Internet in Senegal. History of Internet in Senegal

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1 Internet in Senegal Uwe Afemann (University of Osnabrück, Germany) Abstract: Senegal is one of the Sub-Saharan African countries with the best developed infrastructure in telecommunication and scores third in connectivity to the Internet in whole Africa. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Senegal was elected as one of the participants of the so called "Third World" to join the DOT-Force created by the G7 countries. The article attempts to present a deeper look at the current stage of development of the infrastructure in ICT, its usage and the challenges that lie subsequently ahead. It focuses on common Internet access by means of telecenters and cyber cafés, use of the www by old media (newspaper and radio) and merging old media like radio with the internet by means of "radio browsing", application of computers in the education sector as well as on government activities, e- commerce and tourism. History of Internet in Senegal The Internet first reached Senegal in the late 1980s, when a node of the RIO network (Réseau Inter tropical d'ordinateurs), owned by ORSTOM (L'Institut de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développment en Coopération), was implemented using UUCP protocol, followed by a Fidonet/Greennet node at the headquarters of the NGO, Enda tiers-monde. At that time, the Internet was the concern of no more than a few dozen people. and file transfer were the main services carried out using, respectively, Senpac's (Sonatel's X25 data packet transmission network) lines and Senegal's telephone lines. There was no national domain name scheme. In 1992, however, in collaboration with ORSTOM, the computer engineering department of ENSUT (Ecole nationale supérieure universitaier de technologie) of l'université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar became the manager of the '.sn'-domain under the purview of Internet authorities. In March 1996, following the signing of an agreement between Sonatel and the American company MCI now Cable&Wireless, Senegal officially connected to the Internet via a 64 Kbps link by the Intelsat satellite, and in April, Télécom-Plus began to market Internet access. In May 1997 Senegal tripled its bandwidth, with the inauguration of two new 64 Kbps lines to Canada also by Intelsat, underwritten by a partnership between Sonatel and Téléglobe. 1 A subsidiary of Sonatel, Telecom-Plus, appeared as the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) and soon afterwards the first cyber café of West Africa, Metissacana, was launched. 14 ISPs are now competing for the retail access market, while Sonatel retains its monopoly over international connectivity. The main ISP's besides Telecom-Plus and Metissacana are Arc Informatique, AfricaOnline, and Cyber Business Centre. ISPs are required to use Sonatel's IP backbone to connect to the Internet. In the beginning of 1998 Sonatel started for its Internet subscribers a local network connected to the Internet over a dedicated 64 kbit/s link. There were 2,219 subscribers via the switched telephone network. Today there are more than 100,000 people on-line, which corresponds to 1.035% of the population and surpasses African average which stands at %. 2 98% of the users are from Dakar. 3 1 Olivier Sagna: Information and Communication Technologies and Social Development in Senegal: an Overview, Research Project on Information Technologies and Social development, United Nations research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, Switzerland, autumn 2000, pg and C. Brun (IRD): Un bref historique de L'Internet au Sénégal, July 2001, on-line: http: //www.ird.sn/intersen/histo.shtml ( ) 2 ITU: Information technology, 25-Mar-02 3 Gaye Daffé and Mamadou Dansokho: New Information and Communications technologies: Challenges and Opportunities for the Senegalese Economy, Final Report, UNRISD, June 2002, pg. 14

2 Connectivity Using the fibre-optic submarine cable Atlantis 2, which was inaugurated in February 2000, Senegal is connected to South America and Europe (Lisbon / Portugal). Atlantis-2 has a overall capacity of 20 Gbps. Using the connection to Lisbon many of the Senegalese emigrants living in France could access the web-sites in their home country. By means of the fibre-optic submarine cable SAT-3 (South Atlantic 3), which was inaugurated in May 2002 in the capital of Dakar, Senegal's international bandwidth was widened by 20 Gbps. 4 Today Senegal's bandwidth is 53 Mbps. Senegal has third position in bandwidth in Africa. First comes the Republic of South Africa with 400 Mbps, followed by Morocco with 100 Mbps. 5 Prerequisites to connect to the Internet To connect to the Internet one needs first a computer with a modem, a telephone main line and electricity to operate the computer. To have all of this is rather a exception than a rule in Africa. Computer A basic entry-level PC at US$ 1000 represents twice the GDP per year and per capita; unaffordable for the large majority of the population, of which 54% live with less than $1 a day. 6 Nevertheless, the Senegalese computer market is growing and very competitive. Total imports reached US$ 25 million in 1999, up from US$ 22.1 million in 1998 (statistics for 2000 are not available). All major U.S. brand names - via their European branches - are well represented by local distributors and/or agents. Consequently, 1999 statistical figures indicate France as the largest exporter of computers, with 40 percent of the market share, although a good portion of that consists of U.S. brands. Direct imports from the United States account for nine per cent of the market. Since April 2002, Touch Technology Corporation, a subsidiary of the Canadian Infoserv company, assembles ten computers daily in Senegal. This is the first computer production company in Senegal. Until April 2002, all computers were imported from abroad. 7 Connecting to the Internet requires also a phone line and electricity for the computer. How is the situation in Senegal with respect to this requirements? The Telecommunication Sector in Senegal In 1985, the telecommunication in Senegal was completely reformed. An entirely Stateowned corporation was set up: Sonatel (Société Nationale des Télécommunications). In 1997 the State decided to arrange for a partial privatization of Sonatel. Under this privatization process, France Telecom acquired a 33.33% stake in Sonatel, for some US$ 122 million. 4 International Cable Protection Committee: Submarine Cables of the World: AWG Regional sub-menu, and Phillip de Wet: Europe-Africa-Asia submarine cable launched, ITWeb Limited, 27. May 2002, on-line: ( ) 5 OSIRIS: Batik N 35, juin Christophe Brun (FAO): Senegal - The three Cs - Costs, Competition and Content, in. News Update 28, Balancing Act, September 2000, on-line: ( ) 7 Une unité de fabricatien d'ordinateurs inaugurée hier, Le Soleil, Dakar, April 13, 2002

