Tag Archives: Internet

YouTube ‘burden’ creates opportunity in Africa

Creating Mobile Based Social Communities

Creating Mobile Based Social Communities

Tom Pickett, director of online sales and operations at YouTube, says the company still hews to its vision of bringing online video to the entire globe. In the last two years, it has pushed to create local versions of its site in countries like India, Brazil and Poland. But Mr. Pickett also says that YouTube has slowed the creation of new international hubs and shifted its focus to making money. He says that does not rule out restricting bandwidth in certain countries as a way to control costs

Continue reading

Experiencing the Connectivity Divide

One can only understand the meaning of the connectivity divide through experiencing it. Nothing as annoying as just simply waiting for something in order to find out that you have been waiting for nothing. But last week I was lucky..
I experienced a ‘mild’ form of the connectivity divide, when I tried to send an email in an Internet cafe in Kampala. After first having tried hotmail, which just didn’t work, I gave my student mail a shot…after some frustrating moments of biting my nails, as a last resort I tried gmail.. and after 20 minutes (of more) trying and crying my email finally got sent. Yoohoo!! Lucky me.. Continue reading

New Vision’s Vision Revealed

Ali Balunywa in Kampala, Uganda

For the first time since travelled to Uganda for my research, I woke up with a purpose. I was invited to attend the editorial meeting at the New Vision Newspaper to meet all journalists. Editorial meetings take place every day at 8.30am. The meetings are meant to map out activities for the day, deploy journalists and to do a postmortem of the previous day’s newspaper. Continue reading

What is it like to be a programmer in Kampala? (Part 3)

Career Event at the Makerere University

Career Event at the Makerere University

What are the challenges of being a programmer in Kampala?

Resources. The software isn’t in great condition and they are always forced to use platforms that are JUST acceptable. Programmers here get tired of using simplified versions that don’t give them full access to the software’s potential. A lot of times, and because they don’t have the money, they are forced to use unauthorized versions. This makes it harder for them to publish code when they know it wont be accepted. There is also a fear of being tracked down for using unlicensed software. This limits the programmer’s ability to push the potential. Continue reading

What is it like to be a programmer in Kampala? (Part 2)

Young Programmer

Young Programmer

Why study ICTs?

Some of the programmers wanted to join another program, like engineering or law, but didn’t qualify for the government scholarship program. It seems easier to secure money needed to study ICT. Many of the programmers explained that they are intrigued by electronics. Continue reading

Media Students Embrace digital culture

On Wednesday 8 April, I escorted Ben to Makerere University Faculty of ICT. During our discussions with the deputy dean, we were introduced to the communications manager. After explaining our fields of study, I was requested to make a presentation to the final year class of mass communications on the subject of the new Media. I could not let such an opportunity go by, so I immediately accepted. Continue reading

Internet in Kampala……..

My first intention was to shine a light on the dark informal sphere of illegal economic activities conducted on the Internet. Scams, fraud, fake marriages and so on. My first encounter with a Ugandan blog taught me that the scams were typical Nigerian, not African. People in Uganda were warning each other for this foreign Nigerian fake mails. There went my first prejudice.

Continue reading

First impressions on iCT in Kampala

On the plane from Cairo to Kampala I met a young Ugandan guy of 19 years old who just flew back from a tennis match in Egypt. He was a real cosmopolitan; he had traveled already all over the world for tennis matches, he studied as well in Uganda as in South Africa and he got a scholarship for next year to study in the USA. He told me laughing he might do some economic studies too, to help us in Europe with our crisis. He uses the laptop of his brother to surf on the Web for news and downloading music.
I asked him if could do an interview with him later on in Kampala and he gave me the phone number of his sister: ‘Ask for Duncan..’ He himself changed too often of simcard to be reachable.

Once in the country it is not only the humid air taking the attention of your senses. The country is filled with massive advertisement and billboards of telecom companies: ‘connect yourself’…

telecom-ad2

Continue reading

Seacom Lands in East Africa – Uganda is Next !

Seacom Cable Lands in East Africa

Seacom Cable Lands in East Africa

[Press Release] The construction of SEACOM’s 15,000 km fibre optic undersea cable, linking South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia to India and Europe, remains firmly on schedule to become the first cable to link east Africa to the rest of the world.

Over the past three months, a number of major milestones were reached including the groundbreaking at the cable station landing sites in Mozambique and Kenya. Construction has started in Maputo and installation of prefabricated cable station buildings has commenced. In Mombasa, foundations are beginning for similar prefabricated stations, which are in-country, ready for installation on site in December.

