From the telegraph to the digital divide in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania

Global computer networks and geographies of development in East Africa, 1899-1999

Rupert Brown

Department of Geography, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College

Thesis submitted for the degree of doctor of philosophy University of London


Before the digial divide there was hope. This is a prefix to the broadband era and shows how a whole region moved through systems of communication from foot to fidonet email. Interviews with email pioneers, details of 100 years of telecommunications traffic and stories from the turning points of electronic eras build the account of East Africa's hope, rebellion, triumph and submersion. This thesis is an investigation into the long term effects of telecommunications in development and the more recent impacts of electronic mail and Internet in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It deals with the detail and contexts of global interconnection from the telegraph to Internet2. Data is based on processed telecommunications transaction generated information: International telephone traffic, FidoNet electronic mail, Internet (SMTP) mail. Other data sources are user statistics, mailing lists, HTTP address databases, traceroute and whois queries. Perl scripts were used break down information and they were analysed with conventional spreadsheet and query tools. Interviews with key players, officials, technicians and users were conducted in three stages of fieldwork between 1995 and 1999. The full historical context of electronic communications has been used to situate debates over changing connectivity and its effects. East Africa provides strong comparative evidence between three countries for national variations in policy and impact. Cables looped around Africa and ran into the interior alongside railway lines, concentrating communications in narrow corridors. The development of cash crops and the monetisation of the economy followed the geographies of physical and electronic transport, leaving a legacy of commercial activities grouped close to infrastructure. Development policies have been determined by colonial authorities, independent nations and presently, through negotiated agreements between the state and international funders. This later period has also seen the telecommunications sector reshaped by shifts from analogue to digital systems, and the introduction of electronic mail and Internet. Data indicates that there are massive imbalances in traffic currents with incoming to outgoing ratios of up to 10:1. At the same time the numbers of users for email and internet in East Africa remain at very low levels at less than one in a thousand of the population. Disparities at local and international levels are fixed through low levels of finance, literacy and bandwith.

Table of Contents

Chapter One Introduction Chapter Two The configuration of East Africa Chapter Three From empires of control to networks of development Chapter Four Methodology Chapter Five Electronic mail – Precursor of Internet Chapter Six Externally driven change and the redefinition of the telecommunications sector Chapter Seven Internet regulated, internet populated Chapter Eight 'Information economy' and development Chapter Nine Conclusion Appendices










Figures and Tables
Figure AA East Africa 1870-1905 Table AB Timing of the runner system Table AC Timing of a caravan system Figure AD Schedule of imperialism Table AE Schedule of carriers Figure AF Cables around Africa 1870 – 1901 Figure AG Telegrams from the Kikuyu Association and Coast Arab Association Figure BA1 Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations Figure BA2 Reflection on the League of Nations mandate Table BB Uganda: Planned Development Expenditure 1946-50 Figure BC Subscriber telephone lines in East Africa 1950-1963 Figure BD Development sensibilities in East Africa Figure CA Walk-through of Abler and Falk’ s terminologies Figure CB Stages in the analysis of regional systems Figure CC Topological representations of economic space Figure CD Properties of email Figure CE Statement of research ethics Figure CF Examples of current practice: Two TRUSTe compliant sites Figure CG Three examples of raw logs Figure DA The Share Project 1985-1989 Table DB East African FidoNet email hosts

9 14 15 17 22 23 36 40 40 46 50 60 79 81 81 84 88 91 96-97 108 112

Figures and Tables
Figure DC Geography and hierarchy of FidoNet Figure DD Email Traffic Makerere University Figure DE Direction of international FidoNet email Uganda 1993-1997 Figure DF1 Incoming traffic size, three country plot Figure DF2 Outgoing traffic size, three country plot Figure DG1 Incoming Ugandan FidoNet traffic (weighted volume) Figure DG2 Outgoing Ugandan FidoNet traffic (weighted volume) Figure DH1 Kenya Incoming FidoMail (weighted volume) Figure DH2 Kenya Outgoing FidoMail (weighted volume) Figure DI1 Tanzania Incoming FidoMail (weighted volume) Figure DI2 Tanzania Outgoing FidoMail (weighted volume) Figure DJ Message ratios and sizes Figure DK Characterising technology choice for email Figure DL Characterising technology level Figure DM Proportion of East African traffic in African traffic Figure DN1 Fidonet email incoming size country plot, Uganda Figure DN2 FidoNet email outgoing size country plot, Uganda Figure DO1 Uganda incoming traffic from Africa (top 15) Figure DO2 Uganda outgoing traffic to Africa (top 15) Figure DP1 Uganda incoming traffic from the world (top 15) Figure DP2 Uganda incoming traffic to the world (top 15)

113 114 119 122 122 123 123 124 124 125 125 127 128 130 132 134 135 137 138 139 140

Figures and Tables
Figure DQ1 Grouping of African countries ranked by regularity and volume of outgoing telephone calls Figure DQ2 Grouping of African countries ranked by regularity and volume of incoming telephone calls Figure DR1 Grouping of countries ranked by regularity and volume of outgoing telephone calls (World) Figure DR2 Grouping of countries ranked by regularity and volume of incoming telephone calls (World) Figure DS Telephone and trade ranks (Africa) Figure DT Networking timescale Figure DU Internet addressing Figure DV Hierarchy of IP mechanisms Figure DW Internet2 corporate membership Figure EA Uganda telephone traffic 1996 Table EB Estimates of East African traffic by minutes, 1996 Figure EC1 Incoming telephone calls Uganda 1986-1996 Figure EC2 Outgoing telephone calls in minutes Uganda 1986-1996 Figure ED Number of telephones, outgoing calls and New York closing coffee price Table EE Multiple regression analyses of Ugandan telephone traffic 1990-1996 Figure EF Tourist arrival and incoming telephone traffic 1990-1996 Figure EG ITU data for Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian international telephone traffic balances Figure EH Outgoing/Incoming call ratio: Uganda, 1986-1996; East Africa 1993-1997





145 147 148 149 151 157 158 159 160 161 163 164 165


Figures and Tables
Table EI African telephone routes Figure EJ Trans-oceanic cable and satellite productivity 1965-2000 Figures EK1, EK2 Africa One 1996, 1997 Figure EL Traceroutes to East African connection from London Figure FA East African media uptake Figure FB Geopolitics of companies and peering points Figure FC Leased-lines for datacommunications in Kenya, 1997 Figure FD Kenstream network Figure FE East African IP Market and customers Figure FF Properties of wireless technologies Figure FG Locale, sector and institutional divisions in an ISP user base 1997 Figure FH Continental email traffic CyberTwiga and SwiftGlobal Uganda Figure FI Country and domain rankings for CyberTwiga email Figure FJ Country and domain rankings for SwiftGlobal Uganda email Figure FK Webmail accounts in East Africa Figure FL Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda: GDP per capita and subscriber telephone lines Figure GA Configuration of a bank network Table GB Expenditure on Health and Education 1995 Figure GC Oxfam debt, education and health expenditure comparisons for Tanzania

176 178 180 182 186 188 192 193 194 198 201 203 206 207 208 213

218 229 230

Figures and Tables
Table GD Proportion of students attaining different educational level Table GE Health investment and infrastructure Table GF East African environmental indicators Figure GG A posting from EcoNews Africa Figure GH Okinerai Pastoralists Integrated Survival Programme Figure GI Clipping from MAF website, Figure GJ Cases and rates of infection for selected diseases Figure GK Spread of email addresses, Makerere University Table HA Urban access to utilities

231 231 232 234 236 241 245 247 259

Chapter One
‘ The Internet is delivering power to the people. At last, the consumer is king. Communism has collapsed – but here is the force that is truly taking power from the few and transferring it to the many. It has happened in America. It will happen here. Perfect democracy. Perfect competition. Choice for all.’ 1

Editorial, The Sun
‘ Dunia duara, ukiichungua utahara’ 2

Swahili saying Can global computer networks help develop East Africa? Are digital technologies divisive or levelling? This thesis examines electronic communications in terms of historical continuity, global integration and access. It untangles the shifts from telegraph cables to telephone lines to data networks, situates the issues inherent in conflicts between economic and social development priorities, and marks the restructuring of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda from African socialism to the ‘ British model’ of privatisation and liberalisation of state functions. The electronic connections that have linked Africa and the other continents have been described as ‘ a girdle around the earth’ 3, ‘ the tentacles of progress’ 4 and now there is the ‘ world wide web’ . However they are the physical bonds that fasten global relationships while deeper commercial, financial and political bonds constrict the direction of national transition. It is by an analysis of inputs and outputs that the thesis examines these chains of electronic and economic connections, weighing the balances of exchanges and transfers for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The economic potentials of electronic mail and Internet come from their perception as levelling technologies. Opportunities in an online information economy are similar despite location. If only a country can provide the infrastructure for its citizens then there is the chance to ‘ leap-frog’ . This concept is widely used, hardly ever examined and shows the simplification of complicated social and economic transition. It implies an incentive to invest in high technology and rapid communications while there is the fear of falling further behind in a fast changing world. Fernando Henrique Cardoso posed the dilemma in more historical manner in 1993 and articulated it as a matter of survival or subservience:
‘ We are no longer talking about the South that was on the periphery of the capitalist core and was tied to it in a classical relationship of dependence. Nor are we speaking of the phenomenon.....whereby multinational corporations transfer parts of the productive system and the local producers are tied to foreign capital in the ‘ dependentassociated’ development model. We are dealing, in truth, with a crueller phenomenon:
1 2

Editorial from The Sun newspaper, Wapping, London 2nd August 1999 The world is round, if you research it you’ll get diarrhoea 3 Barty-King H (1979) Girdle round the earth: The story of Cable and Wireless and its predecessors to mark the group’s jubilee 1929-1979 Heinemann, London 4 Headrick DR (1988) The tentacles of progress: Technology transfer in the age of imperialism 1850 - 1940 Oxford University Press, Oxford


either the South (or a portion of it) enters the democratic-technological scientific race, invests heavily in R&D, and endures the ‘ information economy’ metamorphosis, or it becomes unimportant, unexploited and unexploitable.’ 5

There is emerging evidence that this division is already in place in the bonds market itself and Edward Luce quotes an economist at ING Barings who is among others arguing that the term ‘ emerging markets’ has become irrelevant.
‘ He suggests three categories: those whose economies are converging with the more developed economies, such as Mexico and Poland; those completely shut out, including most of sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and Ecuador, and those that have periodic but not guaranteed access to the international debt markets, such as Argentina and Thailand. Perhaps we should call them “ converging” , “ submerging” and “ waving but not necessarily drowning” markets.’ 6

The only means of finance available to East African countries for the massive investments in data and telecommunications networks are therefore direct foreign investment, funds from official creditors or locally generated capital. Official funders prefer foreign investment, there is insufficient local capital formation and so the quest for finance has taken on the form of begging, pleasing donors or a beauty contest. The impacts of electronic commerce, home working and disintermediation7 have been slowly absorbed into the economic restructuring of industrialised nations. African countries are taking slow and painful steps towards a vague objective of developing along the same lines. In this thesis I present findings on the practice and locales of change that have been engineered in East Africa. It looks at three phases of electronic communication in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to illustrate co-dependencies between technology, society and geography. The colonial phase was marked by the cabling of Africa and imperial remote control via the telegraph. The era of independence saw satellites for international connection while state monopolies provided national telephone services. The era of structural adjustment has reconfigured the state and its services while digital networks are replacing the plain old telephone system. At first, electronic communications in East Africa were pioneered and operated by the voluntary sector as a telephone based, email-only solution. In 1994 when the research was conceived there was a large upward surge of use and users, the United Nations was about to invest in its Mercure satellite system from Nairobi and small VSAT8 dishes offered smaller and lower powered connectivity. The components for distributed Internet access were available and the question was when would organisation and finance be available and which sectors would be able to organise services? The voluntary sector continued to receive project funding based on its performance but their funds would not stretch to providing for VSAT connection. In 1995 it was private finance with a large overseas contribution that allowed the start of private controlled but public access Internet services.

Cardoso FH (1993) 'North-South Relations in the Present Context: A New Dependency?' in Carnoy M, et al.(1993)(eds) The New Global Economy in the Information Age Pennsylvania State University Press, US; quote p.156 6 Luce E (1999) Global Investor, ‘A new split is emerging’ Financial Times 27th September 1999 p29 7 Cutting out the ‘middleman’ or, as the French say it, ‘entrepreneur’ 8 Very Small Aperture Terminal, although tropical connections need to travel by the wider C-band because of solar interference and consequently dishes are twice as large as the Ku-band satellites in temperate regions.


A VSAT dish in the backyard of what seemed like a well to do Kampala residence connected to Colorado and gave a 64k connection to the US Internet backbone. This was around half the size of a current dedicated domestic connection in the UK while a typical university would start with a 4Mb connection which is the same as the current total capacity for Kenya. By 1996, full commercial Internet service had become the norm. The voluntary sector was outcompeted in terms of status and the full functions of Internet – browsing, file transfer and the possibilities of multimedia interaction. At the end of the year, regulation in Kenya and Tanzania had accommodated these new technologies and, unlike Uganda, had organised a system under state supervision. Tanzania opted for a network of VSATs where any new public Internet Service Provider, corporation, or user could have service. Kenya gave a leased line to its own satellite groundstation, afraid that the devolution of VSAT would bypass the national and Internet telephone system, decimating revenues. The charges for a permanent, live 64k connection were between $US200,000 and $215,000 per year and the qualifications for service were money and 'suitability' for an operators licence. Global connectivity was available at a price. At the user end there was a growing diversity of means of connecting into remote data sources. NGO email systems remain operational but limited while HF radio, and both mobile and satellite telephones mean that any area can be connected. For $US10,000 it is possible to purchase a solar power system, computer and connection through one of these means but again, cost is the barrier. There are then five levels of connectivity – first, owning your own dish or leased line; second dialling up over the public telephone for full Internet; third dialling up for email, fourth connecting over wireless or mobile to Internet and lastly, wireless or mobile to Internet. They represent varying degrees of spatial and cost barriers to access and the move is towards shared connections, either through telecentres, webmail9 or workplace email. By 1999 the divisions between the national connectivity, where connections are by satellite, and services available to industrialised countries had grown. In 1997 I asked Suchin Aiyer, head of the East African Internet Association, how he saw the issues for the next few years he replied, ‘ Bandwidth’ 10 This may seem the answer of a technician but it is at the heart of dilemmas for developing countries. The capacity of national connections determines the volume and speed of domestic connections to be shared out by subscribers. Latest and best services are based on the assumption of a minimum connection and if the best figures are taken then Kenya’ s 4Mb total bandwidth divided by the conservative estimate of 15,000 users gives a connection of 273 bits per second. With crowded lines, it would be very difficult to download a text document from the world wide web, let alone hold a small video conference or listen to streaming audio from a net radio site. These possibilities are limited and dependable service is limited to the small hours or to users with dedicated connections.



Available at any of the few cybercafes or through, for example, a university connection Interview, Suchin Aiyer, Nairobi, 29th August 1997


News stories such as this show how some can use data connections to help implement global co-ordination:
The World Bank is "excited" about Uganda's 1998/99 budget presented by the amiable Minister Gerald Sendaula last week, Robert Blake the bank's country representative has said. In a teleconference between World Bank officials and Finance technocrats Friday at the Ministry headquarters, special mention was made of provisions in the budget deliberately intended to boost UPE school enrolment with a 50% increase on its projects and conditional grants.11

Other stories indicate that even basic telephone services cannot be guaranteed:
Moroto's single telephone line is out of service, cutting off communication to the region, The Monitor has learnt. The district post master, Moses Ogwang, said Sept. 1, that the line developed a technical fault last year and has not been repaired. "I have sent reports to our regional headquarters in Mbale but there are no steps being taken to reinstate the service," he said. He said following the region's poor roads, telephones would be a viable alternative means of communication. Ogwang said the business community has resorted to an emergency postal line that is ever congested and doesn't receive in-coming calls. He however revealed that a 1,000-telephone line equipment donated by the Irish government is lying unutilised, uninstalled.12

The thesis will examine three points in the disintegration of state and telecommunication and development possibilities from new services: FidoNet email, international telecommunications and Internet; to determine the durability and redirection of social change in the face of technical reconfiguration. This will be done first by seeking patterns in the qualitative data of traffic intensity and direction. Second these findings will be underpinned and overlain by mixed methods to fix ideas, orientations and ratios of infrastructure. Finally the research will seek histories of telecommunications and qualitative indications and justifications of, change from principal actors and observers. The spur for this investigation has been to answer telecommunications and the transaction data they produce. Each telephone call is logged for duration and direction and these are compiled into annual statistics while each electronic mail message is tracked from source to destination. These reveal trends and patterns of communication geographies of nations and their links, for individuals and their Internet domains. Such spatial data can be misread without substantial cross-referencing to linkages to real world and virtual world data. The datasets are immense and precise and miss the contexts of intent versus coincidence, stasis versus change and affluence versus poverty. This investigation will offer an interpretation of electronic communication in East Africa using the width of human interactions over time and distance. Chapter Two explores forces of communication from trade winds to imperial telegraphs and addresses the largest scales of the manipulation of space. Missionaries and voluntarism summoned the technical and military resources of empire to a project of civilisation that reoriented East Africa to monetised and regularised commodity producing economies. The chapter gives character to the ways in which the means of communication allowed small numbers of troops and then settlers and administrators to control such a wide space.
11 12

Kakembo TW (1998) ‘Sendaula' s budget excites World Bank’ The Monitor, June 15th 1998, my emphasis Onyang S (1998) ‘Moroto phones out of service’ The Monitor, September 7th 1998


Contemporary theories of imperialism annotate the course of technological installation and assimilation into cultures of opposition. Chapter Three outlines the production of development theories against the background of huge infrastructure projects and the spread of social concern under colonial rule. It moves arguments between growth and basic needs through the end of colonialism and into the era of national independence in East Africa. The literatures of timespace and globalisation are aligned with development theory and markers of telecommunications installation ground the arguments. The chapter closes by outlining measures of inputs, outputs and balances in communications access and exchange. Chapter Four describes the methodological framework of the thesis. The priorities of data gathering and the accurate reflection of real and virtual world data are counterpoised in choices of techniques. A mixed methods approach is taken and literatures of research techniques are examined to determine the losses and gains from this direction. The specific issues of researching electronic communications are tackled and studies of modernisation and representation are questioned. An integral element is an investigation of ethics and privacy in researching datasets of telecommunications transaction-generated information. Chapter Five introduces FidoNet and Non-governmental email networks and weighs up the legacy of voluntarism and communications. The configuration of these new information systems and exchanges are assessed as precursors of the shift from telephone to data networks. This is given context by regional uses and experiences of networking over distance and the changes induced in underlying relationships between sectors and institutions. Detail is added by an assessment of their traffic patterns and the triangulation of national representation within international currents of electronic interaction. Chapter Six brings the role of the state as communications mediator and planner into focus by examining the reactions of the governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to the threat to telephone networks from technological alternatives. It uses the comparisons of telephone traffic balances to illustrate fundamental shifts in the patterning of communications and assesses the role of technology versus the role of government where East African telecommunications experiences add to a full assessment of the implications. The sequence dovetails into Chapter Seven by laying down the foundations of the Internet protocol through its fabric of political and economic building blocks. Chapter Seven delivers an appraisal of Internet economy and regulation in East Africa. It presents evidence on capacities, user profiles and comparative traffic movements taken from computerised data sources. These are weighted against new geographical structures, fixing of links, the creation of bonds and the determinants of access and connectivity. Ideas of information filters, brokers and interfaces are assessed against attempts to introduce instant connection for rural and agricultural communities. The chapter concludes by gauging the priorities of growth against new dependencies of satellite-peripheries. Chapter Eight reintroduces the idea of development into a context shaped by distanced information exchange, strengthened financial ties and the positioning of technology in East 5

Africa. It takes an industry and sector approach to outline the momentum of change and local response in health, education and environment. Examining newsgroup content gives a survey of the geographical and institutional vectors of distanced interaction amongst issues-based networks. Opinion and examples are carried within the case studies and order the findings on the experience and practice of global computer networks in East Africa. The thesis concludes with a summary of the trends of instant connection and their place in the economies and societies of East Africa. It underlines the switch to open markets in an interconnected world economy and the peripherality of the region in terms of datacommunications. It concludes that small local change needs multipliers in order to match deep, widespread and global forces of communication


Chapter Two

The configuration of East Africa

This chapter looks at the introduction of modern communications infrastructure to East Africa in the 19th Century as part of the colonising process. Explorers and missionaries used local means of communication then, agents of government incorporated the telegraph and railways as means of moving information, people and goods. Their motivations were to impose imperial systems of control, communication and production to improve both the speed of their actions and to alter the ways in which local societies and economies operated. Contemporary theories addressed issues of the extension of technology and control with a broad brush while accepting the underlying ideologies of 'progress'. By examining theory, technology and practice together, chains of thoughts and processes can be reconstructed to examine how modern communications were deployed and received and can assess their effects on international and global patterning of political and economic relations. The periodicity that encompasses these empire-colony relations takes a communications technology perspective from trade winds and caravans, through the cabling of Africa and into the steam age, but is grounded by the colonial project. The period 1845-1890 saw the establishment of contacts between local rulers and missionaries, explorers then diplomats. Secondly, between 1890 and 1910 colonial control was established through a combination of treaties, military conquest and occupation of territory while between 1900 and 1920 settler economies, plantation and primary commodity production together where established and full colonial control by the British over the entire territory of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar was recognised. The coast, the interior, connections and trade The conquest of Latin America and parts of Asia and Africa by the Spanish and Portuguese in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries foreshadowed late nineteenth century aspirations of territorial and economic expansion in Africa. East Africa has had a history of regional trade and exchange at all levels. It was integrated into wider and distant economies long before German and British penetration in the 1880s. In particular the coastal region had a tradition of trade with the hinterland and across the Indian ocean. The culture of the coast and the ethnic mix of its population reflected hybridity both in language and in ethnic mix1. By the 15th century there was a strong Portuguese presence and they occupied key coastal trading centres, notably Zanzibar between 1506 and 16942. They were replaced by the influence and military strength of the commercial Omani empire which was consolidated in the 18th Century. The French, Americans and British established diplomatic representation in the mid 19th Century. Throughout, coastal settlements and populations were linked, primarily through trade, to the interior of the region and the systems of exchange stretched to the borders of the present day Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The interior had

Allen has described the Swahili not as a tribe or by kinship ties but as a ‘ highly permeable population whose common factor is cultural… ’ Allen JV (1996) Swahili origins: Swahili culture and the Shungwaya phenomenon James Currey, London p24 2 Nabudere D (1981) Imperialism in East Africa, Volume 1, Imperialism and exploitation Zed, London p6


distinctive modes of subsistence and accumulation but was still defined by the trading routes and patterns with the coast and by Swahili influence. The key economic activities of these fortified coastal settlements (mji) were the trading of slaves, ivory and spices. Zanzibar was the focus of trade from the 19th century, based on its stability and security. Its trade ‘ depended for three-quarters of its value on commodities coming from a vast hinterland that extended halfway through middle Africa by the third quarter of the nineteenth century’ 3. Bolstered by the monsoon trade winds, a seasonal exchange of goods allowed the operation of an economy that encompassed the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and the Indian subcontinent. The coastal Swahili culture was firmly oriented to the wider commerce and influence of the Indian Ocean and was dependent on revenues from the trading of commodities produced outside its immediate territory. It was an economic and cultural interface4. The interior was interconnected with the wider Indian Ocean economy and provided most of the exported commodities of Zanzibar and other ports between Lamu, Mombasa and Lindi. There were three layers of trading that transcended essentially agricultural and pastoral production. First was a spatially limited and small scale mutual exchange, exemplified by the Hima agriculturalists and Ankole pastoralists to the north-west of Lake Victoria. The second was a wider trade in rarer commodities such as iron and salt where their production was specific to the location of raw materials. Within this loop Banyankole cattle and crops were traded for salt at Katwe, on Lake George, the Baganda gave the input of bark-cloth and raffia fibres5 while the Langi provided soldiers6. Third, long distance commerce over routes that stretched to present day Congo and to the coast was specialised and profit-based. It was characterised by complex transactions and bred ethnic middlemen. Akamba and Arab traders, as both mobile and coastal or peri-coastal groups,7 dominated routes while there was a complex network of funders and intermediaries. ‘ The primary creditors were generally Indian, many of the principally up-country traders were Arab, the petty traders were usually islamicised Africans, and the retainers were often slaves, some of the second generation or more.’ 8 Western trading powers became closely involved and spurred two main changes from the 1840s. First they added to the acceleration of regional trade as purchasers of commodities, representing a growing European demand. Second they intervened in the coastal slave trade. An impetus for extended trade was provided by European and Asian9 demand for ivory, which forced prices up from the mid-nineteenth century10. Out-competed by Arabs, Akamba traders had worn out nearby markets and became secondary suppliers before fading into the commercial background. The coastal Arab traders in turn concentrated on

Sheriff A (1987) Slaves, spices & ivory in Zanzibar: Integration of an East African commercial empire into the world economy, 1770-1873 James Currey, London p155 4 For instance Swahili dance has been traced to African influence; architecture, medicine and astronomy to Islamic roots: language and literature are hybrid formations. See Allen 1996:24-26 5 Gray R and Birmingham D (1970)(eds) Pre-Colonial African trade : essays on trade in Central and Eastern Africa before 1900 Oxford University Press, London pp1-10, Good CM (1970) Rural markets and trade in East Africa : a study of the functions and development of exchange institutions in Ankole, Uganda pp155-166 6 Marcia Wright (1985) East Africa 1870-1905 in Oliver and Sanderson pp 539-679, reference p541 7 i.e. non-local 8 Wright 1985:547 9 Ivory was commonly processed and crafted in Bombay for re-export to the West 10 Sheriff 1987:89-90


Figure AA

sourcing further and more distant supplies of ivory which was complemented by a trade in slaves. Their pattern of commercial activity was to follow extensive economic routes using caravans11. These operated from the Indian Ocean coastline and connected trading centres and ethnic groups through the East African region.

The political and economic expansion of northern European powers, including Britain, gave a new momentum to colonial acquisition. Capitalist trading commerce spread from India to the Indian Ocean coast and then probed the interior along the established trading paths shown in figure AA. These routes also provided the safest conduit for early European incursions which were led by explorers and Christian missionaries. The conquest of East Africa started from these human contacts and physical penetration and its motivations were a mixture of curiosity and competition backed up by a trading bridgehead on the Indian Ocean coast. Slavery also operated on the same routes into the interior and it was the combination of pressures from home, a will to civilise and tactical motives that mobilised the British government to take action against this 'business' and ‘ on behalf’ of the natives. However contemporary theorists saw the motivations from the perspective of developments in the home economy. Rather than governments implementing a new humanitarian order they saw a new ruling class chasing markets and new sources of raw materials.


A heavily protected convoy of humans, pack animals and supplies for transporting people and goods long distances


Workers of the world Writings that were influenced by the works of Marx successfully analysed parts of this process of extending links of trade and control. These are grouped as relationships of technology and the economy; fixed points of nationhood within global economy and community; ratios of dependent economic change and the creation of poles of development. They bracketed the period of imperial expansion in East Africa - Marx's Manifesto sketched the outline of an imperial project while Hobson, Lenin, Bukharin and Luxembourg ‘ backfilled’ his theories at the beginning of the twentieth century with more thorough analyses of imperialism. Marx's own analysis of these processes was made at the same time as the start of an imperial phase in East Africa where nations began to compete for influence on the African continent. He saw an extension of capitalist relations spearheaded by the rising European powers which created new connections and new spaces. In Marx’ s words, ‘ The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.’ 1 He saw greater global interaction driven by accumulation and the search for new markets and sources of raw materials. Much of his work predated the actual period of colonial conquest in Africa and he had no integrated theory of imperialism. 2 However, in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, he gave an explicit expression of the themes that influenced theories of imperialism at the end of the 19th Century. They were grappling with the destiny of the new proletariat and the legacy of slavery and feudalism, yet saw the battleground extending beyond familiar territories. The themes persist and are present today in the globalisation debate and Robertson’ s ‘ uncertainty phase’ 3 echoes Marx's catchphrase, ‘ all that is solid has melted into air’ . According to Marx, the new class of industrial masters was establishing and exploiting a world market and introducing new contingent social relations. The bourgeoisie gave ‘ a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed’ . It led to a spatial separation of manufacturing from the supply of inputs where traditional European industries were ‘ dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilised nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe.’ Not only were processes of accumulation changing but they were in some sense, ‘ progressive’ . ‘ In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency we have intercourse in every direction, universal interdependence of nations. National independence and narrow-mindedness become more and

1 2

Marx K (1969) Communist Manifesto Penguin UK p149 Marx described imperialism as ‘ the most prostitute and the ultimate form of the state power which nascent middle class society had commenced to elaborate as a means of its own emancipation from feudalism, and which full-grown bourgeois society had finally transformed into a means for the enslavement of labour by capital.’ Marx K (1971), The civil war in France, Third address, May 1871 Progress, Moscow; quote Chapter 3, line 812. He was however describing inter-European imperialism rather than observed ‘overseas’ imperialism. See also The 18th Bromaire of Louis Napoleon, Chapter 7, Line 419 3 Robertson R (1992) Globalisation: Social theory and global culture Sage London p60


more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature’ 4. Marx’ s 'workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains' was born from these formative international bonds and divisions of labour. His work showed processes of international production that built both strong economic links and dependent relations between colonies and colonisers. The interplay of cotton workers and producers in Lancashire and in India represented a shifting of manufacture and value added to the centre of empire, Britain, and reduced the role of the colony to the producer of raw or semiprocessed commodities. Similarly East Africa could expect movements in economy, politics and culture that reflected the interests of the bourgeois British and German states, that would introduce a separation of functions of production and institute determining global links. They would also introduce uncertainties of change and status together with new means of survival, forms of property and ownership. The cusp of imperialism The actual processes of imperialism proved more complex and subtle than Marx suggested but the effects were as disruptive as he had predicted. The British imperial mindset was fashioned by aristocratic explorers, priests, soldiers and diplomats on the ground, together with working class patriotism and jingoism drummed-up by newspapers back home. The media were in turn fed by greater numbers of telegraphic reports fed by distant reports and news events. Imperialism was justified throughout Africa by the need to civilise and imperialists explained their actions in the doublespeak of moral and economic terms. For instance Lord Lugard, a leading officer of the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC), explained the imperial mission, in retrospect, in classical terms:
As Roman imperialism laid the foundations of modern civilisation, and led the wild barbarians of these islands along the path of progress, so in Africa today we are repaying the debt, and bringing to the dark places of the earth, the abode of barbarism and cruelty, the torch of culture and progress, while administering to the material needs of our own civilisation.1

Lugard had admitted that the, ‘ partition of Africa was, as we all recognise, due primarily to the economic necessity of increasing the supplies of raw materials and food to meet the needs of the industrialised nations of Europe’ 2. Similarly, Chancellor Bismarck of Germany declared to the Reichstag in 1884 that colonies would give ‘ new aid to the development of German shipping, German maritime enterprise, German economic life and German export’ that would ‘ promote the winning of new outlets for German industry and the extension of trade, and which leave open a gateway for German work, German civilisation and German capital.’ 3 Kopenon comments on this advent of full-blooded German imperialism. He described the context as a contradiction between development and exploitation. The term development
4 1

Marx 1969:83-84 Lugard FD (1971) ‘The dual mandate in Africa’ in Curtin PD (1971)(ed) Imperialism Harper and Row, London p318 2 ibid:313 3 Kopenon J (1993) ‘The partition of Africa: A scramble for a mirage?’ Nordic Journal of African Studies Vol2 No1 pp117-139 quote p134


handily encapsulates the idea of economic progress, modernisation and civilisation much in the way that Livingstone might have expressed it. Exploitation describes an amoral expropriation of resources without regard to the social cost of this action. Kopenon reveals an interweaving of these value concepts and ‘ whether colonialism entailed development or exploitation proved flawed. Development was, rather, a necessary precondition for exploitation; what colonialism entailed was development for exploitation.’ 4 The pattern of penetration followed this analysis. Modern technology and the routes they forced influenced the scale, nature and possibilities of production. Development and ‘ progress’ fuelled the net transfer of resources from East Africa to European markets. Yet in East Africa slavery was the issue which united missionaries, 5 the Imperial British East Africa Company, the British government and popular support back home. Local modes of production and exchange in the interior were influenced by the long distance trade of caravans which engaged in the acquisition, movement and sale of slaves. In Zanzibar and Mombasa, the growing influence of the British state was manifested in the control of the coastal slave trade. It had an Indian ocean presence of around seven cruisers6 for the stated purpose of preventing slaving. While action was seen to be taken against the transportation of slaves on the sea and the coastline, there was no presence even to observe the trade in the interior until the arrival of explorers and missionaries. When they ventured inland, from the 1870s, they shared the same means of communication – runners and caravans – and similar routes to these traders. By this time, a greater interest and involvement in the economic possibilities of the region brought European powers into conflict with established ethnic and commercial interests. Hence there was competition with these traders and over the ivory trade. The tempo of trade had also risen quite recently and produced new locales of power. Lonsdale sums up these elements well and states that, ‘ The intensity of East Africa's export trade in ivory, slaves and latterly in rubber, was a quite recent phenomenon; its commercial morality was provided by Islam, not Christianity; and its network of goods and alliances had provided the means for new men to assemble power over the interior's stateless societies more often that it enforced old authority.’ 7 The presence and agency of missionaries and explorers, together with a policy of opposition to slavery and Christian ideology both gave moral dimensions to the conflict. The moral friction between the traders of East Africa and Europeans was overt but commercial competition for commodities was also growing. A resolution of these issues did not lie within the scriptures but rather in the ‘ Protestant ethic’ and this was contextualised by David Livingstone, the explorer and missionary. Theories of progress and civilisation that incorporated an ethic of business and righteousness were articulated in Livingstone’ s manifesto for an ‘ open path for commerce and Christianity’ . He saw that, ‘ this was a country invaded by Coastmen whose exploitation of it carried few mitigating features’ and that, ‘ the task would only be accomplished by the impact of civilised and Christian society
4 5

ibid:127 They were well positioned and with high level contacts. Wright states that the, ‘ missionary outposts fitted into local patterns of politics and economic life, becoming centres of refuge, reconnaissance, and diplomacy’ Wright 1985:561 6 Oliver R (1967) The Missionary Factor in East Africa Longmans, Green and Company London pp2-3, Coupland R (1939) The exploitation of East Africa London pp162-166 7 Lonsdale J (1985) ‘The European scramble and conquest in African history’, in Oliver R and Sanderson GN (1985) Cambridge History of Africa Vol.6 Cambridge University Press pp680-750, quote page 684


as a whole’ 8. He envisaged a transformation in the way of life which would allow natives to pay for traded goods with cotton they had grown and by destroying the disguised slavery of porterage by its replacement with mechanical transport. This manifesto of change saw modernisation as a regional agent of change and a British conception of ‘ free’ labour as morally superior to shifting patronage and the tied system of ‘ slavery’ 9. There were direct consequences from these interpretations of native needs. At the time of Livingstone’ s death in 1873, there was a call from the Daily Telegraph10 that ‘ the work of England for Africa must henceforth begin in earnest where Livingstone left it off’ .11 Two years later the paper published a letter written by his colleague, Stanley, which challenged missionary societies to follow the work of the explorers. Following this plea, a strong wave of public opinion backed by financial subscriptions, gave support and funds for missionary work. The Church Missionary Service, White Fathers and Free Church were soon actively establishing links to Central Africa from the coast. The dynamic was set. Missionaries became the leading presence and the vanguard of commercial and diplomatic efforts. In commercial terms, ‘ until private European settlement, the mission plantations alone produced the sorely needed cash crops’ and they introduced coffee, cotton and rubber to key agricultural regions12. Diplomatically, it was ‘ inevitable that the mere presence of missionaries of various European nationalities in a territory like East Africa should have become one of the determining factors as soon as that territory became an object for competition among the European powers’ .13 Missionaries had shaped and influenced the moral, strategic and economic fulcra of European agency in East Africa. Livingstone’ s economic agenda showed a pathway to civilised change. The era of imperialist penetration was to be guided by a surface of moral change and a technical and economic agenda of expropriation. Indigenous means of communication At the same time there were other changes at the coast. The arrival of the telegraph in Zanzibar in 1880 meant that there was a bridgehead of modernity in East Africa. While the British escalated their regional involvement, international communications had become critical to keep government and decision makers involved in diplomatic negotiations and to offer military and diplomatic back-up. Innovations such as the electric telegraph started to transform relationships over long distances yet offered only point to point connectivity. While the telegraph landed at the coast, native means of communication operated into the interior and the combination of rumour and runners allowed a comparative advantage. Until the deployment of modern infrastructure these means – runners and Swahili caravans – contributed to a tool-kit of methods to command, control, co-ordinate and transport the people and resources of empire. The movement of goods and information in East Africa used to follow established, local means although no records were kept before the arrival of the British and Germans. Even
8 9

Oliver 1967:11 Cooper1992:215-216; Sheriff 1987:149-150 10 The title of the paper signified that it was on the cutting edge of 19th century media 11 Oliver 1967:35 12 Oliver 1967:177 13 Oliver 1967:161


then and until the turn of the century, the geography of the hinterland and extent of operations meant that messages were likely to pass through human carriers - either caravans or runners. Uganda and western territories were linked by a series of runners along the main roads and there are many anecdotes relating the dangers. According to Scott and Thomas, 'more than one runner lost his life in attempting to ford flooded rivers or in encounters with lions.’ 1 Table AB shows data on the runner system which delivered at first, word of mouth messaging and next, written messages. This was a rapid means of communication and appropriate for the conditions. The use of the written word in messaging also introduced a further communications level, mode and protocol. It allowed data compression at the expense of revealing the text and therefore required encryption to ensure security. Runners were a formalised and directed version of the rumour system or 'bush telegraph'; an example of its operation in pre-colonial circumstances is given by Hill. He relates the occasion when Frederick Jackson arrived in Mumias, close to the Ugandan border, in 1890 and unexpectedly found letters from King Mwanga of Buganda. 'The letters were dated June 15th, a remarkable instance of the speed with which news travelled across native Africa, for on that date Jackson's caravan had not long left the coast.'2 Table AB Timing of the runner system1 From To Mombasa Kikuyu Mombasa Eldama Ravine Kampala Fort Portal

Distance 345 Miles 495 Miles 207 Miles

Time 11 days 20 days 2½ days

The use of runners implied that the sender had the economic and authoritative power to organise a human chain of information. However, long distance messaging was complemented by long distance transport and trade. The caravan system required a great deal of logistical preparation and investment to travel long distances and relatively independently of local resources. For instance, a caravan put together for the purpose of surveying the Uganda railway in 1892 comprised: 7 Europeans; 41 Indians; 7 Swahili headmen and interpreters; 40 askaris; 270 porters; 24 cooks, servants and gun-bearers; and 60 donkeys.2 Table AC shows the speed of a caravan from the Indian Ocean coast to the capital of Buganda. It was very slow and sections such as the crossing of the Rift Valley sections between Naivasha and the Nile required climbs and diversions. A further means of communication in support of the caravan was needed to allow effective co-ordination over distance. Table AC Timing of a caravan system1 From To Mombasa Machakos
1 2

Distance 286 miles

Time 30 days

Total Time 30 days

Thomas HB and Scott R (1935) Uganda Government of Uganda, Kampala p241 Hill MF (1976) Permanent way, Volume 1 English Press, Nairobi p32 1 Data from Mungeam GH (1978) Kenya: Select historical documents 1884-1923 East African Publishing House, Nairobi and Thomas and Scott 1935:241 2 Hill, 1976:70 1 Mungeam, 1978:52


Machakos Kikuyu Naivasha Baringo Nile

Kikuyu Naivasha Baringo Nile Kampala/Mengo

60 miles 40 miles 90 miles 170 miles 60 miles

5 4 20 26 5

days days days days days

35 days 39 days 59 days 85 days 90 days

The traders relied on the caravan system for trade and the employment of many porters showed their need for labour. Forced labour was a short step away from slavery and their operations expanded into that area. They controlled the slave trade inland and used their caravan routes for the transport captives gathered ‘ off the beaten track’ and also collected through middlemen as tribute or for commercial gain. The destruction of slavery would entail the wholesale reconfiguration of East African means of communication, firstly to combat the threat of slavery and secondly to provide swift, modern means in order to carry European traffic.
'There is no doubt that the slave caravans across that territory can be destroyed by one method, and by one method certainly, if that method can be applied. Sir William Mackinnon is doing his best to lay a railway from the coast to the Victoria Nyanza. Now, the peculiarity of a railway, where it is once laid it kills every other mode of locomotion that formerly held the same ground. After a railway has existed some time there cannot be - except as a matter of luxury or caprice - any other kind of locomotion to compete with it. If a railway could exist from this lake to the coast, caravans could no more be employed as they are employed now to carry ivory, produce to the interior, to the coast or back again, and it is by these caravans that the bodies of slaves are brought along. It costs two or three hundred times as much to bring goods by caravan as it would cost to bring them by railway. Of course, when once a railway existed, caravans would become a matter of antiquity, and if no caravans existed, there would be no means of carrying slaves from the interior to the coast, because I do not see that any slavedealer who presented himself with a body of slaves to be carried on trucks to the coast would be very civilly received.'1

Lord Salisbury had shown how modern communications could obliterate all that preceded. Similarly, the runner system would be destroyed by the arrival of the telegraph. This in turn would imply a change in the circuits of economic exchange fed by demand for ivory, slaves, hides and salt. Just as Marx had predicted these destructive tendencies, theorists of imperialism would outline the regrouping of productive forces and means, building networks of power and accumulation bonded by culture, economy and communications. Regional security and deals Missionaries had spread Christian settlements and converted entire regions by the 1890s. Buganda became a dividing line between northern and coastal Arabs, Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians. Sir Gerald Portal, outgoing governor of East Africa, encapsulated regional strategy in terms of both a religious and political struggle for control Europeans versus Arabs.
‘ Everything, I fear, seems to point to a desperate and perhaps long-continued struggle in the centre of Africa between the advances of European civilisation from the coasts on the East and the West, and the old class of Arab traders...In determining both the nature and the result of this contest, the position of the Christian country of Uganda is of vital importance. Even now it is known that frequent communications pass from the

Speech by Lord Salisbury, 20th May 1891, Glasgow quoted in Hill (1976:54) which skilfully avoids mention of the actual costs or the logistics of building the railway


Arabs of Tanganyika and Tabora to the fanatical Mohammedans at Wadelai and along the White Nile....So long as Uganda is under European supervision, there is little or no danger of these probable disturbances spreading from South to North, but I fear that the withdrawal of the present control, and the consequent loss of prestige...would shake the position of Europeans throughout East and Central Africa.’ 1

The consequent rush for Uganda again pushed forward state objectives over quasicommercial ventures such as the chartered Imperial British East Africa Company. Indirect exploitation was overridden by state objectives, pushed by arguments for imperialism that won over the British parliament. Britain and Germany became directly involved in the takeover of East Africa and in 1890 sign the Anglo-German treaty, partitioning the region between themselves. Wright states that the ‘ active conquest of East Africa took place between 1888 and 1900 through sporadic and sustained military campaigns best called colonial wars’ 2 Moral imperatives coexisted with economic imperatives. Caravans and slavery were substituted by the railway and plantations. Tactics of divide and rule, backed up by military action and co-ordinated by the telegraph, consolidated colonial control. Figure AD shows the approximate spread and operation of ‘ phases’ of involvement in East Africa. The two later, distinct and interlocking processes of imperialism in East Africa both required the historical force of naval supremacy to be linked with the distant resources of Britain, India and South Africa. For this, they relied on international communications, primarily over telegraph lines. Initially the military and diplomatic phase established physical and political control. This was followed by settlement and consolidation. The military was also used as a force of reaction against organised resistance to newly allied powers. Both processes were dependent on the distant resources of empire and these contacts were maintained throughout by the telegraph network. Figure AD Schedule of imperialism Coast Exploration 15th Century Missionary 1840s onwards Diplomatic 1830s onwards Military 1509-1905
Administration Settlers

‘ Interior’ 1847 1878 1884 1885 Few

Highlands 1876 1890-1920 1890-1900 1890-1960 1900-1950

Lake Victoria 1858-62 1881 1870-1920 1885-1920 few





Theories of imperialism
Karl Marx had isolated the bourgeoisie as the fulcrum on which the imperialist project turned and the will to accumulate as the force behind first, the destruction of the old order and second, the interconnection of distant territories into a worldwide capitalist system. The European imperialism of the late nineteenth century and the division of Africa introduced new examples and experiences on the territorial spread of capitalism. The next generation of commentators focused on the rôle of international finance capital, the close involvement of banks and investment networks together with the state in the spatial expansion of the apparatus of exploitation. Hobson wrote, ‘ Imperialism, as we see, implies the use of the machinery of government by private interests, mainly capitalists, to secure for them
1 2

FO 2/60 1st November 1893 Wright 1985:567


economic gains outside their country.’ 1 It was Hobson’ s left-progressive analysis which inspired much of the subsequent writings on imperialism and his theme ran through the work of Lenin, Hilferding, Bukharin and Luxembourg. Hobson railed against the militarism and jingoism which imperialism inspired and especially at the time of the British war against the Boers in South Africa. However much of the writing on imperialism at the beginning of the century was aimed squarely at providing a Marxist analysis of the First World War2 and to rally support for working class movements. Marxist theories of imperialism concentrated on the proletarians of industrialised countries as subjects of exploitation while generalising many of the structural developments in the new colonies and bypassing explanations of deeper, cultural change. The literatures swarmed on Hobson’ s framework and similarly identified economic causes and effects of imperialism. The theories were also explicit attempts at examining processes of global interlinkage through the capitalist system where imperialism was seen as the expansion of capitalist enterprise throughout the world. The force of competition operated through national foreign policies that prioritised territorial and colonial conquest. Competition was revealed first as a struggle between civilisation and barbarism and second between the power blocs of European empires. Late 19th century venture capital had floated more spatially capable and profit-hungry investment networks. They were freed from traditional patronage relations and the bourgeois both fuelled and altered structures of financial capital, banking systems and joint stock companies through their agency. Technologies of industrialism – from shift working and divisions of labour to capital goods and communications – were a part of this same movement. It was one that influenced and guided the budgets of fledgling, bourgeois, democracies and that mobilised. Administrators and businessmen shared the aim of overcoming boom and slump and producing a return. Capitalist connections were used as means of, and in order to perpetuate, active engagement in the imperialist project of dominating large areas of the world. There are three strands to follow in this sequel to the ‘ primitive accumulation’ of slavery and plantation economies. They closely mirror the three elements I isolated from Marx’ s work, have survived through the colonial era, and are strongly represented in post-colonial and contemporary theory. First was an idea of integrated economic change and exploitation via the forging of global links through technology. This has been emphasised in time-space accounts and theories3 and through the higher gearing of communication, accumulation and production. Second, the forcing and acceptance of globalising models which are emphasised in nationalism and globalisation discourses. They represent global models of stasis and seriality in identity and economy in a context of an ‘ inter-dependence of nations’ .

1 2

Hobson JA (1938) Imperialism: a study Allen and Unwin, London p94 Brewer (1989) Marxist theories of imperialism. A critical survey Routledge, London p80 3 see for instance Giddens A (1979) Central problems in social theory. Action, structure and contradiction in social analysis Hutchinson, London; Thrift N (1994) ‘Inhuman geographies: Landscapes of speed, light and power’ in Cloke PJ et al (1994) Writing the rural. Five cultural geographies Paul Chapman, London pp191-248; Urry J (1985) ‘Social relations, space, time’ in Gregory D and Urry J (eds) Social relations and spatial structures MacMillan, London pp20-48; Lefebvre H (1991) The production of space Blackwell Press, Oxford; Harvey D (1990) The condition of postmodernity Blackwell Press, Oxford


Third, the creation of poles of development and inequalities of power show economy and control in international and regional relations that are the basis of dependency theories. Theories of imperialism starkly emphasise their case in a bare and unsituated economic world and were crafted in the era of revolutions and the dissolution of many imperial powers. Meanwhile the effects of these three influences of imperialism as globalism have worked through the historical economies and cultures of East Africa. These are represented by a further section that situates the generalities of Marxist analysis in a regional overview.