3 This privatization has not fundamentally altered the institutional framework of the telecommunication sector in Senegal since Sonatel still enjoys a monopoly over all telecommunication services until 31 December The government of Senegal will consider the possibility of opening up the telecommunication sector to other operators after Most international links are set up via INTELSAT satellite system and via submarine cables. The installation fee for a telephone mainline lies between US$ 130 and US$176 and a twomonthly subscription fee is of around US$ 8. The GDP per capita is around US$ 550. There are two cellular phone operators, Alizé, owned by Sonatel, and SENTEL GSM, a Luxembourg based company. The Mobile telephone tariff for a one minute call lies between US$ 0.33 at peak time and US$ 0.17 at off-peak time. 93% of mobile telephone user prefer pre-paid options. 8 In 1996 the volume of incoming international traffic was 2.4 times that of outgoing international traffic in Senegal. The difference in purchasing power between Senegalese emigrants living in the industrialized countries and their families back home is such that, for this customer segment, international calls will always be set up in the direction foreign country - Senegal. Telephone density Current telephone density is at 2.54 nationwide per 100 inhabitants. But there are great difference between urban and rural areas. There is a very heavy concentration in the Dakar area, which accounts for 69% of installed lines in Senegal. 9 These are the figures for 1996 and 2000: Telephone density Year urban area rural area nation-wide % 0.05 % 1.11 % % 0.79 % 2.16 % Figures for 1996: ITU: Case Study of the Changing International Telecommunication Environment: Senegal, Paris, February 1998, p. 9 Figures for 2000: Bellanet.org: Senegal NICI Infrastructure, on-line: The following table shows the evolution of information and communication infrastructure during the last seven years. main telephone lines per 100 inhabitants cellular mobile subscribers per 100 inhabitants Infrastructure Data on Information and Communication in Senegal Annual Report 2001 of Sonatel, in: OSIRIS: Batik N 36, juillet ITU: Case Study of the Changing International Telecommunication Environment: Senegal, Paris, February 1998

4 Estimated PCs per 100 inhabitants Internet user per 10,000 inhab Source: ITU: ICT - Free Statistics Home Page, on-line: ( ) At the end of 2001 there were 228,000 telephone mainlines and 301,082 mobile phones. 10 Sonatel's aim is to reach a teledensity of 4% in 2005 and mobile phone density of 7% and to connect 65% of all villages to the telephone grid. 11 Electricity Electricity is the other prerequisite to operate a computer connecting to the world wide net. Hear are some statistics about the national situation in urban and rural areas. Before the partially privatization of Senegal's Societe National d'electricite (SENELEC) in early 1999 electrification was very underdeveloped through out the country. Latest data from 2000 shows country s electrification rate at 30.4%, but only 4% in rural areas. 12 Senegal's SENELEC currently has plans to increase electricity availability by 44% in towns and 95% in rural areas by Under its Programme 3000, SENELEC plans to electrify over 150 rural towns. When the project is completed, all Senegalese villages with a population of 3,000 or more inhabitants will be electrified. 13 The Ministry of Energy aims to achieve levels of electrification of 60% in 2000 and 70% in 2005 in urban areas; and of 15% in 2000 and 40% in 2005 in rural areas. 14 To appreciate better the current situation, one has to know about the distribution of the population. Today urban population is at 47.4% which is above Sub-Saharan mean with 33.9%. 15 A deeper look at Senegal's national grid shows that apart from Dakar and the other cities, the localities that are serviced are concentrated along the main roads which are bordered by the transport and distribution electric wires. The electrification process, as it has taken place up to now, has been more profit driven than politic driven i.e. distribution has not been organised according to administrative divisions. The electrified rural areas only represent an insignificant proportion of the villages in the country: presently 260 villages out of the 13,000 in the country are connected to the grid. This is less than 4% whereas the rate of connection to the grid in the cities that are serviced is about 50%. If we add the fact that per capita consumption 10 Annual Report 2001 of Sonatel, in: OSIRIS: Batik N 36, juillet Malick Rokhy Bâ: Sud NTIC N 10, April 27, U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service and the U.S. Department of State: COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDE DAKAR, SENEGAL, Fiscal Year 2001, July 2001, on-line: ( ) 13 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): Energy in Africa, Chapter 5, Electricity, Washington, DC, December 1999, on-line: ( ) 14 Youba Sokona: Areed Senegal Report, Enda, page 7 15 UNDP: Human Development Report 2002, New York, 2002

