Africa & Modern Information Technology [Alamineh]

Africa & Modern Information Technology [Alamineh]

        Africa and the Modern Information Technology
                      Debebe Alamineh
                   AT&T Bell Laboratories
                      480 Red Hill Rd.
                    Middletown, NJ 07724

Africa should start now to establish Information infrastructures for it 
disadvanteged population. This infrastructure is based upon the so 
called Information and Community Service Centers. In Ethiopia they can 
be called "Selk Mender" meaning "Electronic Village Halls", or just 

Their main aim is to provide the disadvantaged Ethiopian neighbourhood 
with access to data processing and telecommunication services, and 
computer assisted services. Instead of linking individual households 
onto a network, which is unaffordable for these people; it is advisable 
to concentrate I.T facilities within special designed "tele-house" 
containing entire local communities involved. The facilities are 
intended as much for private as for commercial use, with information and 
communication facilities, satellite T.V. reception, computer assisted 
training, interactive citizen advice services, etc.

A tele-house may be defined as center where Network Information 
Technology is palced at the disposal of the citizen of a specific local 
community with a characteristically marginal geographic location so that 
communal use may be made of facilities available. The purpose of the 
tele house is to counter act some geographically determined 
disadvantages which the local community involved has been forced to 
suffer under, whether they have been of an economic, educational or 
cultural nature or have have concerned employment services or other 
infrastructure facilities.

Within the limits of a definition of this kind the various tele-houses 
are of course organized very differently. But it is generally the case 
that all (or most) of the following basic service are provided in the 
"Selk Bet" meaning "tele houses" as they are colloqually named:

An information service is available to the local population, with access 
to municipal information, business information, library catalogue, and 
other national and international databases.

Telecommunication facilities are provided, enabling local citizens to 
communicate with the rest of the world within or beyound their national 
borders, using telex, phone, fax, email, for instance.

The day to day management of the tele-house is undertaken by a 
consultant so called telehouse caretaker who got his or her training 
from one of the local colleges for six months.

People come and use the centers for sending resumes, looking for job 
advertisements, buying and selling things, like cars, furnitures etc, 
communicating with distance relatives, accessing the weather, and last 
but not least for following news of their township using one of the 
terminals in the center hooked to the news database, just like a radio 
and T.V. news.

From: "Arthur R. McGee" <>
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 09:17:43 EDT

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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