Three strands
Technology and economy The capacity for capital to seek new markets in conjunction with technological innovations is a constant. Marx’ s work gave a flavour of an economic base that, in alliance with the chartered companies of imperialism and subsequent conquest and colonial administration, fuelled the extension and control of economy and influenced society and politics.
‘ The chief means of reducing the time of circulation is improved communications...On land the macadamised road has been displaced by the railway, on sea the slow and irregular sailing vessel has been pushed into the background by the rapid and dependable steamboat line, and the entire globe is being girdled by telegraph wires. The Suez Canal has fully opened East Asia and Australia to steamer traffic. The time of circulation of a shipment of commodities to East Asia, at least twelve months in 1847, has now been reduced to almost as many weeks...America and India, have been brought from 70 to 90 per cent nearer to the European industrial countries by this revolution in transport, and have thereby lost a good deal of their explosive nature [as centres of crises]. The period of turnover of the total world commerce has been reduced to the same extent, and the efficacy of the capital involved in it has been more than doubled or trebled. It goes without saying that this has not been without effect on the rate of profit.’ 1

Lenin used the railways as an example of an amalgam of the capitalist industries of ‘ coal, iron and steel’ ; the structures of ‘ large scale industry, monopolies, syndicates, cartels, trusts, banks and financial oligopolies’ ; and the ideology of ‘ democratic, cultural and civilising enterprise’ . Combined, they ‘ converted this railway construction into an instrument for oppressing a thousand million people (in the colonies and semi-colonies), that is, more than half the people of the globe inhabiting the dependent countries, as well as the wage slaves of capital in the “ civilised” countries’ 2. This integrating force of innovation combined with the will to profit saw steam, electric power, and petroleum driven conquest led by military technologies and co-ordinated by telecommunications negotiating physical distance and imposing rule. Imperialism was an integrated mechanism that operated in a global context and altered relations of distance and communication. Nations Hilferding’ s analysis of imperialism looked at the processes of incorporation of colonies into the ideological infrastructure of progress, technology and the nation state. He emphasises disembedding, fracturing and detraditionalisation together with the element of reconstructing the future and the mimesis of the conquered thus:
In the newly opened up countries the capital imported into them intensifies antagonisms and excites against the intruders the constantly growing resistance of the peoples who are awakening to national consciousness; this resistance can easily develop into dangerous measures against foreign capital. The old social relations become revolutionised, the age long agrarian isolation of ‘ nations without history’ is destroyed and they are drawn into the capitalist whirlpool. Capitalism itself gradually provides the subjugated with the means and resources for their emancipation and they set out to achieve the goal which once seemed highest to the European nations: the creation of a united national state as a means to economic and cultural freedom.1

1 2

Marx K (1972) Capital, Volume 3 Progress, Moscow Chapter 3 Lenin 1975:5, ibid:116-118 1 Hilferding in Lenin 1975:146-147


Hilferding anticipated contemporary arguments in the work of Giddens and Robertson2 that the globalised world was first constructed in the form of the nation state and that economic procedures take place in a wider global framework of units. It was a break from the entrenched views that placed a few global powers competing for control in a finite world, as Lenin had said. This handily explained European competitive expansion and the causes of the First World War in imperialist terms but not the processes of conflict. Hilferding revealed the nationalisms that would underlie the means to freedom in the periphery. Monetisation and taxes would lead to migrant labour. The osmosis of cultural oppositions within a shared colonial state would negate the reasons for separation. The spread of technologies would involve the delegation of their operation and control. With the model of ‘ a nation’ to copy then the experience of modern practices and forms could coincide in a common locus. Poles and peripheries Bukharin followed Marx’ s analysis of the separation between the rural and the urban and extended the process to a global scale. ‘ The cleavage between ‘ town and country’ as well as the ‘ development of this cleavage’ , formerly confined to one country alone, are now being reproduced on a tremendously enlarged basis. Viewed from this perspective, entire countries appear today as ‘ towns’ , namely the industrial countries, whereas entirely agrarian territories appear to be ‘ country’ 1 This theme of the creation of poles is at the heart of dependency thinking the idea of centre and periphery. The rise of third-world nationalisms prompted an expansion of these arguments in theories of economically dependent links between the global, regional and local. These relationships extended between ‘ developed’ and ‘ underdeveloped’ countries and within underdeveloped countries themselves creating another layer of centre and periphery, and ‘ town and country’ . Dependency theory was based on empirical evidence from the 1950s while the critique was also relevant to the application of colonial policy for ‘ backward regions’ against the highly European influenced colonial centres and capitals. Chains of economic exploitation, justified through the imperative of economic development, linked centres to peripheries in a hierarchy of administrative orders and co-ordinated by cable. The mechanisms of underdevelopment seen by the dependistas were the expropriation of (usually primary) resources and the maintenance of a stable global capitalist system and hierarchy. These were ideas of trade and communication currents cycling materials and orders over global spaces and exchanged between poles of power and production. The theories were articulated in the era of nationalism yet the objective of liberation was the first common cause and, as colonised peoples in the position of the ‘ dependent’ , there was an antithesis, the rose-tinted mirror, to be ‘ in-dependent’ . These first analyses of global symmetries, within the critique of imperialism, saw the learning of new processes by the nation states of northern Europe together with financial institutions. Technologies that affected the speed and reach and effectiveness of economic and military power allowed fresh possibilities for conquest and accumulation. The era of resistance to colonial rule and the reformulation of culture that was flagged by Hilferding

Robertson 1992, Giddens 1979, Giddens A (1995) A contemporary critique of historical materialism, Vol2: The Nation state and violence Polity, Cambridge, UK 1 Bukharin in Brewer 1989:104


acted as a counterweight to these processes. The chains of parasitism that weighed down local potential were there to be thrown off.

Telegraph - forces and means
The improved communications that Lenin had spoken of were already present in East Africa from 1880 and the electric telegraph was integral to the imperial project. Cecil Rhodes, the leading British imperialist, declared that, 'The railway is my right hand and the telegraph is my voice'2 and envisaged a transcontinental network of cable and rail to spread the ideas of progress and civilisation united with imperial control. The telegraph had also been seen as a uniting force by Field, who poetically put it: 'Speed, speed the cable, let it run,/ a loving girdle around the earth,/ till all the nations neath the sun / shall be as brothers of one hearth'.3 Briggs and Maverick said that, 'It is impossible that old prejudices and hostilities should longer exist, while such an instrument has been created for the exchange of thought between all the nations of the earth.'4 The emphasis on intercommunication was shared among the three and even strayed towards McLuhan's 1960s 'global village' metaphor. The difference was that in Africa it was those in Rhodes’ mould who would install modern means of communication – imperialists, colonialists, prospectors and military men. In East Africa it catalysed the means of opening the interior to settlers and to modern forms of production. The Imperial British East Africa Company, emphasised in its initial report, ‘ With the existing and ever increasing facilities of rapid communication by steam and telegraph, the development of East Africa should not be a work of any great length of time...’ 5 However the sequence of technological adoption and consolidation was of a different pattern to other colonial and domestic projects and Table AE marks out some of the timings of the transnational carriers of signs and messages.

2 3

quoted in Barty-King 1979:87 Field, H. M. (1898) The story of the Atlantic telegraph Charles Scribner's and Sons, New York 4 Briggs CF and Maverick A (1858) The story of the telegraph, and a history of the great Atlantic cable; a complete record of the inception, progress and final success of that undertaking Rudd & Carleton, New York 5 Prospectus for investors, 1889, quoted in Mungeam 1978:44


Table AE Schedule of carriers Arrival of: British Control Telegraph Telephone Rail Radiotelegraphy Electronic Mail Internet Protocol Britain 1837 1890s 1830s 1901 1975 1984 Uganda 1890 1900 1905 1923 1910 1990 1995 Tanzania 1919 1880 1905 1910 1910 1989 1996 Kenya 1890 1890 1905 1898 1907 1987 1996

The introduction of telecommunications in East Africa was a part of the spread of the British empire. In that sense it did not herald pure global interconnection. It became a further corner of the military and diplomatic telecommunications triangle that had linked Britain, India and South Africa and stretched beyond the reach of the railway being constructed west from the coast and along the Kenyan highlands. The boundaries of electric communications were expanding rapidly and their development was shaped by concentrated and erratic technological change. There was a constant quest for state funds to finance communication networks that promised no quick returns on substantial investment as they were located marginally and away from international information arteries. Thus railway and telegraph systems were developed according to unfolding priorities. The Britain to India cable was extended south of Aden to join an African loop at South Africa and reached Zanzibar in the 1890s. When lines were laid into the interior, to the south and north of Lake Victoria, in the first years of the twentieth century they did not sprout capillary routes until much later. Distant and extreme regions of the East African territories, long distance interconnections and urban networks were not entirely cabled until the 1920s. The medium of the telegraph had been developed initially as a complement to the railway network and ‘ made possible a long distance signalling system and remote control’ ’ 1. Its first working application was on the railway line between Euston and Camden in 1837 but the alphabet pointer mechanism used was superseded by the Morse telegraph, patented in 18402. The Morse code was a more efficient protocol and initially allowed the transmission of 40 to 50 words per minute. Based on this new information capacity and ‘ because the telegraph used only very small and intermittent electric currents which could only be supplied satisfactorily from [portable, cheap, reliable] batteries’ , the telegraph was ‘ the only application of electricity which had come into worldwide use’ 3. Although it remained a communications link easily laid along railway lines, it became a complement for the coordination of shipping, capital and troop movements and globalised control mechanisms. The experience of telegraphs within the distant empire had started in 1850 with cabling on the Indian mainland. Following the mutiny of 1856, there was a new impetus for their extension. Existing telegraphs had saved lives and money by giving early warnings of rebellion. Communications had facilitated and improved troop deployment and movement.
1 2

Mumford L (1964) Technics and Civilization Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, New York p199 Pacey A (1990) Technology in world civilization: A thousand-year history. MIT Press, Cambridge, US p137138 3 Pacey 1990:168 my comments, my emphasis


If there had been swifter international action and communication, these losses could have been reduced further. This justified a telegraph line between Britain and India with additional lines within the country itself. The cable was laid overland but it was susceptible to subversive operations by ‘ foreign powers’ who hosted the lines and fell victim to the unreliable line management of the host countries4. Once completed, it proved invaluable for commerce and government but both relied on security of information exchange. The government had proposed an undersea cable to provide this security, together with greater reliability from less intermediate connections and the advantage of complete British control. The corollary of the acquired experience with telegraphy was presented to a House of Commons select committee in 1866. Its report stated that, 'having regard to the magnitude of the interests, political, commercial, and social, involved in the connection between this country and India', there should be, ‘ reasonable support’ , for, ‘ a line practically under one management and responsibility between London and the Indian Presidencies.'5 The government had outlined a precedent for subsequent cabling policy. The Figure AF Cables around Africa 1870 – 1901 state would eventually subsidise a global submarine cable network under British control. It dominated world-wide communications for the next 50 years, remaining a space for the application of power until the advent of the satellite as a carrier medium. The House of Commons select committee was initially unwilling to follow the Indian precedent when a line to East and Southern Africa was proposed. It insisted on commercial capital input. Following the British defeat by the Zulus at Isalndhlwana in 1879, the Disraeli government conceded a subsidy on the grounds of the security of colonial possessions. The cost of the cable was borne by the Eastern Telegraph Company through its subsidiary arm but for the operation of the cable it received £55,000 per annum from the British government.6 This subsidy reflected the telegraph’ s strategic rôle as a means of communication with sound military and political reasons for its existence and

Headrick (1991) The invisible weapon: Telecommunications and international politics 1851–1945 University Press, Oxford p19 5 quoted in Headrick 1991:21, my emphasis 6 Headrick 1988:107



survival. The undersea cables were laid south from the Aden-Bombay link, landing at Zanzibar. An extension was laid to Mombasa later in the year and three lines continued to Portuguese southern Africa and terminated at Durban. By the time of the agreement of the East African Protectorate in 1890, the coastal region was fully connected to the imperial telegraph network. Military phase by wire In 1892 a violent power struggle in Buganda between indigenous Protestant and Catholic factions threatened the evacuation of the IBEAC and missionaries from the territory. The situation revealed a mismatch between administrative practice and communications delivery. Plans for the abandonment of the area were prepared between the Imperial British East Africa Company and the Foreign Office, yet there was a three month time lag between messages leaving Mengo/Kampala and reaching Britain through the caravan system. The situation had been resolved, with military and diplomatic control re-established, before the affair ‘ engaged the earnest attention’ of the British government.1 On the coast, the establishment of the protectorate over East Africa had intensified conflict within the Swahili ruling class and sparked a rebellion by the Mazrui faction against the British and the Sultan in 1896. The governor of the Protectorate, Hardinge, encouraged support for the British among the ethnic Bantu African Nyika tribesmen of the coastal hinterland. To this end he provided, 'a lively demonstration of a maxim gun and a war rocket...fired in their honour'.2 Although advocating a solution through force his actions were overtaken by a Foreign Office decision to dispatch the 24th Baluchistan regiment from India, who ultimately quelled the rebellion. He had been in frequent communication over the issue but was countermanded through instant and remote orders. There are important issues implicit in these actions. Headrick's argument is that imperialism introduced new relationships of European colonists over native subjects and those of the home country over its agents in the colonies. These relationships were tense and 'rapid communications only made these tensions more instantaneous and more difficult to defuse'.3 However, this judgement was made on an analysis of the Jameson Raid 4 and the Fashoda incident and is insufficient for the complexities of this less infamous case. Hardinge had followed typical patterns of problem solving and control within a British tradition of divide and rule. He was backed up by military force yet in an immediate situation of scarce coercive resources. The telegraph opened up options for a solution based on the wider resources of empire and the ability of central power to allocate and prioritise from a distance, based on its interpretation of his evidence. Hence local military and diplomatic solutions were overruled through the immediacy of communications, the impatience of the Foreign Office and an analysis which saw the deployment of troops from India as an appropriate and punctual measure.
1 2

Telegram: Foreign office to Imperial East Africa Company, September 30th 1892 PRO FO/403/172 Mungeam GH (1966) British Rule in Kenya 1895 – 1912 Clarendon Press, Oxford p23 3 Headrick 1991:69 4 On this point, Harry Johnston noted that although he was informed of the Jameson raid by telegraph, ‘ the first whiff of rumour concerning Jameson’s action came not by telegram but by a native report, showing how fast news could in those days be carried from one native tribe to another. Native opinion in those days was always anti-Boer and pro-British, and the first rumour was optimistic, presaging Jameson’s success ’ Johnston HH (1923) The story of my life Bobs-Merrill, Indianapolis pp304-305. Clearly rumour transfers quickly but with poor error correction.


This showed interactive diplomatic problem-solving through electrical media running parallel with local means of communication. Clearly patterns of administration had shifted from responding to situations in time sequence to formulating new methods of coordination. These were governed, not by the time and date of arrival of messages but by careful prioritising of situations while gaining the advantage of immediate response. Military and diplomatic action had secured a strategic bridgehead and British territories to the north and west of Lake Victoria. Electric communications had been essential to this process and could run ahead of the more expensive, more permanent, railway lines. Administration had to be adjusted to the edges of immediacy and process. Procedures began to be formulated from this greater understanding. Telegraphic communications continued to be used in a reactive manner but the building of the railway took lines ‘ upcountry’ and there was a change in strategic emphasis. The territory of Uganda was an essential part of British control of the Nile and completed an uninterrupted swathe of conquered territory extending from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Once secured, the civilising mission and economic enlightenment began in earnest and production and settlement were consolidated. In this consolidation phase, electronic communications started to offer continual and reliable access from rural areas to metropolitan centres and to Britain. The influx of settlers and administrators into the region to govern land and natives stimulated complex structures that integrated government, economic and social administration. Until telegraph and rail reached further inland interim communication systems continued to mimic established native means of remote communication. Native runners were used to transport messages and mail parcels while caravans safeguarded the transport of baggage and people. Meanwhile, the railway and the telegraph were becoming the new communications backbone of the imperial era. Co-ordination of different time-spaced means of communication now had to be translated to rural situations and district administration. The local government of a stable settler economy was to be arbitrated by junior officials, usually fresh from Britain and with little training.

Time and space
The potential time for messages to reach their destinations in East Africa was reduced again and again by technological change. Time and space were compressed5. Runners and caravans were seemingly redundant but the system was far short of complete. Four key systems of communication existed side by side. African communication systems were predominantly local but co-existed with Arab-dominated caravan trading circuits that stretched from the coast to the Rwenzori mountains. European communication systems were based on a formal mail system that travelled by steamship, railway, runner or caravan. The exception was the telegraph system. It used ‘ virtual’ transport systems. It negotiated distance in a new manner where human systems and procedures were not yet synchronised with its possible effects. The telegraph caused an imbalance in imperial frames of time and space and the effects were reflected in the mechanisms by which the African territories and African populations were governed.


My earliest reference for the term is Janelle D (1968) ‘Central place development in a time-space framework’ in Professional Geographer Vol. 20 pp5-10


The telegraph introduce technical elements and terms that can be understood in a cultural context as well as changes in administrative and economic procedures. They provide useful benchmarks of data exchange, information processing and practices of communication. The four technical elements that I see as important throughout histories of telecommunications are bandwidth, protocol, compression and encryption. Bandwidth refers to the capacity and accuracy of the carriers - cables, transmitters and repeaters that comprise communications hardware. For the 'software' there was a slow change from human to automatic control of messaging with the three elements of protocol, compression and encryption. Protocol means 'the set of rules defining and controlling the interchange of information between two sets of data processing equipment'6, in other words the lingua franca by which machines communicate in networks. Compression is the improvement in the rate of data exchange through space saving and error correction techniques which allow more efficient and cost effective use of carrier media. Finally, encryption adds security to data exchanges, locking content by a means of a cryptogram or algorithmic formula. The three elements operate in different combinations, for instance a secure protocol can also compress data. Telegraphic communications offered international message delivery through the protocol of Morse code. Cost was charged per word7 which meant that messages tended to be short and highly priced. However the time and distance changes were startling, a message from the East African coast in the late 19th century could typically arrive in Britain between 10 minutes and an hour after transmission8. With human transmission of messages, skilled operators could sustain a data transfer rate of around 370 characters (75 words) per minute. However, improvements in hardware cable technology and transmission techniques allowed duplex (two-way) and multiplex connections which made more efficient use of the potential bandwith. As early as 1905, a Time Division Multiplexed 9 telegraph service was introduced in Britain which could operate a maximum of six full-duplex telegraph connections over a single wire10. Data transfer increased to 1900 characters (380 words) per minute with improved cable technology and the advent of teletype machines. Encryption and data compression were simultaneous. In 1902 the operators of the Eastern and Southern African Telegraph published Via Eastern Telegraph Social Code and among other examples of the genre it offered shorthand ‘ encryption’ for long distance telegrams. Headrick calculates that a ‘ code word replaced an average of 5.95 plain words and in one commercial code, each code word did the work of 27.93 plain words’ , while Whitelaw’ s Telegraphic Cypher, published in 1903, consisted of, ’ 20,000 five-letter words that could be joined to form 400 million ten-letter combinations admissible in electronic telegraphy’ 11. At the same time, technical improvements in signal transmission increased the capacity of the cable as a carrier medium. By 1930 a public telegraph facsimile12 (fax) service was operating from Britain and pictures could be ‘ wired’ . The telegraph had mastered the
6 7

Edis EA and Varall JE (1995) Newnes Telecommunications Handbook Newnes, London p242 standardised as a maximum of ten characters (Headrick 1991:45) 8 Headrick 1991:33, ibid:200 9 messages sent in parts and simultaneously according to free spaces in the stream of data 10 van Duuren J, Kastelein P and Schoute FC (1996) Fixed and mobile telecommunications: Networks, services and systems Addison Wesley, Harlow, UK p141 11 Headrick 1991:45-46 12 Lewis LV (1935) Picture telegraphy Post Office Green Paper No.17, GPO, London p5


efficient negotiation of distance. The telephone would complement and supplement its services. Information imbalances Exchanges of telegrams between the Colonial Office and distant officers increased massively in the years 1880 to 1900. Total telegrams received by the colonial office in 1880 numbered 2,800, in 1890 this had jumped to 3,800 but by 1900, 10,000 telegrams were received each year1. There was an explosion in the amount of data that had to be sorted and analysed and, ‘ The great dividing point was the telegraph. By this medium information was transmitted piecemeal; abstractions from reality arrived and departed quickly, irregularly and unpredictably...Not regularity but jerkiness came to characterise the process of Imperial decision making’ 2. Virtual control from London could never take place in a routine manner until there was coexistence and compatibility between means of communication at all levels. Time-space edges remained. The military campaigns had tested precedents but East Africa remained differently paced within the empire. Before the arrival of the telegraph, dispatches had taken three weeks to be delivered to London and so a reply would arrive a minimum of six to seven weeks after the initial effort. Official communications with the Foreign Office assumed the pattern of messages by telegram followed by explanatory documentation by sea, on account of the high cost per message.3 These discrepancies were repeated at the social and geographical edges between different means of communication. At first this was at the regional level in the period of expansion from the coast. Later larger numbers of more widely dispersed District Officers and ultimately African Assistants took over the management of local judicial and revenue structures. These operated in the different time-spaced edges between rural life and the wider administration of empire. The new pace of telegraphic communication helped initiate Kampala’ s first modern currency crisis:
‘ There is now a telegraph which makes known within an hour important events in Europe, whereas it used to take two months to send a message by special runner to the coast to be cabled to England. The news of the death of Queen Victoria reached Uganda soon after it was announced in London. The effect of the news on the natives was strange; within an hour after it had reached the country, the announcement was made in the market place, where a brisk trade was being carried on, and the value of British coinage, rupees and pice, dropped to nil; rupees were immediately sold for two or three cowry-shells, the regular value being a thousand cowry-shells for a rupee. It required some explanation to enable the people to understand that there was no depreciation of coinage through the death of European sovereign. They had been accustomed to think that everything changed when the king died, and that even all reforms might change or end with the king, and lawlessness reign, until the new king acceded and began a new order.’ 4

Not only had the monarch died but also the currency that bore her image. With such timely information who would run the risk of dead money? History had shown a different lesson to the Baganda but this was the immediate, the new information order.

1 2

Gann LH and Duignan P (1978) The rulers of British Africa 1870-1914 Croom Helm, London p57 John Cell quoted in Headrick 1991:67 3 Mungeam 1966:19 4 Roscoe J (1921) 25 years in East Africa Cambridge University Press, UK p76


Roscoe’ s anecdote of the death of Queen Victoria conveyed difference. Both parties recognised a significance and authority of the telegraph message and delivery of information through imperial channels. Both reacted differently to the news. To Roscoe it meant that the Queen was dead but customarily this would have been suffixed by ‘ God save the King!’ . The only reported fact that those in the market heard, was that the British monarch was dead. There were two points of variance. Market traders and others present misunderstood the basis of the currency they dealt with on a daily basis and that some survived by. The British had never explained this fully, they had with-held information. The second point is that those in the market place were ignorant of the tradition, place and recent news of the British monarchy. Again there was an information gap. This was followed by rumour, and quite literally, speculation. The British imperial system comprised communications order, currency and monarchy. They validated each other but had been simultaneously jolted by the maintenance of an information hierarchy and shallow intercultural understanding. The advent of electronic means of communication introduced new relationships of literacies, beyond language, defined by the telegraph as a technology that could negotiate communication over a great distance and in a short time. Human contact for Africans was local, rural and personal while the operation of British power was international, imperial, institutional and highly technologised. The British acted both by remote orders and at the same time, in response to local stimuli. Aggressive conquest was supplanted by an electric system that linked existing power structures and the colonial administration provided the interface between the two cultural and economic frontiers of contact. This modern system had procedures to process, store and relay information through both electronic and traditional media.

The negotiation of East African communications
Following the consolidation of military and strategic control in 1902, the idea for the creation of an integrated East African administration was floated. These tentative moves to join Uganda and Kenya under the rule of Zanzibar failed. A core reason for this was the lack of a communication infrastructure, notably the limited telegraph network. A line had just reached Kampala but such an essential component of high level regional control was not properly established. At the same time as the decision was taken, other technologies that were new to the region were being deployed. Most important amongst these were the network of railways and lake steamers, the telephone and the wireless transceiver. These heralded speedier transport of goods and mail, personal voice communication and radio telegraphy respectively. They were communication complements or substitutes for the existing telegraph system but were not adopted wholesale and on a regional basis. This was primarily due to the net costs of deployment and the financial constraint of a continuing state subsidy to Eastern Telegraph for its imperial networks. The nature of the East African telegraph – long distance, high cost text messages – made African use of the system difficult. It co-ordinated processes of migration and distanciation, very apparent in wartime recruitment and deployment of troops, but remained exclusive. For Africans represented a huge cultural break from oral traditions that valued greetings 28

and the context of a message.5 Until 1919 the primary African experience of the telegraph was as additional labour for the construction of the railways. They were coerced into ‘ social labour’ projects and into wage labour in order to pay rent and the native hut taxes.6 This same trend of proletarianisation also opened up economic opportunities and, with growing participation in the modern economy, there were opportunities to interface with the new communications. Technological transition and the Great War The telegraph had allowed an instantaneous global information potential and possessed a symbolic importance through its rarity, reliability and directness. With regional integration, uniform colonial communication infrastructures allowed wider and more focused information exchange over distance. Telephone and radio communications were incorporated very slowly by the separate colonial telecommunications authorities and they complemented rather than superseded the telegraph. They offered a wider portfolio of communications options for different circumstances. The heavy investment in the rail and telegraph systems, security concerns and the threat of technical and organisational upheaval influenced these gradualist policies. The railways had been at the vanguard of industrialisation in Britain. The slowing down of railway construction there pointed to an overcapacity in production for the home market and there was a need for new outlets. Subsidy aided both domestic producers and the imperial communications project. In East Africa the newly built railways secured viable settlement and the exploitation of the protectorate’ s agricultural and mineral potential. These practical advantages were more strongly influenced by the ideology of progress and civilisation dependent on both the telegraph and rail networks that Rhodes had envisaged. The Uganda Railway offered massive transport capacity for goods, people and mail. They carried the components for the assembly of lake steamers in Lake Victoria and the combined rail and ship link offered a total journey time from Mombasa to Entebbe of 5 days compared with the arduous three week journey by caravan. The quick and reliable mail service it provided substituted some of the telegraph’ s functions and its impact was greatest in Uganda. The runner system was now limited to internal communications but most importantly the country was opened up. The territories of East Africa were linked into British and German economic patterns before they were formally conquered. The two forces were increased pressures to trade according to European domestic demand and through moral pressures against slavery. Livingstone’ s hope for a replacement of slaving by the alternative economies of modernisation was fulfilled as demands to make the colonies pay for themselves together with pressures for military strategic control encouraged state investment in railways and telecommunications. Parallel changes to economies incorporating export commodity production and monetisation of the regional economies, through hut taxes, indentured labour and new

Workman gives a jaded view of African communication. ‘ Natives conversing in the presence of even a man who has carefully studied their language can usually, if they so wish, prevent his following other than perhaps the general trend of the conversation: this they do by using local idioms and metaphors that will entirely defeat the non-African.’ These represent a rich seem of data compression and encryption lost on a colonial postmaster. Workman A (1937) The reminiscences of a colonial Postmaster-General Wyvern Press, London 6 See for example Bernstein H (1977) ‘Notes on capital and peasantry’ in Review of African Political Economy Vol. 10 pp60-73; Kitching GN (1980) Class and economic change in Kenya Yale University Press, New Haven


regimes of property and land rights, saw new relations of production and accumulation spread. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, slaves had been freed and were slowly incorporated into wage labour economies. Coastal economies shifted towards the production of spices1 and the facilitated the trade with the empire and the world2. The spaces of the interior were shattered. New communications routes ran direct and through the temperate Kikuyu highlands, crossing the taboo border between Busoga and Buganda where Archbishop Hannington had attempted to pass and been killed, then towards the new Ugandan capital, Kampala. Trading routes were bypassed and tribal allegiances which had ensured the durée of economic exchanges, patterns of intercommunication and the long distance relationships with the coast and beyond were first destroyed, then redefined by the British and Germans. The infrastructures of colonialism spread the influence of economic possibility and the laws and rules of political domination. Missionary influence in larger policy was drowned but the process of conversion to Christianity and the didactic agenda of civilisation continued. Regional integration was finally achieved in 1926 with Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar and Tanganyika united under a central British administration. This followed the German defeat in the First World War. A key component of their loss of the Tanganyika Protectorate had its roots in telecommunications infrastructure. The German administration relied on Britain for all but one of their land-lines and operated four radio facilities at Mwanza, Bukoba, Tabora and Dar es Salaam. The telegraph lines ran through Zanzibar, Northern Rhodesia and Uganda and were cut at the declaration of war. The Dar es Salaam radio station was destroyed by Royal Navy bombardment four days later and the Tabora installation was destroyed by the end of the year.3 Meanwhile the British were able to intercept German radio messages in a way that was not possible with cable transmissions. Again, they used distant resources for the decryption process. The messages were telegraphed via Zanzibar, Aden and Bombay where the code was broken down by Indian Army experts in Simla. The cryptographic production line stretched cross the empire and lived by Morse. The German defeat in 1919 led to the mandating of Tanganyika to British control by the League of Nations and the new administration purchased the rail and telegraph infrastructure which had remained sound. The radio network in Tanganyika had been virtually destroyed but now at least one radiotelegraphic relay was assured for each colonial centre as back-up for the telegraph. By 1923 there was an uninterrupted telecommunications infrastructure from the Cape to Cairo and linked by Morse code, with the telegraph and the radio as its backbone. This allowed full, live, regional intercommunication within the same time frame offering an integrated colonial mode of information. Nodes within Africa had continuous contact with colonial hubs and a PanAfrican information infrastructure was achieved. Private communications were providing new information rôles. The telephone promised personal security for settlers and both code and voice provided channels for commerce.
1 2

Cooper 1992:214-215 Ibid. 216-230, Sheriff 1987:245-248 3 Matson AT (1971a) Wireless interception on Lake Victoria, 1914-1916 Uganda Journal Vol. 35 No.1 pp43-48, this information p44


Communications patterning was very clearly interlinked with settlement patterns. Europeans set up their communities close to the railway and telegraph and the successes of consequent means of communication were dependent on their allocative resources. The East African corridor, from the coast to the Rwenzori mountains was wired, railed and permanent roads began to interconnect the ‘ region within a region’ . Those within the corridor had more contact with these forms of communication. In the articulation of these changes, institutions and actors closest to important information transactions gained different communication skills. All the while, direct access was not possible for the largest part of the population. The telephone arrived in East Africa at the turn of the century. It ran on the same copper lines as the telegraph and the only physical modification to be made for its use was a change of circuit at the end of each line. It complemented the secure and encrypted official exchange of information through the telegraph by introducing the certainty of voice communications. It was however very expensive to phone either internationally or regionally as it substituted lucrative telegram traffic, both inbound and outbound. Regional telephone lines were eventually laid to separate traffic but there was no contemporary substitute for the reliability, speed of data transfer and security of coded telegraph messaging. No trunk telephone calls were possible commercially except to a few important points such as from the colonial centres; Nairobi, Zanzibar, Mombasa and Kampala/Entebbe. Public telephone calls could only be made from Post Offices in or near to these urban areas4. The first cabling of Africa had brought the telegraph. Technological change in the communications sector was primarily a tool of military and diplomatic consolidation. In East Africa the technologies arrived in a different sequence to Europe, the USA and South Africa. The position of the telegraph was therefore fixed before other means arrived and its decline was gradual. It led to the development of the point to point delivery system of the telex and yet became too expensive in comparison to international direct dialled telephone calls. The Eastern Telegraph company was nationalised as Cable and Wireless by the British government in 1929. The change in means of communication was marked by the change in the corporation’ s name.

Nation and cultures of resistance
The other consequence of the war was the incorporation of Tanganyika with the British territories of Zanzibar, Uganda and Kenya. Swahili therefore became more relevant as a lingua franca in conjunction with English and the region acquired more significant territorial integrity as well as comprising an identifiable political unit. The idea of an integrated British East Africa became a conceivable target and was achieved before the second World War. The Tanganyikan economy and communications links were subsumed into this larger colonial unit. German influence was effectively ended. Hilferding’ s account of the spread of ‘ national’ consciousness and of the ‘ negation of the negation’ of the colonial ideal is a highly appropriate model for East Africa. An account of

Workman 1937:56


cultural responses, resistance and incorporation of some of the ideas of the colonialists involved the digestion of the universals of their civilising project. African contact with the technological, hierarchical and ethnocentric cultures of imperialism had brought two initial reactions. First was ‘ resistance by traditional rulers against excesses of new regimes of control’ 5 in rural areas and timespaces. Second was from those closest to the beach-head of modernism on the Swahili coast: incorporated Africans and rescued slaves. They constituted two periods in interaction and response between Africans and Europeans. Boahen described the period 1890-1919 as the first phase of colonisation, characterised by a succession of rebellions: The 1905 Maji Maji uprising in Tanzania against the Germans, and successive uprisings against the British: the 1911 Kamba revolt in Kenya, in 1913 the Mumbo cult in Kenya, 1914 the Giriama of Kenya, and in 1911 – disturbances amongst the Acholi in Uganda. All these were reactions to excesses of European demands for land, money and labour. The common factor is not only emphasised by the type of ruler but that they represented spreading frontiers of direct colonial rule moving from the coast to the interior of the Protectorates. They were rural areas that resisted the demands of European rule. Their pacification and the destruction of their military capability allowed the extension of wider processes of modernisation and the channels for the spread of global influences. Boahen placed the second phase of the colonial era from 1919 to 1935 and described African resistance as an ‘ intensification and a more sophisticated application of the old strategies.’ 6 This included organised resistance through dance societies but his account conflicts both chronologically and in emphasis with the Beni dance societies described by Ogot and Ranger7. East African culture was reflected in structures of imperialism. Dance societies were ‘ deeply rooted in pre-colonial dance and competitive modes’ and their themes originated and were strongest in, the ‘ freed slave’ settlements run by missionary societies on the Swahili coast of Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Kenya. The Beni dancers, ‘ copied European military and ceremonial uniforms; took pride in their skill at drill; and often put on lavish displays of loyalty to the British Crown’ .8 The form directly mimicked and parodied colonial masters and embodied it in a dance culture that lasted from the 1880s, the start of European colonial penetration, to the 1960s, the end of decolonisation. Ranger writes that it, ‘ expressed at various times and places the aspiration of the young Swahili freemen who wanted to take the lead in modernisation; of the young men in the countryside who wanted to be given the respect due to their experience in migrant labour or at the battle-front’ .9 The spread of Beni culture revealed patterns of cultural spread through East Africa and its people. It did not ‘ arrive from the sky’ as radio and television based culture enters the home and community. Ranger sums up this relatively even spread of culture through diverse livelihood and customary zones thus:

5 6

Boahen AA (1987) African perspectives on colonialism Johns Hopkins University Press, London Boahen 1987:75 7 Ranger TO (1975) Dance and society in eastern Africa 1890-1970: The Beni Ngoma; Ogot BA (1974) Zamani East African Publishing House, Nairobi 8 Ranger 1975:1-17 9 ibid:165


‘ Under colonialism these very different systems were lumped together by the common predicament of colonial rule, and communication between them was increased through the flow of migrant labour to the coast or to the south and the flow of African administrative, proselytising, and entrepreneurial talents to the interior. Communications by road and rail and a patch-work system of western education also aided a more even flow of people and ideas. But it was by no means the intention of the colonialists to produce homogenous colonial societies: ‘ traditional’ unevenness was valued because it allowed for divide and rule or produced localised focus for protest which was easy to deal with.’ 1

Ngugi wa Thiong’ o underlines the resistance inherent in dance. Harry Thuku’ s confrontation with colonial authorities shown below, was celebrated in dance. According to Ngugi:
‘ One of the songs was called …I t was sung and danced by women and it became so powerful a statement of protest that it was banned by the colonial authorities. There was another called . Again, a powerful combination of song, poetry and dance, mostly by young men. This became very popular particularly in central Kenya. It was also banned’ .2

Ranger and Ngugi described not so much the frontiers but McLuhan’ s ‘ backtiers’ or the psychological front regions and back regions of Giddens formulation of modernisation.3 Beni and dance associations were the carriers of transformed yet essentially homogenous cultural messages. It equated to a process working from the bottom up, from the base to the superstructure, from the grassroots, the spread of a new hegemony. These relatively peaceful and subtle responses to change revealed longer and more gradual reflexive cultural negotiation with the influence of the modern and were in contrast to the armed resistance of ‘ traditional rulers’ . However, confronted by the sharp end of territorial acquisition, incorporation through taxation and forced labour of colonial rule, there were stronger cultural patterns at the centre of antagonism. The dances of   offered immediate, ‘ strong, colourful and erotic images’ cultural currents of resistance. Physical resistance and modern knowledge There was a large influx of settlers to Kenya followed the end of the Great War and this was felt especially in Kikuyu areas – the temperate, soon ‘ white’ , highlands. The local population had a greater experience of Europeans than the new arrivals did of Africans. They were denied channels of dialogue in the absence of any democracy, because of the prioritisation of settling British immigrants and in the mode of administration that operated on paper records and written correspondence. Matthew Njoroge, the first secretary of the Kikuyu Association, described a incident in 1919 where the British colonial government allotted a portion of his family land to a former army Captain. ‘ Stephen, my brother…o ne of the first Africans to read English was working with Canon Leakey...he asked [him] to write a letter from us to the Government saying that 240 acres of our land had been taken in 1908 and now the Government was taking some more and we had nowhere to go. The
1 2


in the form of hot

ibid:1-2 Ngugi T (1993) Moving the centre: The struggle for cultural freedoms East African Educational Publishers, Nairobi pp88-89 3 Giddens A (1991) Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age Polity, Cambridge pp2021 4 Ngugi 1993:89


letter was written, and Stephen and I signed it…a nd it was sent to the government. They listened and the land was not taken and we all thought the power of this letter a most wonderful thing.’ 1 The spread of literacy was far more than an understanding of the shapes and characters of written text and script. It was levelling, creating a changed arena of expression yet was more powerful because of its tacit acknowledgement of European means of communication. In 1919 the Postmaster-General of the East African Protectorate had inaugurated systems of training local telegraphic operators. The students surpassed the expectations of instructors, which led the Inspector of Telegraphs to report that, ‘ The efficiency of fully trained native telegraphists, as purely manipulative operators, is quite equal to that of Europeans and certainly far superior to that of the Asiatics previously employed in this country’ 2. Africans had been incorporated as skilled labourers in a new means of communication succeeding European then Asian workers in an established racial hierarchy. Following both their examples they founded local trades unions. Many had also been involved in the 1915-1918 East African campaign and greater political consciousness and orientation to modern methods of production, communications and conflict was a result of both. The growth of Asian communities was integral to the building of the railways and they were succeeded by waves of increasingly higher status more higher capitalised immigrants. Similarly ruled by the British, and with a more common use of (subsidised) telegraphs in the Indian empire, electronic means of communication were familiar. In the commercial field, wholesale purchasing and ordering became plausible within an accessible network of retail outlets that catered for immigrant Asians, Europeans and Africans too. This constituted one layer of communications but remittances, investments and receipts provided a supplementary layer in parallel to these transactions. They could be transported separate of people and goods. The postal system handled ‘ many hundreds of thousand of rupees...remitted monthly by Indians in East Africa’ 3 but in 1921, cabled transfers of money and funds were made possible through a dedicated link between Zanzibar and India.4 In Uganda, demobilised Indian soldiers, railway workers and new immigrants also took to trading and became significant in the commodity trade.5 This was notable in the in locally controlled and produced cotton which had been priced through the telegraph regularly since 1905.6 In these ways specialisations within the use, carriage and deployment of information through the telegraph had developed in line with the expectations and social restrictions of the colonial power. African agency was restricted to within the physical mechanisms of data transfer yet they had excelled at the tasks they were set. Asian users adjusted to controlling transfers over new commercial and financial space while Europeans depended on the agency of both of these groups and retained ideological and structural controls over land and government. These developments had led to new regional understandings of
1 2

Boahen p42 quoted in Mungeam 1978:294 3 Workman 1937:28 4 See Colonial Office document PRO CO618/11 (1921) 5 Thomas and Scott 1935:344-7 6 Colonial Office documents PRO CO536/2 1905


The Kikuyu Association 13th July 1921 To: Prime Minister Chapelries India Office Lord Islington Wedgewood Jeevanjee London London London Lords Commons London

communication horizons and there were soon political consequences. East Africa replies to Westminster Material issues were at the heart of social unrest at the start of the 1920s and the loci of these disturbances were around Nairobi. The city had gained in importance as a point of communication, for mail, telegraph and railway and also because of its geopolitical location at the focus of the territories of the ‘ White Highlands’ . By this time the importance of the telegraph as the primary means of international communications had been reduced by a more efficient mail system based on the railway and ever faster steamships. It still held an important commercial and diplomatic role but had also become symbolic of transfers of power. In 1921 and 1922 ‘ native gatherings’ had resolved and transmitted demands through the telegraph, displayed in Figure AG. Harry Thuku and Rashid bin Sood had turned the ‘ invisible weapon’ on its owners.

Native Mass Meeting held Sunday 10th July over two thousand natives present declared Indian presence not prejudicial Natives advancement as alleged Convention of Associations -stop- Next to Missionaries Indians our best friends demanded repeal Natives Registration Ordinance compulsory taking of girls married women for plantation work culminating into immoral practice also increase hut poll tax -stop- Humble request apply native revenue for solely Native benefits specially education open schools important centres -stop- Condemned European settlers movement cutting down our already low wages -stop- Give franchise all educated British The dialogue over power now included an subjects...

Mungeam 1978:203


The Coast Arab Association: To: The Honourable Colonial Secretary January 28th 1922 Representative mass meeting Arabs and natives held under auspices of Coast Arab Association yesterday, unanimously resolved request Government grant them two seats Executive and four seats legislative Council as interim representations Rashid Bin Sood, Chairman of the meeting

extra means of communication as a strategy of resistance. The protest groups had spread their grievances internationally and this was the start of series of confrontations with the colonial order. Intercommunication with Negroes in the United States and an acceptance of the ideal of progress were spelt out in the telegram sent by the Jamaican PanAfricanist, Marcus Garvey to Lloyd George. It protested against the indiscriminate shooting at crowds gathering in a vigil after the detention of Harry Thuku, author of the Kikuyu Association telegram. On behalf of ‘ four hundred million Negroes through the Universal Negro Improvement Association...’ he decried ‘ ...the brutal manner in which your government has treated the natives of Kenya


East Africa.’ He gave a warning that Negroes would someday fight back with the ‘ modern implements of science’ .1 Protest was not only restricted to Nairobi and was indeed regional. Migration had ensured strong economic bonds between Zanzibar, Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya. The Young Baganda Association was inspired by local circumstances but communicated with the Kikuyu Association. Thuku wrote in 1921, that he could ‘ recognise no difference between the natives of Kenya and Uganda’ .2 Clearly, new colonial communications structures represented a mode of domination but at the same time they could be used as channels of resistance. Similar movements of ‘ tribal associations with latent if not manifest political objectives’ 3 spread and networks were born4 while objectives began to focus on independence and nationhood. The resistance was concentrated near the principal imperial nodes of communication and production where the influence and pains of modern and imperial processes were most concentrated. The leaders that would take charge after independence were part of these movements and from these metropoles. They had become fully versed in the importance of arteries of modernisation and lived off the same promises of change that were the mantra of progress.

The development of East African cultural reflection and political reaction reflects changes in social reproduction influenced by the incorporation of heterogenous elements into colonial systems that thrived on global interconnection. Through forces of violence, land acquisition, monetisation and commodity economies new circuits and junctions of exchange were implemented by an increasing dominance of traders, adventurers, diplomats then soldiers and settlers. The British and Germans marshalled imported ideas, commodities and disease and changed the fabric of local livelihood strategies, cultural transmission, and political rights. Communications technology had been a dividing point where international reach was bound up with a colonial current of change. Telegraph traffic carried orders – the wish lists of the colonial office, the shopping lists of the settlers and the ‘ standing orders’ of financial exchange. They were alien to local people and local élite’ s and represented remote control and instant reaction. The cabling of East Africa was a state project forced by security and underlined by the desire for profitable trading that expanded access points and nodes. The expansion of frontiers of colonialism and the gradual deepening of local experience developed local entry points – physical access to telecommunications, technical and linguistic familiarity. It was the convergence of financial, social and communication systems that led Hilferding to observe the developing negation of control in 1910. ‘ Capitalism itself gradually provides the subjugated with the means and resources for their
emancipation and they set out to achieve the goal which once seemed highest to the European nations: the creation of a united national state as a means to economic and cultural freedom.’

Drake S (1987) ‘Mbiyu Koinanage and the Pan African movement’ in Hill RA (1987)(Ed) Pan African biography Crossroads Press, Los Angeles p163, My emphasis. 2 Thuku H (1970) Autobiography of Harry Thuku Cambridge University Press, UK p19 3 Hyden 1994:80 4 Although Nyerere and Obote were educated together at Makerere College, Kampala


Hyden sketches the processes that operated in Kenya and Tanzania, also related to the Ugandan experience, of forming of this political and national consciousness. He shows that its roots were in the contradictions of divide and rule policies, Lugard’ s Dual Mandate, versus the operation of the colonial economy as an integrated system.
‘ Ethnicity became a principal force in Kenya and Tanzania in colonial days when the European rulers brought the populations of these territories into the global economy and forced people of different backgrounds to interact with each other. Africans, perceiving the need to defend and promote their interest formed tribal associations with latent if not manifest political objectives. As the demand and prospect for independence grew stronger after 1945, nationalist organisations began to take the place of these tribal associations. Africans realised they had a common enemy and that independence would be easier to achieve if they were united.’ 5

The adoption of the paradigm of the nation state and national liberation seemed logical following the examples of Latin America and India. Highly educated leaders took the reins of resistance movements and set about the process of political change. The next series of struggles followed the Second World War and gathered momentum towards the inevitable achievement of national liberation and global presence. The rebellion of the periphery had been formalised. Edward Said underlines the transition in cultural terms. This would be carried forward into the next era of development where national economic objectives defined a more sanguine approach to the parameters of interconnection:
‘ Just as culture may predispose and actively prepare one society for the overseas domination of another it may also prepare that society to relinquish or modify the idea of overseas domination. These changes cannot occur without the willingness of men and women to resist the pressures of colonial rule, to take up arms, to project ideas of liberation, and to imagine (as Benedict Anderson has it) a new national community, to take the final plunge. Nor can they occur unless either economic or political exhaustion with empire sets in at home, unless the idea of empire and the cost of colonial rule are challenged publicly, unless the representations of imperialism begin to lose their justification and legitimacy, and, finally, unless the rebellious ‘ natives’ impress upon the metropolitan culture the independence and integrity of their own culture, free from colonial encroachment. But having noted all these pre-requisites we should acknowledge that, at both ends of the redrawn map, opposition and resistance to imperialism are articulated together on largely common although disputed terrain provided by culture.’ 6

5 6

Hyden 1994:80 Said E (1993) Culture and Imperialism Chatto and Windus, London p.241


Chapter Three

From empires of control to networks for development
Between the end of the Great War and the beginning of the Cold War, imperialism declined as an ideology in East Africa and its element of ‘ guided progress’ was incorporated into Development. The telephone spread into western consciousness introducing concepts of exchanges and trunks yet remained a rare item in Africa. The immediate post-war period saw some of development delegated to institutions created by the Bretton Woods conference and the independence of ‘ Non-Self-Governing Territories’ was accepted as an objective. The blanket of modernisation theory underlined the inevitabilities of economic development until the 1950s and 60s, when more oppositional theories and protectionism came into coinage. Telecommunications had settled into domestic and commercial services universal in industrialised countries but with a low density of spread and use in East Africa, while the wireless innovations of satellite and microwave had helped colonise distance. The close financial, economic and communication bonds of colony and ex-colony endured the backlash of nationalism and dependency theory while the economic decline of both was traced through the 1970s and 80s. This co-existence remained until the economic restructuring of the ‘ British model’ was replicated on a global scale and is still being implemented in East Africa with the impetus of IMF structural adjustment programs. The convergence of computers and telecommunications has run parallel with the reconfiguration of the world economy and a further differentiation of the third world. Digital telecommunications and packet data have divided the world by ‘ bandwidth’ while former institutions and orthodoxies such as the state and ‘ development theory’ have been reshaped and devalued by trends encapsulated by globalisation, post-structuralism and Non-Government.7

Imperialism to Development
The interactions between colonisers and the colonised in the period 1880 to 1920 had shown that the introduction of new technological, cultural and economic practices could both destroy local ways of doing things yet be taken up by those most closely affected. The telegrams of Harry Thuku and the Coastal Arab association had invaded colonial communications links. Direct involvement had changed the perceptions and capacities of international communications in conjunction with technological learning and global contacts. Communications networks effected paths for radical networks and dissent, mission schools enabled access to common qualifications and wage employment enabled workplace organisation. The extension of these modern, monetised spaces of international reach, incorporated larger numbers of increasingly experienced African participants into the superstructure of imperial practice.


As in Non Government Organisation (NGO). Social sectors that have historically been driven without the motivation to govern or the motivation for surplus. I include education and health as broadly within this category.


Figure BA1 Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations
To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the last war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilisation and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant. The best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples should be entrusted to advanced nations who by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical position can best undertake this responsibility, and who are willing to accept it, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as Mandatories on behalf of the League. The character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of the development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions and other similar circumstances.... Other peoples, especially those of Central Africa, are at such a stage that the Mandatory must be responsible for the administration of the territory under conditions which will guarantee freedom of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition of abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic and the liquor traffic,

Figure BA2 Reflection on mandate





The fact that if native communities, in the words of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations dealing with mandates, are unable "to stand alone under the strenuous conditions of the modern world", implies that the native population must be regarded as the "wards" of the trustee, and appropriate measures for the protection of their interests are required. It implies also that their development should be designed to enable them ultimately to stand by themselves, that least as part of the whole community in the territory. Success in this aim can largely be measured by the degree in which those responsible for government have been able to penetrate the native mind and to understand the intricate web of tribal life. Without this understanding it is impossible to achieve a real contact between ruler and ruled, and mutual misunderstandings and suspicion can be the only result. With it, it should be possible to build on existing tribal institutions a structure comprehensible to the native mind and suited to his ability, which will lead the native through the necessary stages of development.

These were unintended consequences of development. The spaces of native selfdetermination were limited by policies that shaped a national – read colonial – emphasis on infrastructures that led the way towards primarily commodity economies connected to the imperial centre. Information and telecommunications were domains of the state, from agricultural extension to export trading and telephones to telegrams. The trend that dictated communications control and priorities was that of the state disseminating from the centre through the links it governed. Infrastructure as a whole would remain the largest recipient of development funding in East Africa and political control over development would not be open to the participation of natives. Until independence in the early 1960s, the region was governed by a British hegemony while the ideology of development was defined by four strong forces. First was the international community, next the interaction between Conservative and Labour groupings in Britain, third the Europeans settled in the region and lastly, feedback from the locals and their representatives.


