User's Guide To Electronic Networks in Africa

User's Guide To Electronic Networks in Africa

Electronic networking is transforming communications and the conduct of research around the world. This transformation, which is now expanding at an exponential rate in much of the industrialized world, is occurring more slowly in Africa; even so, the trend is unmistakable. Electronic networking offers very significant advantages in cost, reliability, security, flexibility, variety of services, and speed over such existing alternatives as voice phone, fax (as fast or faster than e-mail but much more expensive), telex, and the postal system. The limiting factors to date in Africa--including a shortage of full- time, trained system operators as well as people to train trainers and end-users--are being addressed through a combination of donor support and the efforts of some extraordinarily dedicated individuals who have been involved in spreading the technology and the requisite knowledge throughout the region.

Another limiting factor in the spread of electronic networking in sub-Saharan Africa has been a dearth of documentation of various sorts, including information on what exists in terms of electronic networking on the continent; many people, both in Africa and overseas, are still surprised to learn that African networking exists at all. This user's guide is meant as a contribution towards filling the documentation gap. It is designed, first of all, not to be a complete and final document, but rather to be a starting point upon which future improvements can (and should) be made. It is intended to be helpful to novice networkers in Africa who need some basic information on how to participate in this growing area of information technology, as well as to experienced individuals anywhere who simply desire more information on the status of African networks.

The Guide focuses mainly on Fidonet, because that is the technology most widely used in sub-Saharan Africa today. We have decided not to try to provide an operating manual for any particular software package, for several reasons. There are several communications programs in use in Africa, and we do not wish to appear to be favoring one over another. Also, many of these programs are constantly being modified over time, as well as in different places, so that a Fidonet package like FrontDoor, for example, may not even be quite the same thing in Zambia as it is in Kenya. Therefore, rather than giving a detailed and, before long, outdated explanation of an arbitrarily chosen software program, we have decided to focus our efforts on providing a general overview of network services in Africa, with enough particulars about specific network projects to allow anyone who might wish to participate to do so. Although this type of information is by nature ephemeral, it is our hope that any interested person with access to a computer and a modem will be able to use the information in this Guide to electronically navigate sub-Saharan Africa. Jumping in to experiment and ask questions is still the best way to advance one's knowledge.

The Guide is divided into four parts. The first part is a brief explanation of some of the basics of electronic networking, extracted from a longer paper entitled "E-Mail Demystified," by Shem Ochuodho, Director of the African Regional Center for Computing (ARCC) at Kenyatta University in Nairobi; we are most grateful to Dr. Ochuodho for allowing us to utilize this very helpful document here in the Guide. The second part contains descriptions of existing projects in sub-Saharan Africa, culled from the results of a questionnaire sent to the respective system operators (and from many followup inquiries). The third part is a list of all known network nodes on the continent. This list has been compiled and updated by Randy Bush, a Portland-based computer consultant who operates a Fidonet gateway and has worked extensively with African networkers, and is reprinted here with his permission; its latest version is always available electronically (for more information see the Randy Bush section). Finally, there is a brief section on proper network etiquette, or "netiquette." There is also a glossary of some of the pertinent terminology at the end of the Guide.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Sub-Saharan Africa Program invites your comments on this user's guide, and criticisms about specific shortcomings or suggestions for its improvement in future incarnations (see contact information in box below). We have no particular reason to believe that we are the most appropriate organization to revise and reissue the Guide in the future, and are therefore perfectly willing to allow these tasks to be assumed by a more appropriate organization; however, we are also willing to consider doing an annual update if demand justifies. We hope that the Guide serves you well as you enter the world of electronic networking in Africa.

About the Program

The AAAS Sub-Saharan Africa Program was inaugurated in 1987, representing a concerned response on the part of US scientists and educators to the institutional crisis that their African colleagues were facing, and a commitment on the part of US scientific societies and donors to attempt to work with African institutions in order to address that crisis. To date program activities have centered on improving access for African researchers to scientific and technical information, on encouraging other aspects of capacity-building for universities and related organizations within the region, and on promoting productive collaborative ties between US and African scientists and their institutions.

The Program's two main program areas are "Science and Technology Information" (STI) and "Science and Technology for Development." The latter area focuses on promoting US-African scientific collaboration, providing advice and consultation on science-based problems, and enhancing US understanding of science in Africa; projects have included a multidisciplinary study of malaria in Africa, and an ongoing series of meetings and publications focusing on particular issues under the banner Science in Africa. STI projects include the Project for African Research Libraries (which in turn includes a journal distribution program, several projects relating to CD-ROM technology for scientists and librarians, and other initiatives to strengthen the institutional capacity of research libraries) and Enhancing Electronic Access to STI (which to date has included two workshops on networking in Africa as well as this user's guide).

John Schoneboom
Project Coordinator
AAAS Sub-Saharan Africa Program

E-mail Demystified: Low-Cost Networking with Fidonet

by Shem Ochuodho

What is e-mail?

Electronic mail (e-mail) is a computer-mediated communication system, in which messages in electronic form are exchanged between computers linked in some way, often through a terrestrial public telephone network. The sending and receiving computers use a suite of computer-based tools (programs or protocols) to compose, edit, modify, forward, store, retrieve, or otherwise manipulate messages. The power and flexibility of computer systems are exploited to reduce the cost and transmission times of relayed messages.

Why not fax or phone?

Below we summarize some of the major advantages of e-mail over traditional communication modes, e.g., phone, fax, telex, cable, and post:

* E-mail provides a speedy, inexpensive, and convenient means to communicate. A 50-page document, for example, can be transmitted in less than three minutes for the price of one phone call, while a fax costs 200-600 Kenyan shillings (KShs) per page to send overseas. The e-mail cost currently runs KShs 20-30 per page, and decreases as the number of users increases (more messages transmitted per call). (The exchange rate as of April 1994 is approximately 63 KShs to one US dollar.)

* Messages can be sent at any time regardless of time-zone differences between countries or continents.

* Electronic networking allows the transfer of documents and, depending on the particular protocol used, remote log-in (using a distant computer as if it was on your own desk), allowing sharing of distributed resources.

* E-mail can be targeted to an individual, institution, or other group. It can be publicly "broadcast" at little or no additional cost.

* E-mail provides for blocking undesirable mail or sites. Much e-mail can be read, expedited, and deleted while still on- line, obviating the need for printing, thereby saving on paper costs.

* E-mail can be interconnected with other electronic communication modes, including fax, CD-ROM players, optical scanners, etc.

* E-mail systems, unlike fax machines, do not necessarily need a dedicated phone line.

* The flexibility of e-mail allows for easy data reprocessing/editing and redistribution.

* E-mail, while not entirely foolproof in terms of security, offers better confidentiality than other communications technologies, particularly when encryption/passwords are supported.

* Although other technologies can incorporate value-added services, such as auto redial, redirect, forwarding, conferencing, and so on, most of these facilities are an inherent, built-in component of e-mail.

* Whereas some of the more widely available e-mail packages cannot transmit graphics, the more advanced (and not uncommon) suites can. Indeed, an important emerging communications trend is towards multimedia networking, combining data, audio, video, etc., as normal components of e-mail.

E-mail opportunities and potentials

Some of the key opportunities offered by e-mail are:

* elicitation and conduct of regional and national collaborative research initiatives.

* source of technology transfer, e.g., by broadcasting technical questions to mailing list ("listserv") subscribers in the developed world.

* gathering, storage, and dissemination of vital information, e.g., on health, food, agriculture, environment, and so on.

* administrative purposes, e.g., for circulating internal memos or minutes of meetings, collecting data on vacancies not taken up by admitted students/staff, accounting and auditing, processing and disseminating personnel information among authorized officers, etc.

* on-line library service and searching.

* computer-aided distant learning and tutoring, e.g., a member of staff on sabbatical may continue to remotely tutor his or her supervisee, or a foreign professor can co-supervise a local postgraduate student. Indeed, this is an excellent way of tapping African brains based in foreign lands. It is also abundantly clear that many Africans/Africanists abroad would be keen to work in Africa if reliable e-mail links and facilities were in place.

* commercial applications: appropriate centers can serve as "consultancy units," e.g., by offering on-line technical advice, allowing remote utilization of computing facilities on a lease or hire basis, selling nonsensitive information, serving as e-mail bureaus, or simply serving as e-mail nodes for other organizations.

Basic requirements

For a viable and sustainable network, the following necessary preconditions have been identified: motivation, management support, human resources, sound planning and effective management, and suitable telecommunication infrastructure and computing systems. Basically, the last category merely entails a simple personal computer (PC), a modem (modulator/demodulator), a communications medium, and communications software.

A modem essentially works by converting messages from a computer, which are normally in digital form, to analog form for transmission along a phone line, and then back again at the receiving-end computer. But a modem also does a little more than that.

Much of the interaction between computers and/or modems is software-controlled. The major components of any communication software are an editor (for composing and editing messages) and a mailer (for dispatching or picking up messages). Usually, there are other additional features, e.g., for supporting data compression to increase phone line throughput while saving on computer memory, automated error detection and correction of transmitted data, and so on. Fidonet is one such software, and, as we see later, is very attractive for use with poor or expensive phone links. Several software programs of the Fido type are available as public domain, i.e., at low or no cost, provided usage is limited to noncommercial purposes. In general, for an organization or individual with a PC and a phone line (even only an extension, provided automatic dialing through a PABX, e.g., preceded with a "9" or a "0," is supported) need only between US$100-300 to have e-mail start-up. The cost varies depending on whether a modem is already available or not, the type of modem required, available expertise and level of training required, services desired, etc.

Apart from "ordinary" switched public telephone lines, other channels can be used for e-mail transportation: wireless (including satellite, radio, and cellular phone), public service data networks (PSDNs, like KENPAC), leased telephone lines, etc. In Kenya, most of the prerequisites for e-mail outlined above are generally and easily available. Nevertheless, the local PTT authority, Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (KP&TC), requires that an interface to a public phone network, e.g., a modem, must be type-approved, and installed by an engineer or technician registered by the Corporation.

What is Fidonet?

Fidonet is a point-to-point and store-and-forward wide area network (WAN) that uses modems over normal switched telephone lines to exchange messages and data. The services normally offered on Fidonet include private mail exchange between users, public conferencing, and file transfer. Some of the factors that make Fidonet a low-cost networking platform are:

* The technology is optimized for use on low-quality phone lines (through using a protocol that features high resiliency to line noise and satellite delays, as well as automatic file compression and "crash recovery," i.e., should a connection break while data transfer is in progress, the transfer simply resumes from where it was interrupted on a subsequent call).

* The required hardware and accompanying software operating environment (DOS) are common and therefore well supported even by relatively unsophisticated programmers.

* Software is inexpensive and sometimes free for noncommercial use.

