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Chapter 14: Deconstructing the `Digital ... > 7. INTERVENTIONS NEEDED TO BRIDGE TH... - Pg. 232

Deconstructing the `Digital Divide' in Africa cording to The Global Competitiveness Report, 2006-2007 (World Economic Forum, 2006). These countries are also leaders in e-governance systems and score highly on the digital opportunity index, e-readiness rankings, information society indices and e-government indices. 7. INTERVENTIONS NEEDED TO BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE IN AFRICA Africa needs to take prudent measures in order to bridge the digital divide in its midst. Efforts should be made to establish Internet exchange points that would obviate the need for traffic within the continent to be routed through Europe or North America. The long term strategy for bridging the digital divide should include the implementation of ICT education in the curriculum throughout This could potentially extend Internet access to most of Africa's population and save at least some capital investment in new land-lines. Similarly, VSAT--Very Small Aperture Terminal--is a direct satellite-to-end-user technology that skips ter- restrial wiring completely and thus presents an alternative to land-line communication. Africa could benefit by deploying these technologies, especially in remote rural areas or in regions with rough terrain. Policies that promote open internet access are also needed to stem the digital divide between Africa and the developed world. In the US for example, high speed policies have been imple- mented to enable government to promote a more open internet. High speed internet is necessary for economic growth, employment, telemedicine, education, e-government, and public safety (Com- munications Workers of America, 2006). Africa could also benefit from open access initiatives in