Colonial development policy – mandate and infrastructure The colonial administration in the 1920s was in an international climate of shifting moral imperatives, a local situation of organised resistance amongst natives deprived of political rights, and represented a settler community bounded by the Uganda Railway. The mandating of Tanganyika to the British by the League of Nations marked one end of a process of social change in East Africa. The period showed a shift towards on official policy of development where development programmes and grants were discussed at the Imperial Economic Conference of 1923 and financial provisions made in the Trade Facilities Act of 1924. The processes were cemented in the Colonial Development Act of 1929 and the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts of 1940 and 1945. The League of Nations covenant, shown in figure BA1, introduced trusteeship and tutelage as internationally enforceable components of the administration of Tanganyika. This international ‘ contract’ led to a more searching analysis of the position of Britain and its conduct of colonial administration. The report of the Joint Committee of the House of Commons and the House of Lords on the question of closer union between Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda and Zanzibar reflected on the implications as shown in Figure BA2. A cultural obligation to compromise and address local sensitivities had to coexist with an official line influenced by the economic interests of empire and settlers. The gap of the ‘ dual mandate’ had been addressed by the introduction of elements of social development. The agency of the native had been weighted into the empire-colony matrix as part of development – actively civilising the population rather than treating them an economic adjunct. The Imperial centre mobilised some of its resources and knowledge to be transplanted to the colonies. Sir Charles Jeffries, in the Colonial Office at that time, noted this process and also indicated the contributions of mission and non-government sources of development activity. He wrote that from 1924, ‘ a great deal of effective action was taken to provide the Colonial territories with carefully selected and highly trained administrative, professional and technical staffs, backed and guided by central advisory services with access to the leading authorities in this country on health, education, agriculture and other subjects. It is only right to acknowledge that much of this development, especially in the fields of education and medicine was made possible by the benefactions from American charitable organisations’ 1 Already a complex network of formal and informal institutions were crafting a technical and humanitarian development strategy that would coincide with the strong emphasis on laying down economic infrastructure. The priority and funding of interconnection East African union was proposed and investigated between 1924 and 1927 but met strong political opposition based on the different political and historic traditions and priorities of the four British colonies. However, shared infrastructures of trade and communications were agreed. Lord Delamere stated in 1923 that ‘ the policy of His Majesty’ s Government in that region...has always been to try, by linking up the customs, railways, telegraphs and post offices of those different territories, ultimately to bring them together in some form of federation.’ 1 Delamere – investor, settler, developer – saw that the rationalisation and
1 1

Jeffries Sir C (1960) Transfer of power Pall Mall Press, London p23-24 Hills 1976:439


configuration of infrastructure and intercommunication would be the basis of an East African integration. Administration and territorial consolidation would follow on from joining the ‘ main lines’ between places. These priorities were influenced by the centrality of the railway in the lives of settlers and in the economic development objectives of export commodity production. Simultaneously there was a need for colonial development funds2 to effect economic benefits for Britain. There are two interpretations of this type of investment. First it closely matches what would now be called bilateral or ‘ tied’ aid, where funds are given to install equipment supplied by the donor country. Secondly it was classical imperialism, as outlined by Lenin, where the colonial power was creating markets for home production for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. The rhetoric of the Secretary of State, L.T.S Amery, in pursuing the East African Loans Act of 1926, clearly crossed boundaries in order for the Treasury to give its assent. He said, ‘ I am afraid the Treasury has never grasped the idea that it is more profitable to spend money in keeping the industries in this country engaged in the production of rails, bridging material and locomotives than in paying for doles or unproductive relief schemes, or that the object of an Imperial guarantee should be to facilitate progress and not to find pretexts for making all progress impossible’ . Under either definition, the four East African countries would not see a large official programme of social development rather the continuance and domination of command economies and a highly ordered administration. The Act spelt out the massive investment in railways and communications and ‘ the only explicit limitation resulted from a government pledge by Sir Oswald Mosley during the debate on the bill that it would not be used to finance educational developments’ 3 A firm line had been drawn and there would be few funds for social development. Brett presents data on the costs of infrastructure and its overwhelming weighting towards railways, ‘ The Kenya-Uganda Railways spent some £16.5 million on capital investments between 1921 and 1933…B y 1932 Tanganyika’ s railway debt was £5.8 million out of a total debt of £8.9 million, and repayments amounted to £310,000 per annum or more than 13% of the total expenditure of administration and railway combined. These costs can be compared with expenditures in Kenya in 1934 of £170,000 on education, £125,000 on agriculture and £198,000 on medical services; and with £81,000 on education, £105,000 on agriculture and veterinary services and £194,000 on medical services in Tanganyika in 1935.’ 4 This underlines the common orientation of the different administrations in the period in the inter-war period. Development meant an overriding emphasis on the railway, trade and exports of commodities. Reach: telecommunication and wireless Communications arteries of East Africa drained regional development funds in order to carry away the agricultural surplus of the region while the balances of interconnection, social welfare and political representation were weak1. Brett notes that a failure to invest in
2 3

A precursor of aid Constantine S (1984) The making of British colonial development policy 1914-1940 Frank Cass, London p241 4 Brett E.A. (1973) Colonialism and underdevelopment in East Africa: The politics of economic change 19191939 Heinemann, London quote p296-297 1 This is dealt with in a general sense by Walter Rodney, Rodney W (1972) How Europe underdeveloped Africa Zimbabwe Publishing House, Harare pp228-229


roads, ‘ meant that development had to be concentrated into a limited number of regions’ 2 while telecommunications emphasised this concentration. The 1929 ‘ Report on eastern and southern Africa’ recommended that the, ‘ system of postal and telegraphic communications ought in its framework to correspond fairly closely to that of transport communications, for the latter affect the main lines for the circulation of trade and general movement throughout the territories much more than the colonial boundaries which have been imposed quite arbitrarily on the whole area.’ 3 Telecommunications were integrating mechanisms that radiated from the centre and colonial space was determined in practice by the strength of these links. Matson relates an example of the edges of this space in Karamoja and outlines a proposal to deploy the new technology of short wave radio. The Italians had operated a network of radio stations in their overseas possessions since 1910 and ran 11 stations by 1924 while the Belgian Congo was served by forty-two stations4. The Karamoja region of Uganda was designated suitable for the development of cotton production yet serious ethnic power struggles erupted in 1923. Sir Geoffrey Archer5, Governor of Uganda, ‘ decided against continuing an energetic administrative policy in this remote and badly serviced area…r ecommending the inauguration of a wireless service’ 6 This was consistent with the practice of deploying electronic communications to further security, military co-ordination and the consolidation of territory. There was a similar request for a wireless network in Northern Kenya, another region of nomadic/pastoral production and conflict in 1921. In support, the East Africa Commission noted that, ‘ the development of wireless communications in East Africa is of great importance and would be of great value to the administration and to the development of the country, and in our opinion it would be far cheaper than the extension of the existing system of ordinary telegraphic wires’ 7. While according to the later report it saw that the, ‘ air knows no frontiers, and this service, of such special moment to territories in which other means of communication are few, ought not to be allowed to be delayed or made costly by lack of co-operation.’ 8 The decision to shelve the plans was made by both Uganda and Kenya and neither W.F.Gowers, the incoming Governor of Uganda, nor the Kenyan Government would, ‘ allocate loan funds and budget for recurrent expenditure on wireless communications to the detriment of other development projects’ 9. Meanwhile another wireless network was proposed to cover Tanganyika and was actually installed in 1937. It was prompted by the descent into World War, ‘ as wireless was considered imperative for the containing of any uprising’ 10, presumably by an alliance of residual Germans and coopted Africans. Telecommunications had shifted from the immediate priorities of colonial administration in Kampala and Nairobi. The authorities had decided to ‘ make do’ with increasingly unreliable11 cable connections and recurrent development space rather than consolidate the entire territory by upgrading communications technology. Wireless communications
2 3

Brett 1973:297 Great Britain, 1931:130 4 Matson 1971b:54 5 Not a relative 6 Matson AT 1971b:50 7 Great Britain (1925) Report of the East Africa Commission Cmd. 2337, UK p126-127 8 Great Britain 1931:130-131 9 Matson 1971b:52 10 Clayton A and Killingray Khaki and Blue p251


were less permanent than cable and offered greater spatial flexibility yet they were a threat to the position of cable and the narrow development budget. Systems of colonial funding constrained the extension of communications space and these decisions were made by Kenyan and Ugandan authorities and administrators. The pattern of investment in communications infrastructures had followed the lines of the railways and of European settlers who did not stray far from the lines.

Dissent and social development
Colonial authorities could have implemented local government and some form of representation in the period – the idea was seen as a distinct possibility in the discussions of East African union. However this large step was not taken and points to the essential weakness of the colonial project – Europeans were not widely dispersed and power remained closest to them and their interests. This realisation went some way towards the fixing of asymmetries between empire and colony and revealed the limitations of the will to develop in the widest sense. Similarly technological developments in Britain – the telephone, the car and the road – were not paralleled by local installation and were even constructed at the expense of colonial development.12 The growing influence of socialists in the formulation of policy directions would however push forward an agenda far beyond that imagined by the bulk of settlers. Geographical as well as racial dualisms centralised economic and social modernisation programmes around commercial agriculture, urban settlements, the highlands and the coast. The colonial administration did not engage with the spatial inequalities that they had made concrete and the skewed political, economic and political development of the centre – extending from the Indian Ocean coast, through Nairobi and the highlands to Kampala and Lake Victoria. These policies and this geography gave the Baganda and the Kikuyu a leading position assured by their acceptance and uptake of modern practices13. Both had formalised land ownership arrangements, possessed developing political organisation and stood to gain from the modern resources of the centre. The exception was in the mandate of Tanganyika where the population was not as assertive and ‘ Tanganyika Africans would never, throughout the inter-war period, make demands for political emancipation’ 14 However there was a level of dissent and Ingham observed that in 1922, ‘ Dar es Salaam Indians closed their shops to protest the arrest of Gandhi’ 15 This goes some way to proving that there was in both senses a demonstration effect. Contact with dissidence, and with the

Hills 1976:422-423 reported that Lieutenant-Colonel F.D.Hammond, chair of the Inter-Colonial Railway Council, had calculated interruptions to the telegraph service in the early 1920s. 'The total duration of interruptions on the through telegraph line between Nairobi and Kilindi amounted to thirty-three days out of 181 days [18%]. During the same period the telegraph between Nairobi and Kisumu failed to function on twenty-five days [14%].' 12 In the words of a Treasury commissioner in 1929, ‘ Already the perpetual drain involved in the supply of capital for telephones, for local municipalities, for the unemployment fund and for other purposes goes far to neutralise the effect of the sinking fund and is perpetually defeating the hoped for improvement in global credit. Great new commitments for Colonial development must be looked upon therefore with the utmost caution’ quoted in Constantine1984:178 13 See for instance Kanyinga K (1995) ‘The politics of development space in Kenya: State and voluntary services in the delivery of basic services’ in Semboja J and Therkildsen O (1995) (eds) Service provision under stress in East Africa’ Fountain Publishers, Kampala pp70-86, also Rodney 1972:137, 228 14 Austen R. A. (1967) ' The official mind of indirect rule: British policy in Tanganyika 1916-1939' in Gifford P and Louis WMR (1967) (eds) Britain and Germany in Africa: Imperial rivalry and colonial rule Yale University Press, London pp577-602 quote p581 15 Ingham K (1959) ‘Tanganyika in the Twenties’ in Tanganyika notes and records No.52 p20


links over which it was transferred, translated into an incidence and then a tradition of resistance. By 1937, official perceptions of the meaning and definition of development had shifted far enough to redefine its scope and priorities. Earl De la Warr, second in command and the Colonial Office in 1937 said that the ‘ real "development" needed in Africa today is not the investment of large sums of capital, but the improvement of the human material. The limiting factor is the low standard of health and intelligence of the average native’ . David Morgan emphasises this as concern for education and health and De la Warr added that, ‘ a definition of the word "development" that does not include functions such as I have mentioned is deficient.’ 16 These observations contributed to a gradual movement in the balance between policies based on capital funding of economic projects and the strengthening of the social component. The 1940 Colonial Development and Welfare Act was also inspired by the potential for colonial ‘ bad press’ in wartime and Malcolm MacDonald17, as Secretary of State for the colonies argued that in the future, ‘ criticism of Great Britain would be directed more and more against her management of the Colonial Empire and it was essential to provide as little basis as possible for such criticism’ , with the footnote that it was, ‘ an essential part of her defence policy that her reputation as a Colonial power should be unassailable’ 18 Explicit policies of social development and development planning were pushed forward by the interplay of guilt, responsibility, local demands and socialist ethics. There were a handful of government schools and a Director of Education for Kenya by 1920 but little provision of these services for natives despite an unfulfilled demand. The Young Baganda Association had written to Negro Farmers Conference of 1921 in Alabama 19 saying, ‘ that unless we Negroes get proper education and understand modern civilised ways, we will never be advance and enjoy the privileges of citizens today’ 20 Clearly this was a will to access the benefits of modernity and link them to an idea of development. This theme was echoed in Kenya, where at the same time, the Akikuyu Association had requested aid to found a school at Kikuyu, near Nairobi, in competition with the established Mission School21 By 1931, the Omuwanika [Treasurer] of Buganda had presented a detailed critique of an unequal system saying that, ‘ Many people say there should be a special type of education for the African, that it should be chiefly technical education? – That I do not agree with because we require leaders for our people; I say that the principal system of education as it is known in this country should be extended to us.’ 22 Elsewhere in the social field, pressure from the British Labour party and Trades Union Congress (TUC) led directly to the appointment of a Labour advisor to the Colonial Office in 1937 while the TUC’ s Colonial Advisory Committee also pushed the Colonial Office to establish a social services department in 193823. This led first to the requirement of the
16 17

Morgan DJ (1980) The origins of British aid policy Volume1 1924-1945 Macmillan, London pp59-60 Son of the first Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald 18 Constantine 1984:241 19 At Tuskegee, place of Grover Washington, whose experiences were translated into Swahili 20 Lowe DA (1971) The mind of Buganda: documents of the modern history of an African kingdom University of California Press, Berkeley p54 21 Mungeam 1978:494 22 Lowe 1971:95-96 23 Constantine 1984:232


1940 Colonial Development and Welfare Act (CD&W) for the provision of ‘ reasonable facilities for the establishment and activities of trade unions’ 24 in the colonies while the Act would widen the, ‘ interpretation of the word ‘ development’ , which would embrace social as well as material progress, and would include, for example, medical and educational services’ 25 The effects of the act were felt directly in the distribution of funds and the precedent it set for further legislation including the 1945 CD&W Act. East African development patterns reflected these changes and Table BB, a snapshot of planned expenditure for Uganda following the war, shows large educational and social expenditure Table BB Uganda: Planned Development Expenditure 1946-50 Education Health Water and Soil Roads Social welfare £1,000,000 £1,500,000 £ 900,000 £ 572,000 £ 680,000

24 25

Morgan 1980:125 1939 memo by Sir Bernard Bourdillon, Governor of Nigeria quoted in Morgan 1980:69, Constantine 1984:243


The climate of the post-war and the United nations
As the post-war era began, the tradition of formalised development planning was being established in the British colonies. In 1944 Colonel Oliver Stanley, the Secretary of State, had detailed its basis as supervised expenditure with the two aims of distribution: ‘ sound division of the money available as between different colonies’ , and targeting: ‘ a balance between development and welfare’ .1 This further reformulation of development priorities was essentially defensive. It was influenced by the internal forces of African organisation and the external forces after the war such as Indian independence, the anti-colonialism of the United States and the United Nations. Progress in British East Africa was further determined by Kenya and the future of its European settlers – power structures were inevitably more complicated by strong racial lobbying. The inevitability of independence was underlined however by the United Nations visiting mission to East Africa in 1948. It recorded that, ‘ political progress among Africans in Tanganyika was slow..’ , and, ‘ … recommended increased educational facilities.’ 2These requests and the findings were incorporated into development efforts by the British and it was an acknowledgement that the ‘ tutelage’ required by Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant was a means to an end – the independence of all East African colonies. The UN General Assembly Resolution 555 (VI) required ‘ administering authorities to report on measures, taken or completed, in the shortest possible time, to the objective of self-government or independence’ and the 1954 visiting mission to East Africa actually set a time period to independence of ‘ within a generation’ .3 The United Nations itself, had been put into place by independent countries from 1944 and to replace the League of Nations. Remaining bodies such as the International Labour Organisation and the International Telecommunications Union were reconstituted4 with the liberalism that shaped the United Nations’ own constitutional elements which followed from 1945. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank or ‘ the Bank’ ) and International Monetary Fund were created from the Bretton Woods conference, the former to attend to the reconstruction and development of post-war Europe then the world, the latter to cover national balance of payments shortfalls. The United Nations also created international institutions to address world-wide issues in development. Among others, the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) was constituted in 1946 and the World Health Organisation in 1948. East African nations did not become members of these organisations until their independence in the 1960s and larger developing nations and regions such as India, Brazil and Latin America as a whole were more directly affected and concerned with their mechanisms. On the whole, the United Nations addressed the balance between infrastructure/economic development and human/social development in a similar way to the changing British policy.

Development thinkers, development planners and continuity
The UN report, ‘ Measures for the economic development of under-developed countries’ published in 1950 was a preliminary development policy document and dealt with progress,
1 2

Morgan 1980:209 Chidzero BTG (1961) Tanganyika and international trusteeship Royal Institute for International Affairs, London pp164-165 3 Chidzero, 1961:165 4 for instance the ILO adopted the Philadelphia Declaration, with its new language of universalisms and freedoms, in 1944 as an extension to its constitution


technology, growth and population. It emphasised ‘ domestic action’ 5 together with a weighting of responsible organisation of society and institution building One of the members of the working group that put together the report was (later Sir) W.Arthur Lewis. He later published ‘ The theory of economic growth’ 6, a seminal analysis of growth and development and a major contribution to the gathering discipline and policy complex of development theory. Lewis and Albert Hirschmann, with his experience in Europe and Columbia, both established coherent theories of development that were incorporated into an orthodoxy that encompassed the study and practice of planning in developing and underdeveloped economies. Their units of analysis were sectors and nations and their epistemology was that of economics and positivism. Comparative advantage in the Heckscher-Ohlin theory7; Rodenstein-Rodan’ s balanced growth8; and investment and savings in Nurske’ s ‘ Problems of capital formation in underdeveloped countries’ 9 supplied the analytical co-ordinates of the work of Lewis and Hirschmann. Lewis’ theory introduced the analysis of ‘ dual-sectors’ within developing nations taking on board theories of comparative advantage and formulated the paths between components of the economy. Its plot was that developing countries comprised a small capitalist sector and large traditional sector with unlimited labour10. Industrial investment and capital accumulation in the capitalist sector determined growth and employment. Growth was slow because there are low rates of savings for investment while the manufacturing sector is not attracting labour from agriculture11. Lewis had identified both the structural and competitive advantages in traditional production such as agriculture and as the leading sector adjusted in conjunction with an industrial strategy, it would produce the balanced growth posited by Nurske12. Hirschmann however contended that heavy investment in any promising sector, agricultural or industrial, could lead to growth and take-off. This would be unbalanced growth or in Hirschmann’ s own atomic fission metaphor, ‘ utilising the energy which holds together economic nuclei of given minimum size in the building up of these nuclei’ 13 The two theories concurred on the theory of a leading sector which were contentious at that time – agriculture, industry or a new sector – and remain at the heart of dilemmas in development theory. However from the other side it was seen that the linkages and multipliers14 from any leading sector in which comparative advantage had been established could lead towards

Dadzie K (1993) 'The UN and the problem of economic development' in Roberts A., Kingsbury B. (eds) 'United Nations, Divided World'' Clarendon Press, UK pp297-326 section pp298-299 6 Lewis WA (1955) The theory of economic growth Irwin, Illinois 7 A theory of international trade that sees the matching of local factors and resources i.e. abundant labour and highlands would give an advantage for the production of tea. The theory ignores commodity price fluctuation and issues of imports and technical inputs. 8 His work saw the differences between strategies for developing and developed countries where limited choices implied higher risks and stronger planning with the aim of balanced growth. 9 Introducing the basis of ‘gap’ models of financial shortfalls. This model saw the difference between investment needed and that provided by domestic savings as a drag on an efficient and consistent allocation of resources. 10 zero marginal labour productivity i.e. subsistence 11 Todaro MP (1986) Economic development in the Third World Longman, UK pp67-71 12 Nurske (1962) Problems of Capital Formation in Underdeveloped Countries Oxford University Press, UK 13 Letter to Andre Gunter Frank in Hirschmann AO (1984) ‘A dissenter’s confession’ in Meier GM and Seers D (eds) (1984) Pioneers of Development IBRD, Washington pp85-118, quote p105 with his own emphasis 14 For instance car assembly could directly lead to local components production and indirectly to infrastructure such as roads and ultimately to the establishment of associated production such as oil refining and services like insurance.


economic growth. This ideas – linkages, multipliers and leading sectors – will be revisited and discussed, in relation to telecommunications in the 1990s in Chapter Five. The relationships between linkage based approaches and balanced growth would be forced in the 1960s by a shift in theoretical attention away from growth and towards analyses asserting spatial relations of trade and exchange. In particular, ‘ terms of trade’ , effectively the exchange rate between industrial goods and agricultural commodities, would mark a dividing point between two rationalities of progress. Before the impact of this divide had been felt, development planning in British East Africa made financial investments in large scale projects. Some were ‘ successful’ such as the giant Owen’ s Falls hydroelectricity project15 while others were unmitigated failures such as the groundnut scheme in Tanganyika16. These two schemes addressed the priorities of ‘ a balance between development and welfare’ approaching from either side of the agriculture/industry divide. The first met the long term power needs of Uganda and Kenya until the 1980s, the second collapsed into an environmental catastrophe where bad planning and investment produced no advancement of the agricultural sector. They show the nub of a central development problem in that infrastructure has remained a ‘ good investment’ although introducing technical dependencies and hangovers while agricultural schemes generally fail if they are not given the whole-hearted support and input of a number of complicated rural social structures. They also marked the pre-eminence of the state as planner, implementer and conduit for international finance while revealing some of the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. Large infrastructure projects were an unquestioned function of the state until ideologies and experiences gathered up until the 1980s questioned this approach. Telecommunications were a prime example of unquestioned investment in infrastructure and spending was high in the period approaching independence. Between 1949 and 1958 the Posts and Telecommunications Advisory Board of the East African High Commission reckoned on investments of £10 million.17 For this they increased the total numbers of telephone subscribers in East Africa from 10,950 in 1950 to 31,427 in 1957 and the total number of lines18 from 21,100 in 1950 to 66,340 in 1958. These represent increases of 36% and 35% per annum respectively while waiting lists varied between 7,300 and 9,000 potential subscribers. Figure BC shows that Kenya displayed a burst of growth higher than Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar yet not all data is presented. Headquarter exchanges were also built in the three of four countries during this period and these remain in operation, though upgraded and overshadowed by the skyscrapers named and funded by external, international telecommunications traffic. Figure BC Subscriber telephone lines in East Africa 1950-19631

1947-1954, see Hoyle BS (1971) ‘The economic expansion of Jinja, Uganda’ in Mountjoy AB (1971) (ed) ‘ Developing the underdeveloped countries’ Macmillan, London pp224-239 16 See for instance: Morgan DJ (1980) The origins of British aid policy Volume 2 Macmillan, London; Blaikie P (1983) The political economy of soil erosion Routledge, UK 17 Hill JFR and Moffet JP (1955) Tanganyika: a review of its resources and their development Government of Tanganyika, Dar es Salaam pp211-212 18 including extensions 1 Sources: Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (1994) Telecommunications and postal statistics 1932-1993 TTCL , Dare es Salaam; East Africa High Commission (1960) Annual Report 1949-1960 HMSO,


20000 18000 16000 14000 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0


Tanganyika and Zanzibar


Moving to independence The 1960s heralded independence for the nations of the former British East Africa. Political parties solidified from associations and movements while the solidity of British rule had been shaken by disturbances in the late 1940s and 1950s. These were notably; troubles over Baganda succession, democracy and the right to process cotton in Uganda which came to a head in 1949. In Tanzania, between 1956 to 1960, there was a rise in the number of staff-days lost to strikes from 58,066 to 1,494,773 while the number of workers joining strikes increased from 17,695 to 89,4951. These often had a political basis and were encouraged by the Tanzania African Union (TANU). In Kenya there was an attempted general strike ostensibly over wage demands in 19502 followed by armed opposition by the MauMau movement between 1952 and 1956. The subsequent ‘ emergency’ cost 13,324 lives and £55 million in extra expenditure up to June 19593 and contributed towards rapid independence. The centre of British East Africa had proved to be ungovernable and was independent by the beginning of 1964 while Tanzania had become independent in 1961 and Uganda in 1962. The 1960s also produced radical critiques of orthodox development theory while international aid emphasised the role of development institutions as they became more directly involved with newly independent states. The United Nations Council on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was constituted in 1964 which, headed by Raoul Prebisch, highlighted trade and exchange as development issues. By that time most colonies had gained their independence and were ‘ non-aligned’ in a Cold War climate. Development orthodoxy was now represented by Rostow’ s4 ‘ Stages of economic development’ replacing
London; Government of Uganda (1953-1971) Statistical Abstract Government Press, Kampala 1 Mwakyembe HG (1986) ‘The parliament and the electoral process’ in Shivji IG (1986)(ed) The State and the working people in Tanzania CODESRIA, Dar es Salaam p21 2 Zeleza T (1993) ‘The strike movement in colonial Kenya: the era of the general strikes' in TransAfrican Journal of History No.23 pp1-23 3 Ogot BA (1981) Historical dictionary of Kenya Scarecrow Press, London p136-137 4 A renowned supporter of the Vietnam War and colleague of Robert McNamara in the Kennedy/Johnson cabinets of the 1960s, see Rostow (1996) ‘The case for the Vietnam war’ in Parameters Winter 1996-1997 pp39-50


‘ big push’ with ‘ take-off’ and placing aid as an important lever. Aid would be targeted to correct economic blockages: savings, investment and acquiring foreign currency for infrastructure at one level. At another level it would help amend other barriers to progress such as education and the continuing dualisms of agriculture and industry. In this sense the paradigm had moved from economic analysis to a complex of technocratic measures for policy and planning. It was addressing structural specifics, not merely growth, yet emphasising the possibility of managed development under the agency of the state and international institutions. Measurement and computers Development practice had metamorphosed and saw a process of professionalisation with growing specialisms and the influence of a wider numbers of disciplines. These were regrouped according to affiliations to the expanding number of multilateral and bilateral development agencies and along new epistemological lines. Simultaneously the power of information gathering – larger numbers of statistics collated, indices compiled and the introduction of computer processing and analysis of data – was influencing empirical and positivist claims of the best way ahead. New statistical information was driven by theoretical demand, created in the course of research and generated by the state and international agencies. This tradition of measurement has largely followed the growth of the state and the power of computing. Theoretical and empirical connections can be shown jointly with a starting point of national accounting and measures of GNP and GDP. ‘ One of the earliest efforts of the United Nations was a drive – initially by Keynes – to create a vast improvement in national statistical services...’ , backed up by, ‘ … international collection, standardisation and reporting’ .1 The Harrod-Domar models of savings, investment and economic growth2 fed off this new data and this in turn drove forward a ‘ spell of quite profound research into the capital/output ratio’ 3 to determine precise investment levels in order to increase per capita income. Work on investment and growth also formed part of the work of Hans Singer and informed his calculations of centre-periphery relationships4. The effects of Harrod-Domar and investment/savings data were most prominent in the work of Nurske, Lewis and Rostow who categorised and formalised these economic measures into models of development. Their writings predominated in development planning of the 1950s and 60s which, ‘ … dealt with economy-wide application of linear, non-linear, and dynamic programming techniques…g reatly helped by the rapid advance of electronic computers, which did not exist in the early planning days.’ 5 Measures had multiplied and information gathering produced smaller components for larger measures. Lipton relates the progress of a portion of these changes introduced in the 1950s and lists new measures in rural development at that time as self-consumed farm

1 2

Brookfield H (1975) Interdependent development Methuen, London p26 Formulated between 1939 and 1946 3 Brookfield H, 1975:35 4 Singer HW (1950) ‘The distribution of gains between investing and borrowing countries’ American Economic Review Vol.40 No.2 5 Bruno M (1984) in Meier GM and Seers D (eds) (1984) Pioneers of Development IBRD, Washington pp332336 quote p333


input, rural non-farm employment and purchasing-power comparison.6 By the end of the 1960s Chenery and Kuznets were producing datacentric studies that thrived on huge historical datasets of multiple nations made possible by computer processing and analysis. Changes in economic structures and individual sectors could be generalised on a global scale with universal rules, backed up by the accuracy and neutrality of results derived from computation. Pyatt’ s critique of this approach is that it forms part of a major intellectual tradition of empiricism where, ‘ Any gap is in the database, not in the approach’ 7

Nationalism and Ideology – African Socialism
Independence bred national ideologies, dealt with here and below in the discussion of development crises. Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika shared the common approach of African socialism – Pan-Africanism tempered by local communal values – as they formulated policies of independence. This was an answer to economists, sociologists and ethnologists incorporating a cultural strategy towards development underlined by the lefthistorical epistemologies of Balandier, DuBois, Cesaire and Senghor. It was bonded by the intellectual ferment of the formal and political education of the new leaders. Kenyatta had written Facing Mount Kenya8 which was ‘ both a study of Kikuyu ways and style of life and a discreet political manifesto.’ 9 while Obote and Nyerere had studied together at Makerere College, Kampala. Following the Dar es Salaam-backed revolution in Zanzibar in 1964, the formation of a United Republic of Tanzania meant there were now three national units and three national plans. They channelled development efforts down nationalist paths to retain the appearances of internal cohesion and economic stability and Tanzania steered towards a populism shored up by a greater national ethnic homogeneity. Official Development Aid was also fitting into the development equation. Between 1964 and 1967, Tanzania derived an average of 35% of its development budget from aid while by the mid seventies the average had risen to 65%10. Statistics for Kenya show aid in the year 1963/4 at 82% of the total development budget and this had fallen to 46% in 1972/7311 These two figures show a contrary tendency to that expected if aid followed cold war politics – Kenya’ s approach was strategic yet pragmatic, and allowed the presence of western armed forces while Tanzania would follow a program of rigid socialism. Uganda however found an immediate split between ideology and the practicalities of a divided constitution. This led to the bloody confrontation between the Kabaka of Baganda12 and Obote in 1966 and was followed by a

Lipton M (1984) ‘Comment’ in Meier GM and Seers D (eds) (1984) Pioneers of Development IBRD, Washington pp44-50, measures on p46 7 Pyatt G (1984) ‘Comment’ in Meier GM and Seers D (eds) (1984) Pioneers of Development IBRD, Washington pp78-83, quote p79 8 Written after studying under Malinowski of Trobriand Islanders fame. It provokes contemporary controversy in Kenya for its acceptance of cliterodectomy and in academia for nationalist superstition see Chatterjee P (1971) ‘Introduction’ in Kedourie E (ed) Nationalism in Asia and Africa Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London pp76-77 9 Mudimbe VY (1988) The invention of Africa: Gnosis, philosophy and the order of knowledge James Currey, Indiana quote p77 10 McCall M and Skutsch M (1983) ‘Strategies and contradictions in Tanzania’s rural development: Which path for peasants’ in Lea AM and Chaudri DP Rural development and the state Methuen, London pp241-272, data p245 11 Ogot 1981:69 12 Edward Mutesa had served as an officer in the Grenadier Guards (Mazrui AA (1975) Soldiers and Kinsmen in Uganda: the making of a military ethnocracy’ Sage, London pp172-174) and saw the coup as an attack on civilisation and tradition (Mutesa E (1967) The desecration of my kingdom Constable, London p7) while Ranger saw the Baganda monarchy as one of Africa's invented traditions (Ranger T (1983) ‘The invention of tradition in


‘ move to the left’ and a program of nationalisation and central planning. Development plans were halted however by the political disruptions and most of the planning outlined by 1971 was never carried out in the chaos of the military rule that followed. Kenya and Tanzania’ s development paths were fixed by the mid 1960s. Kenya’ s was outlined in the document, ‘ African socialism and its application to planning in Kenya’ published in 1965. According to Ogot, ‘ Kenyatta described it as Kenya’ s economic “ bible” ’ , and he reported its aims thus:
‘ Kenya’ s socialism had to be derived from Kenya’ s cultural roots and not from Marxist analysis. Private foreign investment was to be encouraged; Private property was to be protected, and there would be no expropriation without full compensation; nationalisation would only be practised under certain special circumstances; inequitable distribution of wealth was to be controlled to avoid the use of economic power as a power base; foreign firms had to be encouraged to Africanise their management and to make their shares available to Africans who wished to buy them; and Africans were to be established in private enterprise through loans and by restricting certain trades and trading areas to citizen traders’ 13

Tanzania’ s direction was underlined by Nyerere’ s Arusha Declaration of 1967 and he had declared that:
‘ I do not think there is any free state in Africa where there is sufficient local capital, or a sufficient number of local entrepreneurs, for locally-based capitalism to dominate the economy. Private investment in Africa means overwhelming foreign private investment. A capitalistic economy means a foreign-dominated economy. These are the facts of the African situation. The only way in which national control of the economy can be achieved is through the economic institutions of socialism’ 14

These differences in development approaches were based on divergent tendencies in development theory, the specific political economies of the two nations and the personalities of the leaders themselves. In effect they had become independent yet autonomy proved elusive, Kenya concurred and Tanzania rebelled. Exchange, Transfer and Underdevelopment The role of trade and exchange in development had been addressed by Prebisch at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America1 where he had observed:
‘ For each peripheral country, the type and extent of its linkage with the centre depended largely on its resources and its economic capacity for mobilising them. In my view, this fact was one of the greatest importance since it conditioned the economic structure and dynamism of each country - that is the rate that which technical progress would engender. Similarly, this system of economic relations exaggerated the degree to which income in the periphery was siphoned off by the centres. Moreover, the penetration and propagation of technical progress in the countries of the periphery was to slow to absorb the entire labour force in a productive manner. Thus, the concentration of technical progress and its fruits in economic activities oriented toward
colonial Africa’ in Hobsbawm EJ and Ranger T (eds) The invention of tradition Cambridge, UK pp211-262, detail 233-236) 13 Ogot, 1981:12 14 Nyerere JK (1968)‘Economic nationalism’ speech of February 28 1967 in Freedom and Socialism (1968) Oxford University Press, UK p264 1 UNECLA (1950) The economic development of Latin America and its principal problems UN Department of Economic Affairs, New York


exports became characteristic of a heterogeneous social structure in which a large part of the population remained on the sidelines’ 2

Prebisch saw the international interaction of industrialised centres with peripheral agricultural commodity producing countries through economic relationships conditioned by unfavourable terms of trade between technology and primary goods. According to research by Singer, between 1948 and 1982 there was ‘ a tendency toward further deterioration of the terms of trade of primary exports by developing economies relative to their manufactured exports’ 3 Two themes were apparent, first the structural make-up of developing economies emphasised a traditional agricultural base while local industrial production seemed to offer the escape route from the continuing trade trap. Secondly the international system was distorted in favour of the few industrialised countries at the expense of the new ‘ Third World’ . Spatial distortions had then been identified between the rural/agricultural, urban/industrial and local/international levels through theories of dualism and now theories of dependency. Hirschmann’ s unbalanced growth had unconsciously articulated this fusion/siphoning/osmosis of planning and effects while Perroux and Friedmann4 incorporated geographical concepts to formulate ideas of unbalanced spaces and poles of growth. This line of thought was channelled into the ‘ sub-discipline’ of regional development and planning with the emphasis on the diffusion (read trickle-down) of progress/technology/development. Sociology and international relations contributed more radical theories highlighting disparities and identifying mechanisms of underdevelopment in the trade system and the capitalist world economy.

The movement embraced both a broad historical overview and an approach based on linkage and interconnection. This adds up to degrees of systemness which vary between the two poles of the development of underdevelopment on one hand and asymmetric interdependence on the other. The first, stemming from Frank and Wallerstein, has asserted that there is a world capitalist system that extends from developed countries through the third world and its regions in chains of centres and peripheries with the higher level underdeveloping the lower level. At its most extreme it asserts that development is not possible from the periphery as the exploitative ties of class and economic exchange extract any surplus. At the other end, along the lines of Nye1 and Cardoso, is an acknowledgement that there are connections between unequal economic and social units that can induce positive or negative effects. There is interdependence between these units in the form of a global stability and economic relationships yet there is a relative, not absolute, and shifting asymmetry between component nations and regions. The theoretical gaps between the two are filled by regional and spatial analyses of this inequality together with models of class, social stratification and dualism.

Prebisch R (1984) ‘Five stages in my thinking on development’ in Meier GM and Seers D (eds) (1984) Pioneers of Development IBRD, Washington pp173-204, quote p177 3 Singer HW (1984) ‘The terms of trade controversy and the evolution of soft financing: Early years in the UN’ in Meier GM and Seers D (eds) (1984) Pioneers of Development IBRD, Washington pp273-303, quote p282 4 both present versions poles of growth in the collection Friedman J and Alonso W (1964)(eds) Regional development and planning: A reader 1 Nye, JS (1968) Peace in Parts: Integration and Conflict in Regional Organization Little Brown, Boston


The paradigm’ s influence on policy was taken with the economic panaceas offered by Prebisch and UNCTAD for readjusting terms of exchange. Key components were the establishment of national programs of industrial development and often in cahoots with multinational corporations. Industry was allowed to establish behind protectionist barriers and in order for them to develop unhindered and this was usually in the form of a local monopoly ‘ concession’ . The sobriquet for this form of development was either ‘ import substituting industrialisation’ or ‘ infant industry protection’ but its aims were not entirely fulfilled. East Africa offers excellent examples of economies that went along with these ideas and offer a good insight into the workings of the theoretical side of the debate – attempts to delink from the world capitalist system in the case of Tanzania and to coexist in an unequal and asymmetric world in the case of Kenya. At the end of the process they showed many similarities on the surface – state predominance and patronage, a legacy of multiple parastatals and monopolies, strongly dualistic economies. While these changes were underway, Uganda was plunged into a 15 year civil war between north/south splits in the ruling class. Amin’ s rule pressured the sharing arrangement of the East African Community. It showed that the fragile post-independence coalitions could break down both nationally and regionally.

Post-colonial telecommunications and Pan-Africanism
Independence in South Asia, South and Central America and Arab countries heralded dramatic infrastructure programmes. With this came development initiatives in telecommunications based on connecting disparate parts of a country or region. In 1964, Friedmann stated that, ‘ large underdeveloped nations…f ind that their regional elements are insufficiently interrelated, that they are composed of regional “ islands” . The struggle is to achieve a common ethos and a closely interdependent national economic system. Such countries look upon their development as a process leading to the progressive internal integration of their national territories’ 2 This rationale, in the mould of regional and national development, led to the deployment of satellite systems by India, Brazil, Indonesia and the ArabSat coalition. African countries were also influenced by these arguments and their experience was strongly influenced by Pan-Africanism and the difficulties of implementing a large joint telecommunications project. The Panaftel network was born from the 1962 Regional Plan Committee for Africa in Senegal and was to realign the colonial communications infrastructures towards an interAfrican telecommunications system. Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda had operated a single UHF radio system for international connections and these were routed via London. A solution for targeting local communications seemed ideologically sound, could produce economic multiplier effects and a degree of continental autonomy . Panaftel implementation phases took place from 1972-1982 and 1983-1986 under the UNDP and the ITU. The main thrust was to install a series of analogue microwave connections between African countries and by 1987 there were a total of 35,000km of microwave links, 8000 km of submarine links (in West Africa), 43 international switching centres and 41 countries with international satellite earth stations3
2 3

Friedmann and Alonso, 1964:4 Much of this information is from Nuruddin MM (1996) Models for the development of regional telecommunications networks CITI Working Paper No.799 Columbia University, New York


Panaftel never delivered its promise of an viable alternative communications route and 1992 statistics show that only 14% of African international traffic actually stayed on the continent4. Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (UPTC) statistics for 1986 show that the Lusaka and Addis Panaftel connections carried half of African traffic which however only contributed between 5% and 6% of all international connections. By 1996 these the two Panaftel links carried a tiny proportion of traffic – the Lusaka route only carried 0.3% of international outgoing minutes and 0.1% of international incoming minutes while the Addis route took 0.9% of international outgoing and 0.1% of international incoming minutes. Interconnection of all continental routes was never achieved, displaying the performance differentials between the country components of the network. In 1996, the secretary-general of the ITU understated that the, ‘ Panaftel network has still some gaps while some links need modernisation and capacity expansion.’ 5 But in effect he was also writing the obituary of the totality of the project and pointing the way towards the cooperative purchasing of satellite space through the – just as unsuccessful 6 – Regional Satellite Model (RASCOM). Expectations over-reached the feasibility of interconnecting large number of countries and the expense has surpassed revenues7. Panaftel failed to generate significant local traffic except over regional links in southern Africa. Connections through European and American relays remain the predominant routes for international telephone calls. Analogue microwave connections were old technologies by the time they were implemented and do not produce the efficiency and reliability of digital systems. Prone to congestion at peak times on popular routes they were poorly specified by the, presumably international, procuring consultants and engineers. It was a venture that tested the waters of technological co-operation and the possibilities of autonomous African telecommunications yet projections were not met and great expense was incurred. A key failure of Panaftel was to concentrate resources on international links rather than expanding national teledensity and back-filling the gaps between main-line routes. This scale is where intervention has been directed towards continental elite inter-communication and before local mass communication. Pan-Africanism and telecommunications have not delivered effective infrastructure.

Kenya and Tanzania – debates over direction and control
The essence of the Kenya Debate considered the position that the state took in the document ‘ African socialism and its application to planning in Kenya’ which kept it firmly in contact with the capitalist world system/economy. An alliance between the state, the iniquitous forces of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and the development of ethnic, Asian and Kikuyu, capitalist élites was seen to act to produce trading and class cartels together with economic and social structures effectively under outside and comprador control. Much of the sting of the contention was removed in the 1980s by the readjustment
4 5

ITU (1994) African Telecommunication Indicators, ITU, Geneva Tarjanne P (1996) Speech to the African Regional Telecommunication Development Conference, Abidjan, May 1996. However according to Nuruddin, international funding for the project was withdrawn by 1992 6 Conceived in 1975, it is now, after 24 years, close(ish) to getting an African satellite in orbit. This is scheduled for 2001. Tenders had not been placed by 1998.
7 Mureithi estimates Panaftel’ s cost as $900 million annually, Mureithi M (1997) African telecommunications infrastructure for information access Universal Dataflow and Telecommunications Occasional Paper No.7, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), The Hague


of ethnic priorities under Moi, rising commodity prices following the slump in their value in 1979 and local business successes. In fact Leys recently admitted that ‘ foreign manufacturing capital, organised in MNCs, is not interested in undertaking or organising the production of most of its needed outputs, let alone local production in every country where it is established.’ 8 As for the domestic bourgeois, he acknowledges they were in fact responsible for most local growth and that Kenyan politics and the Kenyan political class were determining components in retaining a balanced indigenous economy. Kenya retained its economic and political autonomy. From the late 1960s and to the 80s, dependency theory influenced much of economic and political debate while nationalism and national development were the keenest cohesive forces amongst many disparate actors. Continuing hegemonies led to predictability, stability and the certainty of returns on investment. These survived the external shock of the 1970s oil crisis and the regional crisis of the break up of the East African Community in 1977. However the position of the state as a player in development and development planning was central and the recession of the 1980s brought the competence of its trajectory of patronage and targeted distribution into question. Dependence was less of a force than the unwillingness of economic and ruling classes to compromise their networks of accumulation. In the face of a slump in the world system, the need for rethinking development strategies and priorities was not addressed. Kenya moved towards a trend of decline that was sometimes gradual and sometimes sudden. Textile industries that had been encouraged to locate locally slumped in the face of heightened competition from other strategies of ‘ flexible specialisation’ . These new global forces had not been ignored by Kenya yet the patterns of investment and production symptomatic of post-fordism/flexible accumulation were more attracted by prospects in East Asia. They took advantage of asymmetry, organisational and space compressing techniques and the growing Pacific Rim market rather than cheap African labour. Tanzania Tanzania launched its programs of villagisation (ujamaa), parastatal industries and the construction of infrastructure based on local capacity and socialist partnerships in the 1964 five year plan. It proved to be an example of hope overcome by global influence with dependency continuing despite plans for local industrialisation and redistributive central planning. The economy, more than Kenya, was based almost entirely on primary commodities. The prices of these were set in the London exchanges, consumer and purchaser demand was overwhelmingly external with marketing and other value added processes located outside of the country. Control over commodities remained within worldwide exchange mechanisms while at home state controls over production, purchasing and local marketing sucked surplus into the state. By the late 1980s, both coffee and tea production were at the same levels as in 1966. In comparison, Kenya had doubled production of coffee and increased tea to six times the level of 25 years previously 1. Tanzania’ s agricultural focus had neither produced an internal transformation of this sector nor reduced dependence.
8 Leys C (1996) The rise and fall of development theory James Currey, Oxford p153 1

Lofchie MF (1994) ‘The politics of agricultural policy’ in Barkan JD (1994)(ed) Beyond capitalism and socialism in Kenya and Tanzania Lynne Rennier, London pp129-173, data from p130-132


Sklair has summarised these dilemmas and looks closely at the position of transnational companies throughout her analysis. Tanzanian parastatal companies were under common ownership but run by expatriates and administered by Tanzanians with divided loyalties. Consequently they were neither effectively under local control nor producing for priorities wider than those of ‘ foreign experts, the World Bank and other purveyors of the capitalist global project’ 2 Ujamaa villagisation, the communal ownership of land and sharing of production slowed quickly from already low levels of participation. The collectivisation became forced and at the beginning of the 1980s there was little diversification of the economic base and it shared the same fate of decline and caught the recession in the ‘ world capitalist system’ Barkan labels the period between the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1990s in Kenya and Tanzania as the ‘ era of political and economic decay’ . He indicates shared characteristics of: Politics above economics (African socialism and the one party states of TANU and KANU); State manipulation of redistribution and markets (clientelism, cooperatives and marketing boards); Budget deficits and inflation; Corruption and a bloated civil service. In summary he writes that in both Kenya and Tanzania, ‘ economic decline, precipitated by the state’ s mismanagement of the economy, accelerated the process of political decay, as key elements in society withdrew from the system or began to challenge the authority of the regime’ 3 Both countries experienced comparable decline, asynchronous by five years but with similar symptoms, according to Barkan’ s sketch. These same symptoms can also be extended to Uganda with some extra qualifications – Uganda’ s decline was guided by two absolutes. First two periods of extreme state violence forced many parts of society and the economy back into subsistence, those of Amin and Obote II, between 1971 and 1985. Second the financial viability of the ‘ rent-seeking’ state was underwritten by unreciprocated gifts and aid from Israel, Libya and Britain in no particular order. Uganda was reduced to a state of begging by 1985 when the Museveni’ s National Resistance Army took control as formal mechanisms of economic reproduction had been degraded by two effectively military dictatorships.

