Brain Drain with Regard to Africa [Schlegel]

Brain Drain with Regard to Africa [Schlegel]

                               Markus Schlegel

                             FOSTERING BRAIN DRAIN
  Data-communications in the Developing World with special regard to the
                      situation on the African continent

I. Points of Departure

   An extraordinary amount of attention has been focused on the 
relevance of data-communication in policy making and science since the 
U.S.-administration under President Clinton has made the construction of 
the so-called "Data Superhigway" one of its primary aims (1) for the 
remaining years of our century. At the very moment wherein developed 
countries - it will most likely not for long remain science-fiction to 
receive and display remote-sensing pictures from observation satellites 
in real time on almost any well equipped personal computer (2), the 
danger is ever growing in the developing world to get completely out of 
pace - with potentially damaging consequences.

   In UNESCO's recently published 1993 World Science Report, Abdus 
Salam, founder of the Trieste Centre for Theoretical Physics, describes 
reasons and consequences of a scientist's isolation from the ongoing 
discussions of an international community within his community:

   "Coming back to my native Pakistan in 1951 after taking my PhD in
   theoretcal physics at Cambridge and after a research period at the
   Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, I began to teach at the
   Lahore Government College. In this position, I found myself despe-
   rately isolated. As the only theoretical physicist in the country,
   I had no one in my vicinity to talk to, to discuss or share ideas
   with. The academic climate was not stimulating at all. After three
   years, I realized that staying any longer would not make sense;
   (...). I reluctantly decided to return to Cambridge (...)." (3)

   Statistics well show that this is not a singular case, and such 
migration - processes are commencing in most cases, even beginning at 
the student-age. (4)

   Once there are technical impediments for the free exchange of 
information and ideas, geography becomes so predominant a factor that - 
in the present sitiuation - emigration seems to be the only possible 
consequence for the individual, resulting in the well known phenomenon 
of brain drain on the collective level. (5)

II. Traditional Solutions

   With the recognition of the problem, some more traditional answers in 
terms of technology have been found in different fields. The creation  
of international study- and research centres, the inauguration of the 
Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)in 1985 (6), the support of 
scientits from the developing world through the awarding of grants (7), 
regional cooperations and research fellowships (8), the envisioned 
creation of Centres of Excellence. The aims of these projects are 

   - improvement of the exchange of information along the traditional
     lanes by the provision "of books and journals donated by individuals
     and institutions from the industrialized world to scientific libraries
     in the Third World", (9)

   - the creation of more equitable working conditions for scientific
     work in developing countries,

   - bridging the gap that specialization in the respective disciplines
     inevitably entails in geographical terms, (10)

   - self-empowerment of the scientific community in Third World nations,
     reducing the mostly heavy dependence on aid from developed
     countries, (11)

   - capacity-emphasizing cooperation, as opposed to result-emphasizing
     cooperation schemes. (12)

III. Missing Links

   It could be argued that many of these traditional measures might not 
successfully accomplish their aim: as grants do not in themselves 
warrant better contacts within a discipline on a worldwide scale, better 
equipped libraries might facilitate it to follow discussions (far from 
being able to intervene), international academic institutions - such as 
academies -  important as they are, might just prove another leeway in 
that they do not foster democratic access to learning and research or 
the establishment of a broad scientific infrastructure that earns its 
name. In his essay in the UNESCO World Science Report 1993, Thomas 
Odhiambo cites Bhagavan:

   "To become eventually self-sustaining, the capacity building process
    must be rooted firmly in the developing country institutions themsel-
    ves, with adequate resources put at their disposal, and with the
    assurance that their links to scientifically advanced institutions
    abroad will be longstanding and durable to ensure the consolidation
    and the continuity of the learning process." (13)

   Consequently, the goal that has to be attained is to make learning, 
teaching and encountering geographically remote fellow-students, 
teachers, and reasearchers of a discipline a stimulating experience, 
keeping as much of the expertise where it is most needed for sustainable 
development: at the disposal of developing countries within their 
boundaries. In other words: information, ideas and data should move, 
scientists should not, if movement means emigrating for good. Computer-
mediated communication could provide a missing link needed to bring 
together 'virtual' scientific communities', based on fields of activity 
and interest, rather than on the mere coincidence of vicinity: 'At the 
research level, interaction and communication with peers and potential 
users of research results are necessary for the stimulation, self-
confidence, relevance and effectiveness of a scientist. Modern 
scientific research relies heavily on the ability to communicate; gather 
reliable data; have access to widely dispersed data and information 
(including analysis); collaborate on projects; hold discussions, 
meetings, seminars, and conferences; and repackage and disseminate the 
results. The pace and complexity of modern research have greatly 
increased the communication needs of researchers, scientists, educators 
and their institutions. A scientist isolated is a scientist unable to 
articulate his purpose and needs; such a scientist soon becomes 
obsolescent. The provision of appropriate information systems and 
services for this group of information generators therefore becomes 
apparent.' (14)