Fidonet has a hierarchical addressing system. "Zones," representing continents or subcontinents, are the highest category in the hierarchy. "Regions" are the next level, and generally designate a subregion, or group of countries. Africa is Zone 5 in the Fidonet system, and East Africa is designated as "73"; thus, the first part of the Fidonet address for any East African country would be 5:73. Each country may have its own "net," represented by a number appended to the region code; Kenya, for example, is 5:731. A net can include one or more "nodes," which are host machines that serve as clearinghouses for messages exchanged between machines within and outside the country or region; nodes are given numbers and are represented in the address following a slash after the net code; thus node 100 in Kenya is addressed 5:731/100. Finally, at the "leaves of the tree," there are points, which are machines not necessarily dedicated to e-mail service, but which are used by individual users or organizations on an ad hoc basis to exchange mail with nodes or other points. In the address, a point follows the node number, separated by a period; point number 200, connecting to node 100 in Kenya is addressed 5:731/100.200. Note that a point can optionally call points or nodes in other zones as well as its own.

ZONE 1     | ZONE2   | ZONE3     | ZONE4      | ZONE5   | ZONE6
N. America | Europe  | Australia | S. America | Africa  | Asia
                                            Region 73
                                           East Africa
                          |             |              |
                       Net 731       Net 732        Net 733
                        Kenya        Uganda         Tanzania
                       5:731/0       5:732/0         5:733/0
         |                |                |
      Node 1           Node 4           Node 100
       ELCI             UNICS             ARCC
      5:731/1          5:731/4          5:731/100
                             |             |               |
                          Point 4      Point 11       Point 200
                           CNST         KU_Chem       AMREF_Comp
                        5:731/100.4   5:731/100.11   

Figure 1. A Fidonet Hierarchy

Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It is expected that this repository of FAQs will grow as Fido matures in the region. Problems and solutions are expected to come mainly from the end-users themselves, not the node operators. Below are a few sample questions commonly asked:

Q: Is on-line library/database searching possible with Fido?
A: No. On-line data searching requires "remote login" capability, a common feature with the Internet's TCP/IP protocol. Fido, being batch-based (i.e., non-interactive, hence the cost- saving effect), does not allow remote login. One may be able to log into a home host, for example from a guest host to read one's mail using "file request" features, but this is not the same thing as what is normally known in the Internet world as "rlogin." However, a database search can still be performed semi-manually by making arrangement with the remote host's postmaster, and sending keywords to him or her to do the searches and transmit results to the requester. Normally, this is much cheaper than a true on-line search. Indeed, the high cost of on- line searching is part of the reason why some of the pioneer e- mail users in Kenya, especially those using packet data- switching, had to pay through their noses (and hence had some unkind words about e-mail!).

Q: Can a Fido message be forwarded to a fax machine?
A: Yes, provided prior arrangement has been made with a gateway node. This would normally require human intervention, and may attract additional charges. Nevertheless the cost can never be as horrendous as a normal fax!

Q: How secure or private are e-mail messages?
A: Though not 100 percent foolproof, e-mail is perhaps the most secure and private form of communication, especially if passwords are used. Anybody passing by a fax print-out can read it. Phones can be bugged, and one can occasionally overhear other conversations during cross-talk. Regular mail can be intercepted and read. The "repackaging" of e-mail, e.g., through compression, encryption (or "secret coding"), etc., makes it less vulnerable to interference than comparative technologies. The "information explosion" that naturally comes with e-mail makes it even more difficult to hack. But even passwords can be cracked!

Q: Can viruses be transmitted over e-mail?
A: Yes and no; more accurately, yes, but they cannot be remotely activated. An executable file containing a virus can be transmitted via e-mail, but the virus will only be activated upon executing the file. It is good sense to virus-scan any files received, particularly if one is not familiar with the source of the file. Normal messages are in ASCII text, which cannot contain a virus. It is therefore not possible for someone to sabotage another's computer with a virus from a remote location, unless a virus recipient activates a "tainted" file without first scanning and cleaning. A good, current scan/clean program is essential, and should be used regularly (not only for electronically transmitted files, but for unfamiliar floppy disks as well).

Q: What networks can I access from Fidonet?
A: These days, there are software "gateways" that allow one network to talk with literally any other network, except perhaps with some isolated commercial networks. Fidonet has gateways to most of the world's major networks, especially academic and research networks, e.g., Internet (global), Bitnet (mainly US), EARN (European), JANET (UK), WEB (Canada), PEGASUS (Australia), and so on, and also to commercial networks like MCI and CGNET.

Q: On what hardware and operating system platforms does FrontDoor run?
A: FrontDoor will run on any IBM PC-, AT-, or 100 percent BIOS- compatible machine with at least 256KB RAM and 2.5MB hard disk memory, and a monitor. An asynchronous modem capable of sending alphanumeric messages (most modems are) will also be required. The operating software environment required is MS or PC DOS, versions 3.00 or above. FrontDoor also runs under most LAN software (including Novell and Lantastic). It also runs under PD-MOS/386, VM/386, and other multitasking environments, such as DESQview. Versions for the Macintosh have also been recently announced.

Q: How would I find the e-mail address of a friend in a particular country, or, rather, are there e-mail directories?
A: Local Fido points/nodes can easily be obtained from the local host node operator, e.g., by simply requesting for files containing points lists, normally of the form *.PTS and in the \FD\NODELIST subdirectory. So can other Fidonet points/nodes worldwide. Internet addresses are not any more difficult to obtain. There are software commands that can be used to query directories of e-mail addresses; to run such commands, however, normally requires a host connected directly to Internet, or to an Internet-compatible network, such as UUCP. Besides, such queries will normally only yield the addresses of the host machines, not individual users. Fortunately, each host would normally have a SysOp (or postmaster) to whom general queries can be directed. Thus a message for Jacinta Were at UoN_Library can be forwarded to postmaster@UoN_Library, with the subject header "Re: Attn. Jacinta Werel. There are generally no friendlier or more helpful people than SysOps!

Q: How do I transmit files created with a wordprocessor like WordStar or WordPerfect?
A: Documents held electronically in the computer can be transmitted in a non-transparent form (readable by the software that made them), be they wordprocessed memos, spreadsheet tables, graphics, or merely plain ASCII text. The same can also be requested from a remote host■provided, of course, such permission is granted (sometimes through a password). However, to include a file as an integral part of a message it must be in plain ASCII text format. For example, a WordStar or WordPerfect file can be saved as ASCII text, using the relevant commands within the particular wordprocessor, and incorporated into the body of your e-mail message. Alternatively, they can be sent in their original forms as separate files attached to the e-mail message.

Q: Can graphics be transmitted via e-mail, especially over Fidonet?
A: Yes, if the graphics are in "postscript" or some other standard typeset format. To reconstruct the graphics, however, the recipient must have a device (e.g., a printer) that can recognize postscript or whatever the format is. In some cases, (electronic) images can also be transmitted. Nevertheless one needs to be warned of the high volumes of data they are likely to constitute when downloading. Unfortunately, Fido does not support images and graphics of this type. However, if by "graphics" we simply mean tables, sub/superscripts, arithmetic symbols, spreadsheets, etc., then (as was noted earlier), such items can be transmitted as attached files using Fido. However, they cannot be embedded (or imported) into a message, unless of course the "graphics" are drawn using ASCII characters.

Emerging technologies now have the capability to transmit video, audio, still images and any other kind of digital data in addition to text. This "multimedia" networking technology exists but is, unfortunately, not yet widely available.

Q: How can I send a message overseas directly without going through the local node?
A: When absolutely necessary, it is possible to send messages directly abroad, bypassing the local host node. This method may be desirable, for instance, in order to deliver a message instantly or to guarantee a message's privacy. A message can be flagged as "direct" and sent immediately to its ultimate destination. In FrontDoor, this is an option under the addressing menu.

Initial Startup Costs

Below are typical approximate startup costs that a prospective user needs to be aware of. However, precise rates will vary from one service-provider (local host node) to another, and from "customer" to another; ARCC (African Regional Centre for Computing), for example, has special rates for University of Nairobi departments, while costs for commercial firms will inevitably be higher.

Although the figures are quoted in US dollars, all currently operative nodes within Kenya will accept equivalent Kenyan Shillings. The figures below assume that an organization already has a PC (with at least 2.5MB of disk memory and 256KB RAM), a telephone or fax line (even an extension, provided it can be dialed through with a leading "9" or "0"), and a modem. A 2400 baud modem (more than adequate for an end-user) costs anything between US$30-300 (excluding transport costs, tariffs, and type- approval costs) depending on whether it is an internal or external modem.

Software and documentation on

Installation and limited on-site training.....US$50.00

Monthly subscription.............................10.00
   (payable three months in advance)

Subsequent on-site support trips (two hours).....10.00

International traffic, first kilobyte (KB)........0.50
    subsequent KBs................................0.20

International conference messages, per KB.........0.20

Monthly modem rental........................5.00-10.00

Local traffic and

Beyond Fido

Fidonet, for all its strengths, is not the ultimate in networking. In this section, some of the limitations of Fido are highlighted, and available comparable alternative networking technologies are briefly examined.

Fido limitations

Having seen some of the strengths of Fido, the reader should be made aware of its limitations, with FrontDoor in particular. Some of the Fido limitations are technical, others are not. We loosely categorize them into: general, technical, and bugs. It should, however, be emphasized that the latter two categories may not necessarily be true of Fido-compatible programs other than FrontDoor. Also, we expect the "bugs" in FrontDoor to disappear in later versions of the software.

General limitations

Network operators know only too well that satisfying a client is like chasing a moving target. Perhaps an analogy to Murphy's Law summarizes it best: "No matter how much bandwidth is available, it will be used up." Sooner or later, a user realizes s/he needs services that current capabilities may not readily offer, especially when s/he begins to interact with other e-mailers with superior services, or when s/he becomes an ardent user. Some of the services that such a user very soon realizes would be most helpful are: on-line access to remote machines or databases (usually called "remote login" or "rlogin"), real time point-to- point communication (as in fax or phone; on other e-mail platforms a live, interactive "phone" or "chat" facility exists), and (efficient) transfer of large files (also known as "FTP" for file transfer protocol). In developing countries where both computing resource and relevant literature are scarce, remote login would be very useful. This feature facilitates resource- sharing by allowing a distant researcher to access, for example, one of the powerful Cray supercomputers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), assuming, of course, access privileges have been granted. These advanced services are what lead many people to consider the Internet to be the "ultimate" network.

Although messages can be exchanged between Fidonet and Internet, Fidonet is not Internet-upgradable; it uses an entirely different protocol. Internet operates in real time, Fidonet is a batch- based store-and-forward system. There is, therefore, normally a requirement for gateway software to translate messages from one network's protocol to the other. Indeed, largely because of the above fundamental discrepancy, Fido-TCP/IP (the Internet protocol) gateways are not widely available. What are found more often are Fido-UUCP gateways. Whereas UUCP also operates in batch mode, it is Internet-upgradable, and in many cases, conversion to Internet simply requires upgrading from a dial-up phone line to a leased line. UUCP and Internet are discussed further below.