Development sensibilities and states of rule
The practice and theory of development in East Africa had then passed through three peaks of development sensibilities. Early colonial development concentrated on building infrastructure and Eurocentric markets. International monitoring and the recognition of native rights led towards the orthodoxy and ‘ neutrality’ of development planning. Ultimately the influence of Afrocentric and nationalist development was established, informed by the contradictions of local and international interests. These sensibilities added rather than subtracted historical experience and incorporated the methodologies of empiricism and positivism in constructing development truths. In tabular form I have listed elements of these and added columns to describe the ‘ state of rule’ in the political economy and a row to outline what has followed in the 1990s. They are shown in figure BD. Figure BD
2 3

Sklair L (1995) Sociology of the global system Prentice Hall, UK p200 Barkan JD (1994) ‘Divergence and convergence in Kenya and Tanzania: Pressures for reform’ in Barkan JD (1994)(ed) Beyond capitalism and socialism in Kenya and Tanzania Lynne Rennier, London pp1-46, quote pp21-22


Development sensibilities in East Africa Point of organisation Articulation Current Berlin Conference Monetisation Empire-colony Bretton Woods Stages Trickle down Dependency Connections Centre-periphery Post Everything Networks Global bonds

State protectorate colonial independent adjusted

State of Rule Colonisador Civilizador Comprador Cumpridor

Barkan’ s generalisations of Tanzania and Kenya are part of the folding back of government in Africa after the high tide mark of the one party state. His critique is aimed squarely at the state and the ‘ political class’ and Fanon was described this phenomenon, the ‘ bankruptcy of the bourgeoisie’ 4 Leys translates this social grouping as ‘ comprador’ or in his words, ‘ commission agent[s] for foreign capital’ 5 The arguments put by Barkan avoid direct cultural criticism and it is important to remember that the system he was criticising was actually African socialism as it was played out in East Africa. Fanon had already offered a view on this. He wrote that cultural logic of the independent mind-set was shaped as, ‘ …K enyan intellectuals found themselves above all up against a general ostracism and delivered to the...contempt of their overlords, their reaction was to sing praises in admiration of each other. The unconditional affirmation of African culture has succeeded the unconditional affirmation of European culture.’ 6 The situation was therefore a degree more complex. The varnish of economic success had worn off, the veneer of the political class was peeling away and the communalisms of Ujamaa, Harambee and Nyayo were exposed. From comprador to cumpridor The state’ s position and competence in development was under fire as decline continued throughout the 1980s in East Africa. I see the changes demanded from outside as a shift from a comprador model – where the state and its allies were often financially interlinked within an export dependent economy – to a cumpridor model. Cumpridor translates from Portuguese as ‘ responsible’ in two senses. First as a ‘ timely and honest broker’ and secondly in terms of rights and justice. It therefore encompasses both sides of what is now jargoned as ‘ governance’ in development – the delivery of development objectives unconstrained by commercial self interest or corruption and based on a framework of human rights and basic equalities. As early as 1971, Nobel laureate Simon Kuznets outlined what the role the state should play in attaining ‘ modern economic growth’ . Kuznets’ ideas read like current World Bank policy for developing countries and he outlines what I see as the limited state in the cumpridor model. The state acts as a broker for internal and external interests in three ways, ‘ as a clearing house for necessary institutional innovations; as an agency for the resolution of conflicts among group interests; and as a major entrepreneur for the socially required infrastructure’ . The democratic prerequisites are the support of the population and, ‘ a feeling of community of kind an acceptance that the idea that the good of the nation is more important than the interests of subgroups and individuals – what might be called modern nationalism’ 1
4 5

Fanon F (1967) The wretched of the earth Penguin, UK p131 Leys 1996:123 6 Fanon 1967:171 1 Kuznets S (1971) Economic growth of nations: Total output and production structure Belknap Press, Cambridge, US pp346-347


These ends have been the objectives of IMF Structural Adjustment Programmes in East Africa despite their constituted role in merely addressing balance of payments problems. However structural inflation – the propensity to import more than is exported – and underlying gaps between domestic capital formation and foreign exchange requirements forced the countries to accept IMF conditionalities. Tanzania announced the Economic Restructuring Programme in July 19862 and Uganda’ s Economic Recovery Programme was started in May 1987. Kenya meanwhile played cat and mouse with international financial institutions throughout the 1980s and 90s, introducing tariff and civil service reforms on one hand and printing money to pay ‘ election expenses’ on the other. International Financial Institutions made 15 adjustment loans to Kenya over 1980-92 according to Easterly3. The Economist describes Kenya’ s negotiating strategy and dance of resistance in this way:
The steps are: One, …K enya wins its yearly pledges of foreign aid. Two, the government begins to misbehave, backtracking on economic reform...Three, a new meeting of donor countries looms with exasperated foreign governments preparing their sharp rebukes. Four, Kenya pulls a placatory rabbit out of the hat. Five, the donors are mollified and aid is pledged. The whole dance then starts again.4

These countries were not entering an era of ‘ modern economic growth’ in Kuznets’ formulation, but they were to conform to conditionalities that pushed all three towards the cumpridor, ideal type. In fact the process appears more to be the subtle form of dependency outline by Cardoso – associated dependent development. He wrote in 1979 that:
‘ Peripheral economies, even when they are no longer restricted to the production of raw materials remain dependent in a very specific form: their capital-good production sectors are not strong enough to ensure the continuous advance of the system, in financial as well as technological and organisational terms. So, in order to go ahead with economic expansion, a great dependent country has to play the “ interdependency game” , but in a position similar to the client who approaches a bank. Of course clients usually develop strategies of independence and can try to borrow money in productive ways. But, insofar as there are structural borderlines, successful attempts are not an automatic output of the game.’ 5

The state’ s functions have been negotiated against international credit in more than this way. The debt crisis has been extended from the initial overstretching of international credit at the beginning of the 1980s to include the loans made in structural adjustments and for projects and loans taken up since. Brett introduces a ‘ stages of institutional change’ for East Africa which reinforce the concept further. He sees the period to the 1940s as the creation of the modern state and economic system under direct foreign control’ , the 40s to 50s saw the Africanisation of

Holm M (1995) ‘The impact of structural adjustment on intermediate towns and urban migrants: An example from Tanzania’ in Simon D et al (eds)(1995) Structurally adjusted Africa: Poverty, debt and basic needs Pluto Press, London pp91-106 review of p96 3 Easterly W (1998) The Quest for Growth: How we wandered the tropics trying to figure out how to make poor countries rich. World Bank lecture paper, November 1998 4 'Aid for Kenya. Stop, go', The Economist August 19th 1995 5 Cardoso FH and Faletto E (1979) Dependency and development in Latin America University of California Press, Berkeley xxii


structures and from 1964 to 1986 was the ‘ dissolution of the colonial state structure’ . Finally from 1987 to the present day there has been an ‘ attempt to create democratic, open and rule-governed system through Structural Adjustment… ’ The democratic side of the cumpridor ‘ pact’ outlined in Brett’ s final stage, has not been seen to be fulfilled 6. This has led recent writers to speculate on the actual power of the development ‘ subject’ and according to Crush, ‘ Africans become objects for the application of power rather than subjects experiencing and responding to the exercise of that power. This is the power of development: the power to transform old worlds, the power to imagine new ones.’ 7 Government has been modernised and developed. Bottom-up The advent of post-structuralism in development theory added a hermeneutical critique that has homed in on a ‘ bottom-up’ and ‘ grassroots’ perspective and an examination of the development profession itself. Something along the lines of this perspective were outlined by Robert McNamara in Nairobi in September 1973 when he outlined the strategy to target development towards the ‘ poorest of the poor’ through rural development, basic human needs strategies and assistance to the ‘ special publics’ of the marginal and vulnerable. This approach has been heavily criticised recently by Escobar as sharing the same development trajectory as the Green Revolution and genetically modified tomatoes – moving growth out into the countryside. His dramatic rebuttal of the integrated rural development (IRD) plans rolled out under McNamara takes us on a grand tour of a Foucauldian excavation of all development:
‘ What the IRD discourse achieves is the integration of those statements that reproduce, as it were, the world we know; a world of production and markets, of good and bad, of developed and underdeveloped, of aid, of investment by multinational corporations, of science and technology, of progress and happiness, of individuality and economics. This curve of integration of statements influences our perceptions greatly; the orderings, prioritisations, and serialisations in which it relies circumscribe the Third World, fragment and recompose the countryside and its people, manipulate visibilities, act on imperfections or deficiencies (of capital, of technology, of knowledge, perhaps even the right skin colour), make projects happen; in short, they ensure a certain functioning of power.1

It concentrates on the systemness of ‘ the instrumental rationality often taken to be the hallmark of modernity’ 2 and the operation of the development power identified by Crush. However it criticises ‘ Basic Needs’ , one of the roots of the bottom-up approach, with full frontal assault of the ‘ textual turn’ . McNamara was most definitely a man of the military-industrial complex but also a manager and politician. He had been President of the Ford Motor Corporation and Secretary of Defence during the Vietnam War before he headed the World Bank. The policies of this new turn in development that he outlined focused on the ‘ development subjects’ , the social groups, that Mao and Nyerere esteemed. These were the exact same groups that were the

The 1995 elections in Tanzania, the 1997 elections in Kenya and the constitutional referendum in Uganda have all faced genuine criticisms of procedural irregularity and even outright ‘rigging’. Inevitably all share the same slogans of Democracy, Peace, Modernisation and Development in varying combinations. 7 Crush J (1995) (ed) ‘ The power of development’ Routledge, London p2 1 Escobar A (1995) Encountering development: the making and unmaking of the Third World Princeton University Press, US pp162-163 2 Giddens A 1991:179


‘ revolutionary subjects’ of Museveni’ s Ugandan National Resistance Army, the Vietcong and South and Central American liberation movements and currently they are the focus of the Indigenous Knowledge/Participatory/Grassroots paradigm. The Bank was identifying and addressing these new development subjects – small-scale farmers, tenants, sharecroppers, landless labourers – while attempting a strategy of development from below. This was a notable shift away from a strategy that dealt with government plans and saw the beginnings of a relationship with Non-Governmental Organisations. This important statement of intent contributed to the uncertainty and rebalancing of development theory. Marxists were engaged in the same debates – peasants articulating between traditional and capitalist mode of production. In another theoretical meeting of minds, the logic of famines resulting from absolute food shortage was destroyed. The rightness of states as sole implementers of national development was undermined. In essence the field of development was colonising all aspects of societal change while at the same time the Third World was becoming more heterogeneous. Development rightly hit an impasse as the field became wider and generalisations became less applicable. What has been created from the complexities of orthodoxy and dissidence have been some long term changes. First there has been a clearer statistical view of those people and objects being developed. Measurement, as shown before, multiplies in line with computer processing power and research. With time there have been projects and publications, social movements and natural disasters that have given visibility, personification and experience of these ‘ numbers on a list’ . There also remain contradictions – it is acceptable for government to be modernised yet the impacts of fertilisers, dams and national unity on households, communities and indigenous groups have rescaled dissent on development. The rise of Non-governmental organisations has also led to their own diversification and differentiation into community based organisations, international NGOs and towards Non Government itself – voluntarism without the state. To this can be added the assertion of human rights into development and international policy – calls for ‘ proper’ democracy in Uganda, the freeing of dissidents and the settlement of Zanzibar’ s electoral impasses by threats of withholding aid and the part played by the donor community in pushing along constitutional reforms in Kenya. Comprador development is based on surveillance, co-opting civil society and ensuring conduits of aid are disciplined to act judiciously. Development practice has been displayed to the public of industrialised countries through scheduled broadcast images and now narrowcast images on demand. These are delivered over some of the same satellite connections which have been used by development agencies in remote locations to co-ordinate humanitarian relief and by banks to transfer funds. A greater amount of information is transported around connecting points and interfaces. This current – information validated by time and with a cultural or commercial best-before date – moves in established patterns. It delivers disasters to prime time news, financial information while the markets are open3, card transactions as they happen and


And it now appears they will, like petrol stations, be staffed around the clock both to provide a presence in case of an ‘event’ and to take in the small money


sports scores as each line is crossed. Analysis and theory lag far behind gossip and rumour while commentary fills the gap.

World systems versus globalisation
Theories of globalisation, and often they can only be linked by the use of this term, are the pole around which past paradigms are circling. Much of what has been written in the last two chapters processes the histories of gradual globalising forces in East Africa and the ways in which they have been theorised. However, the globalisation debate is both integral and a sideline to the analysis of communication networks. It is integral at the level of what Giddens calls distanciation – remote players exercising their agency over greater reaches of space – and instantiation4 – the acceleration of these interactions. It is a sideline because globalisation has become a self-reinforcing concept sold to institutions seduced by the possibility of worldwide operation and wary of the threats of competition from every corner. It is in fact a two way process that has worked well for corporations such as Microsoft through their sales and outsourcing. It has worked badly for overstretched players such as emerging markets investors in south-east Asia and for satellite telephone operators like Iridium5. The term was jumped upon because it allowed the social sciences to revisit world systems theory without ‘ jumping into bed with’ either Andre Gunter Frank’ s or Immanual Wallerstein’ s painfully detailed economic theories of international connections. Robertson firmly placed culture6 at the centre of an easily grasped stages theory of world integration. His historical periodisation of globalisation moves away from rooted Marxist conceptions of the stateless global capitalist system and the globalised texts of ‘ Manifesto’ and ‘ Capital’ and explicitly identifies the nation state as a globalising model. He takes the lines of modernisation, enlightenment and progress and stretched them across the last half of the second millennium adding the dimension of global space. In the formulation he places the Germinal Phase in the period of the enlightenment/renaissance and its growing spatial awareness and colonialism. The Incipient Phase suffixes this period with the rise of the nation state, citizenship, ideas of nationalism and internationalism together with nonEuropean participation in international bodies. The Take-Off Phase, from around 1850 To 1920 saw the consolidation of international communications networks, mass international migrations, the first world war and the conceptualisation of the world in the form of the nation state, the individual, a single international society and a single humanity. The Struggle for Hegemony Phase incorporates the formation of international bodies, the Second World War and Cold War followed by decolonisation and the atomic age while the Uncertainty Phase represents the post-modern era of space conquest and the contemporary zeitgeist. East Africa fits the last three of these stages although they read a little like a horoscope. Robertson draws spatial borders around many of the integrating movements and forces of international unities, trading partnerships and regimes of control. In his focus on the development of nation states he sees them as formative components of an ‘ institutionalised
4 5

This term is also used in the writing of computer code for closely defining objects by substituting variables Presently in receivership 6 For a preliminary sketch see Robertson R and Lechner F (1985) 'Modernisation, Globalisation and the Problem of Culture in World-Systems Theory' in Theory, Culture and Society Vol.2, No.3, 1985, pp.103-117


societalism’ . They were crucial models of economic and political integration that spread and forced a faster pace of globalisation over the last hundred years. Nation states helped formulate procedures for the negotiation of conflict and co-operation through their operation as apparatuses of economic and political ambition, conquest and expansion. It was this process of mimesis that forced the destruction of empires by versions of their own models of nationalism. The ideas of diplomatic and international negotiation spread similarly. A superficial global homogeneity signified by the flag, the national anthem and participation in global politics, sport and economic institutions was in full bloom by the 1960s. Robertson’ s components of ‘ institutionalised societalism’ , the state as negotiator and the forces of economic ambition and international economic membership appear similar to Kuznets' expression of state agency. Giddens takes a different position and sees four dimensions of modernity that have been intrinsic to the positioning of the nation state: capitalism as a system of commodity production involving competitive markets for both goods and labour power, surveillance as a medium of administrative power controlling information, military order as the control of the means of violence and industrialism as the use of inanimate sources of energy in production conjoined to the central role of machinery in the production process7. These concepts, like most of his work, borrow heavily from thinkers such as Weber, Huntingdon and Foucault without much acknowledgement but are welded together in a seductively coherent form. They cover the building blocks of international relations and at the same time offer both a deconstruction of the modernisation streak of development and its practice with a fatter description of the triangulation of the state in the ‘ longue durée’ . Giddens’ analytical tools of distanciation-instantiation also demarcate the operation of extended global links. These fall into the widely accepted bracket of time-space compression which has up to now been a flimsy descriptive discourse. However, Giddens analysis holds most of the particularities of changes in time-space and globalisation. His theoretical components were helpfully summarised and analysed in two articles, one by Jary8 and one by Urry9 which fairly present the detail and scope of his theoretical writing on both. He arranges three dynamic properties which are valuable in the disentanglement of information flows and current and would include actors and networks, to use a fashionable term, of both public and proprietary information systems. As Giddens himself records, they are:
Separation of time and space: The condition for the articulation of social relations across wide spans of time-space, up to and including global systems. Disembedding systems: Consisting of symbolic tokens and expert systems (or collectively, abstract systems). Disembedding mechanisms that separate interaction from the particularities of locales.


Giddens (1991b): ‘Structuration theory: Past, present and future’ in Bryant CGA and Jary D (1991)(eds) Giddens’ theory of structuration: A critical appreciation Routledge, London pp201-221, these parts from pp208-209 8 Jary D (1991) ‘Society as time-traveller: Giddens on historical change, historical materialism and the nationstate in world society’ in Bryant CGA and Jary D (1991)(eds) Giddens’ theory of structuration: A critical appreciation Routledge, London pp116-159 9 Urry J (1991) ‘Time and space in Giddens’ social theory’ in Bryant CGA and Jary D (1991)(eds) Giddens’ theory of structuration: A critical appreciation Routledge, London pp160-176


Institutional reflexivity: The regularised use of knowledge about circumstances of social life as a constitutive element in its organisation and transformation.10

The first four dimensions cross-cut by the three dynamic properties give plenty of scope for analysis yet do not cover the full scope of Giddens arrangement of globalising processes. I am identifying seven elements of time-geographies, indexed by Urry, as a third layer of analysis which extend the vocabulary and utility of the dynamic of separation of time and space.
Locale Regionalisation Presence-availability Front regionsBack regions Time-space distanciation Time-space edges Power containers is the setting where an interaction occurs and contextuality is specified is the zoning of time-space in relation to routinised social practices Signifies the degree of co-presence is a formulation of enclosure and disclosure over space and the axes of ‘ openings’ is the stretching of relationships over distance are forms of contact or encounter between types of society organised according to different structural principles are structures of social memory, knowledge and power crucibles. From states to professions to databases.

Presented with the breadth of these analytical categories and tools of an integrated approach there is a striking array of labels to hang on each unit of focus. Giddens’ categorisations have taken into account the disjuncture of ‘ the separation of media of communication, by the development of electronic signalling, from the media of transportation … - the mobility of the human body’ 11 and offer great relevance to the research. The concept of locale is vague yet generic and the term regionalisation collides with my synonym for African and East African initiatives. They remain alluring delineations between larger categories, not necessarily grounded in space-time, but reach into that domain as in ‘ development space’ 12 for locale: seasonality, pastoralism/cultivation and the rural-urban divide for regionalism. Of great importance are the three concepts I group together as aspects of the communications and development interface between local and international actors: Presence-availability, front regions-back regions and time space edges. These seem to grasp the nettle of spatial analysis 13 yet introduce more subtle demarcations than ‘ frontiers’ and ‘ diffusion’ . This allows a nuanced examination of telecommunications interactions in a region – East Africa – and also in development space. For instance a telecentre represents both diffusion of technology and an information frontier yet in the Giddens idiom it is a shifting locale of presence and availability between the community, the connected, international agencies and technicians. It is a model of front regions and back regions with a tangible fulcrum of the graphical user interface and the

10 11

Giddens1991: 20-21 Giddens A (1985) ‘Time, space and regionalisation’ in Gregory D and Urry J (1985) (eds) Social relations and spatial structures Macmillan, London p276 12 see Mabogunje AL (1980) The development process: A spatial perspective Hutchinson University Library for Africa, US pp250-252, Kanyinga K (1995) ‘The politics of development space in Kenya: State and voluntary services in the delivery of basic services’ in Semboja J and Therkildsen O (1995) (eds) Service provision under stress in East Africa’ Fountain Publishers, Kampala pp70-86 13 see Gould PR (1970) Tanzania 1920-1963: ‘The spatial impress of the modernisation process’ World Politics Vol. 22; Soja EW (1968) The geography of modernisation in Kenya: A spatial analysis of social, economic and political change Syracuse Press; Witthuhn BO (1968) ‘The spatial integration of Uganda as shown by the diffusion of postal agencies’ 1900-1965 East Lakes Geographer Vol.4 pp5-25


larger interface of the telecentre itself, perched on the time-space edges of the Internet world, and local literacies and survival strategies. Telecommunications theory Theories that encompass all of the concepts thrown up by the digital and packet revolution surpass the generalisations of globalisation theory. In relation to development theory however they have to be to be twisted into alignment with its measurement and economy. This tendency towards positivism is replicated in studies of telecommunications which are overly concerned with equations of communication above the experience of users. Metatheory owes a part of its content to the work of Janelle on time-space compression and space adjusting technologies. His work allowed quantitative and empirical work to look up from vectors and grids and express the equations of human extension and communications concentration that had driven social scientists from Marx to Lefebvre. This stab at high theory was quickly subjugated by a return to the ‘ point A to point B’ mapping and processing of relative space where ‘ geographic information science’ assesses social topologies rather than working with people.1 On the ground development telecommunications and country case studies remain thin, plotted by numbers and without multidisciplinary engagement2. It is only recently that a number of studies in the form of papers put out by international agencies have started to fill in local case-studies where the literatures had been bereft of experience.3 Theory has taken two paths in general: the unity of flows and world city poles, and the dialectics/FAT binaries of hot-cold and dead-live. Current There are two ideas that bridge some of the gaps between the inadequacies of dependency theory and the flow analyses of geographies of modernisation. First is the model of the ‘ phantom state’ , that is an emergent form of financial control and offers a view of the latest stage of what was known as monopoly capitalism. Second is the zoning of social activity by dead-live and wild-tame. Theories of flows are particularly amorphous and reflect all the incongruities of ‘ the medium is the message’ with the addition of a vector – direction and speed. It is the addition of the technical that allows mechanical processes to be enumerated by other technical and statistical mechanisms. The impetus for many of the modernisation studies was the availability of electronic computing equipment. In a changed world these calculations can be carried out far better and quicker on a palmtop computer. Flows of computer data over a global network are checked off by type, protocol, starting point and destination. There is the medium, there is the vector, however the message contents can only be guessed at in a healthy ethical climate. Strong surveillance or detailed


A good example of this massive datacentricity has been Janelle’s work with the US National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis’ Varenius Project where ‘ specialists’ are looking at ‘ potential and realized interaction and accessibility’. This will be achieved, ‘ By helping to reconceptualize accessibility through appropriate representations of accessibility opportunity and inequality’ through ‘ expanded models of space (and time) that encompass both the physical and the virtual’ i.e. The map is the territory. 2 see for instance Janelle’s statistical joy-ride, Janelle DG (1991) ‘Global interdependence and its consequences’ in Brunn SD and Leinbach TR (1991) Collapsing space and time Harper Collins, London pp4981 Also in this statistical, pointless and hopelessly out of date vein is Mansell R and Wehn U (1998) Knowledge societies: Information technology for sustainable development, download it for free at 3 Most of these remain in electronic form and the best sites are,, and


research requires immense computing resources and configuration1 that absolutely require secondary data – conventional authoritative records or historical patterns. This reduces flow to a pejorative concept, unsupportable in a research environment that can only allow restrictive sampling, grasping only a thin and flimsy section of meaning. The concept of current helps sub-divide flows into two time-spaced constituents. The first is related to changes introduced in Internet2/Ipng/IPv6 which will use technical co-ordinates to divide ‘ flow’ by prioritising current – immediate and co-present communications – over electronic mail. This is discussed further in Chapter 5 but shows that Internet Protocol as it stands (IPv4) has problems mixing ‘ bursty’ traffic such as email with streamed traffic such as video and multimedia. Flow is therefore not end-to-end but a product of multiplexed carrier media, not socially determined but technically determined. Secondly, current also represents a deeper layer of exchange – historically conditioned patterns of communication. Electronic mail and telephone traffic patterns will give indications of this international information transport in chapters five, six and seven. The currents are based on their movement from hot to cold with incoming developing country traffic larger in volume and duration than outgoing African communications. This is symptomatic of the cost advantages, technological supremacy and power containers in the western transformers. The imbalance is accounted in telephone call settlement charges while data circuits are configured and costed in alignment with this skewness. Technical lexicon This technical level runs through global formations but remains largely unincorporated in any constructions of global thinking in the social sciences. Structures that form and are reformed through historical and spatial interplay between the human mechanisms of distanced exchange are often the creation of technical specification. These links and consequent initiations, adoptions and adaptations of electronic information flows can be seen in the metatheory of producing space1 and by situating this theory in the contemporary2 but are only grounded in the specified analyses of geographies and political economies of telecommunications without the social component.3 An agenda for mapping the causes, flows and consequences of telecommunications networks must take from each of these approaches but the structure of contemporary global telecommunications is altogether more complex and hidden. Configurations of technology emphasise junctions in space where control is exercised. Abler sees the junctures between points and ‘ flows’ starting from the establishment of links through the provision of access to the influence of use. ‘ Telecommunications links provide a potential for communication. Nodes provide access to that potential. Flows of messages among places reflect the degree to which that potential is realised, and fluctuations reveal how communications patterns among places change from time to time’ .4 The return to approximations of this manner: communication potential, pattern and fluctuation have been
1 1

Usually a proxy server Lefebvre 1991 2 Harvey 1990 3 Reference is made to this argument in the methodology chapter 4 Abler 1991:35


shown in the work of Thrift, Luke and Castells they signal a change in fixed geographical points of control and ‘ there is a shift, in fact, away from the centrality of the organisational unit to the network of information and decision. In other words, flows rather than organisations, become the units of work, decision and output accounting’ 5 Both Urry and Thrift perceive quickening and more pervasive globalising forces influencing units of change. The elements of the critique of imperialism remain: those of interrelation of finance capital and the nation state. They are welded by ideas of negotiating distance through digital transport. They still focus on economic spaces. For Thrift the emergent ‘ phantom state’ of the New International Financial System collected from the nation state, media, money capitalists and machines is partly ‘ based in the flow of communication itself’ and ‘ money power and communicative power have been able to replace state authority based on administrative power with a discursive authority which is based in electronic networks and particular “ world cities” ‘ 6 Here we have three concepts. First is the idea that flows themselves create a tangible space for interaction. Next is the reduction in the role of the nation state in changed and global markets based on the greater flexibility of money as information over global information networks. Finally there is the idea of an alliance between technologies of mobility and a global money elite in the setting of global cities as power brokering urban hubs with multinational significance. Although I do not accept the concept of flows as an analytical unit it can be readily chopped up if the network, the carrier and the protocol are extracted from the equation. These components show agency and the actual rather than the virtual antecedents of information exchange. Again these will be fully investigated in Chapter 5. The overarching explanation of an economically determining superstructure has been reworked into spatial theory. In ways this is a return to the pure arguments of Marx’ s globalising bourgeoisie with the telegraph and train replaced by interlinked databases and computerised knowledge systems. Base and superstructure have been replaced, if you will have it, as terminal and infrastructure. The phantom state/spectre of capitalism model highlights global cities-world cities as poles, hubs and nodes7 that represent interests beyond the nation-state and that share compositional characteristics as interfaces between global-local, modern-traditional and new-old feudal relations but ultimately tied to that construction through space and history8. Echoing dependency criticisms, it seems that centre-periphery power-space relations are neglected for the pattern of a pre-eminent urban formation that is constructed by and operates within global flows over and above local interactions. Thrift is concentrating on the interchange between hubs with a high degree of economic activity and the ‘ hum of the wires’ which reveals intensive exchange rather than the ‘ cries of the market’ .

Reformulated poles
City states such as Hong Kong and Singapore expanded and contracted again as hubs on the isthmus of the Third World and landing and disembarking global traffic, trade and
5 6

Castells 1989:142, also quoted in Luke 1995 Thrift N (1996) Spatial formations Sage, London p253 7 King AD (1990) Global cities: Post-imperialism and the internationalisation of London Routledge, London p39 8 King AD (1995) ‘The times and spaces of modernity (or who needs postmodernism?)’ in Featherstone M et al (1995)(eds) Global modernities Sage, London pp108-123 this bit p121


finances. The cities of London, Tokyo and New York have served longer as actors in such configurations and are true centres in the world city/global city pattern. This brokerage formation also scales down to the regional city of Nairobi which arbitrates regional, international and global flows and acts as a multilayered communications hub where the cumpridor tendency of state authority is low and much control is outside of democratic power structures. This is the centre of an economic periphery with poorer information infrastructures overall. The synthesis of the argument must therefore be brought down to a more local level where global cities interact with regional cities that interact in a more recognisable geographic locality. Power over global finance and electronic communications is negotiated within structures of co-operation and non-co-operation with the inter-national while flows at the national and the local level are differently time-spaced. Regional crises have built up Nairobi’ s already dominant position as a pole for international transactions in the East Africa region. The anarchy of Uganda followed by similar civil conflicts in Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia; Ethiopia’ s transitions between globally significant famines; Tanzania’ s experiments with state socialism throughout the cold war; These have all taken from these nation-states and Nairobi has layered transformations in its rôle as centre of conflict resolution and marshalling yard for relief supplies. All the while it has become host to the global presences of regional diplomatic representation, the United Nations, international aid finance and TNCs. Simon9 adds the significance of international tourism and the role of regional airport hub to the analysis. Leys pulls no punches when he describes the founding of ‘ regional’ offices in Nairobi to avoid work permits and to take advantage of a poorly enforced taxation system through transfer pricing10. Recent evidence has been presented in the Financial Times11 from a UNDP report which quantifies the contribution of the United Nations presence in Gigiri to the Kenyan economy. The UN is ‘ second only to tea as a source of foreign exchange’ and ‘ relief supplies for a significant proportion of the port of Mombasa’ s business. In all its presence adds up to a net inflow of US$350 million per year which translates as 3% of GDP or 19% of export earnings. Clearly this is an ethical investor that the government should not want to rile as much as it has and it places Nairobi at the centre of a regional humanitarian economy. Regional cities in sub Saharan Africa are slowly building up significant communications capacity but remain peripheral in technical terms, they are global but not immediate actors. This peripherality is keenly felt in telecommunications with the majority of international traffic routed through ‘ true’ global cities. The position of Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kampala as satellite-peripheries is examined, outlined and proven in Chapter 6. New Dependency The next formation of centre-peripheral relations can be looked at in this same technological formulation. Urry takes lines of divisions and unities constructed through communications. He is more circumspect on national and international formations but in the

Simon D (1992) Cities, capital and development: African cities in the world economy Belhaven, London Leys C (1975) Underdevelopment in Kenya: The political economy of neo-colonialism 1964-71 Heinemann, London pp124-128 11 Turner M (2000) ‘UN presence keeps Kenyan economy afloat’ Financial Times 15/16th January 2000


context of internal and external forces of decentralisation combined within a more powerful middle class1 ‘ it is hard to see why the organisation of time and space means that the nation-state will remain as the dominant power container in disorganised capitalist societies’ 2 Urry instead takes Luke’ s formulation of wild and tame regions3 and adds the binary of live and dead zones. This is rooted in the idea of flows and an emphasis on the influence of exchange in the construction of hubs, poles and difference within disorganised capitalisms. It is the reintroduction of centre-periphery relations classed by activity and risk. The geographical zonings of wild and tame represent safety, surveillance and control, while live and dead are configured by the level of activity and connectedness: technological interaction.
live and tame: advanced consumer/ producer services, the ‘ cybergeoisie’ working in a smart building, safe suburbs where people have broadly stable identities; visit enclavic leisure spaces live and wild: cultural capital fraction, inner cities with identity experimentation, less safe leisure spaces, alternative tourism and the cosmopolitan valuation of hybridity dead and wild: excluded from most of the flows except that of narcotics; areas of the so-called underclass; little leisure travel outside such zones; little sense of a workleisure distinction. dead and tame: excluded from the flows but living in secure environments, as in ‘ Fortress LA’ or British small towns or parts of the countryside; leisure in safe enclaves, defined spatially or temporally.4

In geographically complex pockmarks of affluence, ties and change where the life expectancy in Harlem is lower than that of Uganda there must be an economic divide overlying Urry’ s post-dependency formulation. However he sees inequality in flows or nonflows where, ‘ Forms of mobility, travel, electronic information, media images, signs, and so on, thus generate new inequalities, what we might refer to as ‘ inequalities of mobility’ as opposed to the social and place-based inequalities of the past.5 This plots fronts of data disparities but somewhat lobotomises traditional geographically based concepts such as ‘ the South’ and even ‘ South-central LA’ . There is no explicit investigation of these barriers to communication potential as the analysis stops here. However there are signposts to a more thorough investigation of flows and zoning in industrialising countries and in information networks. Four frontiers of time-spaced, cultural, economic and structural limits fence-in the dead/tame, dead/wild zones of Urry and the wild and tame zones of Luke’ s glocal spaces. First, time-spaced barriers to access are those of actual technical capacity and infrastructure. The points of entry to global information capacity are technically determined

This may conflict with the trend of ‘disintermediation’ where the middle ‘men’ are displaced from transactions by telecommunications and computer technology. It does however offer some type of repositioning of professions around computer literacy and has occurred relatively slowly (compared to changes in hardware/software/systems) at least in developed countries 2 Urry 1991:175 3 Luke T (1995) ‘New world order or neo-world order: Power, politics and ideology in informationalizing glocalities’ in Featherstone M et al (eds)(1995) Global modernities Sage, London pp91-107; quoted pp100101 4 This section from Urry J (1995) Economies of signs and multiple spaces Paper presented at a conference on Urban Change and Conflict, London, September 1995 p5 5 ibid.


through telecommunications infrastructure and reliable supply of electrical power together with the connectability of data exchange apparatus – telephones, faxes, modems and routers. Second are the literacies and habits of communication such as familiarity with technology, interfaces and the social participation in remote interactions. Third are the cost barriers that operate at a personal, local and regional level and interact with time-spaced technologies. It is possible to have full Internet access in the deadest wildest zone based on batteries and satellite technology but it is beyond all but UN agencies or mineral exploration enterprises. Last are the structuring effects and the grouping of spatial and social regions. This creates divisions based on information potential or reinforces already existing stratification and grouping. Access can depend on largesse or cross-subsidy and a public provision of communications can be limited to mail or, at another level, a public telephone booth. The medium has served as a channel of protest in its infancy and helped spread connectivity to the centre of the periphery, wild and live zones. Governments linked into world financial networks find themselves closer to their creditors than their ‘ people’ . The time-space edge of the Internet lies at the end of the cables. The global embrace of instantaneous multimedia will only follow after less tangible conflicts between society, technological spaces and the dynamics of accumulation. The globalisation of information is significant as it operates at a greater speed than transported information and the movement of people. It is here that Hirst and Thompson6 draw the line on the powers of nationstate and in the dialogue of mobility. Physical frontiers remain the mark of its agency and, ‘ it remains a controller of its borders and the people the movement of people across them. Apart from a ‘ club-class’ of internationally mobile, highly skilled professionals, and the desperate, poor migrants and refugees who will suffer almost any hardship to leave intolerable conditions, the bulk of the world’ s populations now cannot easily move’ .7 Optimism and conclusion These assertions have been contradicted by more optimistic critiques of global relationships. Negroponte has claimed that, ‘ the digital world has no center, - no periphery ... Digital isolation is driven by bandwidth not location’ 1 In a more grounded manner these arguments have been articulated by Burstein and Kline who provide this example:
‘ Indeed, a massive power shift from the center to the periphery is occurring everywhere. Organization Man has become a consultant, thanks to technology resources once available only to the largest enterprises. And top-down corporate hierarchies are flattening into horizontal, decentralized networks of self-governing work teams. But this flattening process is also crushing and marginalizing millions of onceproductive citizens. Whole strata of blue-collar and white-collar workers are being ‘ downsized’ into oblivion, their work now performed more efficiently by networked information systems or farmed out to cheap-labor production centers in new global markets overseas.’ 2

They highlight some of the ‘ megatrends’ of Internet connection and particularly the social relations of new production patterns. The information economy that has infiltrated

Hirst P and Thompson B (1995) ‘Globalisation and the future of the nation state’ in Economy and Society Vol.24 No.3 pp408-442 7 Hirst and Thompson 1995:420 1 Negroponte N (1995) Being Digital Alfred A Knopf, New York 2 Burstein D and Kline D (1995) Road Warriors: dreams and nightmares along the information highway Dutton , New York, this quote from


conventional commercial patterns over the last twenty years is removing layers of production, management and sales ‘ intermediaries’ . At the same time it is reskilling labour and refashioning locales of exchange dependent on rapid communication and data processing. Kellerman sees the processes of international asymmetry, imbalance and inequality produced in this way:
‘ Whereas the whole world may be interconnected through cheaply-priced, direct-dialling communications systems, information producing centres emerge in the world cores, as against areas of mere information consumption, located in the world peripheries. The status of peripheral regions may thus deteriorate despite seeming economic development, and this may well be considered a spatial-economic divergence process, in the sense of increasing gaps between centres and peripheries at various geographical levels’ 3

The research will look for evidence for this divergence and especially at the level of interconnection. East Africa is wholly dependent on satellite connections where bandwidth and location meld into a constricted and expensive communications capacity. They are satellite-peripheries. Internal and national mechanisms are governed by the provision of infrastructure – phones, power and the resources to pay for them – whereby mobility, distance and inequality are coalesced into the question of access. Santos’ pre-Internet analysis of urban dualism describes the situation well:
‘ The concept of ‘ distance’ must be seen in a socio-economic context characterised by the geographical situation of peripheral areas; this is not a question of physical distance ‘ per se’ but rather of access. Also there is an increased difficulty of access to private services. These conditions imply a ‘ devaluation’ of the individual as a function of his spatial location’ 4

These theoretical perspectives will be substantiated though an analysis of changes in telecommunications patterns from the end of the 1980s and through the 1990s. The primary data is a synthesis of interviews and case studies, backed up with quantitative measures of direction and use of these means of communication. These techniques address fundamental questions of the balances of exchange in international and regional interaction. They give the first comprehensive picture of the form and context of electronic mail and Internet in Africa.

3 4

Kellerman A (1993) Telecommunications and geography Belhaven Press, London p15-17 Santos M (1979) The shared space Methuen, London pp159-160


Chapter Four
Research parameters
The study area has been restricted to East Africa and its realised electronic connections. The timeframe has included a history of telegraph and wireless communications from the first cabling of Africa in the 1880s to reflect colonial and post-colonial differences. These secondary sources helped shape issues for primary research and fieldwork which have been anchored in the contemporary interaction of electronic mail, users and networks. There is full coverage of research issues until 1998 and these include greater detail on local regulation and less on the underdeveloped initiatives for rural connectivity. The fieldwork aimed to outline the distinctions between public and private communications networks and infrastructure and their operational reach and limitations. Charities and international agencies provided data and interviews freely. Multinational corporations, because of privacy and security considerations, were reluctant to state fully their plans and objectives while unwilling to provide new data. In other words there is little quantitative data available on private networks, their intranets, groupware or other infrastructure. In this case research is indicative though solid and outlines the limits of useful enquiry. Technological scoping favoured electronic mail to the world wide web. Email offers a set of complete historical data within the possibilities of conventional analysis of point to point communications. The world wide web has not reached full maturity and its applications, components and technologies have not settled. The logging of web transactions is complex and subsequent analysis presents more technical difficulties. Given these difficulties and the short historical sample, it can only support a limited and qualitative investigation. However similar data such as telephone, telex and telegraph traffic both show the substitution and complimentary effects of other point to point telecommunications. In this case they can add valuable insights into the development of electronic mail traffic and use.


Choice of techniques
The research takes a multiple methods approach where ‘ a number of complementary methods are employed to address different facets of a research question, or to address the same question from different perspectives’ 5. It crosses quantitative and qualitative divides to provide a full picture of a research area characterised not only by the common purpose of actors and homogenous technologies, but also by the priorities of three nations and manifest divisions between those who have access to telecommunications and those who do not. Adorno states that the ‘ … opposition of quantitative and qualitative analysis is not an absolute one; it finds no ultimate support in the subject-matter itself. It is well known that, in order to quantify, one has always to begin by ignoring qualitative differences between the various elements; and every individual social phenomenon bears within itself the general determinisms to which the quantitative generalisations apply. But the categories of the latter are themselves qualitative.’ 6 For example, quantities of electronic mail traffic can also represent qualities of organisational priorities yet data collection has been anonymised to ensure privacy. Further methods are required to calibrate traffic data with service providers, users and further to identify the entitlements of users within the general population. In East Africa there exist profound inequalities of access to modern infrastructure and in the same thought, Adorno states that; ‘ Society is a unity; even in areas as yet beyond the reach of its powerful forces, there is a functional connection between the ‘ underdeveloped’ segments and those that have advanced to a state of rationality and homogenous socialisation’ . There are further issues of connection and disconnection within society and economy to be addressed and that require the perspective of multiple methods. Multiple methods There are two methodological poles within the research, those of computer derived data and human derived data. In between lie archive materials, official statistics and proprietary information. To present a full picture, techniques should verify all parts of the research and align corresponding strands of investigation. On verification, Devereux and Hoddinot suggest that, ‘ the best way of cross-checking data is to adapt a variety of approaches to the same issues: different questions, similar questions asked at different times, different respondents and different methodological tools’ .1 In other words, diversity in approach will give enough angles of insight. This does not guarantee a satisfactory arrangement of research coverage alone and a check list of issues based on both data gathered and methods used is required. Further, an assessment of ‘ methodological tools’ is required. Harvey is clear that techniques of investigation in critical social research are plentiful and include the ‘ whole gamut of research tools: observations, both participant and nonparticipant; formal interviews with random samples; semi-structures, unstructured and indepth interviewing; key informants testimonies, analysis of personal and institutional documents; mass media analysis; archive searching; examination of official statistics; and

Philip LJ (1998) ‘Combining quantitative and qualitative approaches to social research in human geography – an impossible mixture?’ Environment and Planning ‘A’ Vol. 30 pp261-276, quote p264 6 Adorno TW (1976) ‘Sociology and empirical research’ in Connerton P, Critical Sociology, Penguin, UK pp 237257 1 Devereux S and Hoddinott J (1992) ‘ Issues in data collection’, in Devereux S and Hoddinott J (1992) Fieldwork in developing countries Harvester Wheatsheaf, New York pp25-40; quote p35


reviews of published literature…’ , together with the analytic procedures of, ‘ ...ethnographic interpretation, historical reconstruction, action research, multivariate analysis, structuralist deconstruction and semiological analysis’ 2 This represents an eclectic choice of tools that can be condensed into three areas: human interaction and interviewing; documentary enquiry; and simulation. The first two are readily accepted as useful forms of inquiry whereas the thread of simulation and matching might rest easier within a form of case study. Case studies have been criticised by Morrow for their subjective and isolating approach to larger issues.3 However the same author offers a less hostile description of ‘ qualitative research in the conventional discourse: case study design, interpretation of action (Verstehen) and thick description … such analysis is taken to be idiographic. In other words, rather than attempting to make statistical generalisations concerning a limited variables, the concern in a case study is with comprehending the rich complex of factors that define the case at hand – be it individual, organisational or societal’ 4 This description of case study techniques shows the immediate usefulness of the approach. In a research situation where there is a clear intersection of statistics, published material and opinion, the case study can offer a reconstruction of a locale and its components. Ignoring the more esoteric elements of communicative action, it is possible to use this technique to align the complex intersections of strands of information already mentioned. In combination with supporting text and background, a subjective or insular approach is lost and with a net gain in the understanding of context. Previous studies: Expression and analysis of space The methodology acknowledges previous studies which mapped national indicators of modernity and communications infrastructures in East Africa, notably the work of Peter Gould1, Burton Witthuhn2, and Edward Soja3. It also recognises the work of telecommunications geographers such as Falk, Abler and Janelle,4 mapping and analysing communications flows and distance on an international and global scale. Methodologically it seeks a path between the expression and analysis of spatial data or, as Soja put it in 1968, ‘ the descriptive-cartographic approach traditional to geography and some of the new quantitative techniques’ 5 There are two changes to note in approach to manipulating and presenting data. Firstly, more recent dissension from the ‘ logical positivism’ 6 of a scientific approach and secondly, the ubiquity of more powerful computing hardware and applications and gains in computer processing power.
2 3

Harvey L (1990) Critical social research Unwin-Hyman, UK p196 See Morrow RA (1994)Critical theory and methodology Sage, London p55 4 Ibid., p206, author’s emphasis underlined 1 Gould PR (1970) 'Tanzania 1920-1963: The spatial impress of the modernisation process' World Politics Vol. 22 pp147--170 2 Witthuhn BO (1968) The spatial integration of Uganda as shown by the diffusion of postal agencies 1900-1965 East Lakes Geographer Vol.4 pp5-25 3 Soja EW (1968) The geography of modernisation in Kenya: A spatial analysis of social, economic and political change Syracuse Press 4 See for instance: Abler R, Janelle DG, Philbrick A (1985) (Eds) Human geography in a shrinking world North Scituate, US; Brunn SD and Leinbach TR (1991) Collapsing space and time Harper Collins, London; Falk T and Abler R (1980) Intercommunications, distance and geographical theory in Geografische Annualer vol. 56 pp5967; Janelle DG (1968) Central-place development in a time-space framework Professional Geographer Vol. 20 pp5-10 5 Soja, 1968:V 6 Shepherd E (1995) Dissenting from spatial analysis Urban Geography Vol. 16, No 4, pp283-303


Space, modernisation and nation Geographies of modernisation were directed or inspired by the work of Peter Gould at the Pennsylvania State University in the latter part of the 1960s1. According to Gore2 ‘ The studies, constrained by data availability, use information collected by colonial authorities, and thus map the distribution of primary and secondary schools, health facilities, road and railways, postal and telephone facilities, district headquarters, courts and police officers as ‘ indicators of modernity’ . In essence the three were mapping historical colonial statistics and incorporating techniques of spatial and factor analyses. These produced stunning images of the past which lent authenticity to innovative extrapolations of the present and future. Their expressions of space produced readily identifiable maps of interconnection and concentration. Their analysis of space was trite and overplayed3. It showed up the inadequacies and contingencies of modernisation variables, and according to Riddell’ s4 auto-critique, ‘ … these flow theories of change have concentrated on the urban at the expense of the rural. They have also failed to distinguish between economic growth and development’ 5 The analyses also lacked reference to situated and informed opinion and experience, and Soja outlines a requirement, ‘ … to expand investigations into the spatial dimensions of human perception, attitudes, and behaviour if geographers are going to contribute to the most rapidly growing fields of social science research’ 6 Finally the studies relied on the overuse of weak computer technologies. Gould expressed doubts about the sophistication of data manipulation and admitted that the, ‘ … ability to model diffusion processes at the regional and national levels is limited, in part because of severe data problems that were compounded, until very recently, by the lack of large and rapid computing facilities.’ 7


There are others that lie outside of this school, notably Adams JG (1972) ‘External linkages of national economies in West Africa’ in African Urban Notes Vol. 6, No 3 pp97-116 and therefore avoid the characteristic watermark of extrapolation and statistical agglomeration. 2 Gore C (1984) Regions in question: Space, development theory and regional policy Methuen, London p115 3 For instance Gould describes the importance of roads in Tanzania thus: ‘ what is happening of course is that the major cluster of modernising variables is moving closer to the single road vector, as in geographic, rather than geometric space, modernisation in all its innovative aspects is distributed from the major sources through the tarred arteries and laterite capillaries of the land and society, 1970:170 4 Riddell JB (1981) The geography of modernisation in Africa - A re-examination Canadian geographer-Geographe Canadien Vol. 25 No.3 290-299 5 Riddell, 1981:290-291 6 Soja, 1968, 117 7 Abler R, Adams JS, Gould P (1971) Spatial organisation: The geographers view of the world Prentice-Hall, USA p450


Space, telecommunications and the global Spatial analysis also sought to dominate telecommunications geography. Falk and Abler stated that ‘ intercommunications media (postal, telegraph, telephone, telex and advanced computer-mediated channels)…h ave not been subjected to geographical analysis. We know little about the alterations of distance produced by intercommunications technologies. We know little about how such alterations have affected the routine operations of social organisations, business firms and government agencies’ 1 Such good intentions2 share the same methodological ground as the ‘ geographies of modernisation’ school. Quantitative measurement forms the mode of analysis and the teleology of Haggett’ s stages of spatial systems3 stages are a seductive form of expression for this change. Figure CA illustrates a walk-through of measurement approaches in relation to Falk and Abler's concepts and methods.

Figure CA Walk-through of Abler and Falk’ s terminologies and methodologies of distance in relation to the research issue of spatial difference within a national context

Conceptual approach

Globe distance: Measured by counting the number of abstract units [i.e. kilometres] of length between place Effort distance: Measured by counting the number of effort units [i.e. money, time] consumed in moving from one place to another Metaphorical distance: Measured by counting the number of contacts between places during a given time period i.e. social distances equals frequency of social contacts among places

Distance paradoxes

“ Whereas two places may be in close proximity in globe distance, they may be far apart in terms of effort or metaphorical distances”

Research question

Methodological approach
Qualitative method Measurement of global, Balance of internal versus effort and metaphorical external: language and cultural homogeneity; media type and distances
Spatial analysis method

Spatial Inequality
Is a capital city less distant from other capital cities than from its rural areas?

importance; authoritative and allocative resources; reliability and reach of communications network

1 2

Falk and Abler, 1985:59-60 ‘ Many future applications of the theory of spatial diffusion will have strong humanitarian overtones, for if we can gain a thorough understanding of these spatio-temporal processes our ability to advise is greatly magnified’ Abler, Adams and Gould 1971:19 3 Haggett P (1966) Locational analysis in human geography St Martins Press, New York


The walk-through shows that there are multiple analytical approaches to be used for spatiality. An issue thrown up by the idiom of space and quantity may be effectively addressed by a mixed methodological approach rather than determined purely by statistical formulae. However the research sees that net output is more readily translated when it produces a cartographic or topological expression. The downside is a loss of resolution and spatial analysis approaches show that themes within spatial expressions can be overtaken by an algorithmic compression of meaning into representation. Analysis can exist outside the visual expression of space. Instead of the image or map as a paradigm container flanked by a text of process it can fulfil a less interiorised function. A rebalancing of method allows relatively uninterpreted core data to be visualised while qualitative and contextual data both support and deconstruct the likeness. In summary, the spatial analysis methodology has been embraced by both regional and sectoral studies, of East Africa and telecommunications respectively. This research should pay heed to the experiences of both and similarly embrace a contextual, connected and mixed method approach. Gould4 however states that the positivist approach as presents a ‘ backcloth’ and that, ‘ … there may be less room today in geography for that spatial tradition, that some may even want to chop off that leg of the donkey.’ Despite that strength of feeling the research will limit its spatial analysis and concentrate on manipulation with the end of geographical expression in words, and figures at the expense of over-manipulation of data to fit a cartographic format. Following on these previous methodologies it will question the basis of official statistics and seek informed qualitative judgements of quantitative measurements. How images are used: Models of likeness and analysis Haggett’ s spatial systems, show the ‘ the progressive building up of a nodal or functional region’ in a presentation of stages of network development. Stage theories of change are also present in the works of Marx, Rostow, W.Arthur Lewis and ‘ diffusionists’ . There are three critical observations on this approach. First is the question of transition – the prerequisites for articulating between stages are neither universal nor predictable. Second are co-existing stages – dualistic situations exist where different parts of systems operate with different dynamics or with different ratios. Third is an embedded idea of progress – spatial change is seen to advance in a predetermined and linear fashion and there is no account made of regression or divergence. With these criticisms on board it is fair to say that Haggett’ s stages represent snapshots of development rather than concrete models of progress. However they imply progressive change, do not explain the underlying dynamics of change and are built up of predetermined conceptual elements. New technology developments such as electronic mail and Internet alter this 'backcloth'. The effects of these sudden changes, their aftershocks and social implications, cannot be predicted or reliably mapped within Haggett's model.


Gould P (1991) Dynamic structures of geographic space in Brunn and Leinbach, 1991, 3-30


Thrift and Old present an alternative based on topologies of economic space. That offer a

Figure CB Stages in the analysis of regional systems Haggett 1966

wider range of comparative and co-existing representations. They state that, ‘ … the way in which the new ways of talking about economic practices is most often summarised is through a spatial description of one kind or another. We think it possible to argue that four of these ‘ topological presuppositions’ currently co-exist, each of them successively more recent, more polymorphous and less enveloping’ 1 Thrift and Old's selections offer a choice of models for spatial configurations and amplify the eddies and whirlpools of current. Haggett's stages of spatial systems only accurately Figure CC
Topological representations of economic space

Thrift and Olds 1996

reflect change in a single sector of telecommunications and in one locale. Both can be

Thrift N and Olds K (1996) Reconfiguring the economic in economic geography Progress in human geography Vol. 20, No 3, pp311-337


used as methodological means of expressing space and the research will look for conformities and disjunctures. It acknowledges the weakness of predictors and the dangers of generalised comparison. However, the research will be enriched by the methodological plurality allowed by freer modelling, intercomparison and likeness together with the closeup view allowed by a strong technical grounding. International versus national: input/output The qualitative data presented in the research contains a lot of telecommunications traffic. The format presented is therefore incoming and outgoing. Without compounding, aggregating or loading statistics,1 comparisons and balances are the least subjective path of analysis. A notional input/output method seems compatible where the units of exchange in the data are first, countries and then, ‘ domains’ . Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan patterns of international connectivity provide regional self-reference without the need of a constant. The form of input/output however cannot be the accountancy of national income analyses or the double-entry of product tables,2 it is the balance of communications. Evenness and unevenness are indicators to be carried forward and matched to cumulative senses of imbalance, their structural accommodation and the ways they are perceived. If telecommunications traffic is skewed then there will be supporting evidence outside the data to be matched with these ratios. Current studies The research was informed of a World Bank investigation into regional connectivity undertaken by staff of the Leland initiative. It was to collect data through a structured survey of Internet Service Providers in Kenya and due to arrive at the end of July. A meeting was arranged, involving postponements of appointments in Dar es Salaam and travel from Arusha, Tanzania to Nairobi. The consultants postponed their visit with less than 48 hours notice following the communal unrest in Likoni, near Mombasa, 300 miles from the meeting place. The data they intended to gather were closely guarded commercial information and national connectivity figures. I offered an appraisal, commendation and critique of their projected work yet after four further attempts at communication there was no reply. Their published findings are addressed in Chapter Seven.