5 of electricity in urban areas is almost twice as high as in rural areas, then we can see clearly how tiny the share of electricity consumption in rural areas really is. 16 Electricity consumption per capita is very low in Senegal. With 114 kilowatt-hours per person and year it is only a quarter of general consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa. 17 The following table shows the distribution of electricity in rural areas for Third World regions. Although the data is somewhat outdated it turns out that Senegal's electrification rate in rural areas is well below Sub-Saharan African average. Region North Africa & Middle East Rural access to electricity by world regions Population Access Population Access 77m 14 % 108m 35 % Latin America 121m 15 % 125m 40 % Sub-Saharan Africa 222m 4% 340m 8 % South Asia 579m 12 % 836m 25 % China 675m 40 % 794m 80 % East Asia & Pacific 930m 25 % 1072m 45 % Source: World Bank 1995 in: World Energy Council: The Challenge of rural energy poverty in developing countries, 1999 Dial-up Costs to connect to the Internet Costs remain an important constraint for connecting to the world wide web: the average price of Internet dial-up access in Senegal for 30 hours of on-peak usage per month (including telecommunication charges) is around US$ 92. But at peak-off rates, Senegal offers 30 hours usage per month at around US$ 38. This makes up to 7% of the Senegalese GDP per head. 18 So individual connection to the Internet remains an urban luxury for the wealthier part of population taking into account that more than two third of the population lives with less than two dollar a day as is stated in the last Human Development Report from Telecenters As costs are prohibitive for most Senegalese people and infrastructure remains a big barrier to connect to the Internet, the only solution is to establish a community-based access for the people. So the spreading of phone centers and cyber cafés is not surprising. 16 Youba Sokona: The Potential of Solar Power for Rural Development in the Sahel, after 1994, on-line: ( ) 17 UNDP: Human Development Report 2002, New York, Christophe Brun (FAO): Senegal - The three Cs - Costs, Competition and Content, in. News Update 28, Balancing Act, September 2000, on-line: ( )

6 Sonatel has abandoned the provision of public telephone services, and instead by end of 1997 has been licensing 'teleboutiques' or 'telecentres' operated by small business. Most of these only provide public telephony, but an increasing number of them have faxes, computers and Internet access. At the end of 2000 there were over 9000 telecentres in Senegal, with around 6000 in Dakar. Telephony is overwhelmingly the main service. However, other services are offered, as mentioned, with 1% of revenue coming from Internet use. The telecentres are profitable. Operating a telecentre generates a monthly income of approximately US$ 200 per line. It is estimated that the telecentres contribute around 0.5% to the GDP. 19 Phone centers operate 6% of all main telephone lines, but they contribute however 30% of Sonatel's turnover in They are next to the large firms the most important clientele. 20 Senegal's private owned telecentres have created more than 20,000 jobs and they have widened access to ICTs. 21 Telecentres are one of the main means for population in rural areas to get telephone services. Cyber cafés Apart from phone centers cyber cafés and other Internet access points have flourished in various locations - predominantly in Dakar, but also in the rest of the country to offer common public access to the Internet. In Dakar the most visible of these are run by the two largest ISPs, Télécom-Plus, and Métissacana. In April 2002 there were cyber cafés, with a minimum of 10 computers connected. 22 What are the fees to connect to the Internet? At Métissacana one hour costs about 1000 FCFA. The largest Cyber café Télécom-Plus picks up 2,250 FCFA per hour or 750 FCFA for a 20 minute session. In Kolda one hour costs 1,500 FCFA, and a 30 minute session 900 FCFA, while in Dakar city the prices are lower. 23 Students at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar were required to pay 1000 FCFA per hour to use cyber café services on the campus in Except for access points offered in the university environment, the clientele of these cyber cafes is composed primarily of foreign residents and travellers, individuals of some means, and young people from financially well-off families, for whom surfing the net at a cyber café is a 'must'. In addition to this phenomenon or fad, the resource is also being used by 'average' Senegalese to communicate, with increasing frequency and at lower costs, with family mem- 19 Peter Benjamin: Telecentres - The Key to Wider Internet Access?, in: News Update 27, September 2000, balancingact-africa.com 20 Gage Daffé et Mamadou Dansokho: Les Nouvelles Technologies de l'information et de la communication: défis et opportunités pour l'économie sénégalaise, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, May World Leaders Must Shape Direction of 'Information Society', This Day (Lagos), Editorial, June 27, Frederick Noronha: Africa and South Asia - ICT Lessons for Each Other, in bytesforall, an gk97.gk97 newsgroup by 12. April Sud NTIC N 8, July 13 th, 2001: Kolda: Un seul cyber café pour tout une région. 24 Panafrican News Agency cited in: Senegal: Salta creates cybercafes in universities and schools, in: News Update N 38, Balancing Act, December 4, 2000, on-line: ( )

7 bers abroad, as well as by small-scale economic agents, for whom Internet is gradually replacing the telephone and fax. The development of public Internet access, in Dakar as well as in the country's other main cities, shows that the Internet use is also closely involved with the academic and research world. In cities such as Saint-Luis, Saly, Mbour and Ziguinchor, public Internet access is strongly tied to tourist activity. An increasing number of business, merchants, NGO's, government departments, and even private individuals, are making the Internet one of their preferred means of communication. While Internet users come from a wide range of geographic and social environments, it is clear that this is essentially a phenomenon of the urban elite. 25 Today there are cyber cafés in Dakar and nine regions of the country. The regions are Diorbel, Fatick, Kaolack, Kolda, Louga, Saint Luis, Tambacounda, Thiès, and Ziguinchor. Last numbers from the Dakar region count nearly 60 cyber cafés and outside Dakar 45 cyber cafés Olivier Sagna: Information and Communication Technologies and Social Development in Senegal: an Overview, Research Project on Information Technologies and Social development, United Nations research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, Switzerland, autumn 2000, pg OSIRIS - Points d'accès à Internet au Sénégal, on-line: ( )

