Africa suffers a wide technology gap. Most noticeably for anyone who spends time on the continent in its tragically slow internet. The internet in Africa runs on a tiny fraction of the MB from the rest of the world. Plans to have fiber-optic cables connect Africa to the rest of the world have been in the works for a few years. One is planned to come to Somaliland.
"The excitiment around the potential of this link (a fiber-optic cable into Somaliland) is palpable as can be discerned from a statement by Paulo Sossa-Saborio, President of Leadinspiration Inc., a British-American software and telecommunication company which signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop Somaliland’s telecommunication system where it will deliver 4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, and is clearly looking at Somaliland as a springboard into the rest of the region.
'The de facto state of Somaliland will be the ﬁrst nation to experience
the fastest broadband in Africa, up to 150 MB of speed, as well as the
introduction of services, such as mobile broadband, focused on supporting starting businesses as well as to increase eﬃciency in the established ﬁrms in the area…We truly believe, technology is able to bring social and political stability in a nation.'"
Implications from Institute for the Future:
Fiber-optic cables have been a controversial topic within many parts of Africa recently as attempts to lay them have been rumored to be foiled by thieves placing more value on the materials than the technology. Whether this is reality or the plans to bring the fiber-optic cables, which we expected in Kenya in early 2010, have hit other road blocks is unclear.
As mobile phone technology has already brought immeasurable changes to the African landscape, a successful increase in broadband speeds to meet western standards could bring huge benefits. Business would be more likely to invest and stay as opposed to operating primarily through extractive businesses. Innovative uses for mobile technology such as Ushahidi will become more powerful.
Society for International Development August 2010, pg. 6