Author Archives: lfairba

Nigeria National ICT Resources

1. (National Information and Communication Technology Policy by Ministerial Committee on ICT Policy Harmonization, January 9 2012) Available in English

2. Nigerian Communications Commission

3.— This is a blog about ICT in Africa. The writer is Nigerian, so there are many editorials/articles commenting on Nigerian ICTs.– Paradigm Initiative Nigeria- focuses on young people getting training in ICTs

It can be difficult to find information specifically on ICTs in Nigeria. It is sometimes more helpful to search for African ICT trends and look for specific Nigerian data from there. The good part is that everything is in English. 




What I got From Class This Semester

This semester I learned many valuable lessons about the world of ICT as it pertains to development. One of the most important skills I took away from this class was a new found awareness for technology. Before IDEV 4100, I had never used WordPress (or had blogged before), nor had I used Twitter, or Open Street Map (before this class I had never heard of crowd-sourcing). I learned that these ways of communicating are important in the world of ICT4D, and how to use them.
Another important lesson I took from this class was the importance of ICTs in developing areas and nations. I gained a lot of awareness that I did not have before about the uses of ICTs in these nations and how they have become an integral part of life for even the poorest and most rural people. Often people think of development in terms of the necessities: food, water, health, and shelter. Yet, they do not think of these necessities in terms of how they can be obtained through resources that one would not believe to be necessary, such as ICTs. I learned through this class that development is a subject that requires innovation and the ability to think outside the box.

Loy Okezie, A New Figure in the Development of ICTs in Africa

Loy Okezie is a Nigerian blogger and entrepreneur who started the website TechLoy, which analyzes ICT on the African continent. TechLoy has become one of the foremost sites concerning African ICT. Loy Okezie is a digital media strategist by trade, but wears many other hats. Okezie has worked for multiple internet companies including NEXT, where he wrote a column about interesting new start-ups. In addition, Okezie contributes for Memeburn, a website that follows web trends. Today he is the founder of TechLoy and is a co-founder of Sowambe, a social media style brand.
Techloy is now a very prominent website in the world of ICT in Africa. It has over 35,000 monthly users and has gotten over 250,000 views per month. Okezie analyzes many of the emerging ICT trends in the context of African development. Although he is relatively new to the world of ICT4D, Okezie is someone to watch in the future for ICT trends.

The Dangers of Social Media: False Rumors

Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast this past week, and social media played a huge role in recovery and information about the storm. However, not all of what was shared on social media was helpful to hurricane relief. Some of the pictures and stories that were shared were false. Along with many false pictures, one with the Statue of Liberty being consumed by a tidal wave, there were many false reports being spread about the conditions of the city after the storm. One of these reports was that the stock exchange was flooded with three feet of water. This was shared widely, and many people believed that the storm was far worse than it was, causing fear for many people who had friends and relatives in the affected area.

Although many people spread many different types of erroneous rumors, one culprit on Twitter was found to have been spreading the most prolific false reports about the hurricane. This person goes under the Twitter account name, #comfortablysmug. He made up the story about the stock exchange and made up several other stories about the metro systems and electricity in New York City. Recently, he was revealed to be hedgefund analyst, Shashank Tripathi. Tripathi’s false and shocking tweets were retweeted several hundred times. Although he has apologized for the false tweets, these tweets left a mark on the effects of social media on disaster relief. While social media can be very helpful, it can also hinder relief as false rumors can spread. It is important for people to remember to look for credible sources for their information following up a disaster.

Read the full article here.

Genesys Works, Educational Development in America

Education was one of the sector presentations in class this week. One idea that has stuck out to me is Genesys Works, which was started by Rafael Alvatez in Houston Texas. He started Genesys Works, a non-profit organization that helps kids from underprivileged backgrounds jumpstart their careers in business and helps them learn about corporate culture and responsibility.  Alvarez started the venture, with help from the Houston Social Venture Partners, who pledged 50,000 dollars and helped Genesys Works achieve non-profit status. The program started with just ten students from Houston’s Southwest High School, just one teacher to conduct the training, and just one corporate partnership.  Since then, the program has grown to include two more cities, and hundreds of students, and over fifty partnerships with Fortune 500 companies. The company is non-profit, and therefore relies on donations from foundations and various government organizations. It also relies on partnerships from companies willing to employ the students, and of course, on the students themselves. The program is very innovative and has been changing the lives of inner city, low-income students for over a decade. Genesys Works trains students in IT work, and then partners with local companies who employ the students part-time. This helps students with their self-esteem. In addition, the company sets students up with college counselors who make sure that each student goes to a college that is the right fit for them. Education is very important both at a national and international level. Programs such as this help students succeed, and the model of Genesys Works follows really helps students in America graduate and create better lives for themselves.