Other weaknesses of Fido include:
■      Its existence in several software versions; a user who moves
       from one platform to another may find the retraining
■      It can be weak in confidentiality (a node operator can
       browse through private mail) and integrity (node operator
       can tamper with mail).  Fortunately, there are codes of
       ethics that node operators are required to, and normally do,
       observe.  Furthermore, most node operators would be hard-
       pressed to find time to delve into others' mail.
■      Documentation is hard to come by (a common problem
       associated with "shareware")■hence the motivation for this
       guide!  The rapid proliferation of newer versions means that
       updated documentation may not become available in a timely

Technical problems
Below we summarize a number of technical problems with FrontDoor:
■      There are awkward restrictions on e-mail addresses because
       of Fido's addressing scheme.
■      FrontDoor 2.02 can only support up to ten user accounts. 
       Ideally, an organization may want to create accounts for a
       number greater than that but sharing the same facility.
■      Although support for automatic generation of carbon copies
       exists, "cc:" will only recognize addresses in the Fido
■      Support for "mailing lists" is poor, and will in any case
       work only if entries in the relevant file are in the Fido

Some known "bugs"
There are a number of problems that we believe are bugs, i.e.,
software errors, that will hopefully be fixed in the next
releases.  These include:
■      Although it is purported that when a call breaks during a
       data transfer session, a subsequent call to the remote
       machine will begin transmission where it was discontinued,
       experience has shown us that this is only true if the
       communication had already gone into the second "phase" when
       the line disconnected.  When a connection is established,
       the local machine first enters a "sending" mode (or "phase
       1"), then proceeds to "receiving" mode ("phase 2"), assuming
       that the first phase was successful.
■      In our FrontDoor implementation, using CTRL-R to generate
       automatic replies may not work, unless the status of the
       message is changed to "Direct" (using CTRL-D).  In nearly
       all cases, we have had to do that for such messages to be
       sent during a next poll.

UUCP and the Internet

An alternative low-cost technology to Fido is UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy Protocol). UUCP is based on a technology that seems to have become the de facto standard for the academic and research environments: Unix. Indeed, even the commercial sector is using it more and more. Unlike in Africa, where Fido is the more prevalent, UUCP is the more common technology in other developing countries, especially in Latin America. One of the reasons why it may not readily find root in Africa is the fact that Unix machines (being mainly of the mini- and mainframe variety) are not very common. What are found most often are stand-alone PCs running DOS. In recent times, PC versions of UUCP, e.g., UUPC and SNUUPM, have emerged, and appear even more user-friendly than alternative packages. Besides, there are now widely and freely available versions of Unix that can run on PCs, e.g., BSD386. We are positive that UUCP clones will soon penetrate Africa as well. In fact, a number of countries in Africa, including Mozambique, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, are already operating UUCP nodes. Although today there are nearly as many UUCP nodes as Fido ones, the UUCP growth rate suggests that it will not be long before UUCP becomes the more common technology.

One other key advantage of UUCP over Fido is the diversity of the network media over which it can run, conveniently adjusting and maximizing throughput. It can be run, for example, on a normal dial-up line, packet-switching X.25 line, or leased line. When used over packet-switched data lines, a more efficient protocol can be selected, thus optimizing performance. In Kenya, where local X.25 tariffs are relatively low, UUCP might be an attractive way to support the bulk of intra-country communication. A further advantage of UUCP is that the "hierarchy" (and bureaucracy?) that is evident in Fido is absent. UUCP operates on a "friend of my friend" basis by allowing one machine to talk to another (which talks to another, etc.) as peers. But that might also be a drawback; control may be difficult! Given Unix's good maintenance facilities, managing a UUCP network should, at least in principle, be easier than Fidonet. Unix systems and related products generally come complete with excellent technical support, adding to their inherent desirability.

Perhaps more importantly, UUCP supports remote command execution, and since the technology is TCP/IP-compatible, it is a straightforward proposition to offer some of the other Internet services, especially news. There is also more documentation available for UUCP than Fidonet.

However, like Fido, UUCP is still batch-based, and may only be suitable for low-volume data transmission. Internet, which has now become the de facto standard network, is accessible by multiple vendors and is supported on nearly all major platforms. Today, even what used to be proprietary networks, e.g., DECNET, IBM's SNA, etc., have some TCP/IP support. TCP/IP runs on various physical links, including leased phone lines, packet radio, satellite links, etc. It supports real-time, interactive communication, remote login, FTP, and has a semantically rich and simple addressing format. At present, Internet access is available in South Africa and in Egypt. It is hoped that Internet services will be available in Kenya soon.

Commercial e-mail services

Apart from Fidonet, UUCP, and Internet, there is also a whole range of other networks. Some of them are proprietary (DECNET, AppleTalk, etc.), others are public domain (ProComm, BitCom, etc.). In the latter category, few were designed with poor or costly phone lines in mind, and as such were not within the purview of this paper. It is, however, important to mention that some of the services that Fidonet does not offer, e.g., on-line bibliographic database searching, are readily available on commercial networks. There are several such networks, among them DialCom, US SprintMail, MCIMail, CGNET, etc. Some of the networks specialize in particular industries or interest groups. CGNET, for example, which is widely available in Africa, handles agriculture-related data. However, such networks tend to be expensive, and therefore fall outside the scope of this paper. But there would be a lot to be gained if all such networks were to collaborate closely; after all, they usually share the same physical links. Where dedicated lines are leased, there tends to be some extra bandwidth, which could be subleased through mutually acceptable terms. The information networking era is an exciting one, and is poised to remain so for a while!


This section contains descriptions of network projects in Africa. A questionnaire was sent out to the system operators of these networks, and most of the responses printed here closely reflect the format of the questionnaire. There are some variations in the responses in terms of style and completeness of content■in a couple of cases the questionnaire was necessarily disregarded entirely■but in each case there is more than sufficient information to enable the reader to investigate further. In some cases we received no response at all from the system operator; for these networks, to the extent possible, we have printed some minimal information culled from other sources. Some have been left out for lack of information. We apologize for any errors or omissions, and, once again, encourage feedback from readers of this guide so that the next version may better suit your needs.

It should be remembered that there are physical networks of hardware and software, and then there are "conceptual" networks of particular communities; the networks listed here are best described as of the latter variety. Since e-mail and other data can be seamlessly exchanged among different systems, all these community networks are in a sense part of one interconnected physical network, or "network of networks": the "little i" internet. A network "node" may be thought of as the point where physical and conceptual networks meet. These two separate but related notions lead to a certain imprecision in the definition of "community" for our purposes here; a single network may comprise university departments and research institutions as well as government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and others. Therefore, although our focus is on academic and research networks, it is neither desirable nor possible to ignore entirely other types of institutions, which may constitute a significant (sometimes primary) presence in some of the networks described.


Network objectives: To provide a platform for high-level computing training and research; promote development and usage of computing and communications technologies in Africa; facilitate coordination of collaborative computing research, teaching, and development in Africa's higher institutions of learning; and foster closer cooperation and linkages between computing industry, academia, and policymaking institutions.

Network administration: African Regional Centre for Computing (ARCC)

Network coordinator: Shem J. Ochuodho

Postal address: P.O. Box 58638, Nairobi, Kenya
Telephone: 254-2-561000 or 211640
Sysop e-mail address: or

Days and hours of operation: 24 hours/7 days

Connected institutions: about 150 university departments, research institutes, NGOs, UN agencies, government departments, and individuals in about a dozen Kenyan towns and cities

Services offered: E-mail, file transfer, conferences, and BBS

Conferences available:

AFYANET: for health institutions and workers
AGRONET: for agroforestry institutions and researchers
EDUNET: for universities and other educational institutions
ENVIRONET: for environmentally conscious
FEMNET: for discussing gender issues
LIBNET: for libraries and information scientists
SSENET: for small-scale business discussions

Connection & training: US$50
Monthly subscription: US$10
International traffic: US$0.50 for first kilobyte (Kb), 0.20 for additional Kb
Local within country: Free
Software: Free

Other user requirements/restrictions: only noncommercial institutions at present

Number of network users: 150

Average number of messages per month: 1,500■3,000

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): 3,000

Computer used by node: Intel 386SX

Operating system: MS-DOS 5.1

Communication software: FrontDoor 2.02

Modem speed: 19.2 KBaud

Modem protocols supported: PEP, V32bis, V32, CM, XA

Type of link: Dial-up


Network objectives: ARSO-DISNET is a network of documentation and information systems on standards and related issues in Africa, whose major objective is to promote exchange of information on standards and related issues, and contribute towards the transfer of technology for development in Africa.

Participation: The ARSO node is open up for organizations and individuals doing research and development work in the areas of environment, health, education, and agriculture.

The node supports users from 49 points and offers both e-mail and conferencing services. Plans are under way to introduce the Mail-in/Mail-out service.

Address: PO Box 57363, Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: +254-2-330882/95
Fax: +254-2-218792


Network objectives: The following information is adapted from a description supplied by CGNET Services International (CGNET). CGNET is a privately held corporation chartered in the state of California in the United States. Its mission is to provide high-quality technical services, products and support services to international research organizations in developing countries. CGNET focuses on scientific organizations whose research improves the quality of food and health care in developing countries. CGNET's goal is to increase the effectiveness of the scientists, engineers, technicians, educators, and administrators in the international community it serves. It seeks to do these things by:

+ operating an electronic mail network that facilitates rapid and reliable information exchange;

+ providing equipment and software as a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) and computer retailer; and

+ providing support and training as needed, both on site and via the network.

Most of the world's International Agriculture Research Centers (IARCs) are members of the CGNET electronic mail network. In total the system interconnects over 200 agriculture research locations in 60 countries. One special group of clients for CGNET is the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR is an association of over 40 national, international, regional, and private aid organizations and foundations. The CGIAR was established in 1971 to develop and support a system of agricultural research around the world. Twenty international research centers ("CG Centers") are part of the CGIAR system, most of them located in developing countries. African countries with CGNET connections include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe.

Costs: CGNET charges an administrative fee of US$50.00 per month for each institution. This allows an unlimited number of mailboxes, charged at US$5.00 per month each, and an unlimited number of directory entries at no cost. The primary charges for the electronic mail service are based on the length of time and the amount of information sent and received on the network. CGNET usage is charged at rates between US$6.00-$9.00 per hour, depending on the time of day. In addition, US$0.095 is charged for every thousand characters transferred to or from the system (approximately 20 cents per page).

CGNET users also pay for the data network that connects them to the CGNET computers. These charges vary depending on the country from which one calls. Within the US, for example, US$4.00-$7.00 per hour is charged. From non-US data networks, charges are generally in the range of US$8.00-$12.00 per hour plus US $0.10-$0.30 per thousand characters. Depending on the network, these communication charges are either paid directly to the national telephone authority, or else they may be "reverse-charged," and put onto the CGNET bill.

There are many additional services available on the CGNET, and some of these carry additional charges. These services include telex, fax, and cablegram transmission, news clipping services, airline reservation information, and database services. These rates change frequently.

Address: 1024 Hamilton Court, Menlo Park, CA 94025 USA
Phone: 415-325-3061
Fax: 415-325-2313
Telex: 490 000 5788 (CGN UI)


Network objectives: ELCI (Environment Liaison Centre International) is an institution, not a network itself; however, it serves as the network node for two networking projects■NGONET Africa and WEDNET. AAAS did not receive a response to our questionnaire from our busy friends at ELCI, so rather than list NGONET Africa and WEDNET separately without any details, we will attempt to describe briefly the basic purpose of both of them, and of ELCI, in this single entry. The following information is adapted from a report by the International Development Research Centre, which has provided support for some of ELCI's activities.