1 2

This is a favourite ‘technique’ of the geographies of modernisation school See for instance Moriarty GE (1982) ‘Rapporteur’s Statement on The use of economic concepts in communication planning practice’ in Jussawalla M and Lamberton DM (1982)(eds) Communication economics and development Pergammon Press, New York pp323


Computers in methodology
Processing data
This research has used a personal computer equipped with a ‘ bundled’ range of software applications as the central hardware for this research. Initially a Sun workstation was required but has been superseded in terms of storage, speed and capacity by a standard, off-the-shelf unit. Extra requirements have been for programming language and Internet applications (all of which are either freeware or allow free academic use) together with modem, a floptical drive and a surge protector. Programming has used Perl (Practical extraction and reporting language) together with some macro and Visual Basic script work. Such analysis as there is has used standard 32bit Database and Spreadsheet applications using queries, forms and statistical functions. The methods used are described in the computer data section. A feature of the research has been the effect of infolation that has helped and impeded research. Over the period of study, maximum PC processor speeds have increased by 20 times, memory by 104 and storage by 12 times1 and performance has surpassed that of the 64bit SparcRisc server earmarked for data-processing. This has allowed faster work in the closing stages of research yet caused many headaches. Software incompatibility between versions of the same application prevents the easy transfer of files even between shared platforms. Hard decisions have been made regarding the costs and benefits of upgrading hardware and software. At the same time, external effects have changed research methods and whereas around 20% of research was conducted on-line at the start, the proportion increased to around 60% in the last year. Documents of international agencies are now published online and for free with a time-lag of around 6 months against possibly two years for hard copies to reach libraries. The subject matter – connectivity and Africa – also means that there are more obscure and less accessible publications and these are often published in an electronic format.

Electronic mail, the Internet and research
Electronic mail or email was developed from copying files over wide area networks. Three variants: UUCP, FidoNet and SMTP2 have been used during the research for co-ordinating and for contacting informants. The medium has presented opportunities and raised methodological issues both due to its use, its properties and its availability. Rudy3 has written an excellent review of electronic mail literatures. He notes Sitkin et al's analysis 4 of its place in the suite of communication technologies and summarises their findings, stating that, ‘ the attractiveness of a medium is determined by the medium’ s data-carrying capacity, its symbol-carrying capacity, task contingencies (characteristics of the task in hand), normative contingencies (cultural norms and rules within the organisation), and constraints on the capability of a particular media to convey the message to the recipient (such as

1 2

For a £1000 computer Unix to Unix copy, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol 3 Rudy IA (1996) Critical review of research on electronic mail European Journal of Information Systems Vol. 4, No 4, pp198-213 4 Sitkin SB Sutcliffe KM and Barrios-Choplin JR (1992) A dual-capacity model of communication media choice in organisations Human communication research Vol. 18 No 4 563-598


whether the intended recipient uses an particular medium).’ 5 @ Discussion can occur where sender and receiver do This analysis takes on board not have to be present simultaneously in other words, the media richness versus asynchronously. social influence debate6 and @ Data can be shared more easily presents organisational and @ Individuals have time to think before replying institutional rationale for @ The technology is unintrusive @ Receiver can choose when to read/reply implementing new @ Possible drop in face-to-face contact (through communications technology. substitution) Thus it helps explain electronic @ Possible information overload mail's properties of replication7, @ Extra time required to type and read utility and desirability. It moves information fast, over distance, Source: Rudy 1996:198 within many environments and within a seductive industry standard. Rudy also summarises the major features of email for connected users and notes eight, these are shown in Figure CD. Figure CD Properties of email The weak points that are alluded to are characterised by human fallibility and laziness in the construction, interface and use of computer communications technologies. The research notes further and specific areas of potential failings of email. For instance, electronic mail messages are often judged solely by the default information supplied to the user: subject line and username/personal name; Messages can be lost, deleted or ignored between when the message is sent and when a reply is composed; Messages may be deleted from the server when they are collected providing no back-up copies; Replies may take too much effort; Mail may be accorded a lower priority or status if it is arriving amongst many other messages; and finally, there is a lot of unsolicited mail. Survey questionnaires and requests for contact are included in this category along with adverts, promotions and chain letters while the increasing stream of ‘ spam’ has affected traffic figures8

Methodological experiences with Internet and email
The research is wary of putting too much dependence on electronic communications technologies without the resources to pay for repairs, maintenance or insurance of computer equipment. These material considerations were also backed up by investigative experience. Coomber’ s research into the sensitive topic of narcotics was based on newsgroup contact followed by interviewing by electronic mail. He offers the following analysis:
‘ Using the Internet as a means to accessing samples in some way representative of general populations is currently prevented by who has access to it and who is using it. Moreover, even when the desired sample is of Internet users themselves significant
5 6

Sitkin et al, 1992: 202 This commenced with Daft R and Lengel RH (1986) ‘Organisational information requirements, media richness and structural design’ in Management Science Vol.32, No.5, pp.554-571 7 duplication of messages, carbon copies of messages and other multipliers 8 Usually where a mail server is ‘hacked’ and used to distribute many thousands of mails seeking some form of remuneration. My research computer suffered this fate a month before submission as there had been insufficient protection installed by the system operator :( The research addressed this problem by ‘aliasing’ known spam sites and excluding them from the data


technical and operational problems remain in terms of how to ensure the population targeted is in fact the population that responds…F or while the Internet poses methodological problems of one kind it opens up possibilities of others: access to hard to reach populations on sensitive topics…a cross national borders and even continents.’ 9

He spotlights difficulties of identity, truth, verification and response which combine to guarantee the methodological unity of contact and conduct by email. In a similar vein, O’ Lear used electronic mail to send questionnaires to environmental groups located in the former USSR10. Unfortunately he encountered a steep learning curve and, ‘ I learned that it was not uncommon for groups in my sample population to have mailboxes already flooded with various questionnaires’ 11 The question of unsolicited mail is raised here and success is often based on using email as a compliment to face-to-face communications together with previously established contacts. He did not fail completely however and notes that, ‘ Responses to my questionnaire, although few, helped me to develop my fieldwork project.’ 12 The research piloted a web-base questionnaire, shown in Appendix 2, at the 1996 AITEC computer exhibitions in Kampala and Nairobi. It was flagged from the homepages of two networking organisations13 and would automatically send me an email detailing the results. There have been no replies in three years. One further example is provided by a contemporary researcher into email and Internet technologies in East Africa which justifies avoiding entirely any form of anonymous questioning in electronic research. Ellen Kole of the University of Amsterdam had this experience with an email survey:
‘ Unfortunately, I did not receive a single answer on the in-depth interviews. One woman did answer the questions, but the answers were lost in electronic mail traffic and she had not made a copy. I was unable to mail the in-depth questions to another respondent before the data collection deadline, because her email connection was down (i.e., not functioning properly or not functioning at all) for three weeks. A third person withdrew her participation due to other priorities. The questionnaire showed a low response figure too. Only 8 out of a total of 151 copies returned, one of them months after the deadline. Of the 95 electronic copies, 25 returned with the message ‘ host unknown’ or ‘ user unknown’ 14

The issue of distance in research remains fairly insurmountable where electronic mail persists as a luxury, emergency or prioritised means of communication. Methodologically it rules out a reliance on these tools for remote interviewing, except in agreed circumstances. For survey work, if there are to be statistically significant, verifiable and repeatable results, there must again be agreement or targeting of reliable respondents. Reliability can only be fairly judged through persistent contact. Newsgroups and mailing lists There is one area where response is guaranteed and the response is subject to verification. Newsgroups or mailing lists of specialists will respond to appropriately phrased

Coomber R (1997) Using the Internet for survey research Sociological research online Vol. 2, No 2 p14-23 O’Lear SRM (1996) Using Electronic mail surveys for geographic research: Lessons from a survey of Russian environmentalists Professional Geographer Vol. 48, No 2, pp 209-217 11 O’Lear, 1996:215 12 O’Lear, 1996: 216 13 Which I designed and coded and where the link was very prominent. 14


queries. The East African Internet Association is one such organisation and has existed, virtually as a mailing list, for five years. For instance a query over the progress of the pan – African fibre optic network, Africa One elicited three responses. These included one comment, one factual answer and a further issues-based opinion. Other newsgroups such as the Afro-Nets health list, the Afrika-IT list and the African Development Forum (ADF) list have also been used an analysed for research purposes. As fora, if not overused or assailed by unreasonable demands, they produce consideration of research issues. Furthermore, if a mailing list contains a number of experts based around the world there are global insights from sectors such as aid, Internet service, wireless communications, NGOs and government. The research notes its importance as an organisation and locale.

Ethics, Privacy and Anonymity
Central to the quantitative research methodology are issues of privacy. There is a coincidence of both ethical and legal issues in the collection and manipulation of sensitive data containing personal information. Intended datasets to be analysed include billing records for user profiles and electronic mail logs to identify direction and size of traffic. In an ethical sense the issue is whether it is generally acceptable to users and service providers to analyse locations, movements and communications of individuals and organisations. Will it offend their wishes and desires and should they be informed of these investigations? In a legal sense, will this research infringe the human rights or right to privacy of what the European Community calls ‘ data subjects’ 15? First the research has to draw distinctions between types of computer mediated data, the configuration of personal information involved, and their relationships to an idea of privacy. Legal texts offer the most inclusive literatures in this area and are those which both offer comparisons and cover all forms of data. The academic and human rights perspectives however focus issue by issue. Academic texts in the cultural idiom are bereft of technical, policy or methodological perspectives16 whereas the management science perspective offers a richer source of analysis. They concentrate on electronic mail message content rather than indicative user/billing and log data. Their work will be discussed below. Human rights pressure groups rely on a virtual presence 17 and concentrate on privacy for electronic mail message content, web site visitor logging, electronic purchases and junk email (spamming). The current state of the art however is the active espousal of standard practice and a corporate privacy policy for online information arbitrage. This is being conducted by the organisation, TRUSTe. Current best practice and examples will both be discussed below.


‘ an identified or identifiable natural person; an identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity’ Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data 16 For instance Mark Poster’s work: Poster M (1995) The second media age Polity, Cambridge, UK 17 For example; The Electronic Freedom Foundation, Privacy International, Electronic Privacy Information Center, The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Internet Privacy Coalition are substantially represented in an online format


In summary there are few models of methodological approaches to ethical issues in electronic communication. It has been the wording of the law that has acted as the best guide for this research. It has been designed to operate within the boundaries of UK and EC law as it stood in 1995. These rules offer a positive affirmation of its legality and compliance with continent-wide human rights norms. At the same time it has to pay heed to legal semantics.

Legislation and directives
The Data Protection Act 1984 The first methodological question is whether data gathered and held has to anonymised before it is further processed. This would limit research to the machine on which data is stored and imply authorisation for direct access to Internet Service Providers’ systems. In this case there are two stages first there needs to be clarification that electronic data – users names and home addresses, their email identities and transactions – are in fact personal data. Second, it needs to conform to regulations regarding personal data if it is such. Personal data For the first part, the UK Home Office1 offers a recent clarification of the position on personal data. It cites 'personal data' as excluding anonymous information to which identifiers are unlikely to be capable of being attached. It demonstrates its case further by indicating that where a person holds data which are to him anonymous and does not hold complementary information which might help to identify the people concerned, the mere existence of such information elsewhere should not make the data personal within the meaning of the [more recent European Community 95/46/EC] Directive. There must be a reasonable likelihood of the two pieces of information being brought together. In other words the research will certainly engage with personal data and datasets that offer mutual verification, virtual identities and real identities. Personal data regulations The issues remaining are threefold: whether the personal data sought for processing can be gathered without the permission of the data subjects; whether the results can be published in the intended, anonymised, format; and to what extent must data be protected while the research is undertaken. For this second part, United Kingdom legislation covering data acquisition, storage and manipulation is The Data Protection Act, 1984. The 1984 Act was implemented before the advent of a recognisable Internet and has recently been superseded by the Data Protection Act 1998 but it has been in force for the majority of the duration of research.


Data Protection: The Government's Proposals, July 1997, HMSO


According to Chapter 35, Part IV, Section 33 (Domestic and other limited purposes), Subsection 6, this research is first, legal and second, exempt from the full restrictions of registering and notifying the national data registrar of the existence and use of data. This width of use is applicable on the grounds that firstly, personal data is held only for preparing statistics or carrying out research. Secondly, investigations and analysis are exempt from the subject access provisions; but it shall be a condition of that exemption that the data are not used or disclosed for any other purpose and that the resulting statistics or the results of the research are not made available in a form which identifies the data subjects or any of them. According to subsection 4, this holds true even if there is any disclosure… if the data user shows that he had taken such care to prevent it as in all the circumstances was reasonably required.1In accordance with UK regulations, the following ethical policy in Figure CE, conforms completely to the law.

Figure CE Statement of research ethics

General data collection and sorting
Private All data will be depersonalised for publication unless the expressed permission of the individual is given. Commercial Data will not be shared between commercial institutions and will be published as combined statistical materials. The specific wishes of the organisation will be solicited and respected. Official Official sources will be isolated from commercial and private data sources. All data will be available for verification in research council reports.

Special Provisions for Electronic Data
All data will be processed and depersonalised according to specifications agreed with the provider. Data will be stored and processed in secure and passworded areas. They will be under the sole control of the researcher as determined by the wider statement of ethics.


UK Government Data Protection Act 1984 HMSO


Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament 1995
European community law represents a further level of safeguards for legal and ethical issues. Community legislation deals plainly with the same issue of research. Directive 95/46/EC, Article 11 (Information where the data have not been obtained from the data subject), Paragraph 2, says that disclosure to the data subject of the researchers identity and the purpose of research and the categories of data ‘ shall not apply where, in particular for processing for statistical purposes or for the purposes of historical or scientific research, the provision of such information proves impossible or would involve a disproportionate effort or if recording or disclosure is expressly laid down by law. In these cases Member States shall provide appropriate safeguards’ 2 In other words it lays down the same obligations as UK law and at the same time acknowledges its ultimate authority. In their analysis of the directive, Reidenburg and Schwarz note that “ Data protection rules should not be applicable to ‘ data rendered anonymous in such a way that the data subject is no longer identifiable’ for data protection regulation, the means of anonymising data or hiding the original user’ s identity may be subject to different national interpretations and, thus, impose varying obligations.” 3 The recently published guidelines to Directive 95/46/EC by the Directorate General of the European Commission add the inflection of human rights. In answer to the question, ‘ When can personal data be processed it outlines some exceptions and limitations?' It states that the ‘ right to privacy may sometimes conflict with freedom of expression (freedom of speech) and in particular as regards freedom of the press and the media. Member States are therefore requested to establish exceptions or derogations from their data protection provisions in order to strike a balance between these different but equally fundamental rights……D erogations from the right to access the data may be granted for data processed for scientific or statistical purposes’ 4 It is clear that research is exempted from the most stringent regulations of data protection. These are applied more to commercial organisations where an obvious exploitative motive lies. This privileged position still requires that care and responsibility are exercised in handling personal information and in exchange a free rein is given based on a principle of general social good. These advantages have been incorporated into the research methodology yet there are still issues that have to be addressed for future investigations. The answers to these lie in the most recent legislation, The Data Protection Act, 1998.


Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data 3 Reidenberg JR and Schwartz PM (1998)Data protection law and on-line services: Regulatory responses Study commissioned from ARETE by Directorate General XV of the Commission of the EC, Brussels p24 4 European Commission DG XV (1998)Media, Information Society & Data Protection. Data Protection Background Information Directorate General XV of the Commission of the EC, Brussels


Data Protection Act 1998
In the introduction to the act there are more pertinent regulations which impact on research involving sensitive data, online transfer and manipulation. It offers depth rather than reinterpretation of the rules. The following extract shows some of the new legal limits that apply for research which, in exceed those stated in the original ethical policy.
‘ Section 33 of the Act provides for various exemptions in respect of the processing (or further processing) of personal data for research purposes (including statistical or historical purposes) provided that the processing (or further processing) is exclusively for those purposes and .. that the data are not processed to support measures or decisions relating to particular individuals, and that the data are not processed in such a way that substantial damage or substantial distress is, or is likely to be, caused to any data subject.’

It adds that there are few limits to manipulation and analysis and:
further processing of personal data will not be considered incompatible with the purposes for which they were obtained. While personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes. Personal data may be kept indefinitely despite the fifth Data Protection Principle, and subject access does not have to be given provided that the results of the research or any resulting statistics are not made available in a form which identifies data subjects.5

In relation to security and the threshold of a duty of care the act confirms that double passwording and secure storage of this research are acceptable. It states that a researcher's ‘ exemption will not be lost just because the data are disclosed to any person, for research purposes only; to the data subject or someone acting on their behalf; or at the request, or with the consent, of the data subject or someone acting on their behalf’ . In summary, the methodology used conforms to the United Kingdom laws of 1984 and 1998 together with European Community law. The ethical policy used for fieldwork is in fact more stringent, in that it actively seeks to avoid any form of distress, confrontation or representation of personal data. East African situation There are no known initiatives on data protection in East Africa. The first draft of the Kenya Communications Act included a clause allowing state access to records of Internet users. Current ethical practice in commercial sectors Privacy policies and clauses are now included by many electronic mail and Internet sites courtesy of a self-regulation initiative, TRUSTe. Developed in a partnership between online industries and the Electronic Freedom Foundation, it is one of the first examples of current practice that confronts the ethical issues of personal information, its collection, manipulation and trading. This is based on verification from the ’ ...TRUSTe "trustmark," an online branded seal’ and guarantees:

Privacy rules that ‘ ...embody fair information practices approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Federal Trade Commission, and prominent industryrepresented organisations and associations’


UK Government An introduction to the Data Protection Act 1998 Chapter 5, Section 2.6, Research, History and Statistics, Data Protection Registrar HMSO


@ @

@ @ @

Disclosure of ‘ … what personal information is being gathered, who is collecting it, how the information will be used and with whom it will be shared ‘ To make known user control, ‘ ...regarding collection, use, and distribution of their information… ’ offering the lowest threshold of ‘ … an opportunity to opt-out of third-party distribution for secondary uses.’ To… ‘ Ensure that personal information collected online is accurate, complete, and timely and how users can update or correct inaccuracies’ To ‘ Show security procedures in place’ A ‘ TRUSTe children's mark for Under 13s…‘ , where more stringent requirements will apply.

Figure CF Examples of current practice: Two TRUSTe compliant sites UK - Surf London Privacy Policy Maintain logs of the activities on our servers. ask for personal information for contact purposes personal information secure information not disclosed to anyone outside our company without permission.

US -

Wired Digital's Privacy Policy

Collect log information Use data for targeted advertising on web banners Log visitor's activity into analysis of general traffic flows at our sites Merge information into group data Anonymised information shared on an aggregated basis with advertisers Will not disclose individual identity or personal data without permission. These examples show that both US and British companies are moving towards information sensitive attitudes. The British will be forced to adopt these measures under the new Data Protection Act while the American are being pulled by self regulation. The research interprets these changes as significant moves towards best practice by leading sectors. Academic response will lag behind yet the research conforms to the wording and spirit of the law.


Computer generated and computer manipulated data
Infrastructure, Users, Traffic and Internet From the discussions above and the nature of data that is available, the disadvantages of extrapolating data for a newly introduced and fast-changing changing technology are obvious. Indicators are also less useful in a three-country rather than a global comparison, they would be hard to weight and rapid movements in use and technology render them as temporary markers. Mapping Internet connections to home addresses and looking through the contents of electronic mail messages are also to be disregarded as they infringe individual privacy. A more intuitive approach would use data in ways that and address the key issues of the research:- access, global integration, and historical continuity. In this sense a spatial baseline for connectivity must be set, data on users should be indicative rather than personal and traffic should be manipulated to leave direction, domain and size. The spatial baseline will be set by outlining the extent of utility connections required for electronic communications, in this case telephone and power cables and access. User data will classify by type of connection, town of location and sector. Traffic analysis will isolate from-domain, to-domain and size of message. Other quantitative data will outline the capacity and routes of Internet infrastructure. At the beginning of this section the uniqueness of the qualitative data used in this research should be stressed. This is based on the rarity of the material and Abler describes his experience of obtaining such data thus:
‘ In twenty-five years of research on American telecommunications, I have been able to obtain but two flow matrices, one for letter flows and one for telephone calls, and both at a gross level of aggregation. For the most part, telecommunications flow data are considered to be proprietary by those who hold them, and they are rarely released for research purposes…T o the degree that deregulation and competition are introduced in Europe and other areas with government telecommunications monopolies, we can expect reduced access to flow data in those regions’ 1

Infrastructure These underlying structures of modernity provide electrical power for computers and telephone lines to run an Internet connection. Most important for logging this infrastructure is the practical note that it is easier and cheaper to be connected to utilities if they pass through a town or village. A house or person even a few hundred kilometres removed from the power line would be required by UEB, Tanesco or KEB to pay a representative connection fee1 this charge would be less for a telephone line but still prohibitive. Infrastructure mapping then focuses on settlements that are included or excluded from utility service. Data will indicate which communities could have easy access to electronic mail or Internet. There will be exclusions and exceptions, partly due to technical change and partly due to changes in the institutions of utility provision. Firstly mobile telephone use has increased and presently the proportion of subscribers compared to all telephone subscribers is around 2% for Kenya 18% for Tanzania, and 9% for Uganda 2. Secondly,
1 1

Abler RF (1991) ‘Hardware, software and brainware’ in Brunn and Leinbach 1991, pp31-48; quote p35 In 1997 in Kenya a 1km connection cost KSh50 000 ($1000) officially. Personal communication with a customer attempting to get connected. 2 Figures obtained from ITU Statistics, Telecommunications Development Indicators 1998 ITU, Geneva


laptop computing on one hand and the growing sophistication of back-up power systems on the other have led to more spatial and temporal independence from power lines. Thirdly, utilities themselves are being restructured according to privatisation. Projects for service extension and improvement have influenced by international patronage through aid and local political patronage. Also profit motivated organisations are now seeking cheaper and less permanent means of delivering service, the prime example of this is wireless local loop telephone technology. Data Collection Data was collected while all utilities were national monopolies and between April and September 1997. All managing directors were informed by letter and institutions were approached in order to obtain an appointment. For Kenya data was seen as too strategic by both utilities. Limited data for electricity were obtained from the 1995 World Bank report for the Power Rehabilitation Project. I was offered the data required for telephone connections by an employee and for a staggering price. This offer was refused, and spatial data published in government datasets gave sufficient information to construct settlement based telephone service provision. In Uganda I was able to meet with senior management and was provided with exactly what I required. UEB supplied me with both a map of power cables and capacities and a computer file containing this information in graphical format. UPTC were just as accommodating and I was able to photocopy the most recent map of telephone connections. In addition to this I was also given complete datasets for international telephone, telex and telegraph traffic 1990-1997. These describe the numbers of calls and messages sent between Uganda and other countries outside East Africa. East African calls are charged at scaled rates according to distance. In Tanzania, there was worry expressed over the security of cables following a series of, sometimes fatal, thefts of mainline cable. I was able to obtain regional service data. At TTCL there was no up-to-date map available. With the help of the publications department I was able to obtain lists of all the most recent projects such as the Telecommunications Restructuring Programme. Users User data initially presented issues of privacy. The only central store of this data is with the Service Provider and is held under the heading of billing. In other words it is notionally stored with connection level, contact and payment information. It does not necessarily include any information about the occupation, activities or affiliations of the user. What became apparent within the first weeks of the fieldwork was that there was an issue of disclosure. Service Providers were not unwilling to share location information or type of connection information but they were reticent about the numbers of users they had. This presented an impasse. The level of competition has risen so sharply that all Providers found themselves in a commercial arena where their client base was under threat form other, older and newer, players in the market. I was seeking information that might have 90

commercial value. In fact the whole of East Africa was experiencing a problem of understanding the market as there was no reliable single source of figures for users – it would require individual submissions from each ISP. The research only solicited full details from one ISP of those approached and their identity will remain anonymous. The sample represents around 30% of all subscribers in the country and data reflects the historical customer base to the end of 1997. This means that there are indications of who is using the service but this could be skewed for instance, if the ISP offered promotions for organisations or if it favoured one economic or market sector. In other words data could reveal the characteristics of the Service Provider rather than the clients. However, the sample size of over 700 users will contribute to a spatially and sectorally significant picture. Data Collection Personal information is the root of user data. The data is collected by Service Providers in order to identify, contact and charge customers. It is held in a database where it is cross referenced to traffic data to a) police online time limits b) provide helpdesk information on service reliability and sometimes to provide itemised account details. In order to access the information the categories needed and the means of presentation/manipulation needed to be agreed. The underlying principle was anonymisation while retaining representative data. In this manner users were categorised by residence, sector, institution, location and standard of connection. Data Manipulation The data was amalgamated into a wide profile of all users. For instance, an international charity based in a capital city might be international, health, NGO, Kampala, Internet email. The difficulties of this approach are technical classification versus simplification and pigeonholing. Another issue is that of where data was ambiguous or simply missing. Residence was applied only where certain and the default was unknown. Sector threw up problems of classification where the methodological balance lay between replicability of a standard approach and categorical hair-splitting. Through practice the categories were adjusted and it was acknowledged than one sector could be applicable. For instance, the trade category included all import and export functions but a second categorisation by financial, agricultural and service gave shape to differences between foreign exchange, coffee and consumer durable retailing. Institution outlined differences in organisational objectives: NGO, Government, Commercial while location pinpointed the contact telephone location.

The data comes under the heading of Telecommunication Transaction-Generated Information as it is rather grandly put by Somarajiva.1 The essence of electronic mail traffic data is the vector from sender and recipient which represents direction and reach. Both are

Somarajiva R (1996) ‘Surveillance by design; Public networks and the control of consumption’ in Mansell R and Silverstone R (1996) (Eds) Communications by design: The politics of information and communication technologies Oxford University Press, UK pp129-156. According to footnote 14, p155 the term was first used by McManus T (1990) Telephone transaction-generated information: Rights and restrictions Harvard University Center for Information Policy Research, Cambridge, US. However a full search could not locate this text in the UK. Somarajiva’s description is on pp138-142.


recorded in a computer log file when an electronic mail message is received for transmission and when it is transmitted. The sender and recipient identities are held, along with the size of the message, time information, individual and position identifiers and system to system instructions and transmission confirmation. The original function of this data was to check on the workings of the email system and stem from the days when messages were often corrupted or lost. With the advent of reliable Internet based mail it is still used to confirm transmission to users but the advent of extraordinary processing power has enabled it to extract more use from the information. More recently software applications can offer user and communication profiles to check system integrity and security, but also for marketing purposes. At the beginning of the research none of this software was available. Communication logs were little used and this historical data was routinely destroyed as logs filled a relatively small storage capacity. Data Collection The research has collected an processed electronic mail logs in two sections. The first section covers the years 1992 to 1997 and they are FidoNet MT logs from the GreenNet Internet gateway in London. They represent nearly all public electronic mail sent from East Africa up to 1995, excluding only a small flow via the United Nations site in Nairobi. The second section covers six Service Providers, two each from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, sent by pure SMTP Internet mail. GreenNet logs were retained initially for the purpose of researching the possibilities of costsharing – where incoming traffic volumes are greater but their costs of transfer are borne only by the receiving system. These datasets were lying unused on GreenNet servers and contained spatial traffic data. I asked to be able to manipulate them and consent was given on the condition that data was anonymised and the processed logs also returned for historic record. They were transferred directly to Royal Holloway where they have been kept in a secure passworded environment. East Africa electronic mail logs were obtained under similar conditions. The owners of the data, Internet Service Providers were approached through email and then face to face contact. They were shown the tools to be used, the procedures to be followed and the expected output. The ethical policy underlined a commitment to privacy and security and following agreement, logs were transferred to the UK using File Transfer Protocol and stored in passworded areas away from direct Internet access. A second level of security was enforced as the data was stored with passworded compression before transfer. Responses to requests varied from hostile to guarded to silent to enthusiastic. Technicians were the key to success as they were familiar with day to day security considerations and the feasibility of my processing techniques while management could block referral without consideration. Complete datasets covering 1995-1998 were preferred


Data Manipulation
Logs were processed using Perl scripts. Perl stands for practical extraction and reporting language. The research took raw system information from the log areas of electronic mail servers and processed them into simple incoming and outgoing information. Figure CG Three examples of raw logs WINDOWS NT POST OFFICE LOG
19970904014016+0300:SMTPAccept:Received:[] <>:<>

Date Protocol Home system Remote system Size and position From To LINUX SENDMAIL LOG

19970604014016+0300: SMTP Accept: Received:[]: 1351:3: <>: <>

Aug 11 13:01:28 swiftuganda sendmail[169]: NAA00189: from=<>, size=1067, class=0, pri=0, nrcpts=1, msgid=<>, proto=ESMTP, [] Aug 11 13:01:43 swiftuganda sendmail[203]: NAA00169: to=sysop, delay=00:00:30, xdelay=00:00:15, mailer=local, stat=Sent

Date System Message Number From Size Flags ID Relay/Protocol Date System Message Number To Mailtracking FIDONET OT LOGS
= 14:10:03 D 14:10:03 $ 14:10:03 D 14:10:03 D 14:10:03 D 14:10:03

Aug 18 13:08:28 swiftuganda sendmail[169]: NAA00169: from=<>, size=1267, class=0, pri=0, nrcpts=1,
msgid= <>,

proto=ESMTP, [] Aug 18 13:08:43 swiftuganda sendmail[203]: NAA00169: to=sysop, delay=00:00:30, xdelay=00:00:15, mailer=local, stat=Sent

reading 444.MSG |scanning readdress-table |MSG from[2:2/501] to Rupert [5:7321/1] |Text: 815 B |re-writing: 444.MSG |From us, but not local!


Time Message ID From To Status and Size System messages

14:10:03 444.MSG (Fido 5:7321/1) Text: 815 B Rewriting: 444.MSG From us, but not local

Perl script walk-through An actual Perl script is shown and annotated in Appendix One. A full description of the process, a walk-through, shows the construction, procedures and choices made during this programming. Three files were used. First the original log file, second a temporary core file containing index stamped records and finally the output file. The Perl script opened the log and core files for reading and writing respectively. It then read each line of the log file. Only those lines containing traffic data were picked and each of these were split up into component parts. Traffic data was retained and a marker was created from the message identity and time sent, together with a suffix indicating if contained incoming or outgoing data. The processed line was written to the core file and this process continued until all the lines of the log file had been read. Both files were then closed. The next step was to run a sort command which arranged messages by their markers and placed incoming and outgoing lines next to each other. This created a sorted file containing critical data. The next script opened this file for reading and a final output file. Each line was processed: removing control characters; substituting international addresses for local addresses; removing personal identities; concatenating incoming and outgoing data for the same message into a single line; reducing information to three domain levels; and comma delimiting data for both spreadsheet and database legibility. The final output showed the following data: Message size in bytes; sender domain (system, institution, country); receiver domain (system, institution, country). Problems and process There were four types of email servers: FidoNet; Linux; Unix; and Windows NT. Furthermore all email servers are set up to the specifications of the system operator and log data differs. This required an unique Perl script to be written, debugged, tested and executed for each Service Provider. The advantages were consistent results and the disadvantages were the sheer amount of work and time required. The data itself gave two real programming problems. First there was the arrangement of data. Information was in a very approximate order with system messages, failed transmissions, sending, receiving and other information mixed up on non-consecutive lines. This meant that, except for Windows NT, two scripts and an interim core presented a simple procedure yet doubled processing time. Second domains are not standardised and vary according to the choice of the service provider and to the structure of Internet addressing protocols. For instance, CyberTwiga of Tanzania use the domain, this indicated they are based in the United States yet there is no compulsion for them to use a domain. At the same time, United States domains often only extend to two 94

domain levels. The research was seeking both geographical information and the least intrusive information. However to differentiate between internal system traffic, local traffic and international traffic two procedures are necessary. The first of these is to alias or substitute international domain names to local ones where possible, for example becomes The second of these is to include three levels of domain to distinguish between to traffic and to traffic. This allows the categorisation of internal system, administrative and local user to local user traffic in one block rather than amalgamate the all into to traffic. Given the huge amount of local messaging outlined, the final picture will not be distorted by email as the default mode of internal communication. Findings The research has used innovative programming to analyse computer generated traffic logs. At the beginning of the research period this was seldom used process yet new system software, notably for Windows NT, together with some freeware and commercial packages offer workable solutions. However the flexibility of Perl scripting together with the focus of output requirements cannot yet be matched by these methods. Geographical information has been extracted from the by-products of electronic mailing systems with a high level of accuracy and allowing unambiguous analysis.


Human derived data
Background The statement of intent for qualitative data was to elicit information and opinions on the parameters and contexts of use and policy in regional computer mediated communications through interviews and case studies. The field of research should be mapped by examples of first: experience and informed opinion, based on second: reasoning on choice, implementation and practice of technology in society. Experience and informed opinion should be inclusive; a users perspective of electronic communications, the enterprise of service provision, and views on governing and enabling telematics. Quantitative research had sought out figures for rates of growth, geographical spread of use and communications patterns. A qualitative procedure would calibrate, question or contradict these statistics. As McCracken dramatically poses it, ‘ Without these understandings, our vision of social scientific data is monocular when it could be binocular. Without a qualitative understanding of how culture mediates human action, we can only know what the numbers tell us’ 1 Ethics, Social and cultural choice and preference The ethics for qualitative data collection are less defined as those for computer-mediated qualitative research. Broadly the research ethics cover three scenarios – the initial contact, personal engagement and follow-up.

Initial contact
An open statement of the status of the researcher, research objectives and areas of investigation were offered to all individuals and institutions contacted. The nature and scope of enquiry was explicitly stated through materials offered in advance of contact. These included; The ethical statement shown above guaranteed privacy; preview questions were offered to interviewees.

Personal engagement
The choice of ‘ going off record’ and the option of anonymity were given. The choice of recording by taping or note-taking given. Courtesy, sensibility to the subject’ s interaction with subject matter yet a strong personal perspective – ‘ ...the investigator cannot fulfil qualitative research objectives without using a broad range of his or her own experience...’ 1

Notes of taped interviews were returned in an effort to win trust while manipulated and analysed data has been returned or released in newsgroups. A continuing relationship is important and the generally held stereotype of a mzungu is that they will not return once they leave. Ugandan children routinely shout ‘ Bye Mzungu!’ when they see you, an indication of this truth. Kearl notes a similar view from a rural Kenyan interviewed in fieldwork:
1 1

McCracken GD (1988) The long interview Sage, California p.9 McCracken 1988:18


‘ People in the community have grown accustomed not to trust people who come from outside. No-one comes from outside with good intentions. Everyone comes here to take something away from us and tell bad stories about us. Some people come here to help us with their research, they say. Then they go back to university to receive degrees, and come back here as government officials giving us instructions and orders.’ 2

The literatures of interviewing offer an expanse of techniques and methodologies. There are scales of structuring interviews: − − − Fixed questions applied universally to a large or homogenous sample population with the objective of collecting statistical data Flexible, unstructured approach using similar questions and a check list of issues covered with the objective that the subject details actions and also qualifies them The ethnographic approach where the interviewer conducts an open-ended dialogue with the subjects’ way of life where the ‘ ethnographer and his subjects are both performers and audience to one another’ 3 See also participant observation, Action research. The second choice of open ended and semi-structured questioning tallied best with research objectives. In one sense the interviews offer a validating data source and in another they constituted a development of analytical categories, allowing a reflection and contextualisation of the issues. According to Warwick4 the ‘ case for multiple data sources is especially strong in the developing countries for the simple reason that the data collected by any one method are often subject to substantial error’ 5 and thus balancing biases of other methods. A caveat from Devereux and Hoddinot also adds that ‘ unstructured interviews generally produce good case studies and questions, not statistical aggregates’ .6 Semi-structured interview methods would invite comment and personal perspective, yet allow space for the interviewees’ agenda. Oppenheim terms these interviews as ‘ depth interviews’ 7 where it ‘ is spontaneous reactions that are wanted, not carefully thought out positions’ 8. He also posits that the ‘ job of the depth interviewer is thus not that of data collection but ideas collection’ 9. However Oppenheim does not address the issues of comparability of interviews and places data and ideas in contradiction to each other. Measuring interview results does not imply mechanical comparison but also the

Kearl B (1976) Field data collection in the social sciences: experiences in Africa and the Middle East Agricultural Development Council, New York quoted in Bulmer M (1993) ‘Interviewing and field organisation’ in Warwick and Bulmer 1993:205-217 3 Berreman GD (1973) ‘Behind many masks: Ethnography and impression management in a Himalayan village’ in Warwick DP and Osherson S (Eds) Comparative research methods Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, USA pp268312, quote p284 4 Warwick DP (1993) ‘On methodological integration in social research’ in Bulmer M and Warwick DP (Eds) (1993) Social research in developing countries: surveys and censuses in the Third World UCL, London pp275298 5 Warwick 1993:288 6 Devereux S and Hoddinott J Issues in data collection p30 in Devereux S and Hoddinott J (1992) Fieldwork in developing countries Harvester Wheatsheaf, New York pp25-40 7 McCracken 1988:65-80 8 ibid:69 9 ibid:68


implications and weight of cultural and economic context. These issues should be worked out in the choice of interviewee and in interview procedure. Interviewee choice Experience and Informed opinion are two limitations to a survey of the general population. Interviews were increasingly restricted by expertise with first, telecommunications and computing, secondly electronic mail and lastly world wide web and full Internet. The measurement of teledensity gives an indication of the size of the widest interview population. Teledensity is a statistical measure of the number of telephone lines per 100 people within an area. The three national figures are: Kenya 0.82, Tanzania 0.3, Uganda 0.241. The disparity in the measures between capital cities and rural areas shows more clearly, population restrictions:
Kenya Tanzania Uganda Capital city 7.84 2.3 Rural areas 0.14 0.05



Sample populations with expertise, even in the first limiting category, are much more likely to be found in the capital city. There are more detailed implications from these indicators the scope of subjects for interviewing has to be sketched in a wider format. Measures of teledensity are too precise and actual telephone users far exceed the numbers of lines installed. Public access telecommunications imply a far greater number of service users yet further facilities such as public access electronic mail and Internet cafes are few and far between. Business and organisational facilities also offer shared access and an eventual funnelling of information derived from the public – meetings, publications and even individual communications; into electronic mail and world wide web pages.

A list of the sample population would then include the following: − Individual users of electronic mail − − − − − Individual users of world wide web and full Internet Members and management of organisations – business and community – providing electronic mail or world wide web communications Management and employees of technical and commercial providers of electronic mail and Internet services Representatives, legislators and ministers within government Management and employees of monopoly telecommunications organisations


All figures are derived from African Telecommunications Indicators 1998, ITU, Geneva


Interview procedure The research interviews to be conducted through a linguistic or brokered medium of English language in order to extract the fullest, unfiltered meaning. It also expected some experience with electronic communications1. The core sample of interviewees were identified on the preparatory visit in 1996. These were key players in the founding and implementation of electronic communications and were informed of the research, its objectives and programme personally, by letter and by electronic mail. Interviewees were presented in advance with guideline questions but with the proviso that the format would be conversational and would last for at least thirty minutes. In other words the rules of engagement were set and questions acted as triggers and prompts to a flow of views. The interviewees were offered a choice between taped conversation where the transcript would be returned or a note-taking interview. Permission to use phrases verbatim in note taking was confirmed in answer to, ‘ It is OK if I use that as a quote?’ . They were also informed that it was a standard procedure to go off-record at any time and their identity and identifying characteristics would not be recorded in any published document. The course of the interview followed guideline questions. The first question was to relax and animate the interviewee. As McCracken advises that opening questions should be for ‘ face-safety’ where they are ‘ simple, informal’ 2 and not controversial or provocative. This standard question was ‘ When did you first hear of email and Internet? What have been your personal experiences?’ . This allowed baseline of personal experience from where the issues could be chased. The questions were then adjusted to the experience of the interviewee and scoped to cover the research priorities. Course of the interview According to Oppenheim1, an in depth interview should be guided by the interviewer using three processes; Traffic management – continuing the flow of information, Following the hidden agenda – identifying the langue and parole, maintaining rapport – continuing the human contact and conversation. He states that ‘ a depth interview that is going well, there should hardly be any need for questions as such’ 2 This represents an ideal situation and the experience of questioning subjects followed a less direct path where ‘ detection proceeds by a kind of ‘ rummaging’ process’ 3. In this situation, a check list of issues and topics4 tracked the progress of the interview until it was concluded by either party or came to a natural close.

Exceptions and methodological problems


These are criteria of identity necessarily relative to the investigation and its regularity. See Winch’s analogy of nuclear physics. Winch P (1990) The idea of a social science and its relation to philosophy Routledge, London pp83-84 2 McCracken 1988:31 1 Oppenheim 1992:73 2 ibid. 3 McCracken (1988:19) 4 As suggested in Devereux S and Hoddinott J (1992:29-31)


Misunderstanding This was an initial problem of the methodology at the stage of setting the agenda and due to posing over-complicated questions. Subjects accepted the background and objectives of the research yet in the interview made it clear that they did not understand the agenda or wording of one or more of the questions. This was noted quickly and questions were framed more generally. For example, ‘ How are you adding value beyond service provision?’ was short yet ambiguous through its use of jargon. Reframed, the question became, ‘ What extra services are being provided for users, business and the community?’ . Such an approach allowed a subject to give a factual answer followed by an opportunity to qualify the information. It prevented pauses over ambiguity and prompted an unobstructed flow of information. The statement that ‘ It is important to work longer, and with great care, with a few people than more superficially with many of them’ 1 was partially proven. Long and animated interviews produced more facts, comment and insight. However detail and experience in an animated answer to a single question in an otherwise empty interview showed that a degree of superficiality can mask important discoveries. An example of this was when a Ugandan computer science student offered a short monologue on operating systems and web browsers but diverted into personal and institutional insights into technology transfer, appropriate technology and the labour market. A good methodology can still bypass rich seams of data. Missed appointments A frustrating part of arranging meetings in regions where means of communication do not operate so seamlessly is what Morton-Williams calls ‘ noncontact’ .1 In addition, for subjects using mobile telephones, private transport and a secretary, there were additional barriers. The impediments here match McCracken’ s ‘ time scarcity and concern for privacy’ 2 as factors influencing ‘ non-contact’ . Both problems required the development of tactics, first for persisting in asking for and justifying interviews and second, in facilitating a comfortable time and place for the meeting. Emails and telephone calls were always supplemented by ‘ doorstepping’ leading to more and better interviews. It became noticeable that rearranging time schedules on the day was often easier for subjects than scheduling in advance and an hours’ wait for their time would save a wasted afternoon.

1 1

McCracken (1988:17) Morton-Williams J (1993) Interviewer approaches Dartmouth, Aldershot, UK pp59-69 2 McCracken (1988:11)


The multi-disciplinary and many layers of this research have been negotiated by keeping an open mind to the long durée of development and telecommunications. Some chasing of latest developments – particularly telecentres – distracted from that time-depth but for the purpose of finding someone without a university degree who was using email or Internet. Computer-work has subtracted from some potential spontaneity and freshness from the research with many hours of repetitive screen-gazing. The subjects of this research are few and their subjectivity often limited by product preference but there were strong feelings and expressions of hope and wonder. Methods were important but only as important as a technical and cultural ‘ positionality’ that allows access to, and communication with, the width of players and actors. This dialogue is carried over into chapter five with the integration of a 'history of the present' and three sections of data analysis. It blends the approaches discussed here to investigate the three technological gravities of email, telephones and Internet through their rises and declines. They are weighted by country by country 'readings' of telephone traffic and upgraded by a solid dissection of Internet and its institutional construction.


Chapter 5
Electronic mail – Precursor of Internet
In 1990 the following message was emailed to an electronic noticeboard on the West coast of the United States and automatically distributed to subscribers around the world. It was sent earlier that month from the preparatory meeting of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
/** en.unced.gener: 3.3 **/ **Written 11:10 PM Aug 25, 1990 by rpollard in cdp:en.unced.gener** August 14, 1990 11:54 am Nairobi, Kenya Nairobi Chronicle Data communications has been a problem. I think that we have worked out a solution through the new FidoNet link at ELCI headquarters here in Nairobi. We tried using the UNEP Alternate Voice Data (AVD) link with a modem call through New York to the Telenet system and then to Econet/PeaceNet. Unfortunately the technical support in New York has been abysmal and the line quality has deteriorated to such a point that neither data nor fax communication is possible. As an alternative Doug Rigby from ELCI has put a FidoNet point in here and we are shipping our data from UNEP to ELCI and on to the FidoNet-GreenNet link in London where it enters the APC system. If you are reading this it works, thanks to the super efforts of Doug Rigby, Jeremy Mortimer (GreenNet) and Robert Pollard (Information Habitat.)

The message signalled the first expansion of electronic networking in East Africa and a process that has exposed the region to a new means of communication. A single user could ‘ narrowcast’ information to a distant audience by posting to a newsgroup or by invoking multiple recipients through the carbon copying of messages. This chapter collects the initial experiences of electronic mail, the unfolding of the FidoNet3 system and user traffic data from its use in East Africa. It gives both statistical evidence and the views of key players to show how it was overtaken by the reliability and desirability of Internet connections. It matches country by country statistics from early electronic mail in Uganda with comparable data from its international telephone calls. This offers a firm foundation for the intercomparison between international data and the positioning of Uganda and its developing communications relationships, first for African and then globally. It ends by introducing the third strand of connectivity, Internet, as a basis for examining shifts from analogue telephone systems to digital data networks. The configuration and the economic influences that have determined the structure of Internet vary from the long historical integration of the telephone and the short and intense burst of early electronic mail. The findings from these tendencies and groupings are synthesised and regrouped to show how the construction of next generation protocols both vary and match preceding

In a technical definition, Fido is a proprietary standard, non-Internet compatible protocol routed through a gateway which maintains durable connections with a high resiliency and using crash recovery. FidoNet is the organisational structure that supports the messaging system. These equate with Internet protocol and the Internet respectively


practice and organisation. These impacts on future connectivities are summarised and weighed against the implications of Internet2, which will be installed where the lines between voice, data and multimedia exchange have become increasingly blurred and technologically irrelevant. Voluntarism GreenNet and the Environment Liaison Centre International had kick-started electronic mail and their technical co-operation established regular service in 1991. GreenNet was itself part of a larger umbrella of Internetworking organisations – the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in San Francisco – and it used the slogan, ‘ global networking for environment, development, peace and human rights’ . Operating from its offices in London N1, at the heart of the Central Business District of NGOs, it offered local and global communications solutions heavily flavoured with an agenda that sought to equalise access to high level and at the same time, ‘ appropriate’ , datacommunications. A part of this was aimed at developing country solutions and beyond that, to not-for-profit sectors that matched its aims. GreenNet was a concerned organisation and workers co-operative that was informed and aware of the consequences of its actions with a body of experience that encompassed struggles of the past and current regions of contention. Cuba, Nicaragua and Central America and South Africa were areas that informed a progressive outlook. In alliance with APC partners, it was playing a role in the dissemination of information and the establishment of communications in Mexico where the Zapatista uprisings were accompanied by electronic mail bulletins, in the former Soviet Union where news of the coup was spread over the FidoNet email system and in East Timor where it trained and helped install a user base. FidoNet email was based on the public telephone system. It sent compressed electronic mail packets and because of this ‘ tunnelling’ , was relatively immune to intervention or interception from the state. Transmissions could be encrypted with high level privacy software and equipment could be shifted between locations with relative ease. This ‘ guerrilla’ networking operated near to the frontier of technological developments yet could run on very basic computer equipment. The operation was run in a spirit of voluntarism1 tinged with missionary enthusiasm and with strong connections to this past model. It differed from many of the voluntaristic movements of the 19th Century in that it utilised networks of Non Government – in the areas of environment, academic and ultimately health - but retained the ethics of self-exploitation and not-for-profit. It followed in the tradition of organisations such as the Anti-slavery Society in acting as a gateway or broker for the collection and dissemination of information over a wide area but it was not a single-issue group. The patterns of interconnection that these original groups had established and had endured through the colonial and post-colonial period. They were outward looking and with a strong local momentum and organised and motivated to grasp new networking technology.

