Google funding internet initiatives in Africa

Google is starting to enter the world of ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development) by funding initiatives to bring internet to small, rural villages in Africa.  One such project, implemented by three engineers from University of Michigan, involves installing satellite dishes powered by solar panels to hookup computers in the local community to the rest of the world.

The head of Google’s East Africa office, Joseph Mucheru, notes that “building infrastructure is not necessarily Google’s objective, but if you look at all the areas that Google has gone into, in many cases it has been to fill a gap… The market should see the opportunity.”

Google’s entry into ICTD seems to be an especially appropriate fit for a corporate social responsibility strategy.  Google can help rural villages get “online,” and also ensure their place in a new market.

It will be interesting to see if internet adoption in Africa and other developing country follows the same trajectory as mobile phone adoption – e.g. leapfrog over “standard” infrastructure like electricity grids by using solar-powered mobile phone towers.

Click here for the full New York Times article.

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One Response to Google funding internet initiatives in Africa

  1. We were impressed and interested with the information we read about Google Funding Internet initiative for Africa . This information came at a time when we just resolved one of the biggest power problems of our organization and our organization seeks to acquire a reliable high speed internet system.

    MACI is a not-for-profit organization based in northern Uganda in Adjumani. Adjumani is one of the district in Uganda that receives electricity for only 3 hours a day (night) and poor connectivity. HIV/AIDS has been the core competence of MACI. In addition we are involved in support and promotion of educational activities for HIV/AIDS orphan.

    Currently and with the availability of 5,000-watt solar power donated to MACI by German Development, we have advanced to e-knowledge promotion through set up of a small dial-up internet network. It is weak, has expensive running costs and often unreliable network link.

    We are seeking more information about your project and possible partnership in future.

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