ELCI is a global coalition for environment and development, based in Nairobi, Kenya. It has been very much involved in the promotion of electronic networking in the region, implementing one of the first accounting mechanisms for a Fidonet node, which has served as a model for other nodes and contributed to the move towards independent sustainability of African networks.

ELCI was established in 1974 to:

+ strengthen communication and cooperation among grassroots environment and development organizations, especially in the South;

+ influence policy that impacts on the environment through a strong NGO involvement in the planning and policymaking process, especially through UN systems such as FAO, ECOSOC, WHO, IFAD, and UNEP; and

+ promote and facilitate South-South and North-South networking.

ELCI uses its electronic networking capacity to contact its hundreds of members and some 10,000 organizations worldwide, and publishes information, ideas, and strategies on environment and development issues, and compiles and distributes relevant news clippings. ELCI holds an extensive computerized NGO-activity database on what different groups are doing on various issues. Most of this work is organized around five main program areas: women, environment, and development; food security and forestry; energy for sustainable development; industrialization and human settlements; and international environment and economic relations. The objective in each area is to enhance the capacity of NGOs to implement projects effectively.

The general objective of NGONET Africa is to consolidate and build on initiatives taken by the NGO community to develop a resilient, expandable, directly interconnected electronic NGO network in Africa, in order to share information and enhance research and advocacy work.

The general objective of WEDNET (Women, Environment, and Development network) is to create electronic links among researchers to develop common approaches and methodologies that would highlight women's indigenous knowledge in both historical and contemporary settings.

Address: ELCI, PO Box 72461, Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: +254 2 562 015
E-mail: (Doug Rigby) or 5:731/1 (Fidonet)


Network objectives: ENDA-TM (Environment and Development in the Third World) functions as an environmental training program promoting endogenous development in Third World countries. Its activities include supporting grassroots movements, studying and disseminating information on appropriate technology and energy resources, and organizing training seminars. The electronic network based in Dakar was implemented to improve communications in support of the organization's goals.

Network administration: ENDA-TM

Network coordinator: Moussa Fall

Postal address: BP 3370, Dakar, Senegal
Telephone: (221) 21602 or 224229
Fax: (221) 222695
Telex: 51456 ENDATM SG
Sysop e-mail address:

Days and hours of operation: 24 hours/7 days

Connected institutions: 60 institutions (NGOs, international organizations, governmental institutions, universities, individuals) from Burkina Faso, Gambia, and Senegal

Services offered: e-mail, file transfer, and BBS (Type of files presently available: documents on electronic communications, public domain software, etc. Other documents of different types will soon be added)

Fees: symbolic contribution to the management of the node

Other user requirements/restrictions: n/a

Number of network users: 60

Average number of messages per month: around 1200

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): 2000

Computer used by node: 386 IBM-compatible

Operating system: DOS 6.00

Communication software: FrontDoor

Modem speed: V32bis

Modem protocols supported: V32bis, V32, PEP, V22bis

Type of link: dial-up


Network objectives: The objective of the network is build a national academic and research network in Ghana to facilitate the global flow of information for scientists and researchers in Ghana.

Network administration: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR/NASTLIC)

Network coordinator: John Villars

Postal address: CSIR, PO Box M32, Accra, Ghana
Telephone: 233-21-773529
Fax: 233-21-777655
Sysop e-mail address:

Days and hours of operation: Everyday, between 1500 gmt and 1700 gmt

Connected institutions:
Policy Research and Strategy Planning Institute
Association of African Universties
Ghana Standards Board
University of Ghana Medical School
Friends of Earth-Ghana
Canadian Cooperative Association, Ghana

All these institutions are located in Accra

Services offered: e-mail, file transfer

Fees: 500 cedis per page to send and 250 cedis to receive mail, plus a monthly service charge of 500 cedis

Other user requirements/restrictions: none

Number of network users: 10

Average number of messages per month: 30 messages

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): 60kb

Computer used by node: IBM PS/2 Model 30

Operating system: DOS

Communication software: FrontDoor

Modem speed: 9600 baud

Modem protocols supported: Z-modem, X-modem

Type of link: Dial-up


Network objectives: HealthNet is a telecommunications system that links physicians, researchers, medical educators, and other health care workers in the developing world with their colleagues abroad. HealthNet provides a reliable, inexpensive way for people to share information, even in areas where communication is limited by economic conditions, disaster, or a poor communications infrastructure.

Network administration: SatelLife

Network coordinator: Kerry Gallivan

Postal address: 126 Rogers St., Cambridge, MA 02142
Telephone: 617-868-8522
Fax: 617-868-6647
Telex: n/a
Sysop e-mail address:

Days and hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 9:00am■5:00pm (SatelLife office)

Messages/files can be sent during satellite overpass (six times per day)

Connected institutions: Health centers and libraries in Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Services offered: Dialogue for Health:
Dialogue for Health provides local and international electronic mail services to health care workers. Through Dialogue for Health, users can contact medical libraries and colleagues, consult about issues of common interest, collect data and share research findings. This electronic mail service makes it possible to send messages, documents, computer programs, and data files to other HealthNet users and to users of worldwide network mail systems such as the Internet.

Interactive Publications for Health:
HealthNet News features the latest medical information for academic researchers and clinicians: Journal article summaries, abstracts, and full text and commissioned articles. HealthNet News covers a variety of topics, such as infectious diseases, medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, ophthalmology, pediatrics, psychiatry, gastroenterology and radiotherapy.

African Medical Librarians Bulletin (AMLB) contains selected tables of contents of local and regional medical publications, abstracts, descriptions of special collections and book reviews. AMLB is edited by medical librarians in Africa and is published monthly.

WHO Library Digest is edited by the staff of the World Health Organization/Geneva Library. This publication includes bibliographical references and abstracts of new WHO material of interest to health workers in Africa, excerpts of recent WHO press releases, quotes from articles in the scientific press concerning WHO summaries of WHO meetings, specialized bibliographies, and news from the Technical Units.

AIDS Bulletin includes clinical abstracts, news updates and data, short articles on AIDS policy and social issues, excerpts from reports, and conference documents from governmental and non-governmental organizations. AIDS Bulletin is edited by Daniel Tarantola, MD, Director of the International AIDS Program, Harvard School of Public Health, in collaboration with an international advisory board.

Fiocruz Bulletin covers various topics of interest to the health care community. Bulletins will inlcude material on tropical diseases, and relevant articles published in the international press. Fiocruz Bulletin is produced under the direction of Dr. Paulo Buss, Vice President of Education and Information at Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fees: HealthNet is a distributed network; therefore it depends on the local network node whether or not fees are charged

Other user requirements/restrictions: Usage restricted to health-related matters

Number of network users: Not available

Average number of messages per month: Not available

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): Not available

Computer used by node: NEC compatible 386 or 486 Computer and Monitor

Operating system: DOS 5.0

Communication software:
Satellite: privately developed software
Terrestrial: BinkleyTerm 2.56; GoldEd; Squish

Modem speed: Varies from node to node

Modem protocols supported: Varies from node to node

Type of link: Packet radio


Network objectives: The objective of MANGO (Micro Access for Non-Governmental Organizations) is to improve communication and access to information for individuals and organizations concerned with development.

Network administration: Nine-member elected Board of Management

Network coordinator: Chairman of Board, Roger Stringer (

Postal address: PO Box 5690, Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone: +263-4-303496
Fax: +263-4-333407
Telex: 26035 ZPH ZW
Sysop e-mail address:

Days and hours of operation: 24 hours/7 days

Connected institutions: approximately 200 NGOs, researchers, academics, and individuals

Services offered: Off-line e-mail, newsgroup, and file request; no on-line BBS service

Joining fee.................Z$25
Monthly subscription fee....Z$10
Usage fees:
Non-local netmail
Sent.......................Z$0.15 per kilobyte
Received...................Z$0.10 per kilobyte

Local netmail

(Z$1.00 =approximately US$0.12)

Other user requirements/restrictions: No commercial usage permitted

Number of network users: Approximately 200

Average number of messages per month: Approximately 4,250

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): Approximately 45,500 kilobytes

Computer used by node: 33MHz 486-DX with 212Mb HDU

Operating system: MS-DOS 5.0

Communication software: FrontDoor 2.02nc and GEcho 1.00

Modem speed: Telebit 2500; 9600 baud

Modem protocols supported: Fidonet

Type of link: Dial-up; connect to Fidonet/Internet gateway (WorkNet) three times daily


Network objectives: The objective of MUKLA (Makerere University, Kampala) is to develop, promote, and facilitate usage of electronic network services in Uganda and beyond.

Network administration: Institute of Computer Science, Makerere University

Network coordinator: Charles Musisi

Postal address: Institute of Computer Science, PO Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda
Telephone: 256-41-559712
Fax: 256-41-530756
Sysop e-mail address:

Days and hours of operation: 24 hours/7 days

Connected institutions: There are currently 165 installed sites, mainly within Kampala, but there are also over 50 users in seven others towns in Uganda, and a few users call in from Nairobi, Kenya, as well from Europe and the United States

Services offered: Mainly e-mail and fax, but also conferencing, file transfer, and BBS

Fees: Registration fee of US$5 per user, installation fee of US$50, and a user charge that ranges from US$30■50 per month for unlimited usage

Other user requirements/restrictions: None

Number of network users: 165 installed sites (January 1994) with over 250 users

Average number of messages per month: Approximately 1500 messages per month (50 messages per day times 30 days), and also 10 conference postings per day

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): 150 kilobytes compressed per day (includes incoming and outgoing local and international e-mail and conference mail)

Computer used by node: PC (486DX, 33MHz, 200Mb hard disk)

Operating system: DOS

Communication software: FrontDoor

Modem speed: 19200 (PEP)

Modem protocols supported: X, Y, and Z Modem protocols, plus all Fido protocols

Type of link: Dial-up


Description of network objectives: PADIS (Pan African Development Information System) was established in 1980 as a cooperative development information system to serve African member states of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) as a conduit for development information. PADIS established a network to input data into the cooperative system and to allow focal points to benefit from the technical assistance offered by the project. Thirty-six African countries have now named national participating centers for the network; four subregional centers have either been established or are in the process of being established. There are also many institutional participating centers, which are the subject nodes of the network. The PADISNET project is an electronic network established in 1991 as part of the PADIS network. It is aimed towards the advancement of data communications information technology in Africa, to improve the flow of information for socioeconomic development in Africa and to promote the timely utilization of existing information systems.

Network administration: UNECA/PADIS

Network coordinator: Lishan Adam

Postal address: PO Box 3001, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telephone: 251-1-511167 or 517200
Fax: 251-1-514534 or 514416; 212-963-4957
Sysop e-mail address: or

Connected institutions: Academic, research, government, and private institutions in Botswana, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and Zambia

Services offered: E-mail; file transfer; conferences; database access; fax services; BBS

Sample of (bibliographic and referral) databases available through PADIS:

1.  PAD-DEV         Socioeconomic development information  
2.  LABORDOC        Documentation related to labor
3.  UNIDO           Documentation related to industry (UNIDO)
4.  AGRIS           Agricultural information (FAO)
5.  ILCA            Livestock documentation (ILCA)
6.  DIESA           Socioeconomic information (UN-DIESA)
7.  DEVSIS          Development information (UN-DIESA)
8.  POPIN-AFRICA    Documentation on population (ECA-POPIN)
9.  ECA             Roster of consultation experts (personnel)
10. ECA             Roster of African women experts (ATRCW)
11. ECA             Roster of African experts (PADIS)
12. ECA             Roster of African statisticians (ECA/STAT)
13. ECA             Roster of African demographers (ECA/POP)
14. ECA             Resolutions from ECA Conference of Ministers

Other user requirements/restrictions: Account required for on-line service, but not for e-mail or BBS (contact PADIS to open user account for on-line access). E-mail can be accessed directly using personal computers and Fido-compatible software; BBS can be accessed using any communications software; on-line services require a personal computer and HP terminal-emulating software such as Advancelink or Reflection.

