Affordable Information Technology in Africa

Africa and technologyThough undeniably a consumer of technological goods, Africa has faced a difficult road thus far regarding the market for selling items for an acceptable price. Shops selling pirated DVDs, music, and other media are common in even the most remote of villages soon after being hooked up to an electrical grid. These bootleg copies sell for pennies on the dollar compared to legitimate products, and unfortunately, most African villagers cannot afford anything more. Several dollars a month per person goes toward this illegal entertainment.

Even in the most affluent places in Africa, the prospect of providing needed infrastructure is daunting and, ultimately, investors are afraid their money will not have any kind of good return. Providing Internet and Video on Demand (VoD) access that an average African household can afford has been a challenge, to say the least, but a new attempt at providing access to modern technologies has begun. Kahenya Kimunyu, founder of Able Wireless in Kenya, has stepped up to the plate.

Kimunyu’s creation is a device based on the Raspberry Pi capable of delivering Internet access to two devices per household. These devices are designed to connect to wireless aerial boxes sold to independent entrepreneurs in the area. For less than $6.00 USD, with a connection charge of about the same price, Kimunyu hopes that up to 20,000 homes will have access to Internet content and VoD within the first year of operation.

Other solutions to help bring Africa to the information age are also inbound. Kimunyu will be unveiling a content-providing service to deliver news via Al Jazeera, specially-selected YouTube content, and other media currently acquired illegally. In Lagos, “We”nnovation has unveiled a Wi-Fi network designed to hold digital libraries and provide content with digital rights management installed to prevent all too common piracy.

Read more at African Globe.