Can Technology Save Africa?

Hey Everyone,

I just read an article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20363166/site/newsweek/) and wanted your view.

What are your views on Africa reliance on technology & education as one of the major drivers for uplifting its communities. Some critics are saying invest in other pressing needs like HIV/AIDS, clean drinking water, food, etc…

My thought is yes, we do need clean drinking water and this is something hundreds of organizations have been trying to do for years with no real success and this is actually not “uplifting” even though health is very important.

One the issue of HIV/AIDS, there are no cures for the disease and I think this is also not uplifting.

Education & Technology on the other hand are tools and skills that cannot be taken away from you and can invoke innovation, provide access to jobs, and uplift people. India is a prime example of this strategy.

Your thoughts?

You might also be interested in this article, “Africa Needs To Scale Up ICT Development”: http://africa.oneworld.net/article/view/152480/1/

-Taa

Replies to this Topic

Hi there,

The article was very interesting. I think you are right, Taa, giving people access to technology and education is probably the best strategy to give people the possibility to reach and move up on the development ladder. However, I think lack of food and safe drinking water as well HIV prevalence are factors that should not be underestimated. Otherwise we might educate people who will never be able to take advantage of their education because they’ll die of AIDS at a young age. At the same time that people are given access to education, information about HIV prevention should be part of that education. Same goes for information about basic hygiene. I also think that access to a free meal a day and safe drinking water at schools can go a long way at supporting our goal of educating children in order to enable them to earn a living. When children are suffering from undernourishment and diarrhea, they won’t be able to learn as well and attend school as frequently. I think the bottom line is that while access to technology and education is the best way of lifting communities up from their extreme poverty, HIV prevention and treatment as well as food and access to safe drinking water can be valuable tools in making education more effective.

- Mel

I think you both touched on excellent points. I do believe the bigger question is “Can Technology save Africa’s Future?”

Let me just first say that clean water, nourishing food and HIV/AIDS prevention are extremely important to Africa’s future. Of course if we have a nation dying from malnutrition and HIV/AIDS who will we have to educate? What nation will we help to empower? Without these basic necessities efforts through technology can become questionable.

But on the other side if Africa is going to pull itself out of poverty & dependency it needs a platform to do so & I believe that platform is through technology & education. At this current state I don’t see any other platform but technology that will help Africa to build a sustainable, self-reliant & innovative nation. Lets face it, things are changing at a rapid pace and Africa doesn’t have a lot of time to jump on board; if they don’t start soon the effects of not doing so will last generations.

Also, my views are from an outsider’s perspective. I have never experienced or witnessed these issues first hand, so my opinions are solely based on information that is reported through the news media. I’m sure there are many other emotions, concerns and views that are not expressed through the news outlets. Many others see things through a different lens & I hope to share that lens someday… very soon.

Hello All, The Article and Topic above is very interesting and a touchy topic; as there are so many different views. Wonderful points were already made. Just thought I would join in on the discussion as well :-)

I believe that everthing listed above such as investing in needs like food, clean drinking water, HIV/AIDS- prevention/treatment, education, technology etc…are all important. I think they are all major drivers; as they are all things that can uplift. Preventing HIV/AIDS is certainly uplifting and even though there is no cure for HIV/AIDS; treatment and counseling, to a person who has the infection and their family, is also uplifting. Food and clean water can definitely uplift a person emotionally and physically.

Can you imagine going into a town and putting up a 10billion dollar technology lab, and the people in that town are dying daily from hunger and are in need of clean water. On the other hand, how long can you continue to feed them. At some point you, even the community, will want to be able to advance and become self-sufficient.

See, It starts with speaking to the present needs and building. The thing is Africa has so many needs and there are many things involved in “saving” Africa. I do believe everything has a role and plays an important part to each person and their present need. It doesn’t just start and stop with providing food, clean water, HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment, education, or Technology.

So, to answer the question above, of course in my opinion, “Can Technology Save Africa?”; Yes it can, but not alone.

Profile Image for Aggie H. Aggie
  • Wed, Sep 26, 2007 9:09 AM

Bonjour à tous, Education and Technology development in Africa is in a state of emergency. Consider that twenty five East and Southern African countries are not even connected to the global optical fibre broadband infrastructure. (This was recently concluded by the World Bank in its African Region Communications Infrastructure Programme Report).

These countries have to rely on expensive satellite connectivity to link up with the rest of the world. Consequently, telecommunication users in this region pay some of the highest international phone and high-speed Internet connection rates in the world. Lack of access to low price and high quality telecommunications services has further limited regional and international trade, job creation, use of Information and Communication Technology in Education and good governance(‘transparency’).

Can Technology Save Africa? Education is a human right and technology facilitates its dissemination. Education and Technology development strategies should move concurrently with those for Health and Poverty Reduction. (The World Bank has initiated a multi-million project dubbed the Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme to address the missing link…) A millennium challenge.

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