8 Distribution of cyber cafés in the Dakar region Suburb number of cyber cafés Bargny 1 Bourguiba 2 Castors 1 Centenaire 1 Centre ville 15 Colobane 1 Gorée 1 Guédiawaye 3 Guele Tapée 1 Hann 2 Keur Massar 2 Liberté 6 2 Médina 3 Mermoz 2 Ouagouniayes 1 Quakam 2 Parcelles assainies 1 Patte d'oie 3 Point E 2 Rufisque 2 Sacré Coeur 1 Université 2 Wakhinane 1 Yarakh 1 Yeumbeul 2 Yoff 1 Zone B 2 total 58 Source: OSIRIS - Points d'accès à Internet au Sénégal, on-line: Distribution by regions Region number of cyber cafés Dakar 58 Diourbel 5 Fatick 2 Kaolack 6 Kolda 1 Louga 3 Saint Louis 10 Tambacounda 1 Thiès 12 Ziguinchar 5 total 103 Source: OSIRIS - Points d'accès à Internet au Sénégal, on-line: The distribution of telecentres in 1999 was as follows: Region number of telecentres Dakar 4698 Thiès 857 Saint Luis 619 Ziguinchor 536 Tambacounda 346 Kaolack 871 Kolda 128 Dioubel 1024 Louga 342 Source: Gage Daffé et Mamdou Dansokho: Les nouvelles technologies de l'information et de la communication: défis et opportunités pour l'économie sénégalaise, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, 2001

9 Joko Telecenter project One project to promote Internet in Senegal is the Joko Telecenter project, sponsored by Hewlett Packard and founded by Youssou N'Dour, the celebrated Senegalese musician. In Wolof, a widely spoken native language in Senegal, the word 'joko' means 'connection' and 'union'. The Joko pilot was launched in August 2001 in the Medina district of Dakar and in the village of N'Goundiane (near Thiés) Joko is licensing existing cyber cafés as JokoClubs, as well as building new JokoClubs, with the aim of having at least 50 JokoClubs across Senegal by the end of The main message of Youssou N'Dour was that the Internet is not just for elite users. Since two-thirds of the Senegalese population is illiterate, the request from communities for Joko to offer Internet initiation and access for illiterates were strong from the outset. While the Joko network offers Internet access at minimal cost to local community members as well as a platform for local content development, training became a central Joko activity based on community requirements. Most of the adults participating in Joko literacy training are trades people, seeking computer training that can help them manage their business. Merchants and small business owners are usually illiterate, and very often women. The training courses designed for illiterates are presented in French and translated into Wolof. People use Wolof as lingua franca. French is used primarily to communicate with foreigners. The Joko courses in training illiterates are still in their infancy - it's been just one year since the first pilot course began. The "training pilot" was offered free of charge, based on a grant from the Acacia Foundation (Canada) and computer systems donated by HP. At the two pilot JokoClubs, prices for the initiation courses were set at 3000 FCFA initiation fee plus 3000 FCFA for a month training. (3000 FCFA = 4.57 ) Overall, about 15% of new Joko training participants are illiterate. 27 Cyberpop/Bombolong - Community Resouce Centers Cyberpop was born out of a partnership between IDRC and ENDA-Ecopole from Dakar at the beginning of It is a pilot program of research on "use and the appropriation of technologies of information and communication by the popular organizations in Senegal". 28 For this project, eight sites were selected in the most impoverished neighbourhoods of Dakar and its outskirts: Médina, Khadimou Rassoul. El Baraka, Colobane, Yarakh, Pikine, Yeumbeul, and Rufisque. Each site is equipped with a community resource centre that includes a telecentre and a computer setup for word processing, designing business cards, printing invitations, pressing books, and generating invoices, specifications and so on. Given the community approach, and the fact that the target communities are poor, the fees for services are too low to ensure rapid cost recovery, but solutions could be found through other sources of funding. 29 The Community Resource Centres provide access to and the Internet as well as support and training in word processing and database management and accounting. The technical ope- 27 Lisa Carney and Janine Firpo: Internet Training for illiterate Populations: Joko Pilot Results in Senegal, TechKnowLogia, July-September enda tiers monde: Women and men weaving cyber democracy, Popular dynamics and new information and communication technologies, on-line: ( ) 29 Aminata Touré: Linking Computers and Community Organizations in Senegal, June 21, 2001, on-line: ( )

