When people think of Africa, many think of the developing world where people are poor and lack access to basic human resources like water and electricity. Well I was interested to see this post on GOOD magazine’s website about bringing free wifi to villages currently without access in Africa.
Everything is on the Internet, you just have to do the work of typing it in. My sister’s answer to any question I ask her is “Why don’t you look it up?” In Africa, where the Internet penetration is just 27%, I imagine that people ask others or read books. This takes more time and requires travel, letters by mail, or the help of others. Just wait, Africa. A new era is coming that you will be able to instantly communicate with others and find the answers to all your curiosities. It is funny to think that there is anywhere left without the Internet since it has become so commonplace. But when you think about it, not only is the Internet good for education, it can help those who need medical help. Sure, there are many good things about it.
I see other motivations behind these projects that provide universal access than to benefit the general population. Of the programs mentioned in the article, Project Isizwe sounds the best, since it is a South African project, the culture of Africa may accept it more easily than the international companies like Kayak, Facebook and Google. Project Isizwe’s website states it’s vision:
In today’s connected world, access to the Internet should be considered an essential service, like water or electricity. And just like water and electricity, it should be available to everyone, regardless of circumstance.
The great quality about these programs is that they are free but some of them only allow access to a number of websites. However, if we consider it a human right there shouldn’t be limits to cut access time or filters though governments or excessive payment needed.
My brother thinks that we shouldn’t even have to pay for Internet service, and that in a sense we do need the Internet in today’s age. Perhaps, he says, it should be like water, a few cents for a Internet service and a few cents for a drop of water. Also, this question is relevant to America as well when, yes, our service is not filtered as the country of China’s is, but it is a substantial amount of money that some people cannot pay. Perhaps something should be done about the cost of the Internet in our own country because it such an essential service.
But the question remains, is access to the Internet important enough that everyone in the world should have equal access? It is at the forfront of these projects to provide service to remote villages in Africa. Indeed in the end, these projects are very good and encouraging for the African people and the world to be even more connected with the touch of a mouse.