Fees: Free

Number of network users: over 200

Average number of messages per month: 60

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): 200

Computer used by node: HP Vectra ES-12

Operating system: DOS 3.3

Communication software: FrontDoor 2.02

Modem speed: 300-19200

Modem protocol supported: V.22; V.22bis; V.32; V42bis; MNP1-5; LAP-M; PEP

Type of link: Dial-up


Network objectives: The following information is adapted from "RINAF goals, project organization, and implementation status," prepared by Stefano Trumpy, the project's technical coordinator. The RINAF (Regional Informatics Network for Africa) project was conceived by the Intergovernmental Informatics Program (IIP) of UNESCO and financed by a grant from the Italian government, and by a contribution from the Republic of Korea; the project implementation phase was started in the second half of 1992 and is planned to last until the end of 1994.

The project is intended to support network nodes in Africa and facilitate their eventual upgrading to full Internet status. RINAF is organized in a combination of regional and national nodes, some of which are already existing and others of which will be new nodes. RINAF relies on cooperation with other initiatives operating in Africa, including RIONET and the IDRC (International Development Research Centre) projects, and plans to use a variety of technical approaches as appropriate to the particular node.

At present there are several hundred network users in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, most of whom use nodes activated under grants from IDRC; RINAF, in cooperation with other funding projects, hopes to increase this number up to several thousand. RINAF may also contribute to the establishment of a base of skilled technicians needed to support an increasing user base. Establishing this cadre of technicians will be accomplished through a combination of specialized training courses and, mainly, through the practical experience they will gain in the field, with the continuous help of the RINAF technical staff. RINAF will also increase the awareness among governments and concerned ministries of the importance of data communication networks. It will also contribute to the growth of the institutions where RINAF nodes are maintained.


Network objectives: RIONET (Riseau Inter-tropical d'Ordinateurs) is an international electronic network that participates in the development of the Internet. It has been set up by ORSTOM, the French institute of scientific research for development in cooperation. In Africa, RIONET presently links 25 Unix hosts in 10 countries, with approximately 80 access points (standard terminals or local UUCP nodes).

Network administration: ORSTOM

Project coordinator: Pascal Renaud (

ORSTOM/MTI, 213 rue La Fayette
75010 Paris, France
Phone: +33-1-48037609

Technical coordinator: Monique Michaux (

911 avenue Agropolis
34032 Montpellier cedex, France
Phone: +33-67617510

Regional coordinators:
Senegal/Madagascar: Edem Fianyo (
Burkina-Faso/Niger: Dominique Remy (
Mali: Mamadou Diamoutani (
South Pacific: Michel Menezo (
Paris area: Marc Lebris (

Days and hours of operation: 24 hours/7 days

Names and locations of connected institutions: In sub-Saharan Africa RIONET includes connections in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. The following organizations have joined RIONET:

International organizations
AUPELF: Association des Universites partiellement ou entierement de langue francaise
CIRAD: Centre International de Recherche en Agronomie pour le Developpement
FAO: United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization
FPH (Swiss NGO): Fondation pour le Progres de l'Homme
GRET (French NGO): Groupe de Recherches et d'Etudes Technologiques
OSS: International Agency: Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel
UNITAR: United Nations Institute for Training And Research

Burkina Faso
ARTS: Agriculture Research and Training Support project
CECI: Centre Canadien d'Etude et de Cooperation Internationale
ESI: Ecole Superieur d'Informatique
UERD: Unite d'Etudes et de Recherches Demographiques

ENSP: Ecole Nationale Superieure Polytechnique
OCCGE: Organisme de Cooperation et de Coordination pour la lutte contre les Grandes
Endimies en Afrique centrale
University of Yaoundé

CIMAD: Conservatoire International de Madagascar
AUPELF-UREP: Association des universités de langue francaise

ISFRA: Institut superieur de Formation et de Recherche Applique
INRSP: Institut national de recherche en sante publique
CERPOD: Centre d'etude et de recherche sur la population et le developpement
WHO/OCP: Programme de lutte contre l'Onchocercose
AGETIPE: Agence d'etude des transports
PNVA: Programme national de valorisation agricole
IER: Institut d'economie rurale

AGHRYMET: Agro-Hydro-Meteorological center
CERMES: Centre de Recherche sur les Miningites et les Schistosomiases
SEAG: Innovation et reseaux pour le developpement

CORAF: Conference des Responsable de Recherche Agronomiques Africain
CSE: Centre de Suivi Ecologique
ENSUT: Ecole Nationale Superieur Universitaire de Technologie
ISRA: Institut Senegalais de Recherche Agricole Ministere Senegalais de la Modernisation
PANA: Association de la presse africaine associee a l'OUA Universite Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar

URD: Unite de Recherche Demographique (Universite du Benin, Lome, Togo)
Other organizations working in the field of health, agronomy, and education are presently engaged in discussions with ORSTOM concerning participation in RIONET.

Services offered: E-mail, file transfer, listserv, user-directory. TCP/IP link, ftp, and gopher services are being set up in Dakar, Senegal. A gateway to the French Minitel network is provided for all users.

Fees: RIO users sign a contract with ORSTOM and pay "at cost": about two French francs (approximately $0.35) per 1000 characters for mail sent between the North and Africa. Users do not pay for links between Europe and America, because the costs of those leased Internet lines are shared among all universities and research institutions using the network; in Africa dial-up phone or X25 lines, which incur specific costs, are used. RIO users also pay for mail they receive from a non-RIO user (unless this user has signed a RIO contract to pay for sending mail). We suggest to organizations in the North that they sign an agreement with RIO to cover the costs of mail sent to African network users. Contact Monique Michaux ( for more information about this agreement.

All users pay the same rate, whether they are ORSTOM staff or not. Partners of ORSTOM pay an annual subscription fee to cover a part of fixed costs. This fee is FF100 (US$17) per user for developing country institutions and FF300 (US$50) for those in developed countries.

Other user requirements/restrictions: RIONET is open to all nonprofit establishments

Number of network users: Approximately 400 users in Africa (see Randy Bush's African connectivity listings for more information on individual sites)

Average number of messages per month: 10,000

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): About 40 Mb are sent every month between North (Europe, America) and South (Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific) part of network. This figure does not include within-country messages.

Computer used by host: The main nodes are Unix workstations. Most of them are linked to packet-switched public networks (X25). The local nodes are PC or Macintosh platforms linked to main nodes with UUCP or IP (SLIP, PPP) on dial-up lines. International communications use UUCP on packet-switched networks. Worldwide Internet connectivity is provided by the RIO hub in Montpellier, France. The latter is linked at 2 Mb/second to RENATER (French academic TCP/IP network).

Operating system: Unix, DOS, MacOs

Communication software: SMTP; UUCP for MTA; EUDORA; MESSOR; X- RIO for UA

Modem speed: Varies by site

Modem protocols supported: Varies by site

Type of link: TCP/IP; UUCP dial-up


SANGONET is a nonprofit network aimed at providing an electronic mail and information service to nongovernmental organizations in Southern Africa.

Network administration: SANGONET

Network coordinator: Simone Shall

Postal address: P.O. Box 31, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
Telephone: +27-11-838 6943/4
Fax: +27-11-838 6310
Sysop e-mail address: or

Days and hours of operation: 24 hours/7 days

Connected institutions: User list available on request

Services offered: The system offers two services:

WORKNET■a character-based user interface that offers local and international e-mail, and access to Internet feeds and some APC conferences; and

SANGONET■a graphic user interface that offers local and international e-mail, and access to a large database of local development information and information on South Africa in Transition

Fees: WORKNET: R50 startup; R35 per month subscription including first hour, R10 per hour thereafter
SANGONET: R300 startup; R75 per month subscription including first hour, R40 per hour thereafter

Other user requirements/restrictions: none

Number of network users: 420 users in total

Average number of messages per month: n/a

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): n/a

Computer used by node: n/a

Operating system: n/a

Communication software: n/a

Modem speed: n/a

Modem protocols supported: n/a

Type of link: n/a


Mission: The mission of the UNINET project, which is based in South Africa, is the development, implementation, and promotion of an academic and research network of computers in southern Africa, where it is required as an essential element of the region's research infrastructure.

Background: The UNINET project started late in 1987 as a result of joint action by the Computer and Network Subcommittees of the Committee of University Principals and the Foundation for Research Development (FRD). The project staff at the FRD gets collaborative support, both academic and technical, from staff of the participating organizations.

Activities and Services: The UNINET project provides a focal point for the many individual efforts that are being put into network development among the participating organizations, as well as for developing and managing a central information base for the operation of the network. It also operates an information and support service for organizations participating in UNINET, as well as for individual users of the network. Basic services include e-mail, conferencing, file transfer, news feeds, and remote login. Access to overseas networks is now implemented via a TCP/IP link to the Internet.

Participation and Payment: Participation in UNINET is on a voluntary basis and is open to research organizations, tertiary institutions, and museums. Participation is formally effected by the organization entering into an agreement with the FRD, which covers matters such as costs and obligations of each party.

The project is financed partly by participating fees from participating organizations, partly from payment for the use of specific data communication channels, and partly from FRD funds.

Other countries with connections to UNINET include Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland. Rhodes University, a part of UNINET, also operates a gateway through which Fido and UUCP nodes in the region, e.g., Zambia and Zimbabwe, exchange international mail.

Contact Persons and Addresses: The first point of approach for information on UNINET should be the computing services section of the interested person's organization. Contact with the UNINET Office is possible by electronic mail for persons on the network; the UNINET office may also be reached by post, telephone, telex, or telefax.

The FRD contact persons and address are:
Manager: Mr. Mike Lawrie
Technical Assistants: Mrs. Gwen Heathfield, Mrs. Annemarie Goodman

Telephone: +27 (012) 841-3542/2597
Fax: +27 (012) 804-2679
Telex: 3-21356 FRD SA
Post: UNINET Project, FRD, PO Box 2600, Pretoria 0001, South Africa


Network objectives: To enable the academic and research communities in Zambia, and specifically those at the University of Zambia (UNZA), to communicate more quickly, easily, and cheaply with each other and with other academics and researchers outside of Zambia. Also, to provide electronic communication services (local and international) to all non-commercial and non-governmental communities within Zambia, with specific support for NGOs (ZANGONET) and health (HealthNet).