IV. Organizations and the Advent of the Information Age in Development


    The need to explore the new opportunities that computer mediated 
communications hold to gather the "best of both worlds" by creating a 
stimulating scientific environment, without fostering brain drain, the 
importance of timely information for development and decision making has 
been increasingly recognized on a growing number of occasions: UNCED's 
1992 Agenda 21, (15) passed at the Rio de Janeiro Earth summit, in 
chapter 40 speaks of the ipmportnce of information for decision making, 
stating that:

           "In sustainable development, everyone is a user and provider 
of information considered in the broad sense.  That includes data, 
information, appropriately packaged experience and knowledge.  The need 
for information arises at all levels, from that of senior decision 
makers at the national and international levels to the grass-roots and 
individual levels.  The following two programme areas need to be 
implemented to ensure that decisions are based increasingly on sound 

   (a)   Bridging the data gap;

   (b)   Improving information availability. " (16)

   The UNCED names capacity buidling and the development of human 
resources as the key factors for any development in the direction of an 
improvement of the capabilities to produce, store, and retrieve relevant 
data "timely, reliable and usable" (17) for sustainable development. The 
authors point at a variety of projects under the aegis of the United 
Nations' Advisory Committee for the Coordination of Information Systems 
(ACCIS) and programmes as International Environmental Information System 
(INFOTERRA), demand the introduction of networking activities for a 
variety of other actors - such as NGOs - which in their view deserve 
strengthning in order to facilitate information sharing.

   According to the Agenda 21, there are impediments which are chiefly 
based on the fact that frequently commercially produced data, though 
existing in principle, bears a price-tag that will only put it within 
the reach of recipients in the  developed world, which could be seen as 
one of the reasons that make it difficult finding "the appropriate 
information at the required time and at the relevant scale of 
aggregation". (18)

   Chapter 40 of A-21 concludes that developed countries and relevant 
international organizations should cooperate with developing countries 
in order to expand their capacity to provide appropriate public access 
(19) to relevant environmental and developmental information, by 
providing technology and training to establish local information 
services and by supporting partnership and cooperative arrangements 
between countries and on the regional or subregional level. UNCED 
intends to strengthen the existing institutions, and the cooperation 
with non-governmental organizations, with an annual budget of about US$ 
165 million over a seven year period. (20)


   Current efforts at the UNESCO are also aimed at the creation of the 
technical means of coorepation by means of launching the 
Intergovernmental Informatics Programme in 1985. (21)

   In an interview on the occasion of the publication of the UNESCO 
World Science Report 1993, the organization's Director-General, 
Frederico Mayor commented:

   "Today the gap between poor and rich is a knowledge gap. There
    can be no sustainable development if there is no transfer of
    science." (22)

   Some of the measures proposed are the creation of networks "linking 
scientists in specialized subjects (...) through electronic data 
interchange over telephone links" (23) and the creation of an "invisible 
college". (24) Technological means are described as one means of 
"creating the community of scientists - the  so called 'critical mass' - 
needed". (25) Mayor describes these efforts as a means of enabling 
sciensits in the Developing World to plug "into the best". (26) Through 
such agendas, UNESCO becomes one of the organizations, at which the 
UNCED-aids are targeted. (27)

3. International Cooperation and NGOs

   Under the aegis of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and 
California State University in Los Angeles, a network has been installed 
that relies on the access to public packet switched X.25 data-networks, 
available in some African countries. With nodes in Kenya, Tanzania and 
Zimbabwe, a virtual access to the embracing academic network - the 
"Internet" - is realized by encapsulating the necessary technical 
protocols into normal international X.25-traffic and transmitting it to 
CSU nodes at California State University. Although the project enjoys 
strong support from the government in most of the participating 
countries (30) and apparently allows for innovative ways of tuition and 
research (31), the main weakness of this system rests within 
infrastructural underdevelopment within most African countries, 
resulting in the fact that publicly accessible, packet switched data 
networks are unavailable in most of these countries. (32)

   The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa, 
Canada is involved in helping to establish a number of electronic 
networks in Africa. These projects are mainly grass-root projects, not 
building on the capability of accessing data networks and remote 
computers in "real time", however allowing a relatively swift exchange 
of electronic messages. (33)

   The following networks are functioning (as in 1992):

- NGONET Africa is being based at the Environment Liaison
  Centre International (ELCI) in Nairobi where bulletin board
  system (BBS) has been set up to provide a conduit for electronic mail
  traffic in the region and to NGOs worldwide.

- ESANET (Eastern and Southern African Network) functions as a
  pilot project to link resrarchers from the universities
  of Kampala, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka and Harare. The
  network centre is based at at the University of Nairobi Institute
  of Computer Science.  Resources are being shared with NGOnet
  in order to enable NGOs to access networks via campus-systems
  where there is no NGO-structure available. The network rests on
  relatively simple PC-architectures using high speed modems and
  dialling over phone lines.

- HealthNet is being operated by the Boston based NGO SatelLife. (34)
  Having been initiated as a project of the International Physicians
  for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), SatelLife makes special
  use of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite technology for the transmission
  of electronical messages worldwide, bypassing bottlenecks of local
  telecommunications infrastructures and often prohibitive tariffs, let
  alone the often poor equipment with terrestric connectivity through
  traditional dial phone lines. Satellife have purchased 60% of
  the capacity on the University of Surrey (UK) built Uosat-F
  satellite. This will be used to exchange health and medical information
  within the same Universities participating in the ESANET project and via
  Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada.
  Memorial is an appropriate site because of Dr. Maxwell House's work with
  telemedicine and because it is so far north the satellite passes overhead
  10 times a day on a polar LEO. (35)

- PADISNET (Pan African Documentation Centre Network) links development
  and planning centres in 34 countries on an experimental basis. Having
  to rely on normal international telephone links for data-transmission,
  the project has apparently not been very successful. (36)

- VITANET: In a combination of satellite-based communication and
  packet-radio technology,(37) VITA (Volunteers in Technical Assistance)
  have found a way of providing information and assistance to develop-
  ment agencies in remote areas. Like SatelLife, VITA's system uses
  LEO-satellites that function as a kind of bulletin-board-system.
  Messages are being recorded (uplinked) when the LEO-satellite passes
  overhead at a given station and are later relayed (downlinked) when
  the satellite passes the destination station. To be able to perform
  its task, the satellite has a 10 Mega Byte on-board storage capacity.
  LEO-satellites, unlike satellites in so called 'geostationary orbit'
  are positioned at an altitude of approx. 800 Km (compared to 36,0000
  Km for geostationary positioned systems). This results in these systems
  passing overhead at any given point on earth several times during
  a period of 24 hours. On the other hand, LEO-satellites are not
  permanently "visible" from any given point on earth, as they complete
  one orbit in less than two hours. (38)

   We can - to this point - summarize networking activities on the 
African continent into four categories:

- Low speed data exchange of messages through the public switched
  telephone network, supported mostly by the FIDO bulletin-board-system

- Packet switched terrestric amateur-radio networks to maintain
  comminucation in rural and remote areas.

- Packet switched and satellite-relayed bulletin-board-system (BBS)
  style communication networks.

- High-end solutions with facilities for the connection of campus-
  based computing centres to the Internet, chiefly by means of
  acces through X.25 data networks, where available.

4. Measures for the Etablishment of a Sound Communications Infrasturcture
   on the Arfican Continent

   With regard to the communications infrastructure of the continent, 
several measures have been taken by African governments to improve 
conditions by pooling potential:

- The Panaftel-initiative is designed to improve the terestrial communica-
  tion links, provided within and between 45 member states on the conti-
  nent. It is the intention of the programme to route intra-Arfican
  traffic increasingly through domestic network centres. Apart from this,
  it is to provide the organizational background for a closer coordination
  of its members' efforts.

- RASCOM is the Regional African Satellite Communications project.
  According to the agreement on RASCOM, signed in the  RASCOM-
  convention at Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on May 27, 1992 amongst
  its major tasks is "the design, development, construction, procurement,
  establishment, operation and maintenance of the regional African
  telecommunications satellite system". RASCOM shall have as its prime
  objective in the provision, on a commercial basis, of the space
  segment (40) required for national and international public telecom-
  munications services in Africa". (41)
  In a first step, RASCOM is formed after the Panaftel model to allow
  for a more effective pooling of existing leased transponder capaci-
  ties by pooling of capacities within a regional system, and a
  flexible apporach towards the eventual establishment (42) of a dedicated
  satellite system. (43)

5. Strengths and Flaws of the Current Networking Concepts

   As we have seen, up to the current date there are four main means of 
network computer-mediated communications.

   While FIDO-systems, relying on normal dialled telephone connections 
require little or no training to be operated, their price-performance 
ratio can be considered poor once it becomes necessary to use 
international telephone lines.

   Packet-radio networks (44) are an excellent means of communicaions in 
scarcely settled areas, as they allow for the exchange of information, 
even where any kind of communications infrastructure is virtually nox-
existent. In addition to this, packet radio communication provides an 
inexpensive means of communication. Its main problems are system 
inherent and result in the system degrading in its capacity to transmit 
data over-proportionally to the growth of the number of stations that 
send data. Vice-versa, stations can be addressed individually from the 
center of the radially shaped network, resulting in a relatively high 
capacity of the network at any given time. Further limitations stem from 
the often prohibitive regulatory framework. (45) The installation of a 
packet-radio site is relatively inexpensive and may range around US$ 
1,000. Extensive training is not necessary, however maintenance of 
packet radio systems might require special skills.

