The major urban centres in most ACP countries are already connected to internet and cell phone networks, usually provided by private companies, but these often do not extend beyond the larger towns and cities. Governments, therefore, have to incorporate carefully considered strategies into their national ICT policies to make sure that communication services are also delivered to the people living in rural areas.
In this issue:
‘The job of developing rural ICT policy in Africa is too important, too urgent and too big to be left to governments.’ Edmund Katiti, NEPAD e-Africa Programme.
‘ICTs can help a country achieve their goals – as long as there is committed participation from all the partners and sectors of society, including rural communities.’ Makane Faye of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Web 2.0 tools can help researchers, organisations and individuals develop a communication strategy to deliver evidence to policy makers and influence debates.
Uganda’s decentralisation policy has led to the development of wireless broadband services in all of the country’s districts. Cooperation between the government, NGOs, businesses and individuals will be essential to give everyone equal access to ICTs.
Rwanda’s investment in technology is not restricted to the country’s urban areas. Rural communities benefit too through the development of a telecentre network.
The government of Papua New Guinea has introduced a Universal Access Scheme to fund the development of telecommunications services in rural parts of the country.
SEND Foundation Ghana uses open source software and portable computers to gather data on policy implementation from people living in rural communities.
ICT Update (http://ictupdate.cta.int) is a bimonthly printed bulletin, web magazine, and accompanying email newsletter focusing on the use of information and communication technologies in agriculture in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It is published in English and French, by CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation) in Wageningen in the Netherlands.