Guest Speaker: Robert Munro

Our guest speaker this week via the computer was Robert Munro. He gave us a very enlightening talk on crowdsourcing and the opportunities it creates in solving many issues around the world. Robert Munro is a computational linguist, which is someone who models natural languages through a computational perspective. This gives him a wide array of skills, which he uses in his many projects. Munro got his PHd from Stanford University and was top 5% in his class of engineering/science candidates. Currently, he is the CEO of Idibon, a company for language technologies, and does work for Energy for Opportunity in Sierra Leone. Munro also has an impressive background of many interesting and diverse projects. In 2011, he worked at Global Viral Forecasting, which aimed to track diseases worldwide. Munro also coordinated Mission 4636, in which he translated and categorized emergency texts for disaster relief in Haiti. Munro has done work with crowdsourcing world wide, and has used his unique skills set to help better the world through the use of language technology.

More information about Robert Munro can be obtain at his website.

OLPC: Nigeria

In This Video, BBC examines how OLPC is working in Nigeria. The video follows children from one school, in an urban community in Nigeria and explains the pros an cons of of laptops. One of the main problems for the school was that at first, teachers did not know how to use the laptops and did not know how to incorporate them in classes of 90 or more, as many Nigerian schools are short-staffed. Yet, once the teachers found their own ways of learning how to use the laptops, students began to benefit from their use. One student said that the laptop really helped her with her reading and writing. The segment also highlighted the importance of the hardiness of the computers in the Nigerian school, where there is not a lot of resources, and intermittent electricity. Over time, through the dedication of teachers and students in this school, the OLPC project was a hard-won success. OLPC hoped to expand the program to other communities in Nigeria, but success is not guaranteed in these other communities. In the video, the minister of Education says that the focus should really be on teachers and the quality of schools before people focus on giving children laptops. He contended that while laptops can be beneficial, schools should focus on really streamlining their curriculums and getting better teachers in order to be successful in the education sector. In any case, the children of this one community seem to be benefitting from OLPC, and the venture seems to be worthwhile.

Infrastructure Challenges in the Western Cape

  • Cape Town’s ICT professionals want to make the city Africa’s “Silicon Valley,” or a hub of new and innovative ICT technologies
  • But ICT infrastructure and the high price of broadband are holding the Western Cape back from its full potential in the ICT sector
  • The Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille began plans to create the world’s largest mesh network in the Western Cape to accommodate the area’s lofty ICT goals
  • In order to improve the ICT infrastructure and broadband there must be an effort between the Government and the private sector to move the province forward
  • New infrastructure in the region could push forward the ICT potential in South Africa and the rest of the continent and create a center for African ICT entrepreneurs to improve the very backwards current African standards of ICT
  • In the discussion of ICT infrastructure it is important to consider the environment that the technology is in and it is important to consider the financial and educational capacity of those using ICTs for the technology to be successful. The Western Cape is one of the most developed areas of South Africa and of the rest of the continent. This area could very well play a key role in furthering all of Africa’s ICT goals by becoming the continent’s equivalent of Silicon Valley

Report on African Broadband Speeds

  • According to an article in TechLoy, a  recent report came out showing the top ten broadband speeds by country in Africa
  • The report was by Ookla, the foremost organization in broadband testing. Ookla used its Netindex, where consumers ranked download speeds around the globe
  • In Ookla’s overall Netindex, European and Asian countries seem to lead other areas of the globe in broadband speeds, with Hong Kong having the highest broadband speed overall of 42.07Mbps
  • The top African country was Ghana, with a broadband speed of 5.14Mbps followed by Kenya, Angola, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia (in that order)
  • Although Ghana had the fastest broadband speed in all of Africa, it was only ranked 73rd globally
  • This shows that Africa is behind on broadband speed and providing fast internet access to populations
  • The African continent has the fastest growing population in the world and needs to step up in terms of internet access
  • Africa also has a fast growing number of internet users, and if the internet is not accessible in an efficient way this could stunt the growth of ICTs on the continent
  • In order to achieve faster broadband speeds, African governments need to work on infrastructure to rural areas
  • Ookla’s Webindex is a great way to find out the broadband speeds of various countries so we can learn how ICT4D is working on a national level

Australia’s Digital Divide

According to an article for Pro Bono Australia, “More Aussies Online But Digital Divide Remains,” a recent survey shows that 86% of Australians are now online, putting the country on the same level as Sweden in internet use. This data shows that Australians have become more and more of a presence on the internet and are now using the internet as a resource in day-to-day activities. But not all Australians are getting online. According to this article by Adam Bender for PC Advisor, many rural Australians do not have the resources to get online. Rural communities have broadband coverage but have poor data speeds and poor technological infrastructure. This is a problem because as the rest of the country moves forward and many services become web-based, it is becoming more and more important for Australians to be able to get online. In rural Australia, it is now imperative for communities to be able to get online so that it will be possible in the future to bridge the digital gap.