10 rators of the telecenters are university students trained by Enda for five months. They act as an interface between the technology and the illiterate community members. ENDA's Cyberpop Website took a prize for social use in the "Internet: Bridges to Development" awards. 30 Women and Internet Women are disadvantaged in Senegalese public life. Their illiteracy rate nearly doubles that of men and their income is only half of that for men. They are underrepresented in political life. They only posses 19.2% of parliament seats, but this is far more than in the United States (13.8%) or France (10.9%) were many Senegalese emigrants live. Net primary enrolment for girls is 54% which corresponds to 84% of male enrolment ratio. 61.6% of women are economically active. That corresponds nearly to the Sub-Saharan Africa average value. 31 Why is it so important to improve the situation of women? The World Development Report 2000/2001 gives some answers. One is that women with more education and greater domestic autonomy are better able to nurture and protect their children. And more equitable distribution of opportunities and resources between men and women also leads more directly to higher economic growth and productivity. 32 There are some initiatives in Senegal to use ICTs for this purpose. The Acacia initiative The Acacia initiative from the Canadian IDRC tries to bring the new media to women. A first step in this direction were two workshops organized by the IDRC Working Group on Gender and Development in 2001 in Dakar and Kaolack. A second phase of this project was the production of a report "Women, Communication and ICTs: Need and Prospects. 33 Another organization advocating for the new media is ENDA-SYYNFEV (Environment and Development Action in the Third World - Synergy Gender and Development) from Dakar. Enda-Synfev was initiated in 1987 and since the United Nations World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995) oriented its approach around the motto of looking to development through gender relation. 34 Joint Parenthood The project "Joint Parenthood: The Means of Expression for Gender Justice" is one following programme which should help women to use electronic communication to fix problems. So the women of this project created their website 'Famafrique' and created an electronic network for . 'Joint Parenthood' was set up by Enda, in partnership with Siggil Jiggen Network also from Dakar with support from the Acacia-Initiative from the IDRC. The project has become the 30 ENDA, Senegal: Collective Access to Technology for Poor Senegalese Neighbourhoods, in APCNews, April 2000, N 9, on-line: ( ) 31 UNDP: Human Development Report 2002, New York, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank: World Development Report 2000/2001 Attacking Poverty, Washington, September 2000, pg Rokhaya Diop: Gender Sensitivity and the Acacia National Strategy for Senegal, IDRC Senegal, 2001, online: ( ) 34 Enda-Synfev, on-line: ( )

11 heart of the 'Information and Communication Technologies in Support of the Women's Programme for Gender Equality in Senegal'. 35 Which women are using the new information technologies? I didn't found any special data on Internet use by women in Senegal, but Nancy Hafkin and Nancy Taggart wrote a report about Internet use in developing countries by women and concluded that most women Internet users in almost all developing countries are not representative of women in the country as a whole, but rather are presently part of a small, educated urban elite. 36 Internet by African media The Dakar Declaration On July 10, 1997 participants of a seminar held in Dakar, representing media organizations, non governmental organizations and educational institutions from 19 countries in West, Central and Southern Africa, from Europe and the United States of America issued 'The Dakar Declaration on the Internet and the African Media'. This declaration puts emphasis on the role of new media promoting information pluralism and freedom of the press in Africa. One of the main claims of this declaration was to exchange and cooperate "on joint projects between different organisations of Internet users and regional groupings of such organisations should be facilitated so as to ensure a significant African presence and African content on the Internet." As NGOs and educational institutions don't have sufficient financial means "donors from the public sector-agencies of bilateral and multilateral cooperation- as well as from the private sector, should be sensitized to the critical impact that the Internet and other new information and communication technologies can have on the social, economic and political future of Africa". But the signatories of the Dakar Declaration put emphasis too on that fact, that "African media organisations and non governmental organisations should however dedicate their own ressources to such projects and be mindful not to be solely dependent on outside funding." The participants recognized the absent of connectivity being sometimes related to technical problems. But if there are no technical problems they suspect that people should be hindered to get free information and thus hindering the development of democracy. 37 Old media and Internet Radios In 1996, the World bank estimated that Senegal has 141 radios per 1000 inhabitants. Technological change, however, is making it possible for stations to increase their coverage dramatically, whether via the Internet or through satellite transmission. In January 1997, Sud FM took advantage of the opportunity to be heard throughout the world via Internet, and Nostalgie Dakar, RTS, and Walfadjri FM followed suit in December An other radio station on-line is RFI en FM au Sénégal. In this way, Senegalese radio stations target, above all, the 35 Adel Arab: Rights-Senegal: Women Use New Technologies to fight for Equality, InterPress Service, Dakar, Nancy Hafkin and Nancy Taggart: Gender, Information Technology, and Develpoing Countries: An Analytic Study, June 2001, USAID, on-line: ( ) 37 The Dakar Declaration on the Internet and the African Media, on-line: http.//www.idsnet.org/papers/technology/africanmedia.html ( )

12 'elite' of Senegalese living abroad (students, staff of international organizations, diplomats, expatriate cadres, etc.) generally located in the developed countries (France, United States, etc.). 38 However to access the web pages of the above mentioned radio stations you need to work with the latest Internet-Explorer from Microsoft. I wasn't able to access its web page by using Netscape Communicator. Having finally accessed the web pages I didn't succeed in hearing anything on-line with the exception of Radio Francese International. RFI is hosted in France. 39 There are also some community radios present on the Internet, for instance AFIA FM, BY YEN FM and Radio Rurale Awanya. The later offers radio transmission on different local languages over FM wave. Generally all radio stations only offer some text based information without any on-line transmitting. Radio stations are in advantage of Internet media, because they don't need any computer machines nor computer skills and they are accessible for illiterate people too. Newspapers There is a flurry of newspapers published regularly in Senegal, but the reading public is relatively limited and confined to Dakar. The quasi-official "Le Soleil" is a daily. The major popular independent newspapers include "Sud Quotidien," "Wal Fadjri," the satirical "Cafard Libéré," "Le Témoin," "Le Matin," and the economic weekly "Le Journal de l Economie." National newspapers are in French with an occasional insert in ethnic languages. The following newspapers are available on the Internet: Le Soleil, Sud Quotidien, and Wal Fadjiri and since April 2001 also Le Populaire 40 Le Populaire : Le Soleil : Sud Quotidien : Wal Fadjri : Internet and Education General statistics on education Senegal has one of the lowest adult literacy rate in the world. Only 37.3% of the adults aged 15 and more can read and write. The adult literacy rate for Sub-Saharan Africa with 61.5% nearly doubles the Senegal rate. The combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio is also very low with 36% in 1999 in comparison to 42 for Sub-Saharan Africa. Senegal's population is very young. 44.3% is under the age of 15, which corresponds to Sub- Saharan Africa mean value. 18% of the children are underweight referring to their age and nearly a quarter of all Senegalese people are undernourished Olivier Sagna: Information and Communication Technologies and Social Development in Senegal: an Overview, Research Project on Information Technologies and Social development, United Nations research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, Switzerland, autumn 2000, pg A complete list of Senegalese radio stations is available on the web site of the Senegalese government: 40 OSIRIS: Batik N 21, avril UNDP: Human Development Report 2002, New York, 2002

