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Web 2.0 for rural communities

The following comes from a mail I recently wrote, I thought it might well illustrate our goals to a wider community.
The possibilities that WIMAX and broadband offer are very exciting to me. These technologies also offer significantly different financing concepts. Especially in SA, urban and peri-urban societies differ very much from the rural ones predominant in Africa (+-37%) (World rural pop. +-50%)[1], which are the ones I am targeting with eKhaya. On the other hand, the buying power is greater in urban, electrified industrialised areas.

With broadband, one can have a much more interactive experience on the internet, besides VoIP one can better access flash media, get instant responses to posts etc. In short, one has full access to Web 2.0 technology. Without any fancy tricks. Web 2.0 as a hype-term conjurs up images of social networking, multimedia, freedom and democracy, as well as various business models - based on anything from advertising to virtual contributions, which can accumulate and yield a percentage when cashed, etc. (Just to give you my perspective.)

I am sincerely hoping to create a Web 2.0 "portal" for rural villages which has enough impetus to carry itself, whether by traffic alone, or through some other clever means. It must be feasible without Broadband at each node, but perhaps with some kind of WAN connecting nodes. I believe it can work and that now is the right time to start. :-)

I really love the idea that one can test installations in the Eastern Cape under conditions that will probably be similar to ones found even in urban areas in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g. 91% of Ghanians have no electricity)[2].

[1] http://www.prb.org/Articles/2004/UrbanizationAnEnvironmentalForcetoBeReckonedWith.aspx
[2] I got this from an engineer who worked on electrification projects there recently.

Posted: March 30th 2007 02:49

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eKhaya ICT is an Eastern Cape based software company, specialising in quality solutions and software components of ICT4D.

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