Information In and On Africa: Past, Present and Future

Information In and On Africa: Past, Present and Future

Roger Pfister (Center for International Studies CIS, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-86-5.ch018
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Talking about Africa’s right to information means talking about communication in Africa and in the Third World generally. In Africa the channels of communication were underdeveloped or inappropriate as a consequence of the continent’s colonial past. The resulting lack of information was, among other reasons, an impediment to national development in African states after their independence. Until the 1980s, the principal means of communication were newspapers, books, telephones, radio and TV. However, with the development of modern technology, the proliferation of satellites, the advance in the computer industry and, most recently, with the advent of Internet new forms of communication were added. This contribution outlines the initiatives and discussions from the 1960s to the 1980s on the relationship between economic development and access to information in the Third World generally and in Africa in particular. The second part deals with the new communication technologies, the areas of application in Africa and their possible impact on Africa’s development. The author takes a rather pessimistic attitude as far as the advancement of sustainable development in Africa through information technology is concerned, unless such technology is applied to local circumstances.

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