These containerized cable station modules were shipped from New Jersey to Africa in September. The remaining cable stations for South Africa and Tanzania are on their way to Africa. All of SEACOM’s high-performance submarine transmission equipment has been shipped from the factories and is also on its way to the cable stations. In addition, the first teams of technical staff for the east African landing stations have been selected and will begin training this month.

Nearly 90% of the SEACOM cable has been manufactured. The first load of assembled cable and repeaters is on its way to the region in Tyco Telecommunications’ ship, CS Tyco Reliance. Installation is scheduled to start soon. Loading of the second shipload of cable will begin this month and head towards Africa early in 2009. The third and final shipload of cable and repeaters will follow shortly thereafter. The entire SEACOM network will connect all cable sections together off the horn of Africa in the second quarter of 2009. Testing of the system will then be completed before the commercial launch in June 2009.

Laying Cable into the ground

Laying Cable into the ground

Brian Herlihy, SEACOM President, said: “The project is progressing in-line with our manufacturing and deployment schedules and we remain firmly on-track to go live in June 2009.

“We are particularly pleased with the recent groundbreakings in Kenya and Mozambique. This important milestone gave SEACOM an actual land-based footprint that will allow Tyco Telecommunications, our turnkey project contractor, to install the high-speed optical transmission equipment at these sites soon.

“With only eight months to go before the system is ready for service, SEACOM remains set to be the first cable to connect east and southern Africa to the rest of the world with plentiful and inexpensive bandwidth.”

SEACOM, which is privately funded and over three quarter African owned, will assist communication carriers in south and east Africa through the sale of wholesale international capacity to global networks via India and Europe. The undersea fibre optic cable system will provide African retail carriers with equal and open access to inexpensive bandwidth, removing the international infrastructure bottleneck and supporting east and southern African economic growth. SEACOM will be the first cable to provide broadband to countries in east Africa which, at the moment, rely entirely on expensive satellite connections.

Uganda hosts IST-Africa 2009

ICT Conference Uganda 2009

ICT Conference Uganda 2009

IST-Africa 2009 will be hosted by the Government of the Republic of Uganda through the Ministry of ICT. The event is supported by the European Commission and technical co-sponsored by IEEE. IST-Africa 2009 will take place on the shores of Lake Victoria at Speke/Munyonyo Resort and Conference Centre, Kampala from 6 – 8 May 2009.

Part of the IST-Africa Initiative, which is supported by the European Commission under the ICT Theme of Framework Programme 7 (FP7), IST-Africa 2009 is the fourth in an annual conference series which brings together senior representatives from commercial, government and research organisations across Africa and from Europe, to bridge the digital divide by sharing knowledge, experience, lessons learnt and good practice and discussing policy related issues.

IST-Africa 2009 focus

IST-Africa 2009 will focus on the role of ICT for Africa’s development and specifically on applied ICT research topics addressing major societal and economic challenges, which is part of the European Commission’s Information Communications Technologies (ICT) Theme of FP7. The conference programme combines strategic keynote presentations, technical and policy papers, case studies, workshops, an exhibition and social activities.

IST-Africa directly supports the goals of the Africa-EU Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space, the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) and the Consolidated Plan of Action for the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE).

In the context of focusing on the role of ICT for Africa’s development, the opening plenary on Wednesday, 6 May will feature a high-level dialogue on Implementation of the Africa-EU Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space. The closing plenary on Friday, 8 May will focus on Initiatives Supporting Development of Regional S&T.

Online payment registration is open with presenter registration due by 9 March and early bird registration available up to 14 March 2009.

IST-Africa 2009 programme

The scientific programme for IST-Africa 2009 is based on an open call for papers which closed in late November 2008. The advance programme consists of two plenary sessions and 38 parallel sessions featuring over 130 presenters from government, commercial and research organisations in 36 countries (20 European countries, 14 African countries, Canada and US). Accepted authors should submit their final papers online by 27 February and registration by 09 March.

