Internet for development
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INTERNET FOR DEVELOPMENT. By: Sankung Sawo May 2000. Presentation Framework. Brief background of ICT in the Gambia Achievements : ICT infrastructure, services Key Players & issues: ICT based economy Constraints : Education and SBCs Way Forward : strategic Deployment

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Internet for development l.jpg


By: Sankung Sawo

May 2000

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  • Brief background of ICT in the Gambia

  • Achievements : ICT infrastructure, services

  • Key Players & issues: ICT based economy

  • Constraints : Education and SBCs

  • Way Forward : strategic Deployment

  • Conclusion and Recommendations

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Brief background :DataServices

  • 1992-1993 : GAMTEL rolled out X.25 network in GBA and introduced BT information services

  • 1993 : BICI pioneered X.25 WAN in GBA

  • 1995: GAMTEL introduced CompuServe Services with limited internet access.

  • 1996: Delphi Internet services introduced

  • Oct. 1998:2MBps Full Internet backbone nationwide , with 2 ISPs operational.

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Whathas been Achieved

  • Basic Inftrastructure: Countrywide Internet backbone with 12 PoPs. No. 3 in Africa, after S.Africa and Eqypt.

  • All News papers hosted: but none has a website.

  • DialUp USERs:1997 <150, 2000: ~2000 (<20 in rural). Total may be 3000 - 5000 people with access.

  • Schools with access: 4 to 6 in GBA, 1 provinces

  • Academic centers with Full connection: 2, GTMI & MDI .

  • Research Centers: 1 (MRC, Fajara & Farafenni)

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What has been Achieved (cont.)

  • NGOs: virtually all on dialup, UNDP on full link.

  • Hotels and Travel agents: All, on dialup.

  • ISPs: 2, Quantum & GAMTEL

  • Gov. Mins & Depts. All in GBA, on dialup.

  • CyberCafes:: about 8 in 18 months!

  • Total Invest: probably >US$2M , mainly by GAMTEL & Quantum.

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Gov. DOS W&C



Private Sector - small businesses especially

EDU sector, include research institutions


Policy and Regulation

Connectivity & Costing


Innovation & good choice of ICT deployment.

ICT Curriculum and Fast Track programs.

Key Players & Issues:

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CONSTRAINTS :Blocks & BottleNecks!

  • Very Low PC penetration: figure not known

  • Low telephone density: provinces especially

  • High dialup tariff:: fixed pay at ~$17 unlimited and connection charge ~US$1/hr.

  • Very low Computer literacy level: determined by school literacy.

  • Electricity problems: especially outside GBA; many fear to install PC.

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CONSTRAINTS :Blocks & BottleNecks!

  • ISP operational cost too high: 64k connection at ~$16,000 pa and Registration ~US$4,000 one time.

  • Free Web Mail competition: less user registration

  • High PC costs: due to import tax, etc.

  • Non-ISP Host Connection too high: Gamtel charges same rate applied to ISP at $16,000 pa, However EDU connection at ~50% through UNDP up to Oct 2001..

  • Congestion: on dialup lines happen often now.

  • Low Digital resources: little online data.

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THE WAY FORWARD:Strategies & Focus

  • Gov DOS W&C revise policy and regulation on ICT, more conducive.

  • Tariffs: slice all by Jan 2001.

  • Advocacy: more for internet on public media

  • Technology Deployment: affordable Internet packages

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STRATEGIES on key issues: 1 -Policy & Regulation

  • DOS W&C set clear-cut deliberate policies: to achieve dream goals.

  • DOS W&C institute different boards and working groups for ICT development.

  • Policy on digitalization of Gov. offices and public data in key institutions: health, finance, etc

  • Academic institutions be empowered to take charge of Internet administration

  • 0% tax on IT imports for EDU purposes

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STRATEGIES on key issues:2 - Connectivity & Costing

  • Differential tariff structure, to encourage more host connection and thus demand.

  • Deploy inexpensive sharing technologies eg Proxy routers, Domain Mail software for schools and training centers, etc. all free with Linux and other packages.

  • ISPs implement local Roaming , to reduce congestion effect.

  • ISDN connection: alternative, can be cheaper for Small businesses.

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STRATEGIES on key issues:3 :- Partnership & Advocacy

  • Our current facility came as a result of UNDP GoG. Partnership in IIA project,

  • ISPs work in partnership with NGOs: to deliver services in rural areas, both benefit.

  • Technology Programs on GRTS

  • Creation of an academic research group who can co-ordinate this kind of activities.

  • GPO with Gamtel: can deliver datagram Email and sound files to rural users.

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STRATEGIES on key issues:4:- Innovation & good choice of ICT

  • Low Cost PCs:NetPCs at <$700, recycled PCs.

  • Network rather than Standalone: to use low cost sharing technologies, like Proxy routers, free Linux PC software, etc.

  • CDROM media : 650MB readily available; CD-RW writers cost <$1000, whole library!

  • Streaming Audio : for schools and radio stations

  • Laptop PC on Car battery: DC power possible.

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STRATEGIES on key issues:5:- ICT Curriculum and Fast Track programs.

  • Internet: was created by academic community but developed by commercial enterprise into what it is today.

  • Immediate in all Schools: introduce IT in all schools and use recycled PCs , etc.

  • Vocational and Other Training Institutes develop programs to train en masse, especially Quantum and Gamtel GTMI..

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Conclusion & Recommendations

  • The Internet Society Mission Statement reads: “To ensure the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for thebenefit of all people throughout the world”.

  • Internet is for information access and sharingIT resources - including human capacity. Its success is therefore dependent on CONTENT and thus we must develop it.

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Conclusion & Recommendations

  • All of us must be committed and dedicated to make the Internet more affordable and resourceful, especially for 2020 initiative.

  • We owe it to our children and humankind to ensure that our culture, values, and everything achieved here goes into digital record.

  • Play a vital role in the African Internet Society Initiative (AISI) signed at the Conference of African Ministers in May 1996.

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Conclusion & Recommendations

  • GOG and Gamtel revamp the current Internet tariff structure - make it affordable and open.

  • GOG launch a Situation Analysisof ICT and Internet services in the Gambia - business tool.

  • DOS W&C launch a campaign for Partnership in Internet development in the Gambia.

  • GOG embark on ambitious digitalization now.

  • Launch an all Schools connection initiative - using recycled PCs, local & international.