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Connect Africa: Approaching the Halfway Point (Part 2)

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

In part one of this story, we looked at the strategic and tactical goals of Connect Africa, a group founded in 2007 intending to “bridge major gaps in information and communication technology across the region” by 2015.

In part 2, we look at its progress at the halfway point.

Connect Africa’s eleven flagship projects represent an ambitious stride toward bringing parity to the continent in relation with the rest of the world when it comes to interconnection and education.

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Economic Development Goals for 2011

Local governments are now eagerly discussing how to utilize information and communications technology (ICT) investment to advance their economic development plans. Topic awareness has increased, and yet total  comprehension and plan execution is still a work in progress. Regardless, we’ve seen notable progress.

Back in 1997 I managed the public sector account teams for US West in the state of Arizona. It was my responsibility to understand and support the ICT needs and wants of our local government, education and public safety customers.

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Connect Africa: Approaching the Halfway Point

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

A century ago, Africa was looked upon as a continent with great resources. All the great European powers cast imperialistic eyes across its vast landscape.

Today, the story has shifted. Africa still has vast resources and potential, but efforts to capture these capabilities and resources are primarily in the hands of Africans themselves, and they are working to “mobilize the human, financial and technical resources required to bridge major gaps in information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure across the region.”

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20 Billion Bits Under The Sea

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

In Jules Verne’s 1869 novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo’s Nautilus submarine cruises past the first transatlantic telegraph cable. The book was published only three years after the first successful attempt to lay the undersea cable and was as wondrous at the time as Verne’s story. It connected New York and London and transmitted eight words per minute.

Businessman Cyrus Field first attempted to connect the two continents in 1858. He made five more attempts before he was successful, though it almost bankrupted him in the process. As historian Gillian Cookson said in a PBS documentary, “It was really a tool of commerce and a tool of news agencies. But because information could be passed so quickly and news could travel between the continents, [it was] revolutionary.”

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