From Issue #86June 2001
I am moved by your article. You have made some valid points, often times people of developed countries think that what those of developing countries need is advance IT and related services. When it actual fact this is not so.
What I think they must remember, is that, development is a process and there are certain key elements that are fundamental to this process:
1. basic fundamental education
Without these development will never happen. Countries of the developed world started out with these principles. I think it would be extremely difficult to go around these fundamental priniciples to acheived the coveted prized to be called "a developed country".
Inspiring story. As a linux tech installing servers in Africa, Asia and Latin America to support our international development organisation, i found this well worth the read. My job is to connect all our local offices to our emailsystem.
Though we install linuxservers as firewalls and mail servers, we do the maintenance ourselves. For local LAN's we always advise to choose something that can be supported locally, rather than something we fancy and like, though we are working on a simple manual for local administrators, and suggesting simple windowsconfigurations for which we can offer support. Furthermore, we are encouraging contacts between administrators in the regions we operate in. This is mainly determined by language (i.e. french in West Africa).
So, while we feel that open source is more in the spirit of our core "business", development, than proprietary software, and we are certainly encouraging the use of it (I always leave plenty CD's for the local administrators to play with), we also run into the fact that local support for its use is not always available, making it quite impossible to install it on a larger scale than we do now. Like you state in your example, there's nothing good about installing systems that can't be "repaired" if you're not around while at the same time making people dependent on them.
Being a techie that chose to work in the international development field rather than the fast telecom/ict sector, I'll install linux wherever I can. But not at all costs.
International ICT & Datacom
I do agree with you....i think people are in need of basic needs than computers
Found this article through another paper I'd read by Alan Story (Law Dept., Kent University, UK) which was a report to the UK CIPR (Commission on Intellectual Property Rights)[<B>www.iprcommission.org/papers/pdfs/ study_papers/sp5_story_study.pdf</B>] in which it is extensively quoted.
Thank you for helping me understand a little more.
I am so delighted and thankful for your article. Though a native of Burundi (Central Africa) , I have learned so much from you than in my many years growing up in Africa .
Assuming that we now know what has gone wrong with Africa , why is it that we can not scale up the efforts from best practices to the whole african continent ? What is it standing in the way for a sustainable progress ?
Jean B Manirakiza
Money I'd imagine?