13 Let's have a deeper look at the current situation of the Senegalese education performance. Generally education performance in Central and Western Africa is worse than Sub-Saharan Africa average, especially in French-speaking countries. But Senegal performs generally better than most of its regional competitors, although it's worse than Sub-Saharan Africa average. Primary education Senegal Central and Western Africa Sub-Saharan Africa net enrollment ratio 59 % 54 % 60 % Gender Parity Index Level of repetition 14 % 24 % 17 % Pupils per Teacher share of pupils attending private schools Secondary education gross enrolment ratio 12 % % 17 % 18 % 25 % Gender Parity Index level of repetition 15 % % share of pupils attending private schools tertiary education gross enrolment ratio 28 % 22 % 13 % 3.8 % 2.7 % 2 % Gender Parity Index Source: Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Report, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Nimes, 2001 Tertiary education and Internet Does it make sense to spend money on connecting schools and universities to the Internet when there are so many basic needs not satisfied? But let's have a look at the current situation on using the new information and communication media in educational institutions. African Virtual University One first project was the African Virtual University (AVU) sponsored by World Bank. The pilot phase started in July Currently, the AVU operates in twenty-two Sub-Saharan African universities (14 Anglophone and 8 Francophone ) in seventeen countries. One of this countries is Senegal. "The African Virtual University (AVU) is a "university without walls" that uses modern information and communication technologies to give the countries of sub-saharan Africa

14 direct access to some of the highest quality learning resources throughout the world. AVU is bridging the digital divide by training world-class business managers, engineers, technicians, scientists and other professionals who will promote economic and social development and help propel Africa into the knowledge age." 42 First demonstration workshops were organized in February 1997 in Addis Ababa in the English language and in April 1997 in Dakar in the French language. Originally the AVU was established to overcome the old colonialism education system, which mainly served the élite. Whether this could be achieved by using learning materials from the former colonial nations and by teaching only in the languages of this European countries remains doubtfully. Originating institutions are from Belgian (Univeristé Libre de Bruxelles) and Canada (Secretariat du Conseil du Tresor du Canada, Université de Laval, and Université D'Ottawa). 43 The francophone participating African countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Mauritanie, Niger, Rwanda and Senegal. Participating universities from Senegal are l'université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar and l'université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis. The AVU offers access to a digital library. But most of the accessible article are written in English language. AVU will focus on Computer Science first. Actual courses deal with implementation of Microsoft Windows 2000 and management Microsoft's Office 2000 package. Unfortunately many of the links on the AVU web-sites are actually outdated. The l'université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar provides tertiary education students an address and on-site Internet access, for 100 CFA francs per month, or 10,000 CFA francs per year. 44 Since 1989 students can study informatics at the Université Chaikh Anta Diop de Dakar to obtain a master degree. Today 3% of all students apply for studies about information and communication technologies. 45 Another university with link to the Internet is l'universitité des Mutants. In April 2001 the university was connected to the Internet by means of the l'université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar. 46 In July 2001 Sonatel and the Ministry of Education signed convention about reduced fees for educational institution. The establishment of an Internet connection will be free of charge with a strong reduction for the monthly fee. 47 Secondary education and Internet Besides use of Internet in tertiary education there are some initiatives to connect Senegalese schools to the Internet. One of this initiative came from World Bank's World Links for Deve- 42 AVU: ABOUT THE AFRICAN VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY, on-line: ( ) 43 AVU: AVU PARTNER INSTITUTIONS: Francophone originating institutions, on-line: ( ) 44 Olivier Sagna: Information and Communication Technologies and Social Development in Senegal: an Overview, Research Project on Information Technologies and Social development, United Nations research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, Switzerland, autumn 2000, pg Abdourahmane Ndiage: Enseignement supérieur et NTIC: 3 % des étudiants inscrits dans les filière NTIC, in: Sud NTIC n 10, April 27, 2002, on-line: ( ) 46 OSIRIS: Batik N 21, Avril C. Brun (IRD): Un bref historique de l'internet au Senegal, July 2001, on-line: ( )

