The Digital Divide is caused by the high prices of computers and Internet access that poor people cannot afford. A famous scientist, Isaac Asimov, wrote, "I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them." Millions of people in Africa do not have enough money to afford computers, or do not have access to places to buy them. The Digital Divide means that some people do not have computers and Internet access, they do not have cellular phones or access to them, they do not have television or even radios. The Digital Divide is a very big issue in Africa. "It is most extreme in Africa, where in 2001, out of 800 million people, only 1 in 4 had a radio, 1 in 13 a television set, 1 in 40 a telephone and 1 out of 130 a computer. The divide widens in Africa's countryside, where a lack of roads, telephone lines and electricity separates the rural majority from their urban counterparts." (Gumisai Mutume) Even before organizations can donate or sell computers to Africa, the African countries must build power plants and roads so that their computers can be shipped to villages and be plugged in. Africa Recovery: "Africa takes on the digital divide: New information technologies change lives of those in reach," by Gumisai Mutume

The Digital Divide is increased by the lack of opportunities poor people have to learn about computer technology; the lack of skills to use technology or the Internet at its full extent; and improper use of the Internet. In the world today there are millions of people in Africa who do not own computers or have Internet access at school, at their jobs, or at public libraries. The people in Africa could benefit from the Internet by using it for educational uses."...the digital divide is not a problem in itself, but a symptom of deeper, more important divides: of income, development and literacy. Fewer people in poor countries than in rich ones own computers and have access to the internet simply because they are too poor, are illiterate, or have other more pressing concerns, such as food, health care and security. So even if it were possible to wave a magic wand and cause a computer to appear in every household on earth, it would not achieve very much: a computer is not useful if you have no food or electricity and cannot read." (The Economist). …


Links:
http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/afrec/vol17no3/173tech.htm
http://www.computers4africa.org/
http://www1.worldbank.org/devoutreach/spring00/article.asp?id=77
http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/ReadMe/article.php%3Fid=44.html
http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=3742817

Written by Judy Wang