Network administration: University of Zambia Computer Centre

Network coordinator: Mark Bennett (Computer Centre Director)

Postal address: Computer Centre, University of Zambia, PO Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia
Telephone: 260-1-252507
Fax: 260-1-290935
Telex: UNZALU ZA 44370
Sysop e-mail address:

Days and hours of operation: 24 hours per day, 7 days per week

Connected institutions:

Following is our full (current) list of active users:

INSTITUTION (POINT)                         LOCATION (DISTRICT) 

Unza Medical Library                        Lusaka 
Unza Institute of African Studies           Lusaka 
Unza School of Engineering                  Lusaka 
Unza School of Humanities & Social Sciences Lusaka 
Unza School of Natural Sciences             Lusaka 
Unza School of Education                    Lusaka 
Unza School of Mines                        Lusaka 
Unza School of Agriculture                  Lusaka 
Unza School of Veterinary Medicine          Lusaka 
Unza Rural Development Studies Bureau       Lusaka 
WHO Zambia                                  Lusaka 
Ministry of Health Deputy Minister          Lusaka 
Tropical Diseases Research Centre           Lusaka 
Unza Computer Centre Director               Lusaka 
Unza Vice Chancellor                        Lusaka 
Unza Registrar                              Lusaka 
Unza Deputy Registrar Academic              Lusaka 
Unza Bursar                                 Lusaka 
HealthNet Satellite Groundstation           Lusaka 
Unza Library                                Lusaka 
Unza Computer Centre                        Lusaka 
Ministry of Health Planning Unit            Lusaka 
SADC Mines Equipment                        Lusaka 
Unza Deputy Registrar Administration        Lusaka 
Nkana Mine Hospital                         Kitwe 
Unza School of Medicine, TRU                Lusaka 
MOH Universal Child Immunisation            Lusaka 
Churches Medical Association of Zambia      Lusaka 
Unza School of Medicine Paediatrics         Lusaka 
Chainama College of Health Sciences         Lusaka 
Unza Computer Centre Microcomputer Support  Lusaka 
GRZ Tsetse Fly Control Programme (Bugs)     Lusaka 
GRZ Tsetse Fly Control Programme (Cows)     Lusaka 
University Teaching Hospital Central Labs   Lusaka 
Macha Mission Hospital                      Choma 
Monze District Hospital                     Monze 
Chikankata Hospital                         Mazabuka 
Choma Hospital                              Choma 
Mazabuka District Hospital                  Mazabuka 
Livingstone General Hospital                Livingstone 
Southern Province PMO                       Livingstone 
Kafue Gorge Hospital                        Mazabuka 
Zimba Mission Hospital                      Kalomo 
Maamba Mine Clinic                          Sinazongwe 
Siavonga District Hospital                  Siavonga 
Mtendere Mission Hospital                   Siavonga 
Gwembe District Hospital                    Gwembe 
Namwala District Hospital                   Namwala 
Kalomo District Hospital                    Kalomo 
St. Francis Hospital                        Katete 
Pharmacist St. Francis Hospital             Katete 
Kabwe Mine Hospital                         Kabwe 
Luanshya Mine Hospital                      Luanshya 
Mufulira Mine Hospital                      Mufulira 
Nchanga North Mine Hospital                 Chingola 
Kalulushi Mine Hospital                     Kalulushi 
ZCCM Medical Technical Directorate          Kalulushi 
ZCCM Corporate MIS Data Centre              Kitwe 
ZAMBART - AIDS Related TB Project (Lab)     Lusaka 
Western Province PMO                        Mongu 
Western Province Health Information Officer Mongu 
Western Province Primary Health Care        Mongu 
ZAMBART - AIDS Related TB Project (Clinic)  Lusaka 
Pharmacist Evelyn Hone College              Lusaka 
WHO Zambia CDR                              Lusaka 
Kaoma District Hospital                     Kaoma 
UNZA Medical Librarian                      Lusaka 
Zambia Bureau of Standards                  Lusaka 
Voluntary Service Overseas                  Lusaka 
UNICEF Zambia (Management Information)      Lusaka 
Family Life Movement                        Lusaka 
Zambia Association for R&D                  Lusaka 
Kara Counselling (Kara House)               Lusaka 
Oxfam Zambia                                Lusaka 
Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia     Lusaka 
WorldWide Fund for Nature                   Lusaka 
World Conservation Union (IUCN) Zambia      Lusaka 
Zambia Meteorological Department            Lusaka 
USAID Zambia                                Lusaka 
Ministry of Telecommunications              Lusaka 
UNECA/MULPOC_Lusaka                         Lusaka 
UNDP Zambia Administration Section          Lusaka 
UNDP Zambia Programme Section               Lusaka 
UNIDO Zambia Programme Section              Lusaka 
World Vision International Zambia           Lusaka 
World Vision International Accountant       Lusaka 
Care International Lusaka                   Lusaka 
UNICEF Zambia Representative                Lusaka 
UNICEF Zambia Health                        Lusaka 
UNICEF Zambia Administration                Lusaka 
UNICEF Zambia Programmes                    Lusaka 
UNICEF Zambia Health Economist              Lusaka 
Kara Counselling (Hope House)               Lusaka 
FAO Zambia                                  Lusaka 
Commonwealth Youth Programme                Lusaka 
Natural Resources Development_College       Lusaka 
Flying Doctor Service                       Ndola 
ZCCM Hardware Support                       Kitwe 
ODA Health & Education Planner              Lusaka 
CCF Agro-Forestry Project                   Mongu 
Regional Development & Programme Planning   Siavonga 
Mennonite Central Committee                 Lusaka 
Unza Computer Centre Systems Manager        Lusaka 
Zambia Privatisation Agency                 Lusaka 
Copperbelt University                       Kitwe 
MOH Minister                                Lusaka 
MOH Permanent Secretary                     Lusaka 
MOH Health Information Officer              Lusaka 
MOH Health Information Unit                 Lusaka 
MOH Senior Health Planner                   Lusaka 
MOH Epidemiologist                          Lusaka 
MOH Primary Health Care                     Lusaka 
MOH Data Processing Manager                 Lusaka 
Medical Stores Limited                      Lusaka 
MOH Pharmaceutical Services                 Lusaka 
MOH AIDS Coordinator                        Lusaka 
MOH Planning Economist                      Lusaka 
MOH Health Reforms Imp Team                 Lusaka 
MOH AIDS Epidemiologist                     Lusaka 
MOH Primary Health Care Spec'st             Lusaka 
Chief Executive Officer NORSAD              Lusaka 
Farming Systems Programme UNZA              Lusaka 
Smallscale Farming Support                  Kasama 
Zambia Christian Mission                    Mongu 
Livestock Development Project               Mongu 
UNZA Animal Science Department              Lusaka 
Population Services International           Lusaka 
Habitat for Humanity International          Lusaka 
FAO Chief Technician Legumes Project        Lusaka 
Kalabo Agricultural Project Advisor         Kalabo 
Kalabo Agricultural Project Planning        Kalabo 
Famine Early Warning System                 Lusaka 
Sorghum Millet Improvemt Prog               Kasama 
Min. of Works & Supply Govt Valuation Dept  Lusaka 
Ministry of Lands - Lands Department        Lusaka 
University Teaching Hospital Administration Lusaka 
International School of Lusaka              Lusaka 
Technical Development & Advisory Unit       Lusaka 
American Embassy School of Lusaka           Lusaka 
Natl. Institute for Public Administration   Lusaka 
Zambia Institute of Mass Communication      Lusaka

Each of the above represents a separate computer in a separate office. Each computer may in turn serve a number of individual users.

Services offered: E-mail, i.e., Net (personal) Mail and Echo (conference) Mail and file transfers only. No interactive access.

Conferences Available on the UNZANET System: 

AFRICANA-L:  African IT/Comms Issues Discussion 
AIDS.BULLETIN: AIDS Bulletin from SatelLife 
AIDS.DAILY.SUM: AIDS Daily Summaries from CDC 
AIDS.WOMEN: Women and HIV/AIDS Discussion 
AIDS.ZAMBIA: Zambian HIV/AIDS Discussion 
AML.BULLETIN: African Medical Librarians Bulletin 
ECONEWS.AFRICA: African Ecological News 
EMAIL.HELP: Electronic Mail Questions & Discussion 
EN.ANNOUNCEMENTS: Environmental Announcements 
EXPZONE5: African Fido Discussion 
HEALTH.DIARY: Health Meetings, Workshops, etc. 
HEALTHNET.NEWS: HealthNet News from SatelLife 
HEALTHNET.PLANNING: Zambia HealthNet Planning Discussion 
PHN.FLASH: Population, Health & Nutrition News 
RINAF-L: Regional Informatics Network for Africa 
RINAF-T: RINAF Technical Discussion 
SAFIRE_SUPPORT: Support for Drought Relief Points 
SAFRICA.DROUGHT: Southern Africa Drought Discussion 
SANET.LIST.GREEN: Southern African Green Issues 
TECH.FIDO: Technical Fidonet Discussion 
TECH.RFMAIL: New FrontDoor Software Discussion 
TECH.SMALLSYS: SIDA Project Discussion 
UNZANET.NEWS: UNZANET News & Discussion 
WEATHER.FORECAST: Weekly Weather Forecast from ZMD 
WHO.LIB.DIGEST: WHO Library Digest 
ZAMBIA.NEWS: Zambian Issues Discussion 

Fees: For installation and training a flat fee equivalent to US$40 is charged. Currently no usage fees are charged but plans are in place to upgrade the system to provide full Internet access and charge fees for access to that system in the future.

Other user requirements/restrictions: Non-commercial and non-political users only until full Internet access is obtained

Number of network users: 141 currently active points serving an inestimable number of users. Some points serve just one, others, such as some of the hospitals and schools at the university, may serve 50 or more.

Average number of messages per month: 6,000

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): 21,000 Kb (21 Mb)

Computer used by node: Olidata 486 8Mb RAM and 200 Mb hard disk

Operating system: MS-DOS 6.0 (running DesqView)

Communication software: FrontDoor 2.20 (Fido protocol) on the host, and able to communicate with a range of software products (both DOS- and MAC-based) using the same protocol on points

Modem speed: V32 bis (14,400) using Telebit Worldblazer

Modem protocols supported: V42, V42 bis, and MNP

Type of link: Dial-up voice telephone lines for both point-to-host and host-to-international-gateway links. Connections to international systems are made three times daily (at 04:00, 11:00, and 19:00 UTC) via Rhodes University in Grahamstown for Internet traffic; once daily (at 21:30 UTC) for regional Fido traffic via WorkNet in Johannesburg; via satellite to other HealthNet sites in Africa, plus the United States, Brazil, Cuba, and Australia.


Network objectives: To provide modern computer and communications facilities within the University of Zimbabwe■and connectivity to the outside world. A campus backbone is in the planning stage, and financing is being sought.

Network administration: Computer Centre, University of Zimbabwe

Network coordinator: Professor John G. Sheppard, Director, Computer Centre

Postal address: Computer Centre, University of Zimbabwe, PO Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone: (263 4) 303211, x1378
Fax: (263 4) 333407 and 335249
Telex: 26580 UNIV ZW
Sysop e-mail address:

Days and hours of operation: Zimbix operates on a 24-hour basis, but the modem is only on outside office hours (1245 to 1400 and 1640 to 0800) during the week. On all weekend.