15 lopment project in The project started with four countries and now serves in 27 countries from three world regions. The current African participants are Botswana, Burkina Fasa, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Mautritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Uganda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. This project, called WorLD, connects secondary schools to the Internet. The Evaluation Annual Report gives some hints how teachers and students in Senegal are using computers for education and which constraints impede their use. In Africa, WorLD teachers in most countries identified computer, infrastructure, and Internet access issues as major barriers. Teachers from Senegal reported that the lack of computers and software was a major barrier to implementing instruction with computers. There were only ten computer per school. They also complained about the lack of technical support and training and the lack of a national policy on the use of computers in school. One third reported failure of electricity as another constraint. 48 Students participating in the pilot project were required to a certain financial contribution, ranging from 500 FCFA per year to 1,000 FCFA per month and US$24 per year depending on school. The smallest contribution per student is in M'bour and the largest in Marin Luther King junior high school. On average students had to pay 1,000 to 1,500 FCFA for access to the computer lab per year. A great number of students were able to pay the fee however some remained unable to fulfil this requirement. 49 These were the participating schools in the pilot phase: Name of School Region Number of students Lycée Demba Diop M'bour 2,500 Collèges d'enseignement Moyen Martin Luther King Dakar 1,063 Lycée Thierno Saidou Nourou Tall Dakar 1,419 Lycée Mariama Ba Gorée 193 Ecole de Fromation des Instituteurs, EFI Thiés 262 LycéeAndré Peytavin St. Louis 1,210 Collèges d'enseignement Moyen Mousthapha N'Diaye Kaolack 850 World Links has since expanded to 40 schools throughout the country. What was the impact on students and teachers of this pilot project by the World Bank started in June 1997 in Senegal? Boys and girls displayed unanimous interest for the new technology. "The myth according to which the teacher is the only detainee of a particular subject matter knowledge is no longer true. These facts alone have had great affective and cognitive impact on students. They constitute a genuine revolution in the education system in this part of the world.... One of the important outcomes of WorLD program in Senegal is the discovery that the teacher is but a 48 Raymond McGhee and Robert Kozma: World Links for Development: Accomplishment and Challenges, Monitoring and Evaluation Annual Report , Washington, D.C., SRI Project P10533, without date 49 Robert Kozma et all: WorLD Senegal Case Study Report, SRI International, USA, 1999

16 facilitator and that subject matter knowledge is not an exclusive right of teachers." (Robert Kozma 1999:17) Teachers, particularly those that have developed a special interest in Internet applications, found the technology to be particularly useful for their course. "Although they all recognize the potential of WorLD program in revolutionizing school curriculum, pedagogical methods and learning outcomes in Senegal, the majority of the teachers interviewed believe that, for this change to take place, it will require a national curriculum re-design, which can only be decide upon by the Ministry of Education." (Robert Kozma 1999:17) Senegal's teacher received more training as African and worldwide WorLD participants. But apart from girls participation Senegal scores worse in all other categories like time using ICT, use of ICT in more complex tasks, in student centred pedagogy and collaboration. The use of computers is concentrated in computer science and word processing. 50 Another initiative is the project called "World Senegal" which covers 40 schools, including 10 in Dakar, and the rest in the other nine regions of the country. 51 Presence of government and political parties in the Internet Government institutions and the Internet Today there are nearly all government agencies and ministries connected to the Internet. They all maintain its own home-pages, as do the parliament and the Supreme Court. Besides the central government some regional administration entities had joint the world wide net, i.e. Conseil Règional de Diourbel, Conseil Règional de Louga, Conseil Règional de Tambacounda, Communauté de Faoune, Communauté de Ourossogui, Région de Dakar. Also the councils of Dakar and Rufisque use Internet for their presentation. Foreign embassies and international organizations Some of the foreign states are also present with Internet presentations. Ultimately the German embassy joined the group of France, United States and the European Community. 52 A more complete list is obtainable from the IRD web-site Political parties and the Internet All Senegal's main political parties maintain their web-pages. Although it's not clear what clientele they want to serve. Apparently the Senegalese people living abroad is the main target group. For this reason the AJ/PADS maintains a discussion group for emigrants on its webpage. One of the parties that ultimately joined the on-line presentation was the Parti Démocratique Sénégalais (PDS) in April All parties present their political views about Senegal. 50 Robert Kozma et all: Senegal Country Report, Second evaluation 2000, SRI International 51 Panafrican News Agency: Wade visits Internet Festival, March 18, 2001, Dakar, on-line: http.//allafrica.com/stories/printable/ html ( ) 52 OSIRIS: Batik N 32, mars OSIRIS: Batik N 21, avril 2001

17 ALLIANCE DES FORCES DE PROGRES (A.F P.) And Jef/Parti Africain pour la Democratie et le Socialisme (AJ/PADS) Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques de Casamance (MFDC) Parti Démocratique Sénégalais (PDS) Parti de l' Indépendance et du Travail (PIT Parti Socialiste (PS Political parties on the Internet E-Commerce E-Commerce is generally viewed as a chance to improve competition in a globalized world. One catalogue of business opportunities in Senegal is presented by Trade Point Senegal, an initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to facilitate international trade. Another site, called Business Facilitation Site, is operated by the embassy of the United States. Separately, there have been some sporadic endeavours of private Senegalese-based entrepreneurs who have been marketing Senegalese-made handicraft and folklore products via the Internet. But until now it seems that this didn't have much impact on Senegalese economy, because Senegal recently declined in economic and social performance and is now member of the Least Developed Countries. 54 Perhaps one reason for the missing success in e-commerce is the relative dearth of an electronic payment system, as credit cards are not widely used in Senegal - well below 1% 55 - and last but not least the minimal income of the great majority. More than two third of the population lives with less than two dollar a day as mentioned before. 56 The proportion of potential on-line shoppers is small, representing an estimated 1.5% of all Internet users. Given the cost of Internet access in the country, the majority of on-line shoppers are more likely to come from markets outside Senegal. In a best-case scenario, online shoppers (including those outside Senegal) would represent less than 5% of the total user base within the next four years. Any local B2C firm would have to boost its user base outside the Senegalese market to stand a chance of survival. 57 Tourism The tourism industry has come to play an important role in the economy of Senegal as the government has sought to diversify its sources of foreign exchange. In 2001 tourism accounted for nearly USD 129 million corresponding to nearly 20% of total export earnings. 54 allafrica.com: Senegal Added to UN List of "Least Developed Countries", on-line: ( ) 55 Pyramid Research cited in: Sizing up Senegal as an E-Business Market, in: News Update N 49, Balancing Act, October 20, 2001, on-line: ( ) 56 UNDP: Human Development Report 2002, New York, Pyramid Resaerch cited in: Sizing up Senegal as an E-Business Market, in: News Update N 49, Balancing Act, October 20, 2001, on-line: ( )

