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Web access in Africa

October 7, 2010

When we offer digital training, it is important to know the level of web access.

This means both

  • web access for participants and instructors during the course – and
  • web access for participants in their normal environment at work, before and after training

I am happy to see that country reports in Wikitravel often include such information.


Mobile phone network coverage is available in most parts of the country (over 70%), but geography can make trouble in the mountainous regions. SIM cards are cheaply available everywhere in ‘starter packs’.

Internet cafes can be readily found in Kampala and Jinja. In all towns with more than about 20,000 you’ll find internet cafes running off of either VSATs or mobile phones. The Internet connection bandwidth is very low and can be frustrating for one who is used to a high speed internet connection.

Wikitravel: Uganda


Internet cafés are more and more common throughout Tanzania. They are easy to find in major urban areas, like Dar es Salaam and Arusha.

International telecommunications have low capacity, and can be unreliable

Some mobile providers have started offering wireless internet service. Zantel, Vodacom, and Zain are the main providers. All urban areas and many rural areas that have mobile phone coverage also have mobile internet coverage. Wireless 3G coverage is available in many areas of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Zanzibar town.

To use this service you can use your phone’s mobile browser. To use it with a computer, you must first purchase a CDMA PC Card or USB mobile receiver which plugs into your computer. This will set you back about 200,000 Tsh. If you have an unlocked CDMA phone with a modem cable, that will also work.

Airtime is obtained using scratch cards just like mobile phones.

  • Connection rates are about 60 Tsh for 1 Mb or US$0.05 per MB.
  • So 1 GB of download and upload will set you back US$50. Not cheap.

Wikitravel: Tanzania


The report on Kenya did not include such information – instead I quote a news item (October 1, 2010) from

  • Orange mobile customers from Friday began to access the internet for Sh1 per MB, the most competitive rates in the market currently.
  • The new charges on the Internet Everywhere Service will see prepaid mobile customers get 50MB of data every week at Sh50.


LATINA in Africa


… the answers to food assessments are now recorded directly on handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs), which are only a little larger than a cell phone. Since being introduced in March, they have held up against the strong Burundian heat and last for days before needing to be recharged ….

  • Each PDA costs about $200,
  • With two devices for each of the country’s 15 provinces, the total cost is about $6,000, excluding staff training costs.
  • “WFP needs to be in the areas that are most at risk and that’s the bottom line. So anything that can help improve that process, reduce the time to get there, improve the data, [and] improve the validity of the data, is to me definitely worth the investment,”
  • Since WFP staff began using handheld computers, more accurate data is collected, and faster, because there is less preparation time and no paper trail from which data needs to be inserted into a computer system later on.
  • “It used to take us about an hour and a half [per interview, including preparation and data processing], but now it takes only half an hour,”

Burundi: Handheld Computers Speed Up Food Aid. Zack Baddorf. 6 October 2010.

One Comment leave one →
  1. plinius2ticipants permalink
    June 20, 2012 9:38 am

    -John Group
    -Three aspects of blogging setup, development and participation
    – Experience in setting up personal blogs in the group
    – Blogs faciliatate communication, post information about particular topics.
    – Restrictions for editting and deleting once a comment is sent
    – To particpate in a blog requires time
    – Blogging can be addictive
    – Communication to superiors through the blog-facebook

    Susan group
    – Al ot of experience with blogging in the group
    – Useful for a variety of communication and information sharing
    – Complment a website
    – People should be able to express themselves.and give feedback on the comments
    – Social media influencing the youth – erosion of culture norms and values
    – The governemnt should set a system that counter react the negative values by posting the right values.
    – Governemnts not friendly to the media e.g. China
    In North Africa the revolutionarists use this media

    Aminah Group – relevance of blogging
    – Cab be used to create interactive tools\’- Get feedback
    – Data collection tool
    – To help one get comments to build their article
    – Expression of opinions
    -Suggestion box replacement
    -Place of dialogue
    – Avenue of getting people\’s opinion
    – Build social networks
    – Help people say out their mind
    – different types of blogs – personal ., family
    – Should be coutious of what info to put on the web
    – You can control access with access

    Group 6 experiences with blogs
    – Can be used to send comments
    design questionnaires
    – interactive between colleagues
    – we can share documents with a colleage
    – We can give rights and can do editting
    – Use blogs to read people\’s articles
    – Share academic work, dessertaion, conference papers
    -Edit a dessertation on a blog
    – Debating table
    – Diary-journal
    – Share problems and seek answers

    Cyrilli group – General overview of experiences of blogging
    – Personal website where there is no restrictions for your views
    – Must be updated regularly
    – Informative
    – Have a target group in mind as you send info
    – Info to get a personal view
    – Marketting tool
    – Faciliatate research – commenst on a topic
    – A discussion forum with colleagues
    – a tool for selective dessemination of information
    – Challenges – only on online
    – Power interruption
    – ICt skills are paramount for blogging
    – Blogging needs time

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