The Benefits of Advancing Technological Usage in South Africa

The Benefits of Advancing Technological Usage in South Africa

Document details
Category: Information Science and Technology Essay
Subcategory: Computer Science
Words: 486
Pages: 1

South Africa is a rich and diverse country. The bush. Gold mining. Cape Town. But it's a country that's been brutally managed on behalf of a very small minority for the past 40 years. And that has screwed up its entire infrastructure. Forty percent of the country's able-bodied population is unemployed. More than 70 of its adult population is illiterate or semiliterate. In a country of 40 million people, there are only 3 million telephones-old ones at that, as I can attest from personal experience-and 2.5 million televisions. But South Africa now has something golden hope. And that hope is centered on Nelson Mandela and his new government. So I come back to the original question If you were Mandela, what would you think about technology in society? You and I know that technology could help South Africans make the leap from where they are now-somewhere between the First and Second Wave-solidly into the Third Wave and a leadership position in Africa and possibly the world. Technology, for example, could help South Africa build a communications infrastructure where none has existed. On June 1, the country switched on its cellular phone system for the first time. The government did a good job it designed a competitive system based on the same standard as European mobile phones, meaning that the network was able to be built very quickly and the cost of the phones will fall very rapidly. Because it is competitive, the cost of making calls is substantially lower for the cellular system than for the monopoly wired system, which is managed by a state bureaucracy called Telkom. But . . . But the people who are living in and running South Africa have little experience with technology or its potential benefits, and Mandela's new government is only beginning to develop its policies and philosophy in this area. It's hard enough for those of us in advanced, industrialized countries like...

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