   Packet-switched LEO satellite based communications networks are much 
subject to the same type of limitations that are inherent to terrestrial 
packet radio networks, with regard to technical and organizational 
aspects. Packet radio satellites allow for a very effective bypassing of 
structural bottlenecks in local telecom- systems.(46)  However, their 
data transmission capacity is limited to the maximum storage capacity of 
the systems aboard the space segment that functions as a kind of BBS in 
space. In that respect LEO satellite systems are a good alternative 
means of communication between professionals of the applied sciences- 
however tuition and learning usually demand for systems with storage and 
forwarding capacities on a by far larger scale. (47)

   Networks which are based upon the access to mainframe computing 
systems through public data network (48) do offer a sufficient 
"bandwith" (49) for tuition and learning projects. The main weekness of 
such project apparently rests with the fact that access to the necessary 
facilities in developing countries is rather the exception than the 
rule. Where it exists, it is prone to depend heavily on interests that 
are foreign in nature to the needs of the scientific community. (50) 
There are, however, a number of alternatives that would allow for the 
bridging of the data-gap. To be able to assess better the needs to which 
technological and structural solutions have to resopnd, we shall first 
try to understand the needs of the scientific community worldwide.

V. The Internet

   We have earlier alluded to the "Internet" as _the_ embracing 
worldwide academic networking structure. Emcapsulated in a wide variety 
of physical transmission protocols, on the layer of protocols (the 
"language" in which computer host systems "talk" to one another) it is 
linked up by the so called TCP/IP standard. Initially, the Internet was 
an offspring of military researh initiatives to provide links between 
remote supercomputing facilities.

   Having developed into a universal communications structure for the 
exchange of data, the Internet today provides connectivity to 
approximately 15,000,000 users worldwide (51), predominantly in the 
industrialized world. Besides the embracing TCP/IP protocol and the fact 
that Network Information Centers (NICs) are responsible to give a unique 
access code to each country, within each country a unique access code is 
given to each larger entity (such as administrations or universities), 
and each larger entity allocates a name to each host computer, the 
organizational structure of the Internet is completely heterogeneous, 
there is no central planning agency.

   Access to the network is bought by a group of entities or individuals 
on the basis of "bandwidth" (52), independent of what volume of data is 
being transmitted over the line. 'For example, the (...) membership fee 
for a large university (usually in the range of $5,000) together with an 
allocation for some user services personnel may approximate $100,000 per 
year.'(53) Most entities "pool" their request on the market place for 
communication services. As an example, academic institutions in Germany 
buy their capacity from the German Telekom over the German society for 
academic Networks (the 'DFN-Verein') (54)

   We can observe at this point that the development of software-tools 
has followed suit to the special conditions on the Internet. Unlike 
commercial networks and database services, the Internet has no central 
agency for the organization of information. Search tools have been 
widely developed on the basis of the so called client-server 
architecture. (55)

   The main tools for the dissemination and retrieval of information on 
the Internet are:

- e-mail: This is the most common denominator. All systems
  connected to the Internet run a program to send and receive
  electronic mail. A special variation of individual e-mail are so
  called mailing lists that enable conferencing for selected groups.

- USENET-News: As public bulletin boards, the topics of which reach
  from mainstream scientific discussion to the most exotic ones (in
  all, almost 8,000 to 10,000), so called "newsgroups" are accessible
  on most mainframe computers. The concept of newsgroups is a hybrid of
  public debate and the synergy-effects that come with the random
  "browsing" of information. However, for writing- and reading-access
  every newsgroup has its well defined level of publicity, either being
  available to the general "network-public" or a selected user group.
  News-information is mostly stored on a dedicated computer system
  which keeps the information accessible to all authorized users at
  a given location. Though any given information can effectively reach
  a great number of reciepients simultaneously, a capacity of around
  90 Mega Byte (or about 26,000 type writer pages) are the approximate daily
  flow of information through the global News-system.

- ftp (file transfer protocol): ftp is used as a means of transmitting
  data between host computers. The format of this data can be texts,
  pictures or entire books (just to name the most common). A special
  variation of ftp is 'anonymous ftp'. 'Anonymous ftp' allows the user
  to access a huge variety of electronical archives that store text
  material. Most of the materials for the present article was gathered
  by 'anonymous ftp'. The easiest way to understand ftp is to
  interpret it as an electronical archive where any user with access
  to the Internet can request information that is then automatically
  forwarded and stored to his local disk by the remote system.
  ftp today is a very common means for the exchange of data. Many
  scientific texts and journals are accessible by anonymous ftp
  on a 'do-ut-des' basis without charge to the user. An entire
  culture of electronical publishing is developing.

- Telnet: The telnet tool allows any user with real-time access
  to the Internet (mostly enabled at university computing centres)
  to perform almost any operation in another sytem on the network-
  the most prominent example being the direct connections of
  a growing number of library catalogues to the Internet for real-
  time research jobs to be performed.

- Gopher/WWW/WAIS/Veronica: All three tools fall into the category of
  'distributed databases'. Without being able elaborate in great detail
  at this point because of the complexity of the topic,   the main idea behind
  the concept of 'distribution' can be  easily understood: Through a uniform
  interface the user accesses   the client programmes at his local machine. He
  can then enter his   query, without actually having to know the _location_
  of his    desired target-information. In a very short period he will be   
  presented with an automatically generated menu that allows him to get
  to his target information by simply typing its name into the keyboard from
  screen or selecting it in a fashion very similar to 'Windows' systems. The 
  programme gathers 'distributed' units of target information that correspond
  with his original query.

   What these tools have in common is that they are being extensively 
used by an ever growing research- and commercially oriented community on 
the Internet. Experience shows that while outgoing information from any 
given user might be relatively small, he will only be able to enjoy the 
full benefits of participation, if he is enebled to retrieve 
electronical books by ftp, request computer programmes for the solution 
of a given problem, retrieve topical information by Gopher and Veronica 
and process this very information on his local system.  This - in turn - 
requires substantial "bandwitdth" for incoming data to any given system 
on the network. Experiences with the development of an entire non-
commercial operating system by programmers from all over the world have 
proven that the Internet is a powerful tool to create synergetic effects 
for virtual communities, cooperating in projects that require a high 
level of specilization. (56)

VI. Innovative Technological Approaches

   As we have shown, it appears necessary to respond to the needs of the 
science community in the developing world in a more flexible way than 
has hitherto been the case. As we have shown in section IV.3., existing 
strategies do either not respond to the ever growing need to move and 
store increasing amounts of data or are simply unavailable outside the 
big centres.

   1. Technological Perspectives

   During the last five years, a new technology has quickly developed 
into a viable system for data communications: VSAT (Very Small Aperture 
Terminal) based communications. The idea of this concept is to link 
relatively inexpensive terminals with small satellite dishes to data-
transmission centres (the so called "hubs") (57) via communications 
satellites in a geostationary orbit. The communication process is very 
similar to the procedures used in packet radio networks: two frequencies 
are being used, one for the uplink from VSAT to hub, another one from 
hub to VSAT, known as downlink frequency. Similar packet radio, uplink 
to the hub from VSAT is being achieved by means of a slotted ALOHA (58) 
random-access procedure. The speed of data transmission is limited and 
has at best 62% of overhead that is lost by data collision. Downlink 
from a hub to any given VSAT-station is unimpeded by data collisions, as 
any of the stations can be individually addressed from the network 
control center.

   VSAT networks are segmented into user groups with several stations 
sharing one pair of frequencies and certain capacities at the hub. VSAT-
stations can be linked to Local Area Networks (LANs), solutions to link 
up hubs with networks such as the Internet do exist. A special variation 
of VSAT technology can bee seen in "broadcast-only" systems. For 
applications like USENET-News, broadcast only solutions seem a close to 
ideal way to save the capacity of dedicated leased two-way communication 
lines from overload.(59)

   VSAT-systems would hold the advantage of being universally and 
permanently available, coming very close to the quality of service that 
could be provided by terrestrial data networks. At hardware costs of 
about US$ 10,000 and monthly costs of around US$ 700 (60), VSAT 
terminals have a monthly capacity for data-transmission around 10 Mega 

   VSAT-systems, on the other hand, cannot be operated successfully if 
there is not a minumum infrastructure with regard to servicing and 
uplink capacities. The latter depend on the availability of a sufficient 
number of space segments available and presumably on the availability of 
a dedicated hub.

2. Policy Initiatives

   As we have seen in previous chapters, a considerable amount of 
creativity and know-how is around, as far as communications in the 
developing world are concerned.

   We have identified it as one of the main aims of a succesful concept 
for scientific datacomminications in developing nations to provide for 
better links between scientists, in order to prevent brain drain 
(information and data should move, scientists should not, if their 
movement equals emigration).

   With initiatives like RASCOM, important steps are being made in the 
direction of developing an infrastructure for sustainable develop- ment 
through 'sustainable communications'.