A short history of the rise, fall and rise of voluntarism in East Africa has been written by Goran Hyden. Hyden G (1995) ‘Bringing voluntarism back in: Eastern Africa in comparative perspective’ in Semboja and Therkildsen (Eds) 1995, pp35-50


GreenNet and ELCI were introducing a technology, a mind-set and a means of communications that were ‘ hot’ , in McLuhan’ s sense of the word, in a ‘ cold’ – low technology, poorly diffused infrastructure, rumour-influenced – society and economy. Trainings and support were given for users with ELCI acting as partners and agents. They were actively teaching, disseminating and installing FidoNet along with ideologies of selfexpression and information extension. As missionaries had actively participated in the colonial and civilising project through education and health services at the beginning of the century, GreenNet and ELCI were the vanguard of a huge shift in patterns of information exchange. Electronic networking was offering global extension but through relatively ‘ noisy’ 2 channels. This bears comparison with the spatial pioneer, Henry Stanley, through both his plea against slavery by letter to the Daily Telegraph of 1873 and his telegram giving news of Livingstone’ s death (via India) to the Royal Geographical Society. This early period of electronic networking in East Africa was proving the commercial viability of electronic mail and Internet while using the systems to offer cheap and efficient international communications. The ‘ pandora’ s box’ of instant and distant interconnection had been introduced and grasped by the Non Government and not-for-profit sector. They sought to temper the capacity of datacommunications for a collective good based on the 80s and 90s issues of the grassroots and their own version of development. Missionaries had heralded the inevitable momentum of colonial penetration yet were distanced from the full implications of imperialism. FidoNet and email networking were the precursor of a digital reconfiguration of society that is being reinvented by forces of re-regulation, commerce and technology. Satellite forerunners There were precursors to this form of electronic networking. PeaceSat and the SHARE project (shown in figure DA) had used satellite technologies for humanitarian purposes and involved the non-government or ‘ third’ sector1 from the 1970s. PeaceSat’ s operations from 1971 to 1988 were archived by Lewis and Mukaida who described two phases of networking in the Pacific basin covering issues of health, education, science, ‘ issues’ plus community service programmes.2 These were conducted using VHF communications over satellite terminals costing at least $640, probably at 1988 prices, and with 8,000 airtime hours per year. There are comparisons to be made with some of the specific FidoNet based schemes but there are three dividing lines. First the area of communication was limited by the location and footprint of the satellite and reduced the opportunity for unplanned, unscheduled or spontaneous communication. The 22 hours up-time per day claimed seems a little excessive, bearing in mind this shared space, and it appears to have covered six time zones at maximum. With transfer rates at between 120 and 2400 baud 3

A development of the engineering term where noise implies the level of distortion for a message determined by the number and focus of other messages. GreenNet and APC newsgroups were known for a lack of noise compared to Usenet groups where ‘flaming’ and ‘spamming’ were common. However the newsgroups contained many other message postings. 1 The terms ‘third’ sector and ‘third’ way have two dubious precursors: there is/was a neo-nazi group of that name in the UK; the term was used by Graham Greene in a not-so-good novel – The Quiet American –about the early days of the Vietnam conflict. It generally describes a direction taken equidistant between two poles (thesis/antithesis) which could cover right/left, local/global, state/private… whatever! 2 Lewis ND and Mukaida LVD (1991) ‘Telecommunications in the Pacific region: The PeaceSat experiment’ in Brunn SD and Leinbach TR (1991) Collapsing space and time Harper Collins, London pp232-251, this data from p245 3 At full stretch this translates as a page a minute


organisation would have to dictate content rather than vice versa. Second, autonomy was limited in a cold war climate and on a NASA satellite 4. Lastly there were no nodal functions and connections could not be ‘ franchised’ or resold or distributed. The key to FidoNet was that it fulfilled a quasi-commercial venture where economic allocative power flowed in and out of African host systems. The PeaceSat project was also impermanent in the same way that the SHARE project turned out to be. They relied on the charitable donation of satellite space segments by a larger organisation. The largest boundary was that of space for PeaceSat while SHARE was bounded most by time and provided flighting connectivity. The collection of East African experiences shown in the resume of the SHARE project in figure DA show that it was, like all satellite projects, an expensive and valuable experience limited by the sustainabilty of retaining coverage. The useful life of a satellite rarely exceeds 15 years.

Figure DA The Share Project (1985-1989 )
Satellites for Health and Rural Education, or Project Share, was a special eighteen-month test and demonstration period but extended until 1989. IntelSat provided free satellite space for health and education purposes in developing countries. The two East African examples are: Nairobi 1985: The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP) sponsored two satellite teleconferences, linking women attending the third United Nations World Conference of Women with groups of women leaders in three U.S. cities. The event was entitled ‘ Dateline Nairobi--Women's View’
Western Historical Manuscript Collection Papers of Donna Allen (1968-1987) Director of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press

Kampala, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam 1986: The conference ‘ Applications of Microbiology to African Problems’ used satellite-based audioconferencing in March 1986. Home-based participants were located in Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania while the producing groups were the American Society of Microbiology and George Washington University. The topics discussed over the link included Fungal Infections, Infant Diarrhoea, Vaccine Development and Parasitology. Kampala 1986: Memorial University of Newfoundland Link to East Africa in May 1986 which was a narrow-band audioconferencing link between Kenyatta Medical School in Nairobi (Kenya), the Makerere Medical School in Kampala (Uganda) and the Health Sciences Centre in St. Johns Newfoundland (Canada)… The links allowed electroencephalogram and electrocardiogram information to be sent from the African cities to Canada where expert doctors using sophisticated computers diagnosed and recommended treatments. The link also allowed students at the Uganda hospital to participate in lectures, ward-rounds and other education session given at the Kenya facility'
Andah JS (1995) Telematics Initiatives for Sustainable Development Paper presented at the African regional symposium on telematics for development, Addis Ababa, 3rd to 7th April 1995


Rules included ‘ no personal or intimate traffic will take place over the air’ and ‘ the PeaceSat Project is not political ... all terminals desire the free flow of ideas and the professional discussion of the same (they do not select ideas for others or advocate one over another)’ Lewis and Mukaida 1991:247


KENPAC packets then email bundles
KENPAC is an example of a state datacommunications system. It was superseded by KenStream in 1996 and JamboNet in 1998, but for ten years offered access to global networks on a scale that precluded NGO and voluntary participation. This public switched data network was the foundation of Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation’ s experience with formal computer-based connectivity and allowed it to offer services outside the conventional telephone system. It allowed a data connection to exchange data packets over an X.25 open systems connection. In 1988 the World Bank-linked, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) began to communicate from Kenya to the International CGNET over KENPAC. Data calls were both outgoing and incoming while equipment was subject to type approval and licensing and these pushed costs up. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), between 1988 and 1992 the costs for the Kenyan connection averaged 20 000 ksh a month or around $1000 for between 1 and 2 calls per day5. Together with cost of terminal equipment and the lack of a supporting techno-organisational network there were no incentives to draw in small organisations or individuals. Access costs were prohibitive and there was no ready-made community with which to share information unlike the explicitly public FidoNet and Internet systems. It was FidoNet which offered these technical and organisational possibilities rather than direct connection to an immature Internet. It provided electronic mail based on a 'bulletin board' or off-line messaging system and technical advantages and improvements were fourfold. The Fido protocol compressed messages together for transmission; it split up these ‘ bundles’ and reassembling them at the receiving end allowing short transmission bursts; it checked and resent data packets; and it allowed automating transmission and mailing operations. It was also a durable protocol that was able to negotiate the inconsistencies and poor quality of badly capitalised and maintained telephone equipment and lines often found in Africa. Other administrative innovations were the initiation of calls from outside, capitalising on lower tariffs from developed countries to developing countries. Further, it integrated software components into a package that was easy to install, maintain and operate. Traffic was directed through the local STD network, international telephone lines and Internet and mediated by the London based NGO email gateway - GreenNet. Email was able to tunnel through public infrastructure from sender to recipient without license, permit or agreement and could connect to the world through any telephone line. It acted as a clearing-house and training facility for other campaign groups and offered them electronic mail as a tool for their work and as a resource with which to serve a wider community. Electronic mail was a powerful tool and yet at the same time it was a ground-breaking technology. Although Internet was in existence, its weakness in holding connections over the telephone, and especially those of poor analogue connections in Africa, 6 meant that it was spatially limited to main line cables. The development of Single Line Internet Protocol

in AAAS (1992) Electronic Networking in Africa: Workshop on science and technology networks in Africa, August 1992 African Academy of Science/AAAS 6 And abysmal in the rainy seasons


(SLIP) and the Point to Point Protocol (PPP) in May and November 19927 offered a compromise but did not affect the viability of FidoNet email in Africa for another three years. FidoNet, is a user-friendly system and was developed by amateurs to reliably exchange electronic mail as cost-effectively as possible and to run on basic computer and telematic equipment. This means that it can operate on an IBM compatible 8086 machine with a small, 20 megabyte hard drive - 1985 technology. A modem, telephone line and power source are the only other requirements. In this sense it approaches an appropriate technology – low cost, easily deployed and maintainable by bricoleurs. Its mechanics saw a host system in East Africa forward messages over the telephone to a gateway with an Internet connection. First this was London then, from 1994, UNEP in Nairobi offered an alternative connection.8 Finally from 1996, live commercial Internet was used and the distance to an Internet connection had been shrunk to the local level. However lines remained poor and FidoNet’ s ability to retransmit interrupted or corrupted exchanges allowed highly compressed streams of data minimised the time and unreliability of calls over faint and crackling African connections. It still holds this advantage which can explain its continued, though limited use, especially over the Ugandan telephone system outside Kampala. ELCI and FidoNet The epistemic unity of the environment as an issue and its transformation into an identifiable development sector coalesced at the end of the 1980s. East Africa was a crucible for these movements and an example of the fusion of global and local interests, co-operation between NGOs, international agencies and the development of an independent means of communication. At the centre of this change was the foundation of the United Nations Environment Programme Headquarters (UNEP) in Nairobi in 1972 and soon after, in 1974, the Environmental Liaison Centre International. At the lowest denominator there was a shared location in the East African hub of commerce and communications. At other levels there were shared interests, co-ordination and contact between international and grassroots activities and lastly subcontracting of research and project work. ELCI was founded as a Non Governmental Organisation with the objective of creating a decentralised, regionally focused networking instrument to strengthen the collective action of the 'third sector'. By 1996 its administrative budget was US$1.5 million with a wide base of international funding and it had reached its peak of operations. It comprised 30 members of staff – 16 'professionals' and 14 support staff. The organisation and email connection interfaced with its three regular publications: Ecoforum, Wedline and a bi-monthly circular letter on natural resource issues. It was a centred autonomous interface between issues and institutions and at the cutting edge of the integrated communications and publishing of its time. Protus Muteshi describes the period between 1990and 1992 as the start of cheap, effective networking:
7 8

These dates are from Keith Lynch’s Internet timeline, Through their live connection to Norway, provided gratis and used by commercial and non-commercial traffic. However regional and local lines were of a worse quality and reliability than international lines


'It was very busy for us, ELCI had been up for a year when I began… at that time we were starting to help others get their systems working… It wasn't only that because we were setting up conferences which were starting environmental discussions which were international. The IDRC [funded] projects - NGONet and PADIS then Mukla and Costech all came through us… with training and support. Each time a person or an NGO was to hook up with email the traffic increased… the telephones were busy and we were active. It was because the cheapest way to communicate was using email, now it is VERY cheap. This is how I saw networking developing.' 1

FidoNet and Non Government networks
Using the FidoNet system, GreenNet's averaged figures for transmission costs to African hosts for 1992-93 were 5.2 pence per message and £7.83 per megabyte. By 1993-1994, increased economies from rising traffic had reduced costs to 3.9 pence per message and £3.59 per megabyte. In other words £600, an approximation of $1000, would have bought 11,529 messages or 385 messages per day in 1992-1993. By 1993-1994 this would have risen to 15,384 messages or 513 messages per day. FidoNet proved to be significantly cheaper than using the state's public data network, KENPAC in the case of Kenya. This improvement in the means of communication stemmed from the configuration of incoming international calls over standard lines, a shared international connection and improvements in message compression and reliability. It was first chosen by ELCI for its own international communications in early 1990 and then spread. By the end of the year, four International Development Research Centre (IDRC) funded projects were connected with technical and logistical support from ELCI. Table DB below shows the countries, dates, organisations and sectors connecting to exchange email or 'polling' GreenNet.


Interview Protus Muteshi, Nairobi, 23 April 1999


Table DB East African FidoNet email hosts2 Country Organisation Kenya ELCI Kenya ARCC Kenya ARSO Kenya Thorntree Kenya UMSG Kenya Shane Tanzania COSTECH Tanzania TanHealth Tanzania UniDar Tanzania Hnettan Uganda MUKLA Uganda TransMail Uganda Muknet

Start date Oct-89 Apr-92 Apr-94 Jul-94 Jan-96 Feb-96 Mar-92 Aug-93 Dec-94 Nov-95 Dec-90 Mar-95 Jul-95

Sector Environment Networking/NGO Regional intergovernment Commercial Religion Private Education Health Education Health Education Commercial Commercial

IDRC and ELCI initiated the four networks that would spread the connectivity to the hosts shown in the table above. These were the Eastern and Southern African University Network (ESANET), African Regional Standards Organisation (ARSO), Non-governmental organisation network (NGONet) and the Pan African Development Information System Network (PADIS). For a small initial investment of $US170,000, ELCI was able to connect six University nodes in Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia; two research nodes in Dar es Salaam; an ARSO node in Nairobi; 48 NGO points around eastern and southern Africa; and an Ethiopian node, PADIS in Addis. They all followed the model of a low powered computer with modem and FidoNet software and it was an example of shared experiences. Achievements of early email Initially, email split nodes into national units and then the success of email started to swamp the institutions' original purpose. Demand for services was huge at all nodes and electronic mail quickly established its own market. The immediate consequence was that they became independent of ELCI, which could not offer comparable cost, reliability or directness to GreenNet's Internet gateway in London1. By mid-1992 there were four East African nodes sending and collecting email internationally and distributing it locally. They had become national nodes, disconnected from each other and from their original network. According to (now Professor) Paul Mugambi of Makerere University, 'Normally we are linked to the other four nodes of ESANET but the experience has been that there is little communication within the original five universities, whereas each node has an expanding email activity with Europe and the United States.' 2 This trend was an indication that the node traffic was increasingly influenced by point traffic. The systems had exceeded themselves and were becoming profit-making institutions and electronic mail and conference service providers. The hierarchy of FidoNet (shown in Figure DC) if not the philosophy, resembled a pyramid money making scheme

Banks K (1996) Cost-sharing mechanisms for the developing countries GreenNet report for the APC and IDRC 1 opened in May 1990 2 Mugambe PE (1992) ‘Informatics policy and science and technology communications in Uganda' in Electronic Networking in Africa: Workshop on science and technology networks in Africa, August 1992 African Academy of Science/American Association for the Advancement of Science pp125-130


where subscription money rose from bottom to top. Despite these two factors – the hardcurrency payments for telephone calls and the cost burden of a large volume of incoming mail, both introduced expenses that were out of the control of local operators. This stretching of resources and the growing overheads would increase business risk and their impacts are detailed below in an assessment of the decline in FidoNet email. However the first model of African influenced and determined electronic communications was born. Nongovernmental and academic institutions became providers, arbitrators and quasicommercial operators of monopoly electronic mail services and it ruled from 1991-1996. Figure DC Geography and hierarchy of FidoNet3

MUKLA and campus connectivity
Part of the inspiration for this research was from using the facilities of Makerere University in 1993. The library offered a full selection of books published until the 1960s together with the complete works of Marx and Lenin. Recent periodicals and books showed a different pattern and were scarce. United Nations publications were reasonably up to date, journals ZONE 1 | ZONE2 N. America | Europe | ZONE3 | ZONE4 | ZONE5 | ZONE6 | Australia | S. America | Africa | Asia | | Region 73 East Africa 5:73/0 | _____________________|_______ | | | Net 731 Net 732 Net 733 Host Kenya Uganda Tanzania 5:731/0 5:732/0 5:733/0 | _________________|_________________ Node | | | Node 1 Node 4 Node 100 ELCI UNICS ARCC 5:731/1 5:731/4 5:731/100 | ______________|________________ Point | | | Point 4 Point 11 Point 200 CNST KU_Chem AMREF_Comp 5:731/100.4 5:731/100.11 5:731/100.200

were absent and the few recent books were kept in a caged area for short term loan only.

Source: Ochuodho S (1992) Email demystified: Low cost networking with FidoNet in Users' guide to electronic networks AAAS 1992 pp5-27


100 yards away in the Institute of Computer Science, there was a working email node with access to worldwide resources. It seemed a simple technical task to link the two somehow and provide access to journals or to help staff target books for ordering. The technician at that time had already seen this possibility, email had made his 'eyes wide open to how we could spread our thin resources and make some of our own work better'4. Already, email news groups were producing academic discussions and networking between Kampala, East Africa and other users around the world. This initial view lacked the insight of how technical change rolls out different practices and it was based on four presumptions – that the library was the centre of knowledge resources on campus; that tuition relied on hard copy texts more than a lecture-based syllabus; that online journals would offer texts that could be easily accessed and duplicated; finally that the combination of growing knowledge inputs and lower publication overheads might provide the conditions for greater local academic output of data and papers. The rate of change and the technical dynamics seemed irresistible and email had already become a profitable sideline whilst using only basic computer technology. Mukla as an email hub Makerere University provides the most integrated case study for higher education as it housed both the ESANET and new, parallel, HealthNet projects and was the principal electronic mail host for Uganda between 1992 and 1996. These two distinctions were supplemented by the personal involvement of Charles Musisi, a charismatic and effective system operator with an environmental background and a student in the electrical engineering department. Mukla's position as a national email hub was confirmed by 1993 when incoming and outgoing traffic reached phenomenal levels as shown in figure DD based on data from GreenNet in London1 Local area networks were very rare and therefore computers were stand-alone PCs. These could transfer data in three conventional ways: they could be linked by a cable using a network or laplink protocol, they could output and input from a floppy disk and they could output to a printer. The most recent Figure DD means was by using a modem and telephone lines and this was most commonly by electronic mail. Said Abibi, Director of the East African School of Librarianship, noted his early experience thus:
'Email was a miracle. Suddenly I was able to contact Nairobi or Dar es Salaam and get a response in the same day without the problems of making a long distance call. I remember sometimes sending emails[around campus] to be lazy but really it has only been good for group
4 1 18

Interview, Charles Musisi, Kampala, March 1995 Banks, 1996


discussions when people can't be there all at once, really it has been good for international mails… From my desktop I could receive news...We were part of a community…. I don't think it changed the way I worked but made me think of new boundaries. I am an enthusiast. [As regards the work and position of the East African School of librarianship] The library is not always at the centre and we are looking at these [electronic] journals, I think they are a real opportunity.'

Together with the Academic Registrar's Office, the School of Medicine, the Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics, EASL was one of the first recipients of modems, software and training. It had applied the technology to its work and found it was a solution to the networking problems that confront such an organisation but did not resolve expectations for publications. Fido email had allowed distant relationships to become more reliable and more instant as well as expand the possibilities of its information repertoire. Local conferences and local interconnection had started promisingly but with time messages and conferencing were extending beyond the campus and beyond the ESANET network. The Early Bird conference was aimed to link Ugandan users but the number of messages it carried was 150 per year in 1992, 250 in 1993 and by 1994 a 'posting' was rare with frequency falling to less that one message a week 2. This was despite the numbers of users rising from 5 to 250 in the corresponding period. The network was beginning to step out of time with the communications tempo and with the users it had fostered. Campus connectivity became determined by internal politics of difference. These stemmed from aid-based funding of individual departments while the central administration was underfunded. For instance the School of Forestry and the Department of Geography were involved in a UNEP biomass mapping initiative and received technical support and equipment for these GIS studies. This meant that they enjoyed electronic mail connections while arts and social sciences were likely to have less or no connectivity. Another layer of relations had been added by the HealthNet project which would add to the directedness of email-only technologies and people networks. However the approaching point of change was that of commercial Internet services. In 1995, with the foundation of InfoMail Uganda’ s first live IP connection, these divisions would become apparent.

Health information and microsatellites
Electronic networking for health services followed a different organisational trajectory to environmental and academic networking. In part this is a sectoral issue where there are higher concentrations of technically trained professionals than in environment but also it has been because of the involvement of an NGO dedicated to providing health connectivity. Satellife, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts co-ordinated the installation and development of HealthNet. It was executed as a proprietary network based on the technology of microsatellites or Low Earth Orbiting Satellites (LEOs) rather than the Geostationary satellites (GEOs) used by the SHARE project - more Sputnik than Telstar. Bernard Lown describes the line of 'reasoning' thus:
'We were horrified by President Reagan launching Star Wars. We thought it would be disastrous for humankind. So I said, "Don't argue against bad ideas, come up with a good idea"....When we talked with physicians in developing counties, they would say that they didn't want new tools or new pharmaceuticals, they wanted connectivity. It seemed to me that [the Nobel prize winning group he co-founded, International

Early Bird conference logs 1992-1996, MUKLA system, Kampala


Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War] IPPNW should launch a network of satellites to deliver that connectivity. When I told my colleagues, they thought I was demented.’ 3

HealthNet also shared the same regional focus and even the same sites as the ESANET and NGONet projects of the ELCI/IDRC initiative. Jensen and Sears explained this process in 19914. Satellife have purchased 60% of the capacity on the University of Surrey (UK) built Uosat-F satellite...This will initially be used to exchange health and medical information within the same Universities (coincidentally) participating in the ESANET project and via Memorial University in Newfoundland Canada...Because of the total overlap in institutions in Africa, the HealthNet project is being administered by the African participants as part of the ESANET project to evaluate alternative data transport methods...Although the current traffic is limited to health related issues, it will be up to the individual participating institutions in Africa to obtain clearance from the authorities for a wider interpretation of the health mandate. As far as the funders of the HealthNet project are concerned, this could encompass a much broader range of environmental and social issues. Mixed means of communication, training and regulation With this crossover it was inevitable that both technological and administrative experiences would be shared. Training operators of systems and fitting both new technologies into national concepts of telecommunications regulation were the initial difficulties. Trainees learnt procedures of the operation, maintenance and administration of data exchange, billing, accounts, user training and technical support. These are the building block of running a business while the other side – fitting into national legal structures – were very fresh ideas. They introduced the policy dilemmas as they infringed national borders and provided a parallel telecommunications infrastructure. However they remained unregulated by state and PTTs and they received a mixture of support and tolerance from the PTTs and governments of East Africa. From the perspective of one of the Ugandan trainees, Charles Musisi given in an interview in Kampala in April 1997:
'It was a new world opening up. I came from an engineering background with three years studying but I was trained as an operator of a satellite downstation and an email network within weeks. There were a group of colleagues to share information and to troubleshoot problems. Then, we were truly pioneers....We had to fix licences and things but for me in Uganda there was support. Some university people took an interest and then they [at UPTC and in the Government] let us go ahead without interference. They had seen the system working....they saw it was worthwhile.'

Satellife generally found that it was granted special rights by regulators but FidoNet was not such a clear cut case. According to Makau Ngola, former system operator of ELCI, for the entire period of its operation FidoNet was beyond the law, 'not licensed and not harassed' and there have been consistent relaxation of licensing and operating rules based on information content and humanitarian or not-for-profit objectives. While the Ugandan

Mitka M (1988) Developing Countries Find Telemedicine Forges Links to More Care and Research, Journal of the American Medical Association 1998 Vol.280 pp1295-1296

Jensen M and Sears G (1991) Low cost global electronic communications networks for Africa posted in Global Networks for Africa website, School of African Studies, University of Pennsylvania


authorities were open all the new technologies possible, Tanzania incorporated the technology into the work of the Council for Science and Technology (COSTECH), a parastatal. Kenya provided more of a problem. The commercial email service provider, ThornTree, is used as a stronger example of regulatory conflict below in Chapter Seven to show the way in which lines were eventually drawn in 1995. The technology and networks of Satellife Satellife depended initially on its two LEOs. At the time HealthNet data transfers never exceeded 200-300 Kilobytes of data per pass1 as there were only two constantly orbiting satellites to provide global coverage. The LEOs provided a high technology solution to the problem of connecting widespread and remote areas and each transfer contained packed electronic mails, newsgroup postings together with database requests and replies. However status, cost and effectiveness were not in balance, the Fido system started to soak up much of the excess network traffic and by 1992, became the primary means of communication. According to Bill Sangiwa, System operator at Costech then HealthNet, Tanzania, 'Connections were interchangeable. We had used both satellite and Fido and in the long term Fido was best for everyday email and LEOs for rural situations…I think there is a toolkit from which you can pick the application that suits the conditions. FidoNet worked where the infrastructure was poor and satellite worked where there was not much at all'2 The satellites still provide connectivity, but because of their limited batteries and because they overfly base stations only long enough for twenty minutes data transfer, they are targeted for emergency situations. They were the precursor of the satellites that currently comprise both the Iridium3 and Globalstar networks which provide support for mobile and remote communications. As a testbed, Satellife LEOs were invaluable for the new generation of mobile and rural communications. HealthNet as a network of medical experts aimed to short-circuit the time lags of conventional means of interaction over distance – correspondence, newsletters, conferences and visits to libraries. Their initiative gave on the ground experience to the members, employees and national bodies in the countries where they operated. The success of HealthNet can be measured by its spread and durability. In East Africa it has over two hundred connecting points and in total it has the capacity of a pan-African network. Logistically, it presents means of information-sharing on issues such as HIV and essential drugs present cost and time saving intercommunication. Technologically it has moved from its place as pioneer to a network based on readily available Internet technology. The development of HealthNet emphasises the three recurring characteristics of the first stage of electronic networking in East (and southern) Africa. First, electronic communications converged towards the FidoNet technical standard despite the starting
1 2 3

Between 50 and 100 pages of text. Interview Kerry Gallivan, HealthNet co-ordinator, Boston, November 1995 Interview, Bill Sangiwa, Dar es Salaam, September 5th 1997

This network provider with 66 microsatellites since gone bankrupt, indicating that balances of technological risk, service quality and commercial viability have not still been fully overcome


point of LEOs. Although conceived as a satellite-only project, it became clear that the most cost-effective way of moving larger amounts of data was using the superior configuration of Fido protocol and telephone carrier. LEO connectivity was re-targeted for networking in more rural and marginal areas. Second, institutions became quasi-commercial service providers for users outside their initial constituency. This tendency was driven by the shortage of communications supply, strong local demand for email services and the utility of another source of project revenue. Third, there was a strong degree of inter-networking which led to shared experience amongst common personnel and institutions. Between them they had tested and evaluated the methods, structures and equipment that could offer the best results in the local context. Summary The installation of low technology electronic mail systems led to a multiplication of connections. The network spread by example, press articles, the lure of a tunnelling fax service and the through the user – institutions and individuals. Early email was not advertised by the conventional means and its mystique, shorn of bullet point hyperbole, added to the community-feel of small-scale systems. The email contact this engendered is shown in the statistics below, indicating a narrowness in the bands of spatial contacts. Email was fixed in non-government with a large expatriate representation. The medium of email was limited by its delayed perspective and text-based view of networks. Circles of connection were tighter and in an orbit around the poles of Europe and the United States – the Internet centre of gravity. The wash of outward messages was met by the backwash of newsgroups, mailing lists and king-size emails.

FidoNet email Traffic
The mail data is primarily sourced from Uganda for depth with Kenyan and Tanzanian sources used for larger comparison. This sequences well with the detail of telephone data which follows below and in Chapter Six. Electronic mail traffic data 1 is provided in four categories of incoming, outgoing, size of messages and number of messages. The three stages of comparison are by East African figures for total and continental traffic2, Ugandan Figure DE Direction of international FidoNet email Uganda 1993-1997


The dataset is global traffic through the GreenNet Fido gateway which was reduced or ‘munged’ to African incoming and outgoing traffic and then divided by Ugandan, Kenya and Tanzanian components. 2 Appendix Three carries a full listing of country codes and the continental splits used in the research


figures for message sizes and again, Ugandan figures, to show country by country connection patterns. Figure DE shows total traffic for Uganda only. There two trends and the first gives the peak of FidoNet email traffic as the years 1994, 1995 and 1996 while the second illustrates incoming traffic significantly larger than outgoing in terms of numbers of messages and volume.3 The explanation in the disparities between incoming and outgoing traffic are that first, message sizes are larger and second, that mail is comprised of components that produce this bias. Point to point messages are comparable to telephone calls and show exchanges between singly addressed users. Mailing lists carbon copy (cc:) a single message to multiple recipients from a single sender. Newsgroups transfer single messages within a closed user community to a local distribution point where they are then sent to multiple recipients. This graph of international traffic shows all three forms and those newsgroup systems that situated outside Uganda transfer as many copies of the same message as there are local subscribers. The period where Fido was the dominant protocol covered the initial growth and spread of electronic mail between 1993 and 1997. Figure DE indicates this spread yet for further detail there has been analysis of the components of the dataset by the use of Perl scripting. This is relatively benign in terms of manipulation apart from the issue of aliasing. The problem of international domains – .org .com .net – has been partially solved in the analysis by using the aliasing technique to attach .us as a country property and to substitute known anomalies (for instance becomes However another level of uncertainty has been introduced by purely FidoNet traffic that is untraceable4, fax over email and openly Bitnet5 and other newsgroup traffic. These have been sorted from the dataset and are displayed as a separate category alongside more precise spatial elements. East African comparisons Three country plots of incoming and outgoing mail are shown in figures DF1 and DF2. The first thing that is striking is Kenya’ s position as the least active country in FidoNet mail. With six email service providers and at the ‘ hub’ of East Africa in terms of trade, industry and history this seems counter-intuitive. The answer lies in the operation of the UNEP node, described above, which slowly took on more and more email traffic, transferred using both Fido and UUCP from FidoNet hosts and acting as an alternative to the GreenNet gateway. A measure of this volume is shown is given by a sample of just two months in late 1997.1 It shows that strictly not-for-profit traffic generated by the East African Internet Association, ELCI, the Urban Missionaries Support Group, and a sporadic Tanzanian connection from the Marie node in Arusha, generated 111 Megabytes of mail arriving at UNEP and 33 Megabytes leaving. In other words the agglomeration of these systems’ email was, at that late stage in FidoMailing, around double that transiting by phone lines. The system had shifted, in Kenya at least, to a local Fido connection with national Internet delivery. The

Traffic totals are affected by missing or deleted data and these figures have been corrected to cover one six month and one two month gap in data by using monthly indices to weight surviving data. This provides in excess of 99% accuracy when compared with surviving totals. 4 System messages, operational queries and a few file requests 5 Because It’s Time network, heavily biased towards newsgroups 1 Supplied with discretion by the system operator, December 1997


UNEP SASA2 IP gateway had started as an important back-up for the overloaded GreenNet system but eventually superseded the connection over three years of operation. Uganda and Tanzania show that countries could be ‘ quick in – quick out’ with these phonebased networking technologies although the latter left behind this connectivity later and in line with national prevarication over Internet policy. Country by country plots of continental traffic show variance within these totals however and figures DG1 to DI2 are graphs of this detail. A notable component in these plots is the line that shows FidoNet, Fax and Bitnet in outgoing email traffic and the largest share of this is taken up by faxes. If there was a ‘ killer application’ within a ‘ killer application’ it was the faxes that were sent as emails to Islington then routed to telephone lines and transmitted at London rates. This example of ‘ tunnelling’ or hidden traffic helped multiply the popularity of FidoNet and maintained GreenNet’ s position despite the ‘ free’ UNEP gateway. It was the momentum for the first two commercial service providers – ThornTree in Nairobi and TransMail of Uganda. It was also a wake-up call to budding entrepreneurs as they saw that the services were ‘ a license to print money’ and this was only defeated by increasing competition by 1996-97. Ugandan continental figures in DG1 and DG2 show incoming traffic is skewed towards American originating emails with its Internet centre of gravity, while outgoing traffic is massively skewed towards Europe, probably due to the affiliation with GreenNet in London. The detail of incoming traffic in Figure DH1 shows that American and European traffic quickly established dominance while traffic from the rest of the world – Africa, Asia and the Pacific – overhauled Fido and Bitnet traffic (there is indeed no incoming fax traffic) in 1995. This late start reflects the rapidity with which Uganda adjusted to electronic mail and the head-start it developed in East Africa, Africa and amongst other ‘ least developed countries’ . This ‘ take-off’ in traffic was replicated in outgoing traffic where there were large increases in volumes of mail to Africa and from comparison between Figures DG1 and DG2, the traffic peaks in incoming traffic were preceded by peaks in traffic leaving Uganda. Logically, emails from Uganda provoked emails into Uganda and the inbuilt tendency of mail currents (from hot to cold), newsgroups and larger incoming messages sizes acted as multipliers for the resultant backwash. The huge European curve reflects emails that were addressed to and from the GreenNet gateway in 1994 and from then on, to GreenNet and other APC users. The addressing anomaly of FidoNet3 masked full IP addresses and so included all the administrative traffic, newsgroups run by the Association for Progressive Communications and a large body of GreenNet users who were themselves oriented to Non-Government and third world issues. It was a phenomenon of Ugandan orientation however, more than just a peculiarity of the FidoNet, GreenNet and the APC system. Kenya and Tanzanian patterns of email volumes shown in DH1, DH2, DI1 and DI2 do not show the same imprint of UK gateway traffic. Kenya’ s inbound emails show the same influence of American and US traffic, the difference between this curve and Europe easily
2 3

Kiswahili for ‘now’ or ‘wotcha’ A different addressing format meant that the ‘default’ setting on mailing software indicated gate traffic over the Internet addressing convention. This was a shifting standard and designed to avoid the complexities of immature Internet addressing which was still divided between ‘big-endian’ – – and ‘little-endian’ – – formats


covers any problems with the aliasing of .com addresses. There is a rise in both African mails and US mails in 1996 which correlates with both Ugandan and Tanzanian data while similar trends of low levels of Fido, Bitnet, Asian and Pacific are also present. However the picture of Tanzanian incoming mail presents a regular curve against the stages of Kenyan growth where these coincide with the addition of traffic from the medical school and the UMSG/Shane point. The most distinct patterns are in outgoing mail and the picture for Kenya is bizarre while Tanzania and Uganda display trends of self-referencing regularity. Figure DF1




Figure DF2





Figure DG1


Europe Pacific
Fido + Bitnet

Figure DG2


Americas F,F,B



Figure DH1


Europe Pacific Asia Africa

Figure DH2

Europe Africa






Figure DI1



Africa Fido+Bitnet Pacific Asia

Figure DI2



Africa Fido+Bitnet Pacific



Kenya and Uganda share the European bias but while the plot dips in line with the rise of the US for Kenya at the 1995 midpoint, the opposite is shown for Uganda and a similar kink is shown for Tanzania. The three countries are being influenced by the gravities of different service providers and the mean of their collective throughputs obscures their user profiles. HealthNet traffic is rising as outbound mail and faxes are steadily increasing (though not proportionately for Uganda) and African traffic rises, inbound and outbound, across the board. This trend in the dying statistics marks a constancy of continental communication while other email substitutes cover much of the intercontinental traffic and marks the durability of FidoNet in the African context. Inputs/Outputs – Changing sizes and ratios If FidoNet had endured, its client base would have shifted towards African communicators yet these customers were not enough to support a financial surplus needed when communications were routed via London. UNEP provided a form of escape yet the institutional and commercial possibility of this kind of low cost, low overhead, ‘ appropriate technology’ was slipping. Some of the implications of these changes are located in incoming and outgoing traffic and are revealed by looking at the balances. This is shown in the two pictures of changing direction ratios and sizes shown in Figure DJ. Message sizes grew over the time period. The average email from Uganda increased by 172% – from 2499 bytes to 4290 bytes – between 1996 and 1997 and incoming message sizes had grown steadily at around 46% per year. These continuous increases were one of the reasons why systems became unreliable while the costs to be borne through telephone bills were affected by a declining message terms of trade. The right hand graph shows the growth in incoming messages outstripping growth in outgoing messages. As both directions are ultimately billed to Ugandan users by incremental per minute phone charges then users were sending less proportionately for their money. These three forces – huge traffic volumes, message terms of trade and per minute costs – rather than the ‘ appropriateness’ 1 of technology forced international traffic towards leased satellite connections, towards the lowest technical denominator and to Internet protocol. The knock on effects of this change were threefold. First there were higher entry level costs for service providers and operational overheads which meant only those with access to borrowing and foreign exchange could compete at this level. Secondly users had to have terminals with Windows-based operating systems as DOS neither fully supported off-the shelf SLIP/PPP and SMTP/POP nor alternatives – UUCP or Fido to UUCP, presenting implementational difficulties. Third, the switch to SLIP/PPP led to a spatial divide between those with access to reliable connections and those far from exchanges or on poorly maintained main lines and ‘ last miles’ . The protocol was less reliable, slower than Fido and meant that domestic connection costs, borne by users and not hosts, rose in proportion to poor line quality.


Measured by access costs and durability of transmissions


End of Fido Figure DJ Message ratios and sizes

Emailing had been transplanted into East Africa and thrived and developed. A base of skills and enthusiasm had been built up in the health and university sector supported by the 'missionary' work of GreenNet in London. The last whole year of Fido dominance, mid 1994-5, saw the birth of four commercial services and a shift in the technology paradigm. There were two break points: the interface between African email systems and Internet; and the professionalisation and pressures of commercial service delivery. There were therefore two schools of thought and the first was the commercial path to Internet where full competition would lead to efficient allocation of resources. The technical leap would be made and backtracking would have to fill in stages of connectivity missed between. Karanja Gakio describes how he saw the market and the Fido emailing system in 1994:
This arrangement [Fido] worked well but was fraught with frustration for those who were not computer experts. Amongst the system's problems were address schemes which required a lot of work in order to ensure compatibility with Internet addresses, the inability to run reliably on platforms other than DOS, and user interfaces which could never aspire to impress non-technical users....We recognised at that time that in order for e-mail and associated technologies to become more widespread in Africa, and to become a practical necessity for people other than personal computer technicians it would be essential to develop a system which eliminated all of these issues and more...This approach solidified our approach to Internet networking in Africa-to provide world-wide quality services using standard technologies while making allowances for specific local needs.1

The account tallies exactly with the opinions expressed in interviews with Jean-Paul Minet of InfoMail, Uganda and Adam Messer of CyberTwiga, Tanzania and it was the underlying rationale for the business risk of live Internet. The common legacy of the three was to initiate some of the first live Internet services in East Africa and they led the leap towards

Karanja Gakio, Co-founder and VP for Technical Operations, Africa Online, Beyond Basic Connectivity in Africa: AfricaOnline's continental approach Speech at 1st Kenyan Internet Conference 1995


the high technology software and systems that link to the Internet backbone. Figure DK gives some of the co-ordinates for the technology choices confronting all service providers at the time. Figure DK: Characterising technology choice for email Fido UUCP System reliability OK Excellent Transfer reliability Excellent Good Local Speed Excellent Good User Cost Excellent Excellent System Cost Excellent Excellent Abilities LimitedLimitedWide

IP Excellent OK OK Good Poor

The second school of thought, by those content with progressive technological change, sought a co-operative regional initiative. This would be configured with Fido extending connectivity in national networks while Internet services would spread from a shared connection. It put faith in the ability of self-regulation that had so far guided the sector and the spirit of planning led by practitioners. Fred Bukachi of HealthNet explained the Kenyan situation thus:
'... there appears to be a danger that increasing competition will fragment the market and won't generate the economies of scale that would allow investment in a shared leased line... there is an opportunity - if we, electronic service providers, can coordinate ourselves - to save money and improve our services. The East African Internet Association appeals to service providers ... to investigate ways and means of pooling resources and/or seeking external financing so that together, we may achieve what no single provider appears to be able to achieve alone fully Internet-connected public access services in Nairobi which, we strongly believe, would benefit both individual users (both commercial and non-commercial) and East Africa as a whole. The alternative is the electronic equivalent of the matatu - a service that's cheap, but overcrowded and prone to accidents'2

The core of the arguments focused on whether it is possible, in a technical metaphor, to connect remote people and with what protocol. However FidoNet was cut short and drowned by Internet. By 1997 its obituary had been written. Charles Musisi relates how IP was accommodated and how Fido became a minority solution:
'There were well over a thousand Fido points [terminals with email addresses] in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with some representing tens of users and some just for personal use - mainly it was NGOs, universities, research organisations and expatriates. Here [in Kampala] we took around three hundred calls a day at our peak and GreenNet would call four times a day and we would exchange around a megabyte on average [for each call]...We had a large customer base who became dependent on making that connection and more and more new users, I think we reached the peak around mid 1994. Then we had problems. We were running the place like a business but the lines became very busy and we were dependent on those phone calls to GreenNet whose system started to fail. The only solution we could see was to start sending over a leased line and reliability was going down and users were starting to ‘ lose’ emails. We couldn't keep up with the capacity and couldn't fund a line at around

Message posted on East African Internet Association mailing list, Dec 1995


US$5000 per month. A fully commercial Fido service started up with our help but there was a 'respectful rebellion' by some of our users as they called it. The next year they [as InfoMail Uganda Limited] were organised enough to install a VSAT connection to Colorado and were offering Internet services. Another company arrived to compete with them, StarCom, and then the speed and simplicity of email over IP was introduced. They used off the shelf software designed for American telephone lines which was slower and unreliable in its own way but many users had good lines and they offered the interactive services too. It took us another year to negotiate the use of their satellites to send email rather than telephone to London but our customer base had been halved and the selling point of Fido as an appropriate technology was drowned by enthusiasm for the web services....It was all influenced by bigger business selling the same idea and using lazier technologies they could 'buy' cheaper and in bulk...Fido still has a place and we still use the technology but there are few developments to make it as user friendly as Eudora and no real money going into it....I would say that we bred a generation of technicians here and Uganda has the largest number of home grown system operators and managers of Internet in East Africa.'3

Coda: Infolation
The chance of a locally influenced technology that had a hardware cost (x86/DOS) and communication durability (Fido v SMTP/PPP) advantages was set to one side. The change to Internet reshaped the sector dramatically and required substantial investment in hardware and connections. Where Fido email service could be reliably operated with two phone lines, two 386 PCs and two modems, an Internet Service Provider4 requires capital outlays of hundreds of thousands of dollars – an Internet router; two high specification computers; a rack of modems; at least a dozen incoming phone lines; plus the cost of the Internet connection. Instead of handling short, bursty email traffic, an ISP has to allow longer duration connections to offer web browsing sessions for customers. It requires a technical and institutional reconfiguration to a fully commercial environment at a different scale of financing and risk. The scale of the investment requires a reconfiguration of the business plan with a shift in labour resources – marketing and administrative staff outnumbering technicians. At the core of any ISP business strategy is the need to cover predicable and fixed overheads by user subscriptions while advertising, promotions and service quality/innovation are all engaged to promote the brand in competitive markets. The art of staying ahead or even survival is to predict change which in East Africa are those of external technology and local regulation. Regulation will be dealt with in Chapter Six while technology change remains the focus here. Electronic mail remains essentially similar to its state in the mid-1970s and protocols are still saying ‘ hello, I am so and so, receive, send, goodbye’ . However this is one stability in a sea of change which is most often determined by changes at the centres of research and development in industrialised countries. Figure DL gives some scales of these dependencies in relation to levels of information technology deployment and their requirements. It shows that a high technology such as Internet requires modern and externally determined systems and procedures to function and develop.
3 4

Interview, Charles Musisi, Kampala April 1999 Internet Service Providers provide telephone and leased line Internet services and control public access


Figure DL: Characterising technology level High Technology Power Dependent Poor telephone Lines Dependent Upgrading Dependent Foreign Exchange Dependent

Low Technology Dependent Independent Less dependent Less dependent

The forces of change in information technology have driven an upward exponential spiral of performance for operating systems, hardware, software and information throughput. It is what I term infolation where human and technical investments in information technology rapidly become redundant.5 Increasing memory, storage, and data transfer speeds feed and feed off larger programs, greater databases and market expectation. The means of remaining level are continual investments maintenance, training and upgrades which themselves add to the dynamic. The wide front of speculation has continued through the 1990s and is based on space reduction through the fetish of miniaturisation, the instantiation of technical processes and a vortex of technical efficiency. This is based on distanciated research and development spaces but in industrialised countries where information investment is accumulated and concentrated. East Africa has lowered both customs duties and indirect taxes6 for IT goods allowing a current of imports into the region.7 Imports are standardised for western markets – for instance there are no Swahili language products or add-ons available – and the local market is not large enough to warrants any customisation or glocalisation of applications. 8 A problem experienced by ISPs is the effect of local users falling behind infolation in equipment terms. Form-Net in Kenya states that most of its 2000 users have the 16-bit Windows 3.x9 as an operating system and will probably not be able to upgrade with their present hardware. The latest web browsers10 are 32-bit only, requiring possibly a change of computer to operate them. Browser usability lifetimes are between 2 and 3 years because of infolation in the hypertext and JavaScript languages and so over 1000 computers will be effectively web redundant in the year 200011. The methodology has already shown statistics of infolation which gave an approximate quantification the change factors over four years at 20 times for processors, memory by 104 and storage by 12 times. It is the smaller consumers that have the least leverage and who lose the most in these mailing and browser and operating system ‘ wars’ and East Africa is very marginal to the epicentre of change. Technical improvements such as in modem technology do not make an impact where telephone lines are poor and reliable modems are costly. Off the shelf technology allows data transfer speeds over conventional telephone lines that can

For example, this section is on its third upgrade, its fourth computer, its third operating system and in its third word-processing format 6 Uganda has zero-rated VAT for software and hardware, Kenya’s rate is 5% , while Tanzania’s remains at 20% 7 The only import statistics available are for Tanzania which imported 26,000 computer units in 1988: Tairo A (1999) ‘Lower Duty on IT to Spur Demand in Tanzania’ East African 24th June 1999 8 Although Nicholas Negroponte claimed his brother was working on a Swahili web browser. Personal communication, March 1995. 9 1994 technology 10 Netscape5 and Internet Explorer5/Windows98 as I write. 11 excluding any ‘millennium bug’ problems


approach 2Mb per second using xDSL technology without repeaters and conventional modems currently attain 56k per second. In East Africa, non-digital lines 12 can effectively slow this to 2.4k or 9.6k. The forces against this Microsoft-Intel, ‘ Wintel’ driven connectivity fetishism are based in the USA and according to Martin Wolf, writing in the Financial Times, ‘ Behind the dislike for Microsoft is also a range of powerful interests. As the late Mancur Olsen pointed out in his classic, The logic of collective action, producers are always a more effective lobby than consumers because the amount they need to expand on the political process is trivial compared with the gains each of them seeks.’ 13 This may run against the grain of a trend towards open source software (OSS) where hundreds of thousands of lines of code in a program are available, uncompiled, to developers and users. Linux and Netscape are following this pattern and Linux is the preferred operating system of most East African ISPs. A further direct influence within Internet is based on the bandwidth of actual regional data connections. Infrastructure is being deployed that will offer only a shadowy scale of the vast fibre optic networks that will sometime speed developed countries towards high capacity and high bandwidth connections. There are indications that infolation is spreading to fibre technologies. Chapter Six deals with these larger connections and shows improvements in the efficiency of these connections. Currently the ‘ state of the art’ seems to be the i-21 Interoute Group’ s plan for a petabit14 pan-European network which, if their advertising is to be believed, could carry 15 billion simultaneous phone calls or 1.5 million concurrent downloads of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.15 Meanwhile urban ISPs in East Africa and their users clamour to run the same software and access the same services as their rich cousins with the same efficiency. Intermediate data transfer systems and appropriate solutions are the way forward. The marketing-meets-technology solution to this has been to promote a form of isolation or replication: convincing users they share the same global space but keeping them at home. Chat, news and mirroring are the specific technical names for this. Chat is interaction in a virtual locale, news is the replication of a single global signal to multiple local users, mirroring means locating and updating popular and data intensive global sites and software locally. Actual international connections are saved by these methods of utilising cheap storage costs and keeping users on local machines. This avoids Internet traffic jams caused by repeated and replicated retrieval of large lumps of data from remote locations reached over satellite connections. The next section will investigate the actual realities of FidoNet email traffic and explain the statistical basis for some of these claims. With a parallel analysis of country connectivity by telephone, the Ugandan data used helps to fix East African trends in international traffic currents. It shows the inputs, outputs and balances of connections from unique datasets
12 13

For example most Ugandan lines outside of Kampala including the congested Kampala-Entebbe route Martin Wolf Comment and analysis Financial Times, 10th March 1998 14 1 million gigabytes per second. Transfers of 1 terabyte (1,000 gigabytes per second) were achieved in 1995 so it seems sensible to design these capacities into new mainline networks. The best current operating speeds are with the NEO StreamProcessor 2400 which supports 8 terabits of bandwidth 15 Interoute (1999) The future is in our hands Advertising blurb.,


covering a period where the supremacy of telephone networks began to be undermined by data.

Fixing Uganda in Fido and Telephone traffic
The African angle and the progressive use of the technology as a development tool passed into a wider galaxy of connections mediated by commercial control and new, national Internet regulation. FidoNet had kick-started electronic mailing and had given a regional boost to connectivity where state sponsored schemes had failed to enliven interest outside of limited sectors. There was a medium to strong presence for Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania in traffic too despite the presumed influence of South Africa. Figure DM shows this from the Uganda perspective. An investigation of country by country connections reveals the significant position of the UK and US as senders and recipients of electronic mail – also to be shown for telephone connections. The plots of ‘ top 15’ countries and by size volume16 in figures DN1 and DN2 show that in the four year period, 5 countries and the FidoNet/Mailing list section are visible in the incoming data while outgoing traffic displays a better definition of country ‘ bands’ . The narrowness of incoming bands for most countries and due to low traffic levels displays the in-built structuring of traffic towards the US and UK and slow response to the technology. Newsgroups are important at the beginning of the plots and are subsumed into new formations and dominated by other entrants to the dataset. At the peak of traffic levels, in 1996, there is growing differentiation and nation-by-nation compilation of the figures has shown the growth of regional and local traffic. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia’ s presence is reflecting stronger regional communications. By the time UK and US levels are subsiding and the traffic is moving onto direct Internet connections they are even better represented. There is another change here outside the Figure DM

statistics. FidoNet service providers started to charge flat rate fees, gambling that this would retain customers who were tending to send larger emails. This flat rate component did not in fact create any more gains. Incoming traffic and incoming message sizes were increasing with knock– on effects for overheads created by the growing international call costs they produced.

