Infrastructure is not enough!

Feedback is increasing sharply at Developing Telecoms - thank you to all concerned! This, following on from our on-going Digital Divide Special Focus, comes from the Head of Technical Standards at the Ministry of Communications in Abuja, Nigeria.  It argues that capacity building needs to be centred on schools.  Short and to the point, we couldn't agree more.


The first (twin) problem in the developing economies combines the lack of ICT developers in the software area and the lack of local content for the majority of illiterate people who cannot speak English.

Secondly, there is a dearth of telecommunications infrastructures such as optic-fibre cables and VSAT terminals and wireless accesses.Poverty has overtaken events in the communities in question and only a very small number who are privileged can afford the high cost per hour to surf the web.

The penetration of ICT infrastructures in schools, especially tertiary institutions, is nothing to write home about: hence the dearth of software writers and programmers.Corruption, cyber-crime, scams etc are becoming the order of the day and this is not helping matters. 

It is necessary therefore to aim at capacity building in the higher institutions and at the development of grass-root tele-centres and community radios. This will in turn assist in the use of ICT in order to develop the rural dweller's capacity to improve his or her living standards. The provision of ICT infrastructure is not enough without teaching the local farmer how to use that same ICT infrastructure to obtain a better price for his or her farm products etc.

 This is my humble contribution to the debate on how the Digital Divide can be bridged.

Affamefuna R Ene

Head, Technical Standards and Measurement, Ministry of Communications

Abuja, Nigeria

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