   What is needed is a change of attitude and its subsequent 
transformation into the political will to grant a high priority to 
communications on the list of development projects, which notably has 
not always been the case. (61)

   The protagonists have already come on stage, what is missing is the 
playwrhight to provide them with a role to play. Certainly it would be 
constructive if ITU's Africa Telecom 94 conference was thinking about 
ways of developing a reliable VSAT network that could be managed by a 
commercially acting body funded by UN-institutions, intergovernmental 
cooperation and UNCED support.

   Such an agency should concentrate on

- pooling request on the market for satellite capacities, possibly
  in close coopperation with RASCOM;

- be responsible for the construction of a hub in which academic
  institutions should become members, similarly to structures that
  pool academic institutions' request for carrier services on the
  Internet (DFN-Verein);

- entering into close cooperation with governmental programmes - such
  Germany's efforts to build a center for the research of development
  policies in Bonn - in order to lay the groundwork for a dedicated
  computing centre for the storage of data and knowledge, relevant
  to researchers, students, and policy-makers in the developing
  world, facilitating the flow of information from developing countries
  into the developed ones and turning the exchange of ideas and infor-
  mation into a road with two carriageways, instead of the one directio-
  nal flow of the present.


(1)  Speech of U.S. Vice-President Albert Gore at UCLA, January 11, 1994.

(2)  See Wired-Magazine (1993), in: gopher 0/Etext/1.2
     "The Department of Defense has licensed Worldview Imaging of Oak-
     land, California, to provide real-time satellite views of the earth via  
     personal computer. Users of the system could tap into the satellites to 
     peek at objects on the earth's surface as small as three meters in length.
     Worldview's braintrust includes Edward Teller, father to the hydrogen
     bomb and the man largely responsible for selling the ill-fated Star Wars
     anti-missile scheme to Ronald Reagan."

(3)  Abdus Salam, Cooperation for Development, in: UNESCO World
     Science Report 1993, p. 167.

(4)  Statistics contributed by Remi Barre and Papon in the UNESCO World Science
     Report, op cit., p. 148, indicate that Sub-Sharan Africa has a percenta-
     ge  of students abroad ranging at an average 14.4%, compared to a
     mere 2.1% from the countries of the European Union and  0.2% from 
the U.S.

(5)  Abdus Salam, op. cit., p. 167.

(6)  Abdus Salam, op. cit., p. 170.

(7)  ibid.

(8)  Thomas R. Odhiambo, Africa, in: UNESCO World Sience Report 1993,
     op. cit., pp 86-94.

(9)  Abdus Salam, op. cit., p. 170.

(10) Or, as Odhiambo, op. cit., p 86, cites Worthington: " 'As in economics,
     so in science, considerable specialization has taken place in dif-
     ferent territories, so that the collaboration, or even a full exchange
     of information, could give great benefits.' " It is self-
     evident that - the higer the level of research - it becomes
     less probable to find a sufficient number of exchange partners
     in direct geographical vicinity. While this is obviously true
     for most of the developed countries, it seems to be an even more compel-
     ling problem in developing countries.

(11) Ohhiambo, op.cit., p. 91, builds a strong case for this viewpoint:
     "In addition, Africa must begin to look gift horses in the mouth
     - particularly when it comes to the assistance for the estab-
     lishment ant nurturing of Africa's own S&T [Science and Tech-
     nology, comment by author] capacity, which is a vital element
     for modernizing and invigorating the pace of the continent's
     self-sustaining social and economic development."

(12) ibid., p. 92: "The process of capacity building
     must be securely and consistently anchored within the
     deceloping countries themselves, linked to effective capacity

(13) Odhiambo, op. cit., p. 92.

(14) Beryl L. Bellman/Alex Tindimubona (1991): Global Networks and
     International Communications: AFRINET, in:
     Please note that no page or line numbers are indicated, as this
     text - like other resources cited - exists in electronical
     format as public domain and line or page numbering does depend
     on the output device used. All excerpts can be easily retrieved,
     though, by means of a simple string-search after downloading
     the texts. For further information, please consult 'appendix
     A' of the present paper.

(15) UNCED Conference (Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June, 1992):
     Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
     Development, Chapter 40, Information for Decision Making, in:

(16) ibid.

(17) ibid.

(18) ibid.

(19) Besides the commercial production, transport, and retrieval
     of data, there is a 'second way', which we will try to
     elaborate later in the present text when dealing with the

(20) ibid.

(21) Michel Batisse: Intergovernmental Cooperation, in: UNESCO World
     Science Report 1993, p. 157.

(22) UNCED: I/1 World Science Report Press summary - a world of new
     challenges and striking contrasts, p. 1.

(23) ibid., p. 3.

(24) ibid., p. 4.

(25) ibid.

(26) ibid.