Connected institutions: None at present, but there are outside users who dial in

Services offered: e-mail only, at the moment

Fees: None for UZ staff and approved postgraduate student users. Undergraduates whose place of residence is outside Zimbabwe are allowed to register and pay Z$75.00 per annum. Other, non-UZ, users pay on a per average message basis■about Z$1.20 per message (US$1=Z$8.2)

Other user requirements/restrictions: No mailing lists without prior approval from sysop. The telephone bills are large enough already!

Number of network users: About 320 at present and growing rapidly

Average number of messages per month: About 10,000 and growing

Average monthly volume (in kilobytes): Probably about 20 Mb

Computer used by node: 386DX, 25 Mhz, 8 megs ram, 100 megs hard drive, which is shortly to be replaced by a 250 meg drive■and later by a SUN Classic

Operating system: SCO Xenix 2.3.4

Communication software: UUCP; ELM; SMAIL

Modem speed: The modem is a Telebit WorldBlazer, which is capable of speeds up to 23,000 bps when talking to another Telebit and using TurboPEP, but the speeds being attained at the moment are only about 4800 bps

Modem protocols supported: V22bis, V23, V32, V32 bis, TurboPEP

Type of link: Dial-up to Rhodes University in South Africa

Connectivity with Africa

Angola (AO)

GreenNet FidoNet node
Node Name:
Development Workshop
Rua Rei Katyavala, Luanda
Voice: +244-2-330243
Allan Cain:

Burkina Faso (BF)

Orstom UUCP node in Ouagadougou
Node Name:
UUCP over X.25 (2 hosts, 25 users)
Dominique Remy:
Voice: +226-306737 / 306739
Fax: +226-310385
Post: ORSTOM, 01 BP 182, Ouagadougou

Orstom UUCP node in Bobo-Dioulasso
Node Name:
UUCP/g/v24bis (1 host, 8 users)
Dominique Remy:
Voice: +226-971269
Fax: +226-970942
Post: Antenne ORSTOM, 01 BP 171, Bobo-Dioulasso 01

Republic of Botswana (BW)

University of Botswana, Gabarone
Node Name: or
Voice: +267-35-1151 or 6364
Fax: +267-35-7573
Thula Segokgo:

Public FidoNet node, 5:7001/1
John Case
Big Mathata's Fido
Data: +267 373461

Public FidoNet node, 5:7021/1
ELNET - Windhoek
Alex Boll
Data: +27 61-239623

Republic of the Congo (CG)

Orstom UUCP node in Brazzaville
Node Name:
UUCP dialup using Telebit modem (1 host, 25 users)
Christophe Brun:
Voice: +242-832680, 81, or 82
Fax: +242-832977
Post: ORSTOM, BP 181, Brazzaville

Republic of Cote d'Ivoire (CI)

Orstom UUCP node in Abidjan
Node Name:
UUCP over X.25 (about 15 users)
Daniel Begue:
Dial-up: +225-351180
Voice: +225-243779
Fax: +225-246504
Post: ORSTOM, 15 BP 917, Abidjan 15

Orstom UUCP node in Abidjan
Node Name:
UUCP to (about 15 users)
Daniel Begue:
Voice: +225 35 50 14
Fax: +225 35 11 55
Post: 29 rue des pecheurs, BP V18, Abidjan

Node Name:
UUCP to (about 4 users)
J. Francois Boyer:
Voice: +225-454170 / 454475 / 453116
Fax: +225-456829
Post: 06 BP 1203 CIDEX 1

APC FidoNet node, 5:7721/1
Node Name:
African Development Bank
Post: BP V316 Rue Joseph Anoma
Voice: +225 20 426
Data: +225 20 5111
Joseph Mayega

Republic of Cameroon (CM)

Orstom UUCP node in Yaounde
Node Name:
UUCP over X.25 (1 host, 20 users)
Jacques Moungang:
Thierry Portzer:
Voice: +237 20 15 08
Fax: +237 20 18 54
Post: ORSTOM, BP 1857, Yaounde

People's Democratic Republic of Algeria (DZ)

CERIST (has TCP/IP connectivity)
Rue des Trois Freres Aissiou, Ben-Aknoun
Algiers, BP-47 Hydra
Voice: +213-2-792136
Fax: +213-2-792126 / 792138

Node Name:
Algeria Net
06 Rue Frederic Mistral Telemly
Voice: +213-2-612715
Sid-Ali Bettache:

Arab Republic of Egypt (EG)

Egyptian Universities Network (EUN)
FRCU Computer Center, Supreme Council of Universities
Cairo University, Egypt
Nashwa AbdelBaki:
Voice: +202 5735 405
Fax: +202 5728 174

Prof. M.A.R. Ghonaimy, EUN Director
FRCU Computer Center
Supreme Council of Universities
Cairo University, Egypt
Voice: +202-5735405
Fax: +202-5728174

Prof. Aly El-Din Hilal
Executive Director, FRCU
Supreme Council of Universities
Cairo University, Egypt
Voice and fax: +202-5728174

Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC)
Regional Information Technology & Software
Engineering Center (RITSEC)
Dr. Tarek Kamel, Head Communications and
Networks group IDSC/RITSEC
11 A Hassan Sabry Street
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt (Tarek Kamel, administrative) (Ossama Elhadary, technical)
Voice: +202-3403538
Fax: +202-3412139

Egyptian National STI Network
Academy of Scientific Research & Technology
101 Kasr Al-Ainy St., Cairo
Maged Boulos: mb@estinet.uucp
PO Box 1522, Cairo 11511
Voice: +202-3557253
Fax: +202-3547807

People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (ET)

APC FidoNet node, 5:751/1
Node Name:
Post: Box 3001, Addis Ababa
Lishan Adam:
Data: +251-1-514412
Voice: +251-1-511167

Republic of Ghana (GH)

APC FidoNet node, 5:781/2
Node Name:
Voice: +233-21-225963
Esther Asiedu-Larbi:

APC FidoNet node
Node Name:
Council For Scientific & Industrial Research
PO Box M32
Voice: +233-31-773315
Mohamed Alhaji Mohamed:
Republic of Gambia (GM)

APC FidoNet node
Node Name:
African Centre for Human Rights
Raymond Sock
Okairaba Avenue, Banjul
Voice: +220-94525
Hannah Forster:

Republic of Kenya (KE)

Public FidoNet node, 5:731/1
Node Name:
Environment Liaison Centre International
Post: Box 72461 Nairobi
Doug Rigby:
Data: +254 2-567043
Voice: +254 2 562 015

Public FidoNet node, 5:731/4
Node Name:
University of Nairobi, Computer Science
Dr G.M. Macharia:
Data: +254-2-444919

Public FidoNet node, 5:731/10
Edward Chonelwa

African Regional Centre for Computing
Node Name:
Shem Ochuodho:
Post: PO Box 58638, Kenyatta University
Nairobi, Kenya

Kingdom of Lesotho (LS)

UUCP site off of UNINET-ZA
National University of Lesotho
PO Roma 180; Maseru
Lebeko, Sello:
Voice: +266 340601
Fax: +266 340000

Fido point off Worknet
Transformation Resource Centre
probably becoming a Fido node

Madagascar (MG)

Orstom UUCP node in Antanarivo
Node Name:
UUCP on DOS over X.25 to France (0 host, 7 users)
Jeannette Razanamiadana:
Voice: +261-233098
Fax: +261-233098
Post: ORSTOM, BP 434, 101 Antananarivo

Republic of Mali (ML)

Orstom UUCP node in Bamako
Node Name:
UUCP via dial-up modem (2 hosts, 15 users)
Eric Stevance:
Voice: +223-224305 / 222774
Fax: +223-227588
Post: ORSTOM, BP 2528, Bamako

CNRST in Bamako
Node Name:
UUCP/g/V22bis to
Mamadou Diallo Iam:
Voice: +223-229085
Post: CNRST, BP 3052, Bamako

Mauritius (MU)

Orstom UUCP node in Maurice
Dialup UUCP
Maurice Cayre:
Voice: +230 233 47 29
Post: Fisheries Research Center, Alsion, Petite Riviere

Public FidoNet node, 5:726/1
Node Name:
University of Mauritius Computer Centre
Michael Dewson
Data: +230-464-1773

Malawi (MW)
University of Guelph, Malawi (Steve Huddle)
Chancellor College

FidoNet node 5:7231/1
Node Name:
University of Malawi
Post: Chancellor College, Zomba
Data: +265-52241
Paulos Nyirenda:
For the Mathematics and CS Dept, the address goeth thus: (usernames take the form PNyirenda)

People's Republic of Mozambique (MZ)

University of Eduardo Mondlane
Center for Informatica
Maputo, Mozambique
2400 baud UUCP to Rhodes Univ in RSA (Americo Muchanga) (Venancio Massingue)
Voice: +258 1 491557

APC node in Nampula
Voice: +258-6-213980
Fax: +258-6-213975
Post: C/O COCAMO, Box 185, Maputo

Public FidoNet node, 5:7221/1
Data: +258 1-415303
Helder Santos
9600 V32bis up 24 hours on a good line

Public FidoNet node, 5:7221/2
Data: +258 1-425745
Anibal Maques
9600 V32bis

Republic of Namibia (NA)

Department of Computer Science (Administrative Contact) (Technical Contact)

University of Namibia
Private Bag, Windhoek
Voice: +61-307 2428/9

UUCP node off
Eberhard Lisse:
Katatura State Hospital
Private Bag 13215, Windhoek
Voice: +61 203 2106 / 2107 Chien-Li Chung Namibian Institute of Social and Economic Research(?) Technical College?/Institute of Namibia Petrus van der Merwe, in Swakopmund Ben Fuller, at the Univ. of Namibia

Republic of the Niger (NE)

Orstom UUCP node in Niamey
Node Name:
UUCP over X.25 (3 hosts, over 20 users)
Julien Bonfort:
Voice: +227-732054 / 723115
Fax: +227-722804
Post: ORSTOM, BP 11 416, Niamey

Nigeria (NG)

APC FidoNet node, 5:7861/103
Node Name:
Post: Lagos/Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Chuma Agbodike
Data: +234-36-231262

Public FidoNet node, 5:7861/104
Iyabo Odusote
Data: +234 1-860754

Public FidoNet node, 5:7861/105
David Obi
Data: +234 1-523189

Public FidoNet node, 5:7861/106
Bennett Agbodike
Data: +234 1-832009

Unconfirmed UUCP node
Yaba College of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Lagos
UUCP to Italy
Mrs. Iyabo Odusote:
Post: P.O. Box 2011, Yaba Lagos, Nigeria
Voice: +234 1-860754
Fax: +234 1-823062/860211

Republic of Senegal (SN)

Public FidoNet node, 5:7711/1
Node Name:
Moussa Fall:
Data: +221-217627
Voice: +221-216027

FidoNet point, 5:7711/1.25
Bret Harris
Africa Consultants International

Orstom UUCP node in Dakar
Node Name:
UUCP over X.25 (2 hosts, 45 users)
Herve Chevillotte:
Voice: +221-323476 / 323480
Fax: +221-324307
Post: ORSTOM, BP 1386, Dakar

Orstom/ENSUT UUCP node in Dakar
Node Name:
UUCP to (1 host, 4 users)
Christian Clercin:
Voice: +221-257528
Fax: +221-255594
Post: Universite de Dakar, BP 5085, Dakar

Orstom/ENSUT-LPA UUCP node in Dakar
Node Name:
UUCP to (1 host, 5 users)
Simeon Fongang:
Voice: +221-259364
Fax: +221-255594
Post: Universite de Dakar, BP 5085, Dakar-Fann

Orstom/ISRA UUCP node in Dakar
Node Name:
UUCP to (1 host, 13 users)
Herve Chevillotte:
Voice: +221-321846 / 326746 / 321063 / 257528
Post: ORSTOM-ISRA, route des Hydrocarbures, Dakar-Hann

Orstom/ISRA-CRODT, UUCP node in Dakar
Node Name:
UUCP direct to (4 hosts, 15 users)
Andre Pesin:
Voice: +221-345489
Fax: +221-342792
Post: ISRA/CRODT, BP 2241, Dakar

Orstom/UCAD UUCP node in Dakar
Node Name:
UUCP to (1 host, 4 users)
Richard Emilion:
Voice: +221-240382
Post: Centre de calcul de l'universite de dakar (UCAD), BP 5005, Dakar

Orstom/RINAUF UUCP node in Dakar
Node Name:
UUCP to (1 host, 5 users)
Moustapha Ndiaye: Voice: +221-237068

Orstom/CSE node in Dakar
Node Name:
UUCP to (0 host, 5 users)
Amadou Moktar Dieye:
Voice: +221-258066
Fax: +221-258168
Post: Centre de Suivi Ecologique, Dakar

Kingdom of Swaziland (SZ)

There is a UUCP link from Rhodes, reported to be reliable as of 93.11.01. In the interim, one can write to the administrator of the nascent domain:

Vriezekolk, Eelco
University of Swaziland
Department of Computer Science
Phone Number: +268-84545 / 84011 ext. 211
Fax: +268-85276
Eelco Vriezekolk:

Togolese Republic (TG)

Orstom UUCP node in Lome
Node Name:
UUCP over X.25 (1 host, 8 users)
Richard Gozo:
Voice: +228-214344 / 214346
Fax: +228-210343
Post: ORSTOM, BP 375, Lome

Tunisia (TN)

Internet :
Mondher Makni (admin.):
Kamel Saadaoui (tech.):
BP 212, Rue Ibn Nadime Cite
Mahrajane, Tunis 1082
Voice: +216-1-787757
Fax: +216-1-787827
Public FidoNet node, 5:7911/1
Node Name:
ENDA Inter-Arabe
6 Impasse de le mer Rouge, Ariana
Michael Cracknell
Data: +216-1-701827
Voice: +216-1-718340

Nejib Abida: abida@tnearn.bitnet
BP 212, Rue Ibn Nadime Cite
Mahrajane, Tunis 1082
Voice: +216-1-787757
Fax: +216-1-787827

United Republic of Tanzania (TZ)

APC FidoNet node (just coming up)
Node Name:
Council for Science and Technology
Epidemiology & Biostatistics Dept.
Muhimbili Medical Centre, PO Box 65015
Dar es Salaam
Voice: +255-51-26211
William Sangiwa:
CGNET has one user online from Tanzania ( They are the Foster Parents Plan office in that country; they log on via phone calls to KENPAC's x.25 node in Nairobi, Kenya.

Republic of Uganda (UG)

Public FidoNet node, 5:7321/1
Node Name:
Makerere University, Institute of Computer Science
Box 7062, Kampala
Charles Musisi:
Data: +256-41-532440
Voice: +256-41-559712

Republic of South Africa (ZA)

IP, UUCP, and FidoNet networking too ubiquitous to enumerate.
Alan Barrett: (South African UUCP andInternet)
Chris Pinkham: (commercial TCP/IP network)
Paul Nash: (African NGOs)
Mike Lawrie: (UNINET TCP/IP network)
Dave Wilson: (FidoNet)

Republic of Zambia (ZM)

Public FidoNet node, 5:761/1
Node Name:
University of Zambia Computer Centre
Box 32379, Lusaka
Mark Bennett:
Data: +260-1-252892
Voice: +260-1-252507

APC FidoNet node
Node Name:
Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD)

Republic of Zimbabwe (ZW)

Node Name:
University of Zimbabwe
John Sheppard:
Voice: +263-4-303211 ext. 1378

Public FidoNet node, 5:7211/1
Node Name:
PO Box 7069, Harare
Rob Borland:
Data: +263-4-738692
Voice: +263-4-303211 ext. 1492



Some Etiquette Guidelines

All methods of communication have their own norms, or rules of etiquette, and e-mail is no exception. In electronic networking, such rules are often referred to as "netiquette." New users may practice poor netiquette without even realizing it, so this section provides a few guidelines, especially for people who want to send long-distance messages to individuals in Africa or to Africa-related mailing lists.

Failure to observe good netiquette can do more than just offend the recipients of your mail; it can waste their money. The reason is that many network nodes must pay long-distance phone bills to exchange international mail, i.e., they pay to receive mail, even if that mail is unsolicited. To make matters worse, these phone bills generally must be paid using scarce hard currency. E-mail abuse has already resulted in more than one node sending out angry messages of objection (in one case, a node administrator saw his communications costs rise to US$300 *per day* as a result of unintentional abuse). Therefore, when sending messages destined for any remote dial-up node, and particularly for those that can scarcely afford to squander any foreign exchange, there are a few things to keep in mind:

+ Try to keep your messages reasonably concise.

+ Try to be quite sure that intended recipients are interested in receiving whatever it is you are sending (e.g., don't send files that haven't been requested by anyone, and try to keep "this is only a test"-type messages to an absolute minimum).

+ Avoid "broadcasting" messages to multiple mailing lists (nobody wants to receive a message 10 times, particularly if it also violates the first two guidelines).

+ To subscribe or unsubscribe from a list, send your request to the administrative address, usually listserv@host, where it will be handled automatically, not to the distribution list itself ("name-of-list"@host), whence it will be distributed to all subscribers and handled indirectly, at best, possibly begrudgingly, and maybe not at all.

These guidelines notwithstanding, don't be afraid to send messages! The whole purpose of bothering with electronic networking is to enhance communication, not inhibit it. Nobody gets involved in networking to become more isolated from the rest of the world; networkers, including those in Africa, want to hear from friends and colleagues around the globe. The point is merely that some sensitivity to economic realities is appreciated.

Other than that, there are just a few additional common points of etiquette to keep in mind when signing on to a bulletin board system and posting messages. Some of these points are peculiar to networking, and others are more like commonsense reminders.

+ If you are new to an electronic conference, it's a good idea to just read it for a little while before adding your own input, so you can get a sense of the style and substance of the "conversation" (remember that these systems are communities like any other).

+ Also, most conferences (and mailing lists) are focused on specific topics. Staying "on topic," or avoiding "topic drift," is good courtesy. Send personal messages to a person, not a list.

+ Only quote from previous messages to the extent necessary in your responses to a mailing list; people don't want to read the same messages over and over to get to the new part at the bottom.

+ Don't type in all capital letters (it's a lot like shouting).

+ This is a common networking admonition: try not to offend, and try not to be easily offended.

+ Similarly, electronic conversations, like their face-to-face counterparts, sometimes get heated. Being critical, even angry, about an idea is fine; acrimoniously attacking people is known as "flaming," and is discouraged.

If these pointers seem obvious to you, your natural thoughtfulness and wisdom will be appreciated throughout the network. When you (inevitably) run into others to whom such courtesies are not so obvious, you can help spread the word.



BBS              Bulletin Board System.  Electronic medium where users
                  dial up and sign on to a host computer, where they
                  can read and post informational items in a "public"
                  area that is accessible to other BBS users, and also
                  can download files of interest, including software
                  programs.  Can be organized by subject area.  Most
                  bulletin board systems also offer conferences and
                  private e-mail capability.

Circuit-         Switching system, such as used in a phone call,
switching        where a dedicated physical circuit path must exist
                  between sender and receiver for the duration of the

Conference        An electronic discussion format whereby users dial 
                  and sign onto a host computer and can then post items
                  for discussion and respond to those items (and other
                  responses).  Responses are shown sequentially,
                  creating an electronic "conversation."

Dial-up           Switched communications connection established over
line              the telephone network.

DOS               Disk Operating System (popular operating environment
                  for personal computers).

Download          To copy a file from a remote computer to one's own

E-Mail            Electronic mail.  Widely used network application
                  whereby messages are transmitted by various means
                  between sending and receiving computers.

Fidonet           A PC-based cooperative networking system organized
                  hierarchically by continent, region, node, and point.

Gateway           A mail routing device that "translates" one set of
                  message protocols to another so that, for instance,
                  Fidonet mail can be forwarded to an Internet

Ground-           Set of communications equipment (including a 
station           and an antenna) for exchanging data with
                  a satellite.  

IDD               International Direct Dial (telephone line).

Internet          The world's largest computer network, actually a
                  network of thousands of networks using TCP/IP.

LAN               Local Area Network.  A network covering a relatively
                  small geographic area, such as a campus.

Leased            A transmission line reserved by a communications
line              carrier for the private use of a customer.

Mailing           Similar in some ways to a conference, but messages
list              are sent to the list's address, which distributes
                  them automatically to all subscribers.  Usually
                  focused on a particular topic.

Modem             A device that converts digital signals into a form
                  suitable for transmission over analog communication
                  facilities and back again into digital form.  Stands
                  for "modulator-demodulator."

Network           Two or more computers (and related equipment) that
                  can communicate with each other over some medium.

Node              Also known as a host, a computer offering entry to an
                  electronic network, which can route messages and
                  offer other services, such as conferences, for
                  "points" that connect to it.

Packet            Means by which digital information can be sent using
radio             radio waves, especially useful where phone lines are
                  very poor or nonexistent.

Packet-           Means by which nodes share bandwidth by 
switching         intermittently sending units of information
                  (packets).  As opposed to circuit-switching, which is
                  data transmission via one dedicated circuit at a

PC                Personal computer.

Point             In Fidonet, a computer connected to a node.  May or
                  may not be able to send messages without the node,
                  depending on particular version of point software

Protocol          Formal set of rules and instructions governing how
                  devices on a network exchange information.

SLIP              Serial Line Internet Protocol.  Allows dial-up
                  telephone link to the Internet.

Store-and-        Message switching technique whereby messages are
forward           temporarily held at an intermediate point or points
                  before being passed on to their destinations.

Sysop             System operator.  Individual responsible for running
                  and maintaining a network node.

TCP/IP            Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.  The
                  two best-known Internet protocols, often erroneously
                  thought of as one protocol.  Developed by the US
                  Department of Defense in the 1970s.

Upload            To copy a file from one's own computer to a remote

USENET            One of the oldest and largest cooperative networks,
                  comprising some 10,000 hosts and 250,000 users.  Its
                  primary service is distributing news on an extremely
                  large variety of topics.

UUCP              Unix to Unix Copy Program.  Protocol used for
                  communication between consenting Unix systems, as
                  well as a Unix-based network closely associated with

UUPC              A program that emulates the Unix environment for use
                  on DOS-based PCs.

WAN               Wide Area Network, a network spanning a large
                  geographical area.

X25               A digital network standard that defines the packet
                  format for data transfers.

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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