Ishtar asks, “Will technology solve Africa's problems?“: On May 17th however, I stopped by a blog written by Erik Hersman (aka Hash aka White African), a Western TCK who was blogging about technology in Africa. He proudly presented his favorite post The Dark Continent: It’s Still Dark which was about Africa not being developed enough.
“Will technology solve Africa’s problem?” is a deep question. We can argue it in two ways. First of all we are living an era of technology. Technology involves a lot of area: health, education, national security politic, economy and culture. It’s everywhere and everybody uses it. In Western countries computer is easy accessible. And the rate is of affordable. It is NO LONGER A LUXURY ITEM, it’s a necessity. 51% of the U.S. population has one or more computers which is an increase fron the 42% in 1998, whereas Africa ranks last in the world in internet use. Sad picture! Students and doctors don’t have internet access and if they do the costs are very expensive comparing to the cost of life. Technology can solve Africa problem by exposing this deficiency.
Secondly technology won’t solve Africa problems if African governments don’t take initiative to improve infrastuctures, to implement policies that will help the I.T. sector.
The answer is it depends on how technology is used. Its wrong to assume that technology is necessarily ‘good’. It can be an instrument of coercion or of liberation. It just depends. If Africa becomes dependent on western technology that will be just as bad as Africa’s continued colonialization by western markets. However, opensource technologies can help create a local African owned (commonly owned) and independent software. That might help decrease dependence on the west.