(29) M.G.K. Menon: Introduction, in: UNESCO World Science Report 1993,

(30) Bellman/Tindimubona, op. cit.: "The Academy enjoys great geo-
     political support from Africa's leaders, many of whom already active-
     ly participate in Academy programs (e.g. the Management of Science
     Project chaired by Gengovernments. Once this is accepted and sub-
     scribed to, the AAS's formal recognition as an international organi-
     zation with diplomatic status will be complete."

(31) Bellman/Tindimubona, op. cit., explain a project exploiting
     messaging and remote-access databases: "We are now engaged
     in initiating for Winter term  a collaboratively taught
     course between faculty at the United States institutions
     and the Department of Journalism and Communications at the
     University of Nairobi in Kenya.
     The course involves 14 hours of video recorded documentary
     information about various new communication technologies (...),
     and computer conferencing led discussions.
     The course has already been offered in the United States and
     Mexico by faculty from the California State University, and will
     be offered again in conjunction with African student
     participation.  In the United States version of the course
     students do not meet face-to-face with the professor, but only
     interact using computer conferencing and electronic mail."

(32) Cf. ITU-Lynx database of telecommunications services and
     Also see: Vineeta Shetty (1991): African net quality tests users'
     mettle: Dearth of digital facilities, subpar conditions, costs pose
     obstacle to users extending nets to continent, in:
     "The predominance of packet-switched networks in West Africa is
     due in part to the presence of foreign oil firms in the area that
     need access to remote locations and their home countries."

(33) Arni Mikelsons et al. (1992): Technical Report of the Global Networking
     Workshop, held in Toronto (Canada) 1 to 14 February 1992, in:

(34) ibid.: "Although the current traffic is limited to health
     related issues it will be up to the individual participating
     institutions in Africa to obtain clearance from the authorities
     for a wider interpretation of the health mandate. As far as the
     funders of the HealthNet project are concerned, this could encompass
     a much broader range of environmental and social issues. Currently
     however, only Zambia has been successful in obtaining approval for
     the installation of the ground station and this was with a specific
     medically oriented application.
     The Zambian approval nevertheless sets a precedent for the
     authorities in the other countries. Also Zambia will now be able to
     host satellite traffic from the other participating countries via
     direct dial telephone lines with the ESANET Fido network until
     other ground stations have been approved.
     More recently the Dean of Medical Studies at the University of
     Makarere in Kampala, Uganda has expressed optimism over approval of
     their satellite application which has an even broader mandate to
     include environmental information."

        Most of the restrictions described by Mikelsons have to be under-
     stood in the light of the fact that data exchange over LEO-satellites
     has traditionally taken place in the amateur (ham-) radio frequency
     spectrum. In most countries usage of this spectrum is limited to
     technical conversation, the exchange of trivial information
     or disaster relief (compare e.g. the U.S. FCC's Rules for Amateur
     Radio (CFR 47 Part 97), available via anonymous ftp /pub/ham-radio/fcc_part_97_2. Section
     97.117 reads: "International communications. - Transmissions to a
     different country, where permitted, shall be made in plain language and
     shall be limited to messages of a technical nature relating to tests, and,
     to remarks of a personal character for which, by reason of their
     unimportance, recourse to the public telecommunications service is not
     justified.") It might be considered a forgone conclusion that similar
     regulations might often be used for a short-sighted protection of
     the commercial interests of local carriers and PTTs.

(35) Arni Mikelsons, op.cit. .

(36) ibid.


(38) Hans Dodel: Satellitensysteme fuer Kommunikation, Fernsehen und
     Rundfunk, Heidelberg 1986, p. 2 and also
     Dennis Roddy: Satellitenkommunikation, Munich 1991, pp. 20-24.

(39) Shetty, op. cit.: "Under the Panaftel program, intra-African tele-
     communications traffic will be increasingly routed through African
     transit centrs. There is a good chance that the tariff restructuring
     resultingfrom this will benefit major customers.
     Another objective of Panaftel is the resolution of cross-border
     interconnection problems, such as those between Kenya and Malawi;
     Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti; and Cameroon and Chad."

(40) The term 'space segment' in this context is used synonymously for
     the equipment of a satellite transmission chain that is postitioned
     in outer space.

(41) See S. Taylor (1992): Rascom: A New Challenge for Africa, in:
     gopher 1/.1/ITUdoc/.dirtree/.1/.itu-r/

(42) ibid.

(43) For the period between 1986 and 1992, RASCOM received funding
     through the United Nations Development Programme of approximately
     8,000,000 US$. See: Regional African Satellite Communication
     System (RASCOM), in: gopher 1/.1/ITUdoc/.dirtree

(44) Packet radio was developed in the early 1970 at the University
     of Hawaii. The basic idea of the system is the usage of two
     seperate normal radio-channels that link stations and digital
     repeater stations (so called Digipeaters). One of these
     channels is being used for the transmission of digital audio
     burst signals from the stations to the Digipeater, the other
     channel allows Digipeaters to address each single station
     with data. The digital audio bursts, transmitted over the
     normal microphone jack of a normal amateur radio stations,
     are called data "packets". The stations address the Digipeater
     at any time, which can create the situation of two stations
     transmitting on the same frequency to Digipeater. Whenever
     such a transmission does not lead to the desired response,
     transmission are repeated until no collisions of data
     transmitted over the same channel happen. The procedure -
     due to its origin - is known as ALOHA. Recent versions
     of packet radio implementations since the mid-1980s are
     based upon the X.25 protocol, similar to stationary
     packet switched networks. For a detailed description
     of random-acces to packet switched networks see Dodel:
     op. cit., p. 37 and 53.

(45) Compare note (34), as regulatory problems in packet
     radio networks do largely coincide with the problems
     described here. Advances towards general acknowledgement
     for the importance of radio communications in rural
     areas have been made so far; the first communications
     assembly (RA-93) of the  International Telecommunications
     Union (ITU) has istituted a study group on "the
     contribution of new technologies for rural communications
     in developing countries." (See ITU Newsletter 1/94).

(46) In fact, with the extremely low launch-costs of about
     US$ 1,000,000 - about 1/400th of the current cost of
     launching a commercial communications satellite for a
     geostationary orbit - (see Mark Bennett: Healthnet
     in Zambia: The technical Implmentation of a Communications
     System for Health Workers, in: ftp DHVX20.CSUDH.EDU/
     ANONYMOUS.AFRICA/HNZAMBIA.TXT) - the system might earn
     for itself. Bennett gives the example of a one minute
     international phone call from Zambia to the UK costing
     the face value of some US$ 7.

(47) Within the following chapter, we will try to explain
     some of the synergetic effects that can only be reached
     when communication is not taking place as a point-to-point
     relation but rather includes the opportunities of electronic
     group conferencing and electronic publishing, two of the
     essentials in present academic computer mediated communi-
     cations over the universal "Internet".

(48) See notes (30) and (31).

(49) The term is also used colloquially and as such refers to
     the actual speed of data transmissions of which the parties
     in a given network dispose.

(50) See Shetty, op. cit., who gives the example of foreign oil companies
     chiefly funding for the construction of packet switched data networks in the
     West African region. Also Gary Garriott (1993): Training for the Future
     in African Networking, in: Developnet News, vol. 3, No. 10,
     gopher 0/vita/dnn/dnn3.oct.

(51) See Unix-World, December 1993, pp. 42-61.

(52) See above, note (49).

(53) Ruth, op.cit.

(54) For detailed information gopher to

(55) In client-server architectures, the user does not directly
     access a given set of information. Instead, a user interface
     is offered which will be very much standardized and customized
     to the working environment the user is accustomed to on his
     system. Entering any query into his terminal system, the
     'client' software on his local machine will translate his query
     into a standard format that is readable for any remote computer
     that runs a 'server'-package appropriate for the 'client' used.
     There are several advantages to this system, the most important
     amongst them being the fact that data is only submitted in small
     standardized packets instead of 'live' online sessions between
     host ('server') and terminal ('client'). This increases network
     capacity considerably. Secondly, the user is not confronted with
     a multitude of different operating procedures but can perform
     almost every task within his well known working environment on
     his local system.

(56) See C'T-Magazin fuer Computertechnik, November 1992, p. 42.

(57) For a more detailed description see: Robert M. Gagliardi:
     Satellite Communications, New York (2)1991, pp. 461-474.

(58) See note (44).

(59) Pagesat Inc. of Palo Alto, California have developed a system
     that uses audio subcarriers on direct broadcast satellites
     for the transmission of USENET-newsgroups. With costs running
     at about US$ 1,800 for ground station equipment, this seems
     a suitable way of granting connectivity to ongoing discussions
     over the Internet. An operational system has to this date been
     realized in the U.S..

(60) Prices for monthly operation of terminals vary heavily, depending
     on several factors such as the availability of sufficient and
     inexpensive satellite capacity in the space segment, servicing
     infrastructure and possible pooling of the highly cost-intensive
     hub-facilities that render necessary investments in a low six-digit-
     range. Prices indicated here are average values for industrialized 

(61) Bennett, op. cit., sums up in the - often heard - question what
     a hospital at a remote location could use computers for, once
     they were not even able to afford the Aspirin.

All rights for this text with the author. Text may be redistributed for 
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A printed version of this text is available as: Markus Schlegel/Ludger 
Wiedemeier: Fostering Brain Drain, in: Communications, Vol. 19, 1 
(1994), pp. 105-126.

From: "Arthur R. McGee" <>
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Date: Wed, 20 Jul 1994 21:37:36 +0200
From: BITNET list server at DEARN <>
Subject: File: "BDRA TXT"

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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