18 Since the government began actively promoting Senegal as a tourist destination, earnings have grown steadily. The peak of the tourist season is November-March, when Senegal s climate is very attractive. 58 So there emerged different web sites offering tourist information and the greatest hotels of Dakar and some hotels in other regions are also present on the net. Only a few of them offer on-line orders. Conclusion Although Senegal belongs to the group of the Least Developed Countries and the impact of Internet on the economic situation isn't strong, this should not been seen as an excuse to exclude the country from the new information and communication technology. But this technology shouldn't be a priority since there are so many other unsatisfied basic necessities. The use of the Internet by NGOs and by education and research institutes at a high level as well as in government influenced areas will only help if the elite is conscious of its responsibility for the well being of the whole society. Connecting schools to the Internet doesn't improve the very bad performance of the Senegalese education system nor does it in Germany or other industrial countries. Teachers need better gratifications and better vocational training and certainly more classes in local language will improve students performance too. Using community based access to the Internet is the only viable and practicable way to bring the new media to poor rural people. But operating these telecenters will require subsidies for a long time to go. Perhaps "radio browsing" is another option to get access for poor people to the Internet. Hear the radio station surfs the net for its listeners and transmits the information by radio in local languages and discusses the issues with a local expert. In this way, the entire community has access to on-line information in their own language, explained and contextualised. The Kothmale Community Radio Internet Project, implemented by UNESCO, was the first pilot experiment in Sri Lanka to develop a suitable access model to address the problems of lack of access facilities, language barriers, shortage of appropriate information products in local languages and lack of motivation to use information available on the Internet. 59 Some West African countries like Mali 60 and Burkina Faso 61 took over this model in September and October All these projects are sponsored by UNESCO. Improving the rural electrification is certainly a right measure to improve the life conditions of the great majority and to stop rural exodus. But also investment in the deteriorated infrastructure for instance the railway system is a better solution for improving trade possibilities than investment in e-business for the well suited elite. With its partial privatization of the Senegalese teleco the government maintains sufficient influence on politics to guarantee improvements in rural areas as well. Countries which have fully privatized their telecomm sector are well behind Senegal with regard to the communication sector. 58 U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service and the U.S. Department of State: COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDE DAKAR, SENEGAL, Fiscal Year 2001, July 2001, on-line: ( ) 59 Wijayananda Jayaweera: Kothmale Community Radio/Internet Project: Expanding the Knowledge Base, June 8, 2001, on-line: ( ) 60 Suitcase Radio for "Radio Browsing" Programmes in Mali Donated by UNESCO, , on-line: ( ) 61 Burkina Faso's First Community Multimedia Centre (CMC) Officially Inaugurated, , on-line: ( )

19 I would like to terminate my article with a quotation from bridges.org: "The digital divide is a reflection of the lack of basic literacy, poverty, health and other social issues - computers are useful, but nothing will enable a society to bridge the digital divide until basic literacy, poverty, and healthcare issues are addressed." 62 Bibliography bridges.org: Spanning the Digital Divide, Understanding and Tackling the Issues, Washington DC, 2001 CIA: World Factbook 2001 Encyclopaedia Britannica Gage Daffé et Mamadou Dansokho: Les Nouvelles Technologies de l'information et de la communication: défis et opportunités pour l'économie sénégalaise, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneve, May 2002 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank: World Development Report 2000/2001 Attacking Poverty, Washington, September 2000 ITU: Case Study of the Changing International Telecommunication Environment: Senegal, Paris, February 1998 Nancy Hafkin and Nancy Taggart: Gender, Information Technology, and Developing Countries: An Analytic Study, June 2001, USAID Olivier Sagna: Information and Communication Technologies and Social Development in Senegal: an Overview, Research Project on Information Technologies and Social development, United Nations research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, Switzerland, autumn 2000 Raymond McGhee and Robert Kozma: World Links for Development: Accomplishment and Challenges, Monitoring and Evaluation Annual Report , Washington, D.C., SRI Project P10533, without date Robert Kozma et all: Senegal Country Report, Second evaluation 2000, SRI International Robert Kozma et all: WorLD Senegal Case Study Report, SRI International, USA, 1999 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): Energy in Africa, Washington, DC, December 1999 U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service and the U.S. Department of State: Country Commercial Guide, Dakar, Senegal, Fiscal Year 2001, July 2001 UNDP: Human Development Report 2002, New York, bridges.org: Spanning the Digital Divide, Understanding and Tackling the Issues, Washington DC, 2001, pg 87

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