope for the future is the best way to stop events like those that occured from happening again. History has shown us that where there is poverty, destitution and hopelessness, and people feel that there is nothing to lose, anarchy ensues. Not only is the education being emphasised, but the infrastructure is also being addressed. The ability to communicate, combined with knowledge, will hopefully be the right formula to bring change to all of sub-Saharan Africa.
Excellent journalism. Must have been tough to actually ask someone what role he played in the genocide. Even worse to see the photos of the slaughtered children. I appreciate the fact that you didn't shy away from this part of the story. Let's hope the Internet can help Rwanda jump from an agrarian to a digital society.
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