Confirmed plenary speakers to date include:

* Dr Ham-Mukasa Mulira, Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Uganda
* Dr. Sally Kosgey, Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology, Kenya (AMCOST Chair)
* Antti Peltomäki, Deputy Director-General, DG Information Society and Media, European Commission, Belgium
* Dr Hakim Elwaer, Director, HRST, African Union Commission
* Aida Opoku-Mensah, Director, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ethiopia
* Adem Sumertas, Managing Director, Ericsson Uganda
* Dr. Philippe Mawoko, Programme Coordinator, African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) Initiative, NEPAD S&T
* Ilari Lindy, Advisor, Information Society for Development, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
* Thierry Devars, DG Information Society and Media, European Commission, Belgium
* Stijn van de Krogt, Deputy Director, IICD, Netherlands

IST-Africa 2009 Exhibition

IST-Africa 2009 will also feature an exhibition that provides the opportunity to showcase research results and applications through technology demonstrations, whether funded commercially or at national, regional or European level. The Call for Exhibitors is open with a closing date of 27 February.

The goals of the IST-Africa Conference Series are community building to facilitate EU-African research co-operation and successful exploitation of research results, to stimulate take-up of RTD results by industry, small- and medium-Sized businesses and the public sector, to promote knowledge sharing between commercial organisations, government agencies and the research community, to exchange experiences about the current state of eAdoption at a sectoral, national or regional level, support international co-operation and open up the European Research Area (ERA) to Africa.

The IST-Africa Conference will provide a collegiate setting for presentations and discussions of national and regional developments, issues of concern and good practice models. It will also provide an excellent networking environment for delegates to discuss problems, share knowledge, obtain feedback, and learn more about opportunities to participate in ICT Calls under Framework Programme 7 (FP7).

Read more about this event or register to participate here.

ICT 4 Uganda Research Project

Introduction

The breakneck pace of development in African connectivity recognizes important changes taking place on the ground. How do the man and woman in rural and urban Africa engage with new ways to communicate? To what extent is ICT already incorporated into local activities and cultures and what are the motivations behind their usage? What are the new opportunities and challenges ICTs afford civil society and what does this mean for the future development of ICTs on the continent?

To answer these questions a group of four master students, with a common interest and expertise in New Media, propose to write their Master thesis on the topic. Combining Business, Economics, Journalism and Anthropology the group proposes to set up a social research project that touches four distinct fields; Entrepreneurship, Politics, Social Life and Media. This research will take place in Uganda.

An ICT Revolution

Africa is fast embracing Information and Communication Technologies. The continent is experiencing a mobile phone revolution that now defines the continent’s potential. In a span of ten years, more than one third of the African population has gained access to the mobile network. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says that the mobile phone industry in Africa is growing at twice the global rate and remains the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world.

This growth is also reflected in the spread of Internet connections that have increased by 1,031.2 % between 2000 and 2008. (UN World Investment Report, The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Internet World Stats – June 2008). Internet connectivity is growing faster than anywhere else in the world and significant investments in fiber optic cables and satellite technologies promise to accelerate the process.

The breakneck pace of development recognizes important changes taking place on the ground. This unprecedented economic growth is parallel to the Economist Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Earth Institute at New York’s Columbia University says, “I actually think that we’ve turned the corner on the digital divide… a gap that seemed to be widening pretty relentlessly is now going to be narrowed in the coming years and I think quickly. (AllAfrica.com – October 2008) As ICT makes headway in the continent it is important to understand the changes it brings.

Why a Social Approach?

Most research is focused on technology, its growth and expansion. Given Africa remains relatively unconnected, most analysis looks at the technical issues needed to increase access. Very little attention is given to what happens when people finally do make use of ICTs. This is where we propose to focus our research. Not on how users will become part of the system, but what happens when they are apart of it.

The Research Project

Four Master students from the University of Amsterdam, Wouter Dijkstra, Ben White, Ali Balunywa and Guido van Diepen, propose to visit one African country for two months of field research. The aim of the project is to understand how local African communities engage ICT. Each researcher has an individual approach and research question and will write a personal Masters Thesis based on the two months of field research. Geert Lovink (often referred to in international publications as a ‘New Media Guru’) is the project advisor.

The aim of the research is to better understand the significance of ICT from the end user perspective. In this way the group chooses to focus on the “man on the street” as opposed to an organizational or governmental approach. This is out of the interest to understand how ICT has already found a presence at a local level and irrespective of organizations or governments involved.

Given this focus, the aim is to classify four distinct groups of users and to study them individually using ethnographic research techniques. The aim is to sketch different profiles of end-users based on various research methods. In this way the project aim is to capitalize on the backgrounds and interests of the group participants while at the same time working to develop a research model and approach that might be replicated (by other research groups) in the future.

Individual research questions and specific research methods are described in the individual chapters of the proposal. We strongly believe that this project will add value to the current discourse and seek your partnership and cooperation.

In the meantime, we remain available to answer any questions.

Kind Regards,
ICT 4 Uganda