Workshop on Information Technology in Africa by National Intelligence Council

By National Intelligence Council

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Nigeria may develop a wireless telecom infrastructure. • The Internet has a fairly strong base in Nigeria, although there is a lack of good international connections. There is a fairly competitive ISP market. A bottoms-up approach is suited to Nigeria– approaches requiring strong central planning will not work there. • Although 80 percent of the people live outside the cities, the reach of telecommunications is limited to the major urban centers; most lines are in Lagos and those lines are often nonfunctional.

The horizontal communication that these technologies afford allows a freeflowing sharing of information, more participatory decisionmaking, greater networking, lessening the esoteric character of the available knowledge and building an important sense of group solidarity. The IT uses by Fulani herders offer an example of how IT has been adopted to support customary practices in unconventional ways. The herders use the global positioning system (GPS) mapping capability to map out their grazing lands and predict potential drought conditions.

How will the burgeoning bureaucracies be treated when the ledger is replaced by the microchip? What will happen when the paper pushers lose their jobs? In response, the general consensus was that open, accessible information has tended to create new jobs. Employment is an intermediate measure in technological change. Even if some people lose their jobs, we can expect greater productivity that will then create new jobs. Participants believed that tying people into global market information systems (like the coffee producers) is an important way of impacting positively upon productivity.

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