Beyond Boundaries: Cyberspace in Africa

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This volume addresses the economic, social, and political issues surrounding the use and development of the Internet in Africa. A key conclusion of the study is that the use and development of cyberspace in Africa will erode the geographical and social boundaries of contemporary African nation-states. A pathway through which Africans can transcend the political, economic, and cultural limitations of the frequently Western-imposed confines of language, religion, geography, and political and ethnic alliances will open.

The significance of the development of Internet access in African countries continues to be debated, particularly in countries whose governments have difficulty providing their citizens with the more basic needs of health care and education. There is the danger, the authors point out, of cyberspace development furthering class and social divisions within African societies as access to computers in Africa is currently restricted to urban elites. They conclude, however, that connecting Africa to cyberspace is essential, for, as cyberspace becomes an increasingly important means of international communication, those nations without Internet access will be placed at a further disadvantageous position in the global economy.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Although in some respects Africa is only at the starting gate in the race for full connectivity, Internet access is now available in the capital cities of all 54 countries on the continent, and the impact of new information technologies is gradually spreading to other urban areas. This collection surveys Internet use and its potential in nine countries, including a chapter on ways in which African women are using the Web to promote their collective interests. High illiteracy, poor telecommunications infrastructure, shortages of trained personnel, and reluctance by some governments to allow development of independent service providers all create obstacles to rapid progress. Nevertheless, the authors find that some governments, including those of Nigeria, Namibia, and Senegal, are facilitating broader access to the Internet, and that journalists and nongovernmental development organizations everywhere are increasingly relying on Web information and contacts in their work. No specific political effects of increased connectivity are demonstrated, but several authors express confidence that as more individuals gain the ability to bypass the gatekeepers of government and established mass-media sources, authoritarian systems will be undermined by the freer flow of knowledge and opinion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325001845
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 11/13/2001
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Melinda B. Robins is Assistant Professor of Journalism, Emerson College, Boston.

Robert L. Hilliard is Professor of Media Arts at Emerson College, Boston.

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Table of Contents

Getting Ready for Cyberspace

Structure of Cyberspace

Linking Africa's Women

Benin and the Internet

Eritrea and the Internet

Ethiopia in Cyberspace

Triumphs and Trials for Kenya's Journalists

The Internet in Namibia

Dynamics of the Internet in Nigeria

Senegal and the Internet

Togo and the Internet

The Internet and Zambia

The Future of Cyberspace in Africa


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