There seems to be little difference between size and volume plots


Outgoing mail might have short-circuited this problem with better ‘ hubbing’ – an arrangement like a regional roundabout. The UNEP connection offered such a facility and if traffic had all been routed through the UNEP Nairobi connection then this might have made savings however the telephone lines, even within Kenya were appalling and a satisfactory throughput could not be achieved. Traffic was still going over faster, more reliable international lines but messages that were even to be exchanged with other local ISPs over this route incurred these call costs. Mail from Kampala was not showing the late but sweeping rebalancing of traffic towards Africa. Proportions of contact countries remained fairly constant and the high levels of mails to the US dipped in 1996 but were perpetuated into the FidoMail slump. A strong band of European traffic apart from the UK persisted but the number of countries in the Top 15 communicators was only one greater – 25 to 24 – than for incoming traffic. There were only ten extra countries appearing in this measure over the four years. Telephone traffic presents an immediate comparison to FidoNet. Although the compressed emails do not seem to make a strong individual presence in country-by-country telephone data - they are part of the incoming United Kingdom traffic and caught in a large upswell of these communications from 1993. They help position Uganda in the world through the conventional and log run statistics of the public telephone network as it was on the edge of a threat from data traffic. Fido was the vanguard.


Figure DN1






Figure DN2






Telephones and country traffic
Uganda in East Africa and the World The four charts, D01, D02, DP1, DP2 show the top 15 countries in yearly traffic between 1986 and 1996. The data shows the consistency of communications and their ranking percentage, showing growth and shrinkage. They are the extensions of Uganda or – removing the ambiguity of terms – communications bonds. They reveal the repeated paths of telephone subscribers in terms of continental – charts DO1 and DO2 – and intercontinental – charts DP1 and DP2 – traffic currents. This scale is governed by the incoming and outgoing patterns shown in previous charts and the entire two-way African communications (the data excludes Kenya and Tanzania) represent 184,000 and 1,945,000 calls for 1986 and 1986 respectively. This enormous increase displays many trends and the first examples are shown for southern Africa. In 1986, apartheid was a huge force of political stalemate, southern Africa excluding South Africa accounted for 32% of incoming African traffic and 59% of outgoing traffic while South Africa itself comprised less than 10,500 calls to and from Uganda or 5.6% of total traffic. Uganda also treated the bantustans of Ciskei, Transkei, Venda and Bophuthatswana1 as separate accounting units and this distinction had not disappeared from statistics by the end of 1996. This confuses the data mostly at the end of the 1980s where, for example, call volumes from Transkei to Uganda were 60% higher than the data for South Africa (Shown as TKI and ZA in Figure DO1). The changes since have been seismic and the data has been corrected by new scales of interconnections. Up to 1996, traffic between Uganda and all southern African countries has risen to 70% of incoming and 57% of outgoing calls. South Africa’ s contribution has reached over 50% of incoming and just under 40% of outgoing. The changes are well represented visually and show the balances within growing volumes shifting away from Zambia and Zimbabwe to South Africa in both incoming and outgoing traffic (Shown as ZZ, ZW and ZA2 respectively in figures DO1 and DO2)

1 2

Spelt wrong in the plots, a carry over form the original UPTC data Appendix Three carries a full listing of country codes and the continental splits used in the research


Figure DO1 ZW







Figure DO2









Figure DP1







Figure DQ1 Grouping of African countries ranked by regularity and volume of outgoing telephone Figure DP2 calls













Figure DR1 Grouping of countries ranked by regularity and volume of outgoing telephone calls (World)



Figure DR2 Grouping of countries ranked by regularity and volume of incoming telephone calls (World)





Overall this southern African bias dominates the graphs and, with the enormous East African traffic seen in the very first graph, it shows a massive preference for telephone communications with English speaking and former British colonies. This method points to a technical-economic configuration and a cultural configuration of communications. A ranking method complements these figures and shows different nuances and other significant links. Using statistics of irregular versus regular communications on one scale with a further differentiation of high and low volumes against a shifting mean, there are five resulting categorisations of countries. These are shown in figure DP1 for incoming traffic and DP2 for outgoing traffic. The rankings present comparative importance in telephone traffic relationships and Kenya and Tanzania are included as they clearly fit into the pattern without compromising the integrity of data. The picture presented does not seem to correlate with patterns of measured trade which are shown in Figure DS while IMF aid figures are ambiguous, with ‘ Arab countries’ grouped together. A tentative hypothesis is that the figures meld a wide range of weights with impacts from language and culture, shared colonial roots and Uganda’ s place as a fulcrum between Arabic, Nilotic and Bantu influences. The categorisations are characteristic of stabilities and currents over the time period and incoming and outgoing datasets show fluctuating relationships with neighbours Somalia and Rwanda and sometime patron, Libya. However the similarity in patterns shows underlying continuity despite the disruptive influences of conflicts on the continent. These have influenced directions and volumes of traffic with Sudan, Liberia, Eritrea and Angola while technical-economic patterns overlay cultural barriers in traffic with francophone West Africa. These are where Figure DS Telephone and trade ranks serious disagreements over the Panaftel system Regular and irregular high outgoing Official trading partners and accounting rates have volume countries 1986-1996 (rank) 1990-1996 (rank) been fought out.3 There Kenya Kenya Tanzania South Africa are only a few disparities South Africa Tanzania between the incoming and Ethiopia Zimbabwe outgoing patterns. Egypt Tunisia Lusophone Equatorial Zimbabwe Rwanda Guinea was not called Zambia Burundi Burundi Mauritius from Uganda for the entire Libya Zambia period while Venda and Nigeria Madagascar Ciskei sit incongruously in Botswana Algeria the same categorisation of Sudan Côte D’Ivoire (i/r) ‘ never called’ . With these Rwanda (i/r) Sources: UPTC and IMF (1997) exceptions, there have been only small shifts up and down the rankings ‘ ladder’ and the data indicates a regular pattern to African data. World Data The close-up view of African traffic is dwarfed by the larger volumes of global telephone calls shown in Figures DQ1, DQ2, DR1 and DR2 which close this section. At this scale the

See for instance CTO 1998:30, Nuruddin 1996:5-6


dominance of the United States and the United Kingdom is evident and especially in incoming traffic. The proportion of incoming traffic from Britain has declined in favour of the United States, Canada and South Africa. France, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Germany and the United Arab Emirates are the other countries to have maintained both their rank and volume throughout the period while Japan, India and South Africa’ s significance have more recently been asserted. In terms of outgoing traffic, in Figure DQ1, there is a more distributed pattern and Uganda’ s choices in placing outside calls are both more catholic and show that the British share is being eroded. In this case it is due to a wider range of contacts and not just because of traffic to the United States. The pattern, character and motivation for calls vary between incoming and outgoing traffic. Calls from Uganda show a pattern based on communications necessities where the pathways offer fewer incoming substitutes – call back and Fido email – and there is a ‘ willingness to pay’ on the part of callers. Consistency has been maintained in the statistics for Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and the Emirates and this broadly correlates with incoming traffic. Proportions of calls to Zimbabwe, Israel, Sweden and Eire have declined amidst the growing number of contacts. These are connections that were tilted towards the legacies of trade and solidarity in the era of apartheid, untied aid and the rule of Obote and Amin. Their positions have been taken up by India and South Africa from 1992-1993. A late entrant has been Pakistan which adds to evidence of a trend towards stronger links with larger, British influenced, post colonial states. Another trend of emigrant and expatriate contacts remains unmeasured but would be reflected in these links plus traffic with the UK, Canada and the United States. Ranking statistics in Figures DR1 and DR2 provide a very wide field of measurement yet show similar examples for incoming and outgoing categories. The main difference between the figures is that there are more regular outgoing contacts. This echoes the top 15 statistics from Figure DQ2 and incoming traffic shows a greater tendency towards inconsistent communications while the traffic is characterised in the form of low income nations. For both categories, contacts are maintained with leading countries, in terms of the sizes of their populations and economies, and also with aid-giving countries, trading ‘ partners’ and wherever there are numbers of expatriate and refugee Ugandans. The lower portion of the regular high volume column also contains countries that fall just outside the top 15, notably China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Irregular contacts contain the rising economy of South Korea as a complement to these three East Asian giants but mainly reflect broken state formations such as the former USSR 4 and the former Yugoslavia. Slovenia itself shows a high level of outgoing traffic but is low down for incoming traffic, perhaps indicating that it was cheaper or easier to call from Uganda than from a country on the edges of conflict. The Vatican broke its duck as a ‘ non-communicating’ country when it made a series of calls in 1993 – the year of the Pope’ s visit to Uganda – but hasn’ t called since.


Which is shown between Antigua and the Netherlands Antilles in outgoing data and between Lithuania and Puerto Rico for incoming data


Networking histories to Internet
Figure DT below shows the timescale of networking technologies and the means by which they have been disseminated and funded. FidoNet email was an a product of the partnership of telephone and small personal computer-based technology in an environment of possibility created by the flexibility and structures of funding on which the nongovernment sectors. Subsidy, creativity, local knowledge and experimentation allowed the adoption of a half-way technology between commercial and not-for-profit, between public network and Internet.

The telegraph was developed by a partnership between innovation and the state with the intervention of monopoly telegraph companies. The Internet was developed from military communications by universities and has only attracted commercial backing in its maturity. Figure DT
Networking timescale

Countries on the economic periphery have not enjoyed these highly subsidised networks and do not have the economic capability to extend research into such high technology and capitalised areas nor to compete and indigenise.

Deconstructing the Internet
Configurations of technology emphasise junctions in space where control is exercised. Internet addressing and routing systems are not based on fixed junctions but set endpoints. The structuring of addresses of Internet hosts, localhosts, relays and hubs are based on a numbered system that underlies the usual or named addresses. Access and types of access are determined by the availability of addresses. This is shown by a short analysis of addressing shown in the relationships between Internet connected wide area networks and displayed in Figure DU.1. They describe points of interconnection where human agency operates and regulation, manipulation and surveillance are possible. Flows of messages do not exist outside of polity, society and economy. Internet addressing itself has entailed the explicit structuring of a global caste system.


The information given in the case study below is freely available but hidden amongst the expert systems of Internet addressing.


Figure DU IP Addresses The technological structure of the Internet has been designed using addressing hierarchies. These are Classes A, B and C. Allocative power of IP address Classes A B C 255 x 255 x 255 = >16.5 million subdomains 255 x 255 = 65 000 subdomains 255 subdomains

Of the 45 published or unreserved Class A Internet domains: Geography 39 5 1 in the United States in Europe in Japan

Internet Protocol (IP) numbered addresses determine access and structure within the Internet. They were awarded implicitly structurally according to the presumed importance of the organisation, historically on a first come first serve basis. The unthought of consequences have been almost total geographical weighting to the United States. They reflect, in fast frozen terms, the power structures within networked computing and the military-industrial complex2. They also reflect the time they were assigned, in the early 1980s. The decisions of a very small group of people in the face of unknown futures have been reproduced and reinforced in the present.

The most feasible fix to this problem has a technical one, and Internet2 has been driven Structure by the creation of another level of addressing 25 commercial (108 versus 105) but side-stepping a complete 17 government reconfiguration of legacy protocols, networks, agencies routers, switches and machines from the 3 educational Internet as we know it. Until its full implementation there will still be competition Operations 12 military networks for addresses and consequent pressures on 9 telecommunications late entrants to this global computer network. infrastructure The address space3 of class A domains is providers 16.5 million subdomains while for class C it is 9 computer companies 255. Entire developing countries compete for 4 industrial manufacturers remaining class B and class C addresses with 4 national large and often transnational corporations or government agencies Internet service providers in industrialised 3 pharmaceutical countries. The current cost of a single, companies named, Internet domain (which can comprise 3 universities one Class C subdomain) is US$100 per year4. 1 financial institution The Ford Motor Company and Eli Lilley pharmaceuticals each hold a single Class A domain although their contribution to the Internet is fractional and Bolt, Beranek and Newman Inc5 holds three Class A domains. The

2 3

I never imagined I would use this phrase but it is an ideal description Hunt states that ‘the range of addresses is called the address space’ (Hunt 1992:73) 4 In 2000 the price has come down to +/- $20 which still gives a potential yearly gross of 16.5 million X $20 = $330,000,000 for each Class A address holder!! 5 A relatively anonymous computer company in Cambridge, Massachusetts


allocative powers of IP domains, awarded from being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people and procedures, are immense.

Routeing IP addresses represent points of exchange as shown in Figure DV. Information is moved between computers in physical locations that, if viewed from a distance, could be construed as a flow. The reality is a series of interlinked, automated routing mechanisms maintained Figure DV Hierarchy of IP mechanisms Locale

Mediator Terminal user local interface Modem Modulator demodulator digital analogue translator Mailbox middle man work station Router Mapper addresser stamper Down station up station Switch

Class C subdomain


C bundle



Signal box Hub A

Hub by humans. For the end users of electronic mailing systems, the physical address of a machine, for instance in a World Wide Web page, represents an area within a computer where the information is held. For an electronic mail address it represents the area (spool) where the recipients messages are held for collection. In between are various staging points where the messages and data are routed. They are the locales of the host or terminal where the messages are received or constructed by direct human-computer interaction; the localhost which operates as the container and distributor of electronic mail and data used to construct knowledge bases and World Wide Web pages and interfaces; it is the co-ordination unit of the internal and external networks operating linking mechanisms; the relay is the peer network; the hub is the centre of communications operations and the automated point of reference for addresses and routing. Connections can be routed to any connected machine or passed through a gateway to a non-Internet wide area network, for security or for economy. Large industrial corporations or government institutions are often interlinked by private networks. There are three advantages: security of information, surveillance of a closed network and avoiding the need for many Internet addresses. These private networks are expensive and can only interact 145

with larger networks through small, tightly controlled entry and exit points and firewalls. They are live regions that are closely policed. At the other end of the connectivity spectrum, telephone based store and forward systems have virtually disappeared and their wide use Figure DW Area of expertise Corporate HQ Networks 15 Canada 2 Telecoms 12 United States 31 Computers 6 United Kingdom 2 Phone manufacturers 2 Sweden 2 Research 1 Germany 2 Media 1 Japan 3 Applications 1 Training 12 General 3 by human rights groups and NGOs have been overtaken by Internet model of homepages. The two types of external networks, represent degrees of live connection – the first through control and security, the second through economic choice and infrastructure constraints – have been replaced by higher level – satellite and cable – connectivity distinctions. Information is pushed around global networks with constant reference to peers whose ability to activate or suspend networks is greatly enhanced under Internet2. These peers are predominantly US based or rooted in the US network. Issues of sovereignty have also introduced national filtering systems. In Singapore a national ‘ proxy-server’ equates to a filtering gateway through which all legal users of IP must be routed. In Kenya, all Internet connections that bypass state supplied connectivity are technically illegal. Systems in developing countries are have been under three techno-authoritarian pressures. The lack of Internet addresses as described above and the next two – new national controls and dependence on US routing mechanisms – are discussed in the next chapter.

Internet 2
The further development of Internet has been named variously IPv6, IPng 6 and Internet 2. It is a project of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development with 150 US research institutions7 and 50 corporations as members. Of the 50 corporations, 41 names are obtainable and their breakdown by area of expertise and location of corporate headquarters is shown in Figure DW. The pattern from the allocation of Internet addresses appears to be very different from those involved in the development of Internet2. Of course, there will be a shift back to the historical pattern of power, ownership and control that remains the military-industrial complex but there has been great movement. The composition of members shows a massive bias towards networking companies (Cisco, Newbridge, Nortel/Bay Networks, Lucent) and telecommunications companies (AT&T, Sprint, BT, Deutsche Telekom, MCI). Already one member, Fore Inc, has been taken over by US giant GEC and the full

6 7

Next generation – a StarTrek ™ reference And a numbers of overseas institutions not mentioned in the Internet2 brochure


configuration of the corporate infrastructure of Internet2 still has to be worked through as the technology is implemented. The protocol itself will introduce a core division in traffic which will be to the advantage of some and not to others. It will introduce traffic management that will prioritise certain connections, those of streaming media and others not yet clarified thus removing the democracy – all traffic is equal – of Internet as we know it. The contested parts of the new protocol are two new headers for the packet transmission: ‘ Priority (4 bits). The priority value for the packet and Flow Label (24 bits). Where a host uses the field to request that a network's routers perform special handling on the packet‘ 8 The benefits will be for ‘ teleimmersion, digital libraries and virtual laboratories’ 9 that could help large institutions such as the African Virtual University.10 However public datacommunications at the end of a thin satellite connection will definitely start at a greater disadvantage unless they are prioritised. Overall effects The direct social and economic effects of the new media in East Africa has been mitigated by a lesser penetration of communications due to smaller markets. Capital intensive changes are slowed down and beyond the control of the ‘ unconnected’ . Communication potential was limited at first: to the state, international financial and ‘ development’ institutions and diplomatic missions and second: to the middle level and the wealthy or those on international salaries. These will be served well by the fast, secure and high capacity links provided by such projects as AT&T’ s Africa One. Similar to the telegraph, the first wave of this next shift in ratios of information exchange will be limited to expatriates, venture capital and government. What is new is that pathways to new communication patterns can be followed from any telephone line and with a regular power supply. There is more communication potential than with the telegraph but there are many areas and regions that will never be connected and there are complex issues of infrastructure and technical literacy to overcome. The main issue for future study is over control of the new channels of communication and the spaces they create. Newly independent nations have to articulate between certain control of geopolitical spaces to new forms of control in virtual and stateless spaces owned by companies nominally located in the territory of the former colonial powers. Policy and international reflection, negotiation and financing, hold the key to a viable political economy of the Internet in East Africa.

8 9

Stallings W (1996) Data and computer communications Prentice Hall, Hemel Hempstead Internet2 brochure, UCAID, 1999 10 See Chapter Eight


Chapter Six

Externally driven change and the redefinition of the telecommunications sector
Actuaries and auditors compute precise marketing outcomes and pinpoint the needs of development subjects while patron-client relationships are sidelined by tranched disbursements laden with conditionality. Digital efficiency and certainty is overwhelming the modulation and contingency of analogue. The two processes of first, liberalisation and privatisation and second, the digitalisation of the telecommunications sector have run synchronously for East African countries. In industrialised countries, the market and technology continue to restructure economic modes and have already shifted the role of the state from provider to regulator and replaced dumb terminals with intelligent networks. The impact and demonstration effect of these forces in East Africa has been for the state to renegotiate its position and this has involved facing outside pressures to reform both itself and state service provision in a ‘ modern’ model of a timely and honest – cumpridor – broker. Posts and Telecommunications corporations (PTTs) have been offering and licensing better and more lucrative services yet there remain gaps between local and international services. International services have traditionally subsidised the domestic network and recently these revenues have been under attack from the world market, new information delivery systems and donors. Chapters Six and Seven introduce the agglomeration and separation of the telecommunications ‘ whole’ by regulation, technology, ideology and practice. They give context and an analysis of forces in political economy and technology. The telegraph initiated the process, moving relationships onto the electromagnetic spectrum. As Giddens put it: ‘ The separation of communication from transportation which the telegraph established is as significant as any prior invention in human history’ .11 Next the technical paradigm moved to the telephone while in the present day it is data that underlies communications transportation. This chapter closes in on the impact of data on the telephone system and its regulatory implications while the next examines the settling of data into East African use and newly installed networks of technology and procedure. Washington calling The position of PTTs and government has been fought from a status of dependency on external funding and these forces have also helped to drive demands for privatisation. The World Bank has seen domestic telecommunications as the most important sector for restructuring. Its view has been shaped by impasses over financing infrastructure and what it sees as an underprovision of possible telephone connectivity – putting people on the phone. As the largest external funder of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania’ s physical restructuring programmes it has been an advocate of liberalisation and privatisation. These inevitably impact on email, Internet and external telecommunications policy as components of the whole while domestic telecommunications themselves imply access points to these


Giddens 1985:175


wider-spaced services. Their 1995 view, at the beginning of the process of rolling out Internet and rolling back the PTTs, is put very forcefully by Peter Knight1
'(W)hat has been lacking is the political will to establish this [Internet} connectivity. In most cases relatively inefficient monopoly state telecom companies – often in a retrograde symbiosis with short-sighted Ministries of Finance and authoritarian political systems which fear the free flow of information – stand in the way. They have not been willing to give a VSAT license to private Internet service providers (ISPs), and have not themselves provided this service. But perhaps this is going to change soon, as privatization, competition, and access to such elements of the GII as the Africa 1 project provide new incentives. Let me very clear about this. While this is not the universal rule in Africa, in many countries such inefficient monopolies are preventing the flow of the life blood of the knowledge-based economy into which we are moving so rapidly -- information, the access to humankind's common knowledge base, and the ability of their own nationals to contribute to this knowledge base. In most cases they cannot meet even the expressed demand for traditional telephony services. It takes months, if not years (or a very substantial bribe), to get to the head of line waiting to get such services. These services are rendered at prices which are far above those paid in countries which recognize information to be a vital economic asset. If the prices for telephony services reflected the true costs of providing them in a competitive, information-friendly environment, the demand would be much greater. And they are not even offering the Internet services most needed today as the first step toward building a modern NII. If there is less demand for traditional services at high prices, and domestic and international companies tell us that they are willing to invest in providing these services more efficiently and cheaper, the problem is not economic or technological. It is political, regulatory, and organizational..'2

His points are clearly aimed at countries like Kenya – guilty on all the counts above – but also apply at times to Tanzania and Uganda. It is the threat to such valuable national assets as infrastructure, providing locally generated revenue streams and employment, that are their defence and these strategic views are not articulated in Knight’ s polemic. The full processes of privatisation and liberalisation are given space in the next chapter where the detail of Internet, email and digital telecommunications regulation are set out. Space is given here to the triangulation of the country in terms of shifting global patterns of telephone links and analysing direct impacts from external liberalisation of traffic and rates. This acts as a constant for calibrating changes by taking a larger, wider and international dataset. New technologies have pressured PTTs to rethink long-term strategic position and make huge structural and regulatory changes. Examples are international ‘ short-circuits’ created by Callback,3 calling cards and Internet telephony plus the mobile phone revolution. These short circuits have prompted a two stage action – international rates have been reduced gradually and at the same time direct Callback technologies have been outlawed and policed4. However further technological means are continually being deployed to outflank
1 2

Former chief of the World Bank electronic media centre and now a consultant, Knight P et al The Information Revolution and the World Bank group (1995) 3 The most successful service up until 1997, run by Kallback of Seattle in the United States, allows callers to dial an access number and register the international telephone number they wish to call. They are then called back with a connection and charged US international rates for the call 4 Disconnected Economic Review October 21-27 1996 and the World Trade Organisation


the developing countries’ attempts to defend valuable international revenues and there has been a huge growth in informal callback which utilises ever cheaper international rates in developed countries to substitute local outgoing calls. Another example of pressure from the collaboration of demand and technology is that of the cellular mobile phone as an alternative rather than complementary technology. Tanzania has nearly 93,000 telephone subscribers but a waiting list of nearly 108,000. The number of cellular telephone subscribers has leapt from 371 in 1994 to over 20,000 in 1997 compared with 5342 subscribers in Kenya. Given a choice between no phone or a costly mobile phone, wellheeled Tanzanians are opting for the latter. More startling evidence is emerging from Uganda where full liberalisation has been completed. There has been a newly licensed second national operator with a remit for mobile and fixed line provision – Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN) of South Africa. A report in the Monitor newspaper quotes Manzi Tumubweine 5 who says, ‘ We had asked them to connect at least 89,000 lines in the first five years and they have so far connected 40,000 in the first year…I am happy to learn that they will install 2000 pay phones well ahead of target’ 6 This first figure represents an 80 percent increase in national lines and is based mainly on cellular technology. It exceeds the number of users on the waiting list 7 for land lines by 640% and shows that MTN have created this huge demand. The company offers a ‘ pay-as-you-go’ system that has had no service fee levied8 and with calls to fixed lines at 15 US cents per minute and cell to cell calls at 4 cents per minute. These bargains will not be sustainable and the market has been stretched very rapidly but the results are remarkable. There is no measure of risk in these figures or in Knight’ s commentary and this switch to blatant commerciality and the ‘ pile them high, sell them cheap’ mentality. The previous mode of PTT and regulatory operation has been overcautious and this represents a switch to another extreme rather than fully planned and staggered change. Mike Jensen, a pan-African consultant and advisor sums up the genesis of the situation thus: '....national policy is often only set when the technology is introduced by an influential company, creating ad-hoc decisions which can cause problems later.... since most of the telecom operators have a monopoly over telecommunication services of all types, it is almost essential to involve them in some way if the license application is to be successful. The PTT would probably need to be convinced that it cannot reliably provide the service required through its existing infrastructure..'9 The inflection here is that a technology gap is exposed and the state has to position itself in relation to the technology and the prospective service provider. Government and PTT actions are reflected in their version of national interests. Gaiv Tata described the nature of discussions with Tanzania and Kenya as 'starting and finishing with [the issue of] security' which could only lead to 'sub optimum solutions that will protect some turf'. Uganda however was 'at the best end of the range where sector reform processes are addressed by constitutional players and World Bank projects and debts
5 6

Ugandan Minister for Privatisation Mucunguzi J (1999) ‘MTN launches Kabale network’ in The Monitor 9th August p17, the Minister also appealed to MTN, ‘to review the radius they are currently covering and make it wider’ 7 The last available figure, for 1996 was 6227 subscribers waiting for connection 8 but this was due to change in June 9 Interview with Mike Jensen conducted by Alan McLuskey, Kuala Lumpur 1997. Reproduced with permission.


have to be voted on by parliament'10. This suggests that Uganda has a high external orientation with no turf to protect following twenty years of destructive civil war and that UPTC and the state are more devolved than in Tanzania and Kenya. Indisputably, momentum for both telecoms reform and the specification of networks and terminals is felt both in the form of arriving technologies and in the form of financial pressures and dependency on donors. There are two main sections here that deal with the patterning of international telephone traffic currents, with a particular focus on Uganda, then particulars of who she has been communicating with over the eleven year period 1986-1996. Data both matches and contradicts figures from FidoNet email and provides a basis for analysing the two pressures of tariff reform and communications substitutes. These are underlined by the forces of a changing communications biography where regional and global attractors have affected the regularity and ranking of contacts.

Telephones and telephone traffic
The width of country detail in telephone calls and the wide range of years covered cannot be replicated for other forms of communication – the development of electronic mail and Internet was not world-wide and simultaneous – which leads to a different level of comparability. Telephone traffic has seen development over a hundred years yet international traffic with Uganda was restricted to empire between 1920 and 1945 and a full, reliable service was not really in operation until short wave connections were replaced by satellite and microwave connections at the end of the 1960s and the early 1970 through IntelSat and Panaftel respectively. These international telephone statistics have been primarily sourced from the external telecommunications department at the former Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation but in addition include ITU data for Kenya and Tanzania. The UPTC dataset covers the years 1986-1996 and encompasses the first years of the government of Museveni and National Resistance Movement, IMF Structural Adjustment11 and the gradual stabilisation of the Ugandan economy and society. The forces of technical change and tariff adjustments are seen throughout the data and discussed in the first section – incoming and outgoing balances. The second section closes in on country by country patterns for Africa, taking the top 15 nations, those called and calling in, as a good approximation of underlying trends. This is balanced by wider rankings of volume and communications consistency throughout the period and the section ends by again widening out the analysis to world traffic and the changes and forces left out in the first pass. Finally, the issues of (inter)dependency are picked over and the relevance of the findings to fixed Internet connections and regulation are itemised to be carried into the next chapter. The in and out of Ugandan telephones Figure EA below shows traffic in the final year of the UPTC dataset. It includes estimated data for Kenya and Tanzania as they are not recognised as international and recorded within domestic traffic. Communications within East Africa are treated as long distance
10 11

Interview Gaiv Tata, World Bank Representative, Uganda 25th April 1997 And enhanced structural adjustment


trunk calls and this is due to the legacy of EAPTC, dissolved in 1977. Calls are made without routing through an intermediary and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation states that revenues are retained by the sending country through the senderkeeps-all (SKA) system. The estimates have been made by assuming all existing circuits are used at maximum capacity and would probably be exaggerated and not good for comparison1 The clue for this is that the bars representing Kenya do not fit the picture presented by other data. The chart conveys the idea that there is greater outgoing traffic than incoming for Kenya and the anomaly is because there are less incoming telephone circuits than outgoing circuits. If payments were made in the SKA pattern then there would be a continuous subsidy from Kenya to Uganda and from Uganda to Tanzania. It shows a long term symptom of unequal relationships in the East African community and that the CTO information might be ambiguous. Figure EA Uganda telephone traffic 1996
Ugandan Telephone Traffic 1996
6000000 5000000

Total call time

4000000 3000000 2000000 1000000 0
A fr ica Am er icas A sia Out going Eur op e Incom ing Pacific Kenya Tanz ania

A more detailed breakdown of incoming and outgoing traffic by region is shown in figures EC1 and EC2. This time it is without the East African figures which are estimated at between 40% and 50% of all incoming ‘ international’ traffic and between 26% and 32% of all outgoing ‘ international’ traffic for 1996. Table EB summarises traffic patterns between Uganda and Tanzania/Kenya based on these figures and adding ranges of uncertainty based on innacuracies and presumptions from the CTO data. Table EB
Estimates of telephone traffic between Uganda and East African countries (% of international minutes) 1996

Kenya Tanzania

Incoming-from 30-37 % 10-13 %

Outgoing-to 17-21 % 9-11 %


From a personal perspective, lines are blocked by traffic often until the small hours. However it is a telecommunications rule that traffic falls for around 4 hours between 1am and 5am and, ignoring the weekend, this gives a error of around 17%. These are the figures factored into the estimates in table EB


Incoming traffic and outgoing traffic show very different growth patterns yet share a similar overall rise in volume. Incoming traffic can be characterised by a continual and rapid growth in the period 1986-1996. The numbers of incoming telephone calls have risen at a phenomenal rate through the 1990s and this is shown visually in Figure EC1. In the 11 year period this translates as 15 times more calls from Africa and the Americas, 17½ times more from Asia, while increases of 4 and 5.7 times more were recorded from European and Pacific countries respectively. However the traffic in this dataset is dominated by the communications with the United States and the United Kingdom – together they only vary between 55.9% and 62.4% of the total. If East African communications were factored into a larger total – and this can only be a good estimate – then they make up another third of traffic. In this calculation incoming traffic is dominated by four countries: Kenya, Tanzania, United Kingdom, United States and together they represent 73-83 percent of all incoming communications. The detail of the incoming traffic shown in Figure EC1 is that of a sharp growth with three characteristics. First there is a differential between European and American traffic at X, determined by shifting US and UK volumes, the gap is closed by 1996. Second there is a dip in traffic from Africa and Asia in 1993 at point Y, this should be due to a fall in the number of subscriber lines in Uganda in 1993 which will be discussed further when looking at outgoing traffic. Lastly there is a marked increase in traffic from 1993 with the start point at line Z and this indicates the beginning of a general, global, increase in traffic. The growth in traffic has been due to the increased liberalisation of international telecommunications traffic and the consequent fall in prices leading to more minutes of telephone calls. There are now at least two established exchanges where international telephone minutes are wholesaled to the highest bidder. These are the source of bandwidth for calling card and Internet telephony operators. They either subdivide connections using tunnelling mechanisms of compressed and digitised voice channels carried by Internet Protocol or they simply resell even smaller chunks to customers. These networks are accessed by local or freecall numbers with accounts prepaid and PIN or code triggered security. The rise in traffic also reflects local trends and larger number of subscriber lines installed and used in Uganda. In the period 1993-1997 there was another factor also in play. Much of Uganda’ s electronic mail was delivered over telephone lines and in the form of incoming traffic. Due to the efficiency of this means – one to two hours calls per day – it does not show up on the data yet reflects part of the general trend of growth.


Outgoing telephone calls in Figure EC2 show a more volatile pattern of growth. They increased by smaller proportions than outgoing traffic and this is best shown in Figure ED below – the ratio between incoming and outgoing. Calls from Uganda to international locations themselves show significant booms and slumps, especially for traffic destined for the Americas and Europe. These are explained by two factors. Firstly the collection rate1 which includes tariffs levied on top of the accounting rate2 – agreed between sender, relay and receiver – varied between 1990 and 1997. These tariffs are levied unilaterally by UPTC as the sender, and are effectively a call tax. This area of cross charging and rate fixing has been an area of controversy where the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Figure EC1 Incoming telephone calls Figure 1986-1996 UgandaEC2 Outgoing telephone calls in minutes 6000000 Uganda 1986-1996












Africa Africa

1 986
0 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996

1 987

198 8

1 989

19 90

1 991

1 992

19 93

199 4

19 95 19 96 Pacific

1 2

The effective charge to the customer for the call The costs agreed between sending and receiving organisations


has demanded unilateral action to reduce it level while the ITU has stepped in to seek a compromise. It is dealt with in more detail below. Outgoing tariffs surplus to the accounting rate were levied thus: July 1 st 1990 $7.50 per minute; July 1st 1992 $5 per minute; July 1st 1994 $3 per minute3 with other reductions in 1997. Reactions to these changes were not instantaneous and seem a little perverse for the 1990 statistics but the date of their introduction at the mid point of the year, would push the statistical effect further along. 1990 was also a year in which traffic to the US increased by 50 percent and doubled to the UK, trends that affect statistics are not easily stopped in their tracks. The second factor that affected outgoing traffic was the crackdown on nonpayment of bills and rationalisation of International Direct Dialling (IDD) procedures in 1993 which resulted in a 25 percent reduction in subscriber lines. This shake-up of billing regularised a system that had been inefficient and arbitrary – towards a modern/cumpridor and digital model of efficient revenue collection and service provision. Figure ED

Outgoing traffic should show strong price elasticity of demand but the statistics are not sufficient to come to precise figures4. There are indications in the booms and slumps of Figure EC2, but it is displayed more obviously in the plot of telephone lines and outgoing calls, Figure ED. This plot of calls and lines also contains economic data indicating low commodity prices during this period. The price of coffee5 fell to a low point in 1993 and Figure ED also shows six month moving averages of New York prices for washed arabica coffee6 between 1989 and 1997, priced in cents per pound. They indicate a form of triple3

Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (1998) The changing international telecommunications environment: Country case studies, Uganda - revised final report 15 May, 1998 CTO, London p16 4 The CTO report attempted, and in my opinion failed, to do this. CTO 1998:25 5 Robusta is nominally traded in London at the Coffee Terminal Market while arabica is traded at the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange, New York. East African output covers both varieties. Dicum G and Luttinger N (1999) The coffee book: Anatomy of an industry from crop to the last drop New Press, New York pp105-108 6 Sourced from the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange, New York


effect where, although connections are tentative, there was a sharp dip in expected prices at the end of 1992. This price fall coincides with the full Ugandan coffee season, from September to March, where at least 85% of national export income has been consistently derived from this single commodity. A small knock-on effect of the 1993 drop in lines and potentially from slower coffee trade fed into the incoming traffic statistics but its significance is shown best in this outgoing traffic where a large number of lines must have been removed from those who were contributing to the volume of calls from Uganda to international locations. These – tariffs and lines – seem to be primary determinants of changes in the pattern of outgoing traffic but volumes have also increased over the long term. Despite the spread of other communications substitutes such as Callback and email, both incoming and outgoing telephone calls have increased. Communications substitutes are dealt with in more detail below along with the accounting rates controversy. The analysis of calling costs and their effects have been drowned in the rising growth of global traffic and other externalities. Generally call costs have fallen but there is hidden data that would indicate some of the complexities. Number of calls statistics would show the relationship between call tariffs and their effects on the length of calls. Tantalisingly, ITU data7 only shows the years 1987 to 1991 for outgoing numbers of calls which allows a calculation of call lengths as: 1987 – 9 minutes; 1988 – 8 minutes; 1989 – 7 minutes; 1990 – 9 minutes and 1991 – 4 minutes. In other words a crucial indicator of tariff sensitivity – correlation between call rates, number of calls and volume of call in minutes – is beyond calculation but without this key data there are other avenues to explore. I have chosen aid, trade and tourism as fairly unambiguous indicators of permeability of ‘ borders’ , mobility of ‘ actors’ 8 and a general spirit of cumpridor openness. The data itself is not unshakeable with totals of world telephone traffic and world trade being approximations that hide country by country differences and ‘ informal’ traffic. However the growing openness of the economy has matched the growing will to communicate. Tourism9 and aid10 are matched with the maximum number of countries with complete data. Totals are harmonised with country and year data for calls and this procedure gives twenty countries in the aid sample and 18 countries in the tourism sample. However these two measures totally ignore direct developing country influences11 while trade data12 leaves the detail of East African imports and exports13 to one side because of the lack of corresponding telephone data. Aside from these limitations, the results, shown in Table EE, are startling enough to show significant indications of relationships between telephone traffic and other exchanges and movements. There is little variation from regression lines


All ITU data in this section is taken from the ITU STARS database of telecommunications indicators 19501998 8 In the Actor Network Theory definition, where pretty well anything can be an actor. 9 Source: Government of Uganda (1997) Abstract of statistics Bureau of Statistics, Entebbe 10 Source: Atingi-Ego M et al (1999) Aid and reform in Uganda: Country case study First Draft IBRD/Bank of Uganda 11 But perhaps including some diffused and reflexive undercurrents in ‘security’, ‘willingness to travel’ and ‘donor fatigue’. 12 Source: IMF (1997) Direction of trade statistics yearbook IMF, Washington 13 They represent just over a third of official trade by volume


based on incoming traffic. The best matches are for imports and tourist arrivals while exports and aid display some parallels. Table EE Multiple regression analyses of Ugandan telephone traffic 1990-1996 Telephone Traffic Aid Imports Exports Tourist arrivals Incoming Outgoing R2 0.74 0.4 R2 0.99 0.02 R2 0.89 0.14 R2 0.98 0.15

This type of analysis has previously been undertaken by Aharon Kellerman for Israeli telephone traffic for two years in the 1980s.14 His findings showed similar series of R2 correlation between inbound calls and exports, tourism, imports and the Jewish population in calling countries. His sampling shows a better width of statistics, and I would have liked to include Ugandans abroad in the thesis,15 however his time period is short and reflects two years16 when Israel was not yet emerging from political isolation or its extreme dependence on the United States. The serial correlation between incoming traffic and other factors might not in his case represent openness in the sense I am trying to portray here. Uganda was growing fast economically in the period under question – GDP 17 was rising at between 5% and 10% per annum – and therefore this boom coincided with a large degree of gregariousness, more local prosperity, security and little dissent. A queue of investors, tourist and donors waited to join in this post-holocaust bonhomie. A visual representation of tourists and telephone calls is shown in Figure EF to give an idea of the close relationship.


The regressions are addressed between pages 266-269 in Kellerman A (1991) ‘The role of telecommunications in assisting the peripherally located countries: the case of Israel’ in Brunn SD and Leinbach TR (1991) Collapsing space and time Harper Collins, London pp252-277 15 Waves of exiles and emigrants have arrived - particularly in the Kenya, the US, Canada and the UK - from Uganda following the serial disturbances and dislocations of politics, society and economy. The largest number have comprised Uganda Asians expelled in 1972 by Amin but other peaks have been in 1966, 1976-78, 1981 and 1985. Unfortunately census data is not dynamic or detailed enough to show change while country by country data for comparison is vague, unreliable or non-existent. 16 1985 and 1986 17 And GDP per capita also but possibly because of the impact of HIV/AIDS on population growth


Figure EF

Tourists Calls

Regional Correlations The plots in Figure EG are derived from the same ITU data of minutes incoming and outgoing to provide a statistical constant. The Uganda figures had to be adjusted 18, however in the absence of other sources, and in the spirit of consistency, incoming and outgoing traffic for Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya are lain out in sequential graphs. They show the two trends of increasing traffic volume and divergence between incoming and outgoing volumes. From the growth gradient 1986-1997, Uganda shows the slowest growth in percentage terms over the longer period in both outgoing and incoming categories. This is surprising as it is the reforming protégé of international institutions, a model of ‘ openness’ and with the fastest GDP growth in Africa. However, from 1993 in the crucial 19 measure of outgoing traffic it outstrips Kenyan growth in terms of percentage points. This is a little misleading as it translates as 3½ million minutes extra compared to 11 million for Kenya. Tanzania is the most consistent performer and shows 6 million extra minutes in this measure alone, this might be because there are less expatriate Tanzanians than Ugandans and Kenyans.


As the ITU statistics provided the measure ‘numbers of calls’ for 1987-1991 and replacement UPTC data failed to sequence properly. ITU statistics have been generally adequate although they are released unchecked and contain some unacceptable inconsistencies. 19 In terms of local revenue


Figure EG ITU data for Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian traffic balances
Uganda 1 986-1 998
1 6,00 0,00 0 1 4,00 0,00 0 1 2,00 0,00 0 1 0,00 0,00 0 8,00 0,00 0 6,00 0,00 0 4,00 0,00 0 2,00 0,00 0 0 19 86 198 7 1 988 198 9 1 990 19 91 199 2 1 993 19 94 199 5 1 996 19 97 1 998



I nt ernat ional out going t elephone t raf f ic (m inut es)

I nt ernat ional incoming t elephone t raf f ic (minut es)

Kenya 1 9 8 6 -1 9 9 8
80 ,00 0,0 00 70 ,00 0,0 00 60 ,00 0,0 00 50 ,00 0,0 00 40 ,00 0,0 00 30 ,00 0,0 00 20 ,00 0,0 00 10 ,00 0,0 00 0 19 86 1 98 7 198 8 19 89 1 99 0 19 91 19 92 199 3 19 94 1 99 5 19 96 1 997 1 99 8



Internat ional out going telephone traff ic (minutes)

I nternat ional incoming telephone traffic (minut es)

Tanzania 1 986-1 998





0 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998

International outgoing telephone traffic (minutes)

International incoming telephone traffic (minutes)


On balance the East African data is important not so much for correlating trends but for marking out the territory of comparative analysis. With the advent of electronic mail, private satellite networks and Internet telephony it is the capabilities of policy making to maximise revenues while balancing growth and increasing local teledensity. These policies and their effects are discussed in the following chapter. Figure EH Outgoing/Incoming call ratio Uganda 1986-1996 East Africa 1993-1997

Tanzania Uganda


Call costs – Accounting rate, Incoming and outgoing ratios The ratios of outgoing versus incoming calls in Figure EH show clear patterns in the data yet cover many complexities. There is a universal trend towards a lower ratio of outgoing to incoming traffic which has become fixed since 1990. Incoming calls from the Americas outnumbered those from Uganda by six to one and the figure was two to one for Europe. The implications are that call revenues and call revenue arrangements are coming under pressure, and from the external effect of significantly lower and continually reducing incoming international call costs. There are two angles from which these changes can be analysed. First is the increasing liberalisation of international telephone rates and regulation in industrialised countries controversies which have highlighted disparities with developing country policies towards collection, accounting and settlement rates. Second 160

are the substitution technologies that producing reductions in call costs on top of the rate reform.

The accounting rate controversy
There are multiple types of arrangements for UPTC to pay for international calls and to receive payments for these calls and in the vast majority of cases1 they receive payments for both incoming and outgoing calls. There is a obvious logic for this as an SKA policy with large incoming traffic producers such as the US and the UK would be at a huge detriment to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda2. These arrangements are often not directly between originating and terminating states however and in this case involve transit fees. As an example, calls between Uganda and MCI in the United States, are transited through British Telecom. The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) details the financial terms of this arrangement and state that, as of 1996, UPTC and MCI each received 32½ US cents while BT retained 55 cents as a transit fee3. This arrangement covered 18.6% of outgoing and 28% of incoming international traffic while other examples of transiting arrangements exist for Canada and South Africa (via Germany) and India and Japan (via Kenya). These are balanced by the more lucrative 50-50 contracts that exist in most other cases while it was shown above that East African settlements are governed by the sender-keeps-all (SKA) arrangement. The ratios of incoming versus outgoing traffic reflect the effects of communications substitutes more than the unidirectional analyses. Informal callback, FidoNet electronic mail over telephone and other one way arrangements then take advantage of incoming call prices free of Uganda’ s outgoing international call tariffs4. The effect, shown in Figure ED, has been for a greater growth in the amount of incoming traffic unmatched by outbound levels. Despite rapid outbound traffic growth, it has been eclipsed by the massive increases in incoming traffic. This masks effectively outbound calls made over an incoming connection priced at international rather than local rates. The question that the World Bank, ITU and CTO are asking is then – Why not embrace this traffic by lowering domestic tariffs and amending accounting rates so it will be accounted and costed as an outward bound revenue stream? There are two answers to this question. First there is no data to show how much hidden traffic there actually is. Second, existing income from the tariffs – 6% of UPTC’ s operational budget in 19955 – strikes a balance between tax and revenue and provides a significant proportion of funds for reinvestment in the network. There is nothing to truly measure either price elasticities of call demand or projected increases and revenues and therefore no measure of risk.

1 2

An exception being the sender-keeps-all arrangements with Kenya and Tanzania See for instance Mayer R (1998) International accounting rate reform: implications for developing countries in InterMedia Vol.26 No.3, International Institute for Communications, London 3 CTO 1998:17 4 These currently stand at an effective tax of over $1 per minute and justified by telecommunications development priorities. They are discussed in detail in the following chapter. 5 Mayer 1998:23


Effects of external technological threats, shortcuts and Internet telephony The last area of change that has impacted on East Africa has been the development of tunnelling technologies. The most recent and threatening of these is Internet telephony. There have been a series of technologies that have followed the strategy of piggy-backing on existing communications streams. The first of the was fax by email and was one of the services provided by Fido email providers. An email is addressed with a fax number and this is delivered to a fax gateway that strips email details and sends it using fax protocols. It enabled African users to send faxes ‘ as if’ from the United States, UK, or other APC partner. It was not a seriously debilitating technology for the East African PTTs and they ignored it. Today however, local revenues from international telephone calls are falling dramatically. These have historically contributed a substantial part of East Africa Posts and Telecommunications parastatals’ surplus1. Increasing global and extra-national competition and more recently, pressure from the United States Federal regulator (FCC), have forced the state to look hard at altering tariff structures and reduce international tariffs. The FCC is calling for a mandatory reduction in the size of the handling fee charged at the developing country end of the call – the accounting rate. The FCC threatens unilateral action against countries that will not comply. The first serious technological threat came from commercial Callback services and the use of these technologies have been criminalised in all three countries. However development of these technologies have given more and more connection choices rather than put a cap on such ventures. Currently three main threats are Callback triggered by email requests, Internet Telephony and discounted, ‘ preferential‘ interconnection rates. They have prompted a flood of many discounted callcards and booths in developed countries and are targeting developing countries. The technologies make use of computer control and routing together with the capacity for voice signals to be carried by data protocols. These subvert conventional tariffs and relay arrangements, all made possible by the complexity and intercompatibility of digital networks. This points to a major shake-up in international network communications. It is being experienced strongest in international telephone traffic and much of the burden of negotiating these issues will be conducted by the International Telecommunications Union and World Trade Organisation. In these fora developing countries will try and salvage as much revenue as possible while caught between internal pressures; upgrading to digital circuits, extending national services and privatisation and external pressures; new technologies, new market pressures and a totally new regulatory horizon. Clearly they will need larger, probably foreign, allies with the financial credibility and access to capital they lack. This can only increase classical dependency – technological, commercial and political. Already direct effects of these pressures have been felt. According to Pool, ’ Most national Post, Telegraph and Telephone Administrations (PTTs) as a matter of policy try to make as

Calls to the US make up 10% of total Ugandan international traffic yet contributes 6% of UPTC’s revenue. For Kenya this is 5.1% of its revenue and Tanzania 4.7% (Data from ITU African Telecommunications Indicators and from UPTC, Figures are for 1996)


much profit as they can on the international service which is used by businesses and welloff individuals; the extra returns are used to keep costs lower for ordinary residential users’ 2 Pressures on international revenues have pushed prices to a level where there has now been a shift in the revenue base with costs shifted onto domestic tariffs. In Uganda this was first manifested by an increase in postal charges3 in 1997 and then early in 1999 by an increase in domestic phone charges and this last change has been replicated in Kenya. There are now cheaper communications for externally-oriented customers. There is an overall shift in revenues of PTTs which is reducing future funds for local investment in the Posts and Telecommunications sector. New investment has to arrive through aid and the inflow of foreign capital. There is a vicious circle.

The threat from data
Liberalisation has neither totally prompted nor resolved the issue. Technological change is ongoing and the latest threats are from infrastructures of parallel networks, technologies of voice over Internet protocol and techniques of compression. The issue is whether this change will follow the size of markets or the exploit the largest price differential between conventional and alternative means. The resolution is that both are occurring. The wisdoms of regulation and the degree of IP connectivity that provides parallel infrastructure will influence the rapidity of change. The situation for East Africa is already critical and there are two scenarios. First, it is extremely easy to purchase an international calling card in a developed country1 that uses IP telephony to deliver at least part of the call. The ‘ cut’ of sender and relay are bypassed and the bare accounting rate payable to the host country makes up the largest component of the call cost. This does not directly affect payments to East African telephone service providers but provides an incentive for greater numbers of incoming calls substituting outgoing calls – informal callback. The second scenario is where local dial-up Internet users download simple software that acts as a virtual phone and subscribe to an Internet telephony provider. From their desktops they can call the world as if in the US, UK or a developed country and at those rates or cheaper – calling card rates. There are two caveats here. First the caller would need access to an internationally recognised credit or debit card – personally or through a trusting contact. The cards are already being issued by the HeartBeat Online ( ISP in Dar es Salaam. Secondly there is controversy over the bandwidth consumption of IP telephony, due to its duplex streaming rather than the near simplex function of web browsing. McKnight and Leida estimate that, ‘ a moderate use of computer-to-computer Internet telephony can double the costs of an Internet Service Provider’ 2 while Delta Three Inc state that, ‘ a two-way voice conversation over the Internet is actually less heavy than the transfers required for graphics-intensive web sites’ 3. The impact on developing country connections is as yet unproven.

Pool IS (1990) Technologies without boundaries: on telecommunications in a global age Harvard University Press, London. quote p84 3 Posts and telecommunications were joined at that time, I translate this as a pre-privatisation subsidy for telecoms. 1 I have been unable to determine the situation in Japan 2 McKnight LW and Leida B (1997) ‘Internet telephony: costs, pricing and policy’ in Waterman D and MacKieMason J (eds) 1997 Telecommunications policy research conference Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey p2 3 Delta Three are an Internet telephony ISP, Delta Three Inc (1999) The market for Internet telephony


In an under-regulated environment the possibility of the international call market coming under attack from these threats is clear and would divert revenues directly to developed countries4 The global market for Internet telephony could reach 15% of international calls carried over Internet connection by 20015 but bigger impacts will occur if current East African Internet service providers formally attempt to enter the international calls market. This would split the most consistently profitable telecommunications sector apart and mark the new pre-eminence of data. The flows of technology and progress have been both accepted and resisted within East Africa. Without control over the deployment and shaping of these changes the future is determined from outside. Meanwhile, the general ratio of costs to calls should be moving in favour of wider, faster and more numerous communications. Converging technologies offer fast ways out of the telecommunications impasse at the cost of devolving responsibility, control and sadly, accountability, overseas.

Regulation of the telecommunications sector and liberalisation theology
In 1984, two significant decisions were taken towards changing the structure of telecommunications services and markets in the UK and the USA. In the UK, British Telecom was privatised by selling 51% of the state's stake on the stock market. This handed over control to the private sector whilst competitors were licensed to provide both new and parallel services. In the USA, AT&T was ordered to divest ownership of its 22 local subsidiaries – the local, 'baby', Bell network. This freed the US market from the constraints of a single company with vertical ownership and control of national and customer access routes6. The success of these two actions widened consumer choice and reduced prices through competition in the UK and the USA. The model of liberalisation saw a combination of investment strategies that linked up with digital technologies, the ‘ intelligent networks’ . AT&T realigned itself in the market with the proceeds of the divestiture while British Telecom was given extra state subsidy to make it more palatable for the market. This investment capital combined with two extra forces to enable strategies of upgrading and digitalisation. First was the extra investment capital from running up to new gearing levels through markets and borrowing. Second were the savings in labour from new technologies and streamlining that saw multiple waves of redundancies in the reconfigured companies. Finance and dependence Finance for telecommunications development in the region has been historically led by aid and international loans. Here there is a balance between national needs and international norms. Demand for upgrading, repair and extension of services and infrastructure comes from inside the country. The international dimension has shifted from a cold war focus on
4 5

Let alone the satellite space segment costs of IP connections. These are dealt with in the next chapter. An estimate from Delta Three’s parent company RSL 6 Hills J (1990) 'Universal service –Liberalization and privatization of telecommunications ' Telecommunications Policy Vol. 13 No 2 pp 129-144; Sinden A (1995) 'Telecommunications services: Job loss and spatial restructuring in Britain (1989-1993)' Area Vole 27 No 1 pp 34-45


aid and stability to liberalisation-era value-for-money demands for competition, accountability and service. There is also closer scrutiny of the commercial tendering process although the counter tendency is present in bilateral agreements which have always emphasised vested trade components. Presently EU projects in Tanzania use EU equipment and contractors, Danish projects use Danish cables, accessories and plant, Japanese projects use their own national companies. Dependency on external funding has had implications for equipment and policy. The countries are 'takers' of projects and equipment, much of their effort is taken up by coordinating donors and projects. This has caused problems and Jan Mutai, MD of KPTC commented that, 'Donor driven projects while welcome have in the past saddled the corporation with a wide diversity of equipment, some of which may not be suitable'1 Another example comes from Tanzania where the Dar es Salaam Telephone Rehabilitation Project has been funded with the help of the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA). A consultant's report revealed that in Tanzania there were '...indications that the Suppliers are driving the structure of the network, possibly to the detriment of TTCL. An example of this is NEC's plan to replace Dar Es Salaam Central [exchange] analogue switches...with 2 switches rather than combine into one switch. The 2 switch solution will almost certainly cost TTCL an estimated additional 400 to 500 000 US dollars.'2 The state of dependency on international funding is severe and Kenya’ s investment in telecommunications has averaged $US 65 million over the years 1994-1997 while it had reached $188 million in 1993 with additional World Bank funding3. Tanzania’ s Telephone Restructuring Programme 1993-1998, was funded to the tune of $243 million with 32% from the World Bank, 17% from the African Development Bank, 14% from Sweden, 13% from the European Union and 12% from Japan, Denmark and Kuwait with the remainder from Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications Corporation. In 1989 Uganda received $52.3 million from the World Bank for rehabilitating telecommunications in the north and for exchange improvements in the south.4 $5.2 million was invested by the International Finance corporation in the CelTel mobile telephone in 19945 These IFC and World Bank contributions were seen as a 'transitional step to privatisation'6 by its regional telecommunications representative. Privatisation dilemmas This dependence and new technologies helped to push through differently timed and differently structured liberalisation then privatisation in the three countries. The task of state and PTTs has been to take on board these extended telematic services and to reformulate regulation while rebuilding public telecommunications infrastructure. The two sides of privatisation were played out between the loss of state control and imminent retrenchment
1 2

Jan Mutai in Kweyuh PHM (1996:24) 'Time for change' in Communications Africa June/July 1996 BT Teleconsult Network planning and optimisation project for TTCL CCAA Tanzania 146 January -February 1996 3 ITU 1998:75 Part of the price for these disbursements was the introduction of multi-partyism and floating the shilling 4 Minges M and Kelly T (1994) Multilateral lending for Telecommunications 1983 – 1992 Discussion paper, ITU, Geneva 5 IFC (1995) IFC to help finance Uganda's first private telecommunications network Press release No 95/38 IFC, Washington 6 Interview, Gaiv Tata, World Bank regional telecommunications representative, Kampala, May 1997


of employees on one hand and improved customer service and network expansion on the other. ‘ The whims of the exercise are many, but the most nasty one is the eventual loss of employment to many staff of the privatized firms’ 1 and calculated from ITU statistics, the reduction in employment is -2.8% per annum for countries with telecommunications privatisation, compared to - 0.02% for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. 2 At the same time there are the possibilities of a massive increase in teledensity and a change to a customeroriented rather than a state-oriented market which seems to be the case above for Uganda. Pent-up feelings had been felt in the clamour of complaints from low-level (to high-level) corruption to failing services and rudeness. According to Kaggwa Terah, ‘ They are creating such a bad name for themselves that SNO [second national operator] is going to come in and people will be preferring to wait for its services than to go with UTL.’ 3 He was proved correct. Tanzania Telecommunications Limited (TTCL) offers an insight into these dilemmas where the country has still not opted for full privatisation and in 1996, the in-house magazine represented the struggle between the issues4:
IT IS NOW DO OR DIE What we hear now and witness today of public enterprises being sold wholly or in part to new and private hands is not mere tales of Alice in Wonderland. It is real, it is happening in Tanzania. They call it privatization.... The whims of the exercise are many, but the most nasty one is the eventual loss of employment to many staff of the privatized firms. They call it retrenchment. We in the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) are still wholly owned by the Government of Tanzania (GOT). But for how long? Are we really untouchable by the pangs of privatization? And surely the answer is with us! ..The unfortunate thing is that much of the blame is on the staff. We seem to be digging our own grave. Areas which are the centre of complaints include delays in fault clearance, delays in installation of new facilities to customers, corrupt attitudes by some of the staff, incorrect telephone bills, bad language by some telephone operators, and generally customer care is poor. The government's patience is thinning down.. "Perform better or face the axe"... The Donors' patience on us is also wearing thin, while our customers' patience is reaching zero level. CHANGE, that is the call we hear from every direction. So what do we do? Move forward, work together. Flash out the bad elements. They are very few but they are our enemies. Increase productivity, improve the quality of our services to the customers. Yes, the customer is King, so let us serve them better... We have to act now, because we have reached a situation where it is now Do or Die!

All three countries have had western models of restructuring communications corporations to follow and this is generally the British Model of privatisation. First Posts and Telecommunications functions are separated, next the market is liberalised to allow new operators for new services and with a statutory regulatory body. Next a second national
1 2

Editorial Connect, January 1996 Calculated from ITU data, ITU 1998 3 Kaggwa Terah, System Operator SwiftUganda 22 Jan 1988, Internet Society of Uganda, Technical Forum 4 TTCL (1996) ‘Commentary’ Connect Vol. 2 January – March 1996 p3, ' Part of the Tanzania Telecommunications Company's overall business promotion activities and an information/education platform for its employees'.


operator (SNO) is licensed and finally the PTT is privatised.1 Tanzania was the first off the blocks and introduced The Communications Act of 1993 laying the pathway for division of the PTT and the establishment of a regulatory body, the Tanzanian Communications Commission. Unfortunately this legislation preceded changes in Internet technologies but allowed the commission its first major challenge of negotiating between interest groups and government in 1995. In 1996 it went into partnership with France Telecom, seeking fresh capital without the consequences of full privatisation. Uganda followed the British model exactly and without a whimper. MTN became the second national operator in 1998, bidding $US 5.6 million for their license. Uganda Telecommunications Limited was sold in 1999 to WorldTel – an international coalition of financial investors and western banks2 – and Detecon – a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom – for $US 26 million3. This paltry sum is, of course, dwarfed by the investments poured into the operation over the last 20 years. Data versus telephones in Kenya Kenya has resisted all change fully and with great vigour. It has been cast as a villain by all1 but there is an unerring strategic logic to its gameplan. Incremental reforms have occurred perhaps two years after the other two countries, KPTC’ s economic strength has allowed it to weather the deliberate politics of funding and the network has expanded steadily. Its actions have seemed bizarre and the hallmark of a centralised and paranoid state – banning first and investigating later, stopping agreements as they half half-run their course. However in defence of KPTC and the Kenya Government, the urgency of such measures – the PTT regularly contributes 5% of GDP per annum2 – does not outweigh the long term national interest. From 1995 to 1999 the government ‘ banned’ VSAT satellite data connections with the argument that they might steal international telephone traffic. This is a nub of the data versus telephone conflict. Barclays bank attempted overt corruption of KPTC officials3 to allow a ‘ special dispensation’ to operate these technologies. They returned to Kenya happy and well ‘ fed’ but never followed through on the deal. UNEP finally broke the mould and after a four year struggle were allowed to use VSAT in their Mercure UNEPNet system from 1998 with a payment of $US 80,000 per month to cover ‘ lost revenue’ 4 Details of ISP arrangements are related in the next chapter but the technology is now fully licensable and Barclays eventually got their connections to the UK. The Kenya Government had acted with a consistent line and had also extracted the best financial terms yet had alienated many by its ‘ dance’ .

1 2

The same model followed by Ghana who licensed ACG Telesystems as SNO in 1995 Investors are notably Intel, American International Group (AIG) the US insurance giant, National Westminster Bank of the UK, General Electric Capital and the International Investment Group (IIG). IIG deals in derivatives with prominent interests in coffee futures. 3 IFC (1999) IFC helps Uganda finalize telecom privatization Press release 99/69 IFC, Washington 1 See for instance, Knight 1995 above 2 ITU 1996 3 Interview with a senior Barclays official who didn’t phrase it in this way, May 1998 4 Interview with a senior United Nations official, Nairobi, April 1999


Regulation, rebellion and new Internet constituencies Similarly, regulation has sought to include Internet and encompassed a new constituency of players who expect international dimensions of reliability, accountability and fair play. Kenya published its first Telecommunications Privatisation Bill in 1997 with the controversial kernel of powers of regulation. Its covert purpose was as bargaining counter with international agencies and the Nairobi based East African wrote, ‘ Scepticism extends to how far the government is serious about implementing reform of the National Social Security Fund, the Kenya Reinsurance Corporation and the Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, despite publishing Bills that outline plans to restructure. The fears were actually deepened by the timing of the Bills' publication - just before the IMF mission.’ 1 Three main collaborators in the resistance to the telecommunications Bill were the Telecommunications Foundation for Africa, The East African Internet Association and the Institute for Economic Affairs. The EAIA’ s meeting saw the bill as ‘ Historically... based on CAS (country assistance programmes) recommended by the World Bank and IMF and is drafted to meet their demands as the country is behind schedule to privatise the sector...There is no independent control, only presidential appointees...A pervasive obsession with ‘ insecurity’ ...The bill is too broad and without directive principles or definition of stakeholders...There is no vision of access or development component...The tribunal has retroactive powers and no legal process...ISPs have to hand over lists of their customers’ 2 The combined efforts of these three culminated in a successful Institute for Economic Affairs open-forum on ‘ The telecommunication challenge for Kenya: Review of the proposed Kenya Telecommunications Bill, 1997’ Nairobi 29th April 1997. MPs were briefed and the bill was not passed. It was reintroduced in a new form in April 1998 and republished in June. It provoked the response from the IEA and a focus group of interested parties and Figure X the reactions. They are based more on the view of the government as capable and even handed regulator than the technical competence of the national operator.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date: Tue 05, May – 1998 17: 0:26 +0300 Subject: Draft Telecommunications Bill- Task Force and Critique Message-Id: <> To: X-Ftn-From: Suchindranath Aiyer @ 5:7311/30.189 X-Comment: The EAIA mailing list is supported by the UN Office at Nairobi Cc:,,, The scope for legally sanctioned mischief and arbitrariness (i.e. Corruption), has been considerably expanded from the earlier draft to include opportunities for land-scamming and the persecution of arbitrarily selected individuals. There is no effective transparency, accountability, or enforceable equity in
1 2

East African April 7th 1997 IMF Mission in Kenya for ESAF Review Meeting Synopsis of minutes from EAIA meeting 8th April 1997 Synopsis of minutes from EAIA meeting 8th April 1997


the Bill. The Bill will discourage competitive consumer benefits and increased teledensity.


The specifics are being documented by the team with reference to repugnant sections, pages and words in the new draft, and will be published on this list. Suggestions and volunteers are welcome on how the matter may be taken further through a) the press, b) public seminars and debates, and, c) briefing of parliamentarians. Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 11:45:07 +0300 Message-Id: <> From: (INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS) X-Comment: The EAIA mailing list is supported by the UN Office at Nairobi Many of those who have already looked at the Bill do not think that it should be passed in its present form. Already there are concerns that this Bill has failed to address many of the concerns that were raised by both commercial and non-commercial stakeholders in the telecommunications sub sector. It is therefore important that we push to have amendments made to the sections that are not good before it gets passed. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This coalition of interest groups eventually led to the shelving of the first draft of the Bill. It was a high water mark of open negotiation of the lines to be drawn between the state as participant and determinant of the regulation process, and the ability of citizens and minor players to have an influence. The second draft of the bill retained the character of the first and was passed in Parliament in 1998. KPTC became Telkom Kenya and retained its monopoly while the state retained its influence.

The larger connections
Internet and telephones depend on interconnection with international networks. Some of the concepts of routeing on telephone traffic have been discussed above but this final section examines the fastness of these routes and landing points, before the fine detail of Internet service provision and regulation is examined. Telephone lines Data from Uganda showed there were a variety of paths for international call routing and that each intermediary took a proportion of the call charge for this service. Both Adams and Smith1 have illustrated problems of legacy infrastructure and routes for post-colonial telephone calls. Smith wrote that:
The major networks of the world, especially those which linked Asia, Africa and Europe, were largely British...The communications networks - in transport, telephone, telegraph, broadcasting and the press - grew out of the imperial routes which passed through London and Paris. An economic network lay behind the system of imperial preferences of Britain and that in turn was expressed in and was aided by the communication

Adams 1972:97-116; Smith A (1980) The geopolitics of information : how Western culture dominates the world Oxford University Press, Oxford pp43-45, pp111-146


linkages. Even today the telephone and telegraph links between India and Europe and Africa and Europe reveal the colonial control systems of the past. It is still sometimes easier to telephone or to travel from one part of Africa by way of London than direct.2

The best data available, for 1994 and from the Common Market for eastern and southern Africa (COMESA)in Table EI, shows this has been broadly true in the intervening period. Data for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda reveals that calls pass through colonial networks of either Britain, the former rulers of the communicating country but also through the United States. The latter shows the intrusion of economic imperialism or a ‘ good deal’ , whichever way you wish to take it. Table EI African telephone routes3
Angola Botswana Comoros Djibouti Eritrea Lesotho Madagascar Malawi Mauritius Mozambique Namibia Seychelles Somalia Sudan Swaziland Zaire

From Kenya
Portugal UK France X USA X Italy X X Portugal South Africa X Italy X X Spain

Tanzania Uganda
UK UK France France UK UK France X Germany X UK Kenya Kenya UAE MOZ France Italy USA France France UK UK France Tanzania France Tanzania UK France Italy UK UK France

All of these patterns however reveal the weakness of African infrastructure and the extent of the failure of Panaftel to serve as a viable channel. The Panaftel links are too patchy, unreliable and expensive to maintain efficient network operation and only serve Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Rwanda and recently Eritrea. The UPTC telephone sources also include some routeing data which shows that their international calls to all other parts of the world 4 and transiting a third party go via the US (43%), Italy (23%) and the UK (10%). This is then a global issue and applies partially to the African system with the geography of telecommunication routes used by telecommunications traffic. The example of India and Uganda illustrates the underlying choices here:
For Indian traffic, from 1989 through 1992/3, UPTC transited traffic through Nairobi, had a total accounting rate of 1.66 SDRs5, and paid Kenya 0.42 for this transit fee and split the remainder 50-50 with the Indian telco. By 1997 rates had dropped about 23%, to 1.28 SDRs, with Startec [i.e. a route via the US] taking a small 0.18 transit fee and the balance still split 50-50.6

2 3

Smith 1980:44 Source: COMESA 4 Including Africa 5 Special Drawing Rights, a currency unit 6 CTI 1999:23


Uganda had short-circuited Kenya in order to maintain its commitment and business strategy, to reducing tariffs and hopefully increase traffic levels. It had chosen to route traffic via the United States and had got a better deal for itself and for customers along the path of economic least resistance. It shows the way that traffic travels through highly capital intensive points rather than as a measure of the vector of distance. The formulations of Adams and Smith could fall by the wayside with routeing decisions for telecommunications changed rapidly according to market forces. There are two qualifications to this. First, it relies on the continuing status quo of international satellite connections carrying East African international telecommunications traffic. This is threatened by the Africa One cable discussed below. Second, there is evidence from the former parastatals. According to an official at UPTC, the company has historically routed telephone calls according to both the company’ s credit limits with the route provider and according to a technical measure of the best route. They have been cut off in the past and although diversions are possible, they are more expensive in the long run.7 These constraints may not apply to privatising PTTs or to second national operators. However the constraints of foreign currency availability and cash flow are symptomatic of a system where revenue is in local currency and billing is a more difficult process.


Interview with senior UPTC official, June 4th 1997


FibreSpace The imperial cables were effectively ended by short wave radiotelegraph in East Africa and, although no dates can be found for their demise, there have been no further cable projects until the 1990s. The dramatic improvements in capacity and cost benefits from fibre-optic links have seen fibre laid at the centre, on high volume routes such as the trans-Atlantic (TAT) connection. They are designed for a twenty-five year lifespan/payback against ten years for satellites and with capacities ranging from 1.5 million (Southern Cross Cable Network) to 15 million (FLAG Atlantic 1).1 Cable requires expensive initial investment yet provides a high capacity/large bandwith. Satellite offers cheaper connectivity that is flexible yet more costly per unit of capacity. Future trends, as shown in Figure EJ, indicate that satellites will continue to deliver 64k connections at just under $1000 per year of lifetime. However cable productivity should see costs falling to much less that one tenth of satellite cost. Investment choices are difficult to make and predict. Figure EJ

Trans Pacific Cable

IntelSat Trans Atlantic Cable

UNECA studies indicate that international telephone calling costs would fall under a cable system and show different results for coastal and landlocked countries:2 Savings could be as much as $US200 million over the lifetime of a cable for coastal countries and $50 million for landlocked countries.

Conny Kullman, Director General and CEO, IntelSat, Written testimony at Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Communications Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation United States Senate 25 March 1999 2 UNECA (1999) ‘Toolkit for evaluating cable and satellite projects’, Analysis presented at Global connectivity for Africa conference, Addis Ababa, June 1998


Coastal country If all outgoing international traffic carried by the national operator is transferred to cable, the reduction in international transmission costs would be about 18 cents per minute, worth $11.5 million in the first year [and taking into account costs of switching media] the annual expected cost savings may fall to $7-8 million Landlocked country (T)he saving in transmission cost from routing international calls via the submarine cable is about 14 cents per minute. This produces an annual saving of about $1.5 – 2 million for the national operator.

The threat of infolation, in this case an increase in the efficiency of alternative satellite connections, could however decrease the benefits in the long term. There are three other angles to these arguments. First is the promise of the Africa One cable, second are costs and patterns of transiting over intermediaries and last, potentials for ‘ import substituting’ connections. Africa One The AT&T Africa One cable was first proposed in 1993 and a full report and route was presented in 1995, at the start of this research, and shown in Figure EK1. By 1997 the project looked as if it would be shortened and Figure EK2 shows the projected route with the East African leg ‘ cut-off’ .1 There was disappointment at the potential short-circuiting of East Africa by both the northern SeeMeWe (shown in Figure FY2 as SMW-3) and Africa One fibre optic networks. SeeMeWe has been operational in Djibouti since March 1999, but will not connect inland ‘ for security reasons’ 2 – presumably the prolonged military conflict between rebel Afars and the French-backed government. The Africa One connection has teased the continent for the past five years with its promise of information transfer at 40 gigabits per second. However the least profitable section would be the link from South Africa onto the Djibouti →India cable, capable of serving East Africa. AT&T have solicited funds from governments to invest in the link. Jason Githeko, lecturer at Egerton University, has said that ‘ ATT wants Africa to finance the missing link it its global fibre cable system then have others benefit from it because very little traffic is likely to come from Africa. In other words, Africa One is a way for Africa to finance ATT’ 3 This has been proved to be true and the UNECA Global Connectivity for Africa conference of June 1998 together with the ITU World Telecommunication Development conference of March 1998 were forums where there was coercion towards the acceptance of the cable and its investment costs. By June 1999, AT&T4 were confident enough to offer another press release to confirm the project which was targeted at wallets with the paragraph:


There is a strong resemblance between the geographies of these schemes and the map of imperial cables, Figure AF, in Chapter Two. 2 Spokesperson, France Telecom 3 Response to question put on EAIA mailing list 24/11/97 4 I use AT&T here but their consistent strategy is to ‘spin-off’ its operations. AT&T submarine cables systems became Tyco submarine systems in 1997. Africa One is actually, ‘ Africa ONE, Ltd., owned by Columbia Technologies of New Jersey and organized under the laws of Liberia with agency operations in New York City’ Press release below


“ The telecommunications sector in Africa is developing rapidly, and demand for broadband connectivity with the countries of Africa is fueling that development,'' Mr. Fassoulis said today. “ Deregulation, privatization, competition and regulatory reform throughout Africa are creating a robust telecommunications environment, and demand for new services, especially the Internet, is growing tremendously. Africa ONE will save hundreds of millions of dollars in transit fees now being paid by African carriers to complete calls via Europe.” 5

The potential of the cable will been unravelled as it is installed and 30 African states have signed the memorandum of understanding, including 9 that are landlocked and also Kenya. Transiting and Peering From the evidence above – the close examination of accounting, rates issues of carrier media and the information routes for telephone system – there is comprehensive proof of externally influenced change. At this point the discussion is widened to include Internet and Figure EK1 Africa One 1996 Figure EK2 Africa One 1997

pure data networks. With its routes also governed by cables and satellites, Internet Protocol is dependent on the national to international link onto the Internet backbone. This connection is called the ‘ peering point’ and is structurally assigned to a connectivity provider. Confusingly the arrangement can be undertaken by the Internet Service Provider alone and this is the case in Uganda, explained in the next chapter. Normally an ISP would seek to find the cheapest and most reliable link to a point where services will be largely unimpeded by problems of traffic and time zones. The time advantage of a United States peering point is an important factor. In Tanzania there has been little choice and at the beginning of services there was discontent amongst some Internet Service Providers using the France Telecom/TTCL Datel system where the first 64k links joined the Internet in Paris. A surfer in Dar es Salaam would find it virtually impossible to access the majority of American Internet websites after 8 am New York time and before 6pm Los Angeles (and Silicon Valley!) time. This means that between 1pm and 1 am a Tanzanian could be fighting for access with more than 50 million users in the United

Global Crossing (1999) Africa ONE to Build Fiber Optic Ring Around Africa Press Release, 4th June 1999, Global Crossing Ltd, New York


States. He1 will be trying to connect over a satellite and through European business and student traffic while they will be connecting locally and by cables. In 1997 Hussein Dharsee, the managing director of Heartbeat Online, commented that, ‘ The thing that would make my life most easy is a connection to the US. We are in a ridiculously competitive situation and users are usually downloading and demand speed. We are paying for a larger Internet connection yet the transfers are slowed because of our landing point.’ 2 The start of faster services via TaideNet in Norway and pressure from service providers such as Heartbeat/ has lessened these problems. Where there has been choice and after investigating all other options, ISPs have chosen the United States. The possibility of connecting via South Africa was too expensive and a risk according to Jean-Paul Minet of InfoMail and Bill Sangiwa of CyberTwiga. Minet emphasised that a satellite connection implied flexible connections but five year contracts were both economical and the norm for Internet access points and leasing space segments3. Suchin Aiyer of the network consultants DacNet, saw both South Africa and India as options but said, ‘ Despite Kenya and East Africa’ s natural political and historic connections with those countries all of us are more oriented to the West .... A line to the US gives people what they want, the status and time advantages of a connection to the heart of the Internet. Why should they accept less?’ 4 Figure EL shows evidence from the ‘ traceroutes’ 5 of live ISPs in 1999. Uncertainty over the location of nodes along the route has been reduced by DNS LOC records (RFC 1876) which often give their longitude and latitude and this recent innovation and will be fully incorporated for Internet2. The information shows that the vast majority of peering points are now in the United States, routes are increasingly diverse and all are satellite connections. Developments between 1997 and 1999 have been threefold. First there are the new nodes of Lithuania and Pakistan, indicating the spread of connection points outside of the hard centre of industrialised countries. Second, there are longer strings of connection situated in North America indicating the shift to US peering points and also a stronger Canadian participation in links. Third, there are hidden factors of direction and capacity of links. Figure EL: Traceroutes to East African connection from London ISP Kenya

Route from London
London→Kenya New York→California→Pakistan→Tanzania New York→Kenya New York→Philadelphia→Boston→Kenya→Boston New Jersey→Philadelphia→Chicago→Seattle→Oregon→Virginia New York→Montreal→Kenya New York→Montreal→Kenya

Hops 8 15 8 18 20 12 12

This gendered usage reflects the profile of most individual users I have had experience of. Equality between the sexes in terms of access is more likely to be seen in workplace, academic or community connections 2 Interview Hussein Dharsee, Dar es Salaam, September 1997 3 Interview Jean-Paul Minet, Kampala, May 1997 4 Interview, Suchin Aiyer, Nairobi, 29th August 1997 5 An application originally available from the Unix command line and now more widely in commercial packages that follows the notional path of a data packet recording time and ‘hops’ from relay to relay.

175 Tanzania Internet Africa Uganda

New York→Montreal→Kenya California→New York→Montreal→Kenya Norway→Kenya London→Tanzania New York→California→Pakistan→Tanzania New York→California→Pakistan→Tanzania New York→Montreal→Norway→Lithuania→Tanzania New York→Montreal→Norway→Lithuania→Tanzania New York→Montreal→Norway→Lithuania→Tanzania New York→Montreal→Norway→Lithuania→Tanzania Boston→Utah→Tanzania New York→Massachusetts→Tanzania New York→Massachusetts→Tanzania New York→Massachusetts→Tanzania New York→Massachusetts→Kenya New Jersey→California→Virginia→Colorado→Uganda New York→Montreal→Norway→Lithuania→Uganda New York→Montreal→Norway→Lithuania→Uganda San Francisco→Oregon Atlanta→Virginia→Paris→Mauritius→Uganda WEB PRESENCE ONLY

12 9 10 8 15 15 12 12 12 12 14 16 16 16 14 17 12 12 14 11

Direction and capacity Further evidence of traffic direction is shown in Chapter Seven but from telephone and FidoNet email data so far there has been a strong trend of imbalances in traffic direction. Indisputably there is more incoming traffic than outgoing traffic, this incoming traffic is sourced from the United States and Europe. Although there has been no chance of data collection in this area the physical connections tell the story best. Kenya has a confused policy on VSATs which have not banned incoming VSAT traffic outright although outgoing traffic remains very much contested and because of presumed effects on telephone call revenues. With this grey area of the law two ISPs have set up incoming VSAT connections to complement their outgoing JamboNet lines and they are set to be copied by others. AfricaOnline now has a 256k outgoing connection and a 512k incoming connection, InterConnect has 64k outgoing and 256k incoming lines. In Uganda, the acquisition of StarCom’ s Internet services by InfoMail has meant that the 256k and 128k links can be spilt between email, HTTP, incoming and outgoing. Wilken AfSat’ s operations regional operations are also mediated by a 128k outgoing and 1Mb incoming connection. Satellite-peripheries Ratios of 2:1 and 4:1 have been fixed by hardware to represent Internet terms of trade which favour incoming traffic. African subscribers are paying for these connections and are in the position of receiving more than sending countries. Further, peering point charges to the United States are incorporated in these subscription fees – a direct transfer of money to developed countries from developing countries for Internet service. In addition, email and http connections to other East African countries are passing over these distant connections and incurring satellite space segment costs, again paid to developed countries. East African Internet and telephone connections are symptomatic of satellite-peripheries – a 176

disguised technical dependence charged by the distortion of space and a propensity to import data. Internet consultant, Mike Jensen describes some of these patterns thus:
From: Subject: Re: ground still to cover To: "African Development Forum 1999 Discussion" Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 14:39:38 +0200 (SAST)

(R)egional integration is also being inhibited by the lack of infrastructure between neighbouring countries and the high costs charged for the telecom links where they do exist. Aside from discouraging voice calls, this stops Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from establishing direct connections to neighbouring countries, or sharing the costs of intercontinental links. As a result they are forced to consolidate all of their traffic over high cost cross continental links to US or Europe. This means that large and rapidly increasing capital outflows from the region are occurring for traffic between African countries paid to US or European telecom and Internet service providers (probably over US$1 billion/year now).

Hubbing and Import Substitution What has been missing has been a better means of ‘ import substituting’ telecommunications traffic by network improvements and hubbing. There are three dependencies – fixed infrastructures of more bandwidth in/bandwidth out, the tendency to import data traffic and the devolution of peering and routing functions to developed countries – however there are possible escapes from the last two. They are local hubbing and local networks. Local hubbing involves the installation of a ‘ roundabout’ between data transmission sources which allows locally sourced messages to be routed to avoid distant international intermediaries. Local networks embrace a hub but there are three slightly different topologies. First there are networks that share the same ICP network such as JamboNet in Kenya which can allow local transfers. Second, there is a proposed East African fibre-optic backbone and third, there is Africa One. The East Africa fibre-optic backbone has its routes in the former East African Posts and Telegraphs Corporation and the East African Community. The prospect of the reestablishment of the Union has brought the question of a shared infrastructure back on the agenda. The first proposal has been to update the links that are still mediated by long distance rate telephone calls and the basis of this is a regional network. The project went to tender in mid-1999 and it includes 2,500km of connections with fibre for Nairobi→Kampala →Mbarara and Nairobi→Arusha. The remainder will be covered by mainly wireless, digital microwave links. Costs are set at $US57 million and funding is 61.5% risk capital from the European Investment Bank, 25% PTTs and 13.5% from the East African Development Bank.1 With proper configuration it will eventually be able to intelligently route regional data and voice traffic, pool risks and negotiate international rates collectively. This will depend on a political will to act jointly and some form of commercial co-operation that may be more difficult to achieve. Africa One has been described above and is another means of keeping traffic within Africa. The example of Panaftel and its display of the failure of full continental co-operation in the

Mukalazi S (1999) ‘Plans for setting up East African fibre optic link ready’ East African 24th June 1999


1970s and 80s should be borne in mind with this project. If completed, it will offer a continental network with local hubs and centres of data capital which will address the clear disparities of control and structure. However data disparity seems set to continue. The issues of use and preference that guide these choices together with regulation and local patterning will be detailed and analysed in the next chapter. The complexities of growing satellite-peripheries will be laid out in a fuller story of Internet in East Africa.


Chapter Seven

Internet Regulated, Internet Populated
The new and exciting possibilities of Internet were introduced in East Africa at the end of 1995 when the first public connection was opened up by InfoMail of Uganda. It installed its own VSAT connection which meant the presence of a two metre white dish in the back yard of an unimposing former residence in the colonial style. It connected to a peering point in Colorado and the venture was an alliance between a French telecommunication consultant and a Ugandan radio station owner 2 Users could dial-up to these headquarters – well situated between the government, diplomatic and expatriate districts of Kampala – and for $75 per month were provided with unlimited emails and 15 hours of world wide web connection. By 1999 there were 22 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the region and the medium had grown to offer services including electronic commerce, virtual conferencing and two-way interactive services, streaming multimedia and as well as a portfolio of messaging services. The number of Internet users in East Africa has never been starting and stands at one-half-of-ten-percent-of-one-percent of the population This chapter analyses the integration of seamless Internet connection – fixed, live links – into policy, society and space. Following on from Chapter Six it gives context to the comparative situations of regulation, technology, ideology and practice. East Africa is showing signs of the first datacommunicated development following eight years of gradual penetration. Traditional measures such as literacy, infant mortality and life expectancy cannot show the creeping effect of information flows and so figures of penetration and market trends form the starting point for the assessment. These are interlaced with policy break-points that occurred in each country and the ways in which infrastructure determine, and are influenced by, external and internal forces of change. In the course of research and fieldwork data had to be teased from major players who face fierce competition and value the utility of their own market information. Consequently the only figures for Internet outside this research are semi-official and are occasionally estimates with wide variations and these are flagged as such. The minuscule numbers of Internet users and subscribers is an indication that this type of connectivity will not be accessible to the wider public in the foreseeable future. The chapter seeks to identify which segments of society and the economy are involved, what influences there are on the pattern of change and the meta-ideology that places this means of communication near the centre of a development strategy.


Patrick Quarcoo of Capital FM, one of the two initial commercial FMs in Kampala


Media in general
In comparison with other forms of media it is the broadcast media that has the largest number of ‘ receivers’ . One way communications have been widely taken up as is shown Figure FA Figure FA East African media uptake1 Country data Kenya Tanzania Partial data Uganda (South) Urban/Rural data Kenya (Nairobi) Kenya (Urban) Kenya (Rural) Tanzania (Dar) Tanzania (Rural)

Radio % 74 76 75 88 72 90 74

TV % 11 4 17 47 7 27 2

VCR % 2 2 3 11 1 10 1

Telephone % <1 <1 <1

4 0.16

The largest growing sector in terms of recent expansion in sheer audience/user numbers has been radio. This medium is being transformed by the ‘ FMs’ and most obviously in Uganda and Tanzania.2 The same technology that allows ‘ pirate’ and community stations to set up so cheaply and rapidly in metropolitan areas of developed countries has been deployed in a more generally relaxed information climate. The Communications Initiative reports that number of radios in Uganda has increased by 266%3, the number of FM stations from none in 1993 to at least 12 in 1999 while Tanzania now has 5 FM radio stations4. The societal implications of this medium in terms of direct market and user experience would appear to be greater than Internet. However convergence is playing a part in blurring distinctions. First, Uganda’ s Capital FM is distributed nationally to transmitters over the same VSAT technologies that allowed its owner to set up InfoMail. BBC World Service and Radio France are also transmitted locally while carried to Uganda over VSAT and this represents decentralisation through data networks at the probable expense of short-wave broadcasting. Lastly, although the view is tentative, streaming audio narrowcasts – netradio or Webradio – allow the export of live local radio worldwide over IP. Perhaps this is another example of bandwidth in/bandwidth out5 where broadcasts arrive and narrowcasts leave. The figures for telephone penetration, or teledensity, show less that one per cent of the population has a telephone. This compares very poorly with television and even ambitious regional line expansion strategies only aims to see a national figures attaining a maximum 2% coverage6. Computer and Internet coverage is a fraction of these figures and a ‘ best

Mytton G (1996) From Saucepan to Dish: Radio and TV in Africa Paper presented at ASAUK Conference, Bristol, September 1996 figures are for 1995. Telephone figures are from ITU 1998 2 Although the Daily Nation newspaper’s FM will be live in Nairobi from the end of 1999 3 It is usually a reliable source but I would add that there have been three ‘up-country’ FMs launched which would directly increase ownership and the rest could be ascribed to upgrading from AM/MW radios 4 These last two figures were derived during the research 5 Nemo Semret 1997, see Chapter Eight, Afronets posting 3rd April 6 This figure based on the Kenya programmes, 1997-2001


estimate’ of subscribers in East Africa is 20-25,000. Internet and Email use have spread from enthusiasts and the non-government sector to business and government.

IP implemented IP regulated
Internet and email is the only telecommunications sector in the region where the issues of reform, regulation and liberalisation have been worked through from beginning to end. Technologies have interacted with the state, market and donor communities for nearly ten years and the investigation of this sector reveals the details of change and compromise in these relationships. First it shows the reception of new technologies and the introduction of market forces. Second, it shows the repositioning of the state to player/manager. Third, it leads towards an understanding of some of the more intractable issues of liberalisation and technology such as private networks, accounting rates and customer service. Changes from FidoNet to Internet marked new patterns and scales of investment in technology, heightened commercial risk and high levels of competition for customers. Following Mike Jensen's model of regulating ‘ on the hoof’ , governments had to fully take on board Internet and they have effectively structured the market. Although prepared by the development of emailing systems, there were complex technical and social dimensions to assimilate within a range of options delineated by balances between control, accessibility, financial return and efficiency of Internet services. The three countries developed different strategies of implementation and regulation. Uganda was first country to regulate Internet Service Provision, offering unconditional VSAT licences and devolving responsibility for infrastructure to the companies installing the equipment. In 1996, Tanzania's effort was aided by Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation funding to prepare a strategy of technical assistance in the preparation of a business plan and sector strategy. Similarly to the main telecommunications sector, TTCL took on France Telecom as an Internet connectivity partner. It has limited Internet Connectivity Providers (ICPs) to three while there is a free-for-all for licensed ISPs. Kenya engaged Canadian datacommunications giant Newbridge Networks for consultation, also in 1996, to help in the planning and execution of services. By the end of the year it offered a leased line solution, KenStream, with the state acting as the connectivity provider. The terms used here coincide with three spatial levels of connection. Internet Service Providers are the national resellers of bandwidth, usually over dial-up connections and for individual accounts. Internet Connectivity Providers (ICPs) are the link between the ISPs and an international connection to the fibre-optic Internet backbone providing the bandwidth out of the country to Europe and the US. Finally, Peering Points are where the connections actually land on the backbone and require the means of landing – a satellite dish that can mediate the connection – and a good route onto the Internet. If there is an ICT in this ‘ food chain’ then it represents greater costs to the ISP and their clients. The region has shown four trends in the ISP market. First was the founding stage when start-ups proliferated and this had ended by 1998. Second was regional expansion which has not extended beyond two countries at once but has seen AfricaOnline, Wilken, SwiftGlobal and HeartBeat Online and Safari-Surf operating outside their initial borders. 181

This is ongoing and with local battles in Mombasa and Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania. Third have been mergers and acquisitions which have led to the demise of Tanzania Online (1997, Africa Online), ELCI (1997, InterConnect), StarCom (1998, merger with InfoMail into InfoCom) and TanzaNet (1999, unknown). Last has been a drive to work with external investment partners or owners, a current trend. There are two notable examples: AfricaOnline (Prodigy of the USA 1997, African Lakes Corporation of the UK, 1999) and SwiftGlobal (SGUS Xpedite, 1996 and Premiere Group, 1997). Figure FB: Geopolitics of companies and peering points
ISP StarCom InfoMail Uganda Online SwiftGlobal AfricaOnline BushNet CyberTwiga Heartbeat/Raha Internet Africa Cats-Net Marie/Habari Emslies Online TanzaNet (defunct) ZanziNet Zaccoserv ICS AfricaOnline UDSM Safari-surf FormNet InterConnect ARCC NairobiNet Net2000 AfricaOnline SwiftGlobal Thorntree Email IP Leased- Country Line  Uganda Peering USA USA USA USA USA USA UK US US Background Telecoms Media, Consultancy Academic Telecoms Telecoms Radio, UN Medical/Aid Hardware Systems, Programming Hardware Voluntary Telecoms Telecoms Telecoms Telecoms Telecoms Academic Telecoms Telecoms Textiles Research Telecoms Telecoms Telecoms Telecoms Hardware HQ US, Canada Uganda Uganda US UK Uganda Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania UK Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania UK/Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya US US Kenya

                       

                      

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania

 

Tanzania US Tanzania US Tanzania UK Tanzania France Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya Kenya France Canada US France/US US UK US US UK US US US US US

 

    Figure FB shows the sweep of ISPs in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda that offer nonproprietary service. Most show a background of telecommunications, indicating that they have no discernible history outside of Internet and a minority are African owned, there are also only two email-only providers displayed on the table. The country by country situations of regulation and the nature of the market are closely inter-related.

InfoMail’ s service was quickly followed by StarCom, a subsidiary of Nortel7, who also installed a VSAT, this time connecting to Norway. The Uganda Government issued

Nortel Networks, formerly Northern Telegraphs and an acquisitive Canadian multinational


licences for the connections and, by default, for them to operate as both Internet Connectivity Providers and Internet Service Providers. InfoMail and StarCom could provide Internet services and control a connection to the Internet backbone rather than rent space or equipment from a 'middleman'. This has led to high technical and cost barrier to competitors entering the market. They would have to install equipment, negotiate a remote connection and pay for a minimum satellite space segment and try to find new customers, or poach existing ones, to cover these costs. BushNet, SwiftUganda and UgandaOnline initially sublet space on connections which they used for email and users' external Internet demands while hosting their web pages at remote locations. In 1998, InfoMail and StarCom’ s Internet businesses merged, reducing the competition and consolidating the user base into a single operation – InfoCom. Strong competitors are SwiftUganda8 and a new ISP, AfSat, which is a subsidiary of Wilken which holds ICP and ISP licenses in Tanzania.9 The continental giant outside of South Africa, AfricaOnline, has had a local web presence for around a year but has yet to make any market moves. This small number of ISPs and a market oligopoly has been a result of the non-policy of the Uganda government. Users have comparatively cheap connections, at $US35 per month for the cheapest solution, because of the lack of an ICT to take a cut and this helped the Kampala market to grow quickly from the start. Spatial problems exist however because of a lack of state investment in Points of Presence (PoPs)10 and the market has not provided a solution.

Tanzania formulated a deliberate Internet policy and in 1995 three licences were awarded to SITA, Wilken and Datel as ICPs at a cost of US$100 000 for five years plus 5% of annual turnover. CyberTwiga were the first commercial ISP to operate full web and mail, commencing in early 1996, with a SITA connection to a London peering point through former Fido collaborators WolfNet. At first, it was only SITA who offered ICP services and with a low capacity (9.6k), poor transfer (X.25) and a high cost ($2500 Per month). SITA has since upgraded its connection to T3 standard yet Twiga left for a Wilken connection in 1998 and SITA concentrate on their international I-Pass email system.11 The University of Dar es Salaam remains the only fully connected university in East Africa. It operates a closed user group and is outside of the market. Generously endowed by donors, it has excellent hardware and a new 64k link but there was a two year gap between their arrivals. Consequently the shaping of services and configuration have been confused although all links are currently operational. The Tanzanian market is quite brutal and its separation by regulation has led to two consequences. First the state can collect revenue at both ICPs and ISP levels. Second, they have reduced the investment in technology and expertise for ISPs making it easier to set up services under the guidance of the higher level ICPs.

8 9

Part of SwiftGlobal which is a large Internet player in Nairobi And is based in Kenya! 10 Regional nodes that allow local telephone dial-up points onto the data network. 11 Described in more detail in the next chapter


ICPs Wilken started very slowly, constructing an earth station to connect directly with Boston, USA via AfSat. It is now providing the VSAT links for the Bank of Tanzania, connects clients, uniquely then notably Coopers and Lydbrand, using Lotus and cc:mail. It has also started wireless connection services by hourly rates. In December 1996, Datel1 – a joint venture between France Telecom and TTCL – began off-the-shelf 64k VSAT Internet connections at $US17,500 per month and with a Paris peering point. The response was dramatic and within six months, four new ISPs set up services. Then at the end of 1997, three more ISPs bought into the Datel service. Out of the eight operating in 1999, all but one use the more powerful and expensive 128k, 256k and most recently 512k connections through a Norwegian peering point. ISPs ISPs have reasserted the primacy of commercial decision frameworks and have generally resisted purely technical solutions. The costs of equipment, depreciation, satellite space segment, backbone connection and maintenance are drawn together to represent 'rent' or fixed overheads. Once the number of users reaches a certain threshold then profitability is reached. To pay for a 64k Tanzanian connection in 1997 alone required 360 users 1 or around 500 users with other overheads taken into account. A service with just 550 users would be contributing just $US36,000 per year to operating surplus. There are high win/lose stakes and, from what we have seen in the analysis of infolation and standardisation, the ISP sector bets on proven, reliable and imported technologies and has little cash to spare on research and development. Hope for the sector stems from the pressures to diversify spatially in selling new connections, retaining users with lower charges and wider services, plus the selling of associated services such as web-page publishing. Further technological advances such as a wireless link, in the form of a metropolitan area network2, allow the short-circuiting of telephone and cable systems. Two short characterisations of ISPs show the difference between being first into a market and arriving after the start but with big commercial ambitions. Cyber Twiga and HeartBeat Online Tanzania3 both operate in Dar es Salaam and they compete with six other major players. Twiga CyberTwiga is an hard working and worthy ISP whose founders were associated with USAID and HealthNet Tanzania. It fought with the PTT for connections to SITA, its ICP, for six months while resisting demands for irregular payments.1 As Tanzania’ s first ISP, it had a market advantage which was balanced by its initial tiny bandwidth. With just four staff in 1997 who were extremely stretched, it provided a personal service to their users around

‘ Datel's shareholders are: Nexus International, a subsidiary of France Cables et Radio (36%), the state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (35%), International Finance Corporation(World Bank) (14.5%), and PROPARCO, the French development financial institution for the private sector, a subsidiary of Caisse Francaise de Developpement Group (14.5%)’ IFC (1997) IFC to invest in US$10 million Tanzanian data communications project Press Release 97/123 IFC, Washington 1 $18000 per month divided by an average charge of $50 per month per user 2 Operated by Adesemi and Airspan 3 and I will call it Raha from here 1 $US 4000


the country. In the same year they opened the first PoP in Arusha and maintain a mediumto-small user base across the country. Raha The example of Raha gives a good insight into the far-end of how an aggressive and fast moving ISP plots an East African strategy. The company has been run by Tanzanian nationals with strong financial and family ties to the US. It uses an expensive Microsoft operating systems on the latest server hardware rather than the free Linux systems that many other ISPs use in conjunction with marginal machines. In terms of innovation, it has not been afraid to invest in wireless networks and is keen to bypass PTTs and retain control and reliability of leased lines it can resell. Its relations with TTCL are good and maintenance on incoming phone lines is helped by a ‘ special’ relationship where everyone can ‘ eat’ and it is not afraid of these ways of operating. Raha’ s Internet services are aimed at providing the three things that it sees are essential user requirements. First is bandwidth to deliver images, voice and audio as swiftly as possible. Second is access to services requiring an international credit card and it operates a proprietary ‘ gold card’ . Third it offers local ‘ chat’ and interaction. These all add up to local value added for international web browsing and are a formula it also uses at Ikenya, its Mombasa operation1 and SukumaNet, its subsidiary in Mwanza, North West Tanzania. It provides the ‘ latest’ , the ‘ fastest’ and the modern and western model of an expansive ISP in the region while using personal connections as leverage with outside services and regulations. The configuration of ICPs and ISPs in Tanzania has brought high initial revenues to the state, as entrepreneur and regulator, at the expense of rash venture capitalists. The government collects both at the level of licences for ICPs and ISPs and through its Datel services. The growth of competition may affect the profitability of Datel but so far it has been a beneficiary of the demand for turnkey services and speedier connections to outcompete other Datel customers. The configuration of satellite technology has also meant that an ISP or company can establish a full data service anywhere in the country and limited only by the availability of power. Points of Presence are then usually satellite-based islands of connectivity, although the digital telephone network nears completion. So far Arusha, Mwanza, Moshi and Zanzibar are served by full local Internet connections and the limitations are financial more than technological. Kenya In early 1996, the African Research and Communications Centre (ARCC) was funded by the British Overseas Development Agency to the value of a 19.2k leased line to the UK for Internet services. The establishment of this first Internet service by this quasi-commercial organisation prompted a response from the regulators and state and by the end of the year a full but incomplete Internet policy and infrastructure was in place. In Kenya, as in Tanzania, the role of connection provider and service provider have been clearly separated. Consultation and services from the Canadian datacommunications giant Newbridge Networks allow KPTC to take advantage of its under-utilised digital connections.

Where it operates a marginally legal incoming VSAT connection


The corporation acts as ICP and provides the route to Internet backbone over KenStream1 leased lines and then via conventional telecommunications satellite to a remote peering point. Figure FC shows an breakdown of KenStream lines in 1997 by organisation and peering point, Figure FD shows the network itself. Figure FC Leased-lines for datacommunications in Kenya, 1997 Number Landing or Peering Point Number 6 London 10 3 New York 2 2 Paris 2 2 California 1 1 Boston 1 1 Dublin 1 1 Atlanta 1

Type of Network ISP/Computer Company UN Kenya Government UK government NewsMedia Travel and Bookings Global Company

KPTC provided this high capacity service without the costs or waste of significant extra infrastructure. KenStream’ s largest difficulty came when the Nairobi bomb of 1997 inspired KