Monday, September 01, 2003


Jeffrey James book, mentioned in yesterday’s blog, contains a chapter on the GII, focusing on affordable ICT for developing nations. It sites Sam Pitroda’s success in developing small telephone exchanges in India, which seems to be widely admired. It also sites promising developments in the use of wireless telephony.

In the next section it sites the work of three organizations:
· Africom, which provided refurbished computers in South Africa;
· Green PC Inc, which also provided such computers; and
· New Deal Inc, that sought to provide “sustainable software”.
I couldn’t find any of them on the Internet, although I did find reviews of New Deal’s Office suite and old announcements of Africom’s initiatives. There are a lot of sellers of refurbished computers that pop up on the Internet, but perhaps these are less viable options in developing nations than one would think.

James also is enthusiastic about the Simputer and other low cost PCs for developing country markets. I think such optimism was held broadly in the past, but I have detected some people questioning specific initiatives more recently.

I can’t help but feel that James is right in suggesting that a lot of people don’t need all the power in the latest generations of PCs, and that schools, offices and other users could utilize cheap technology. But perhaps rich countries will dominate the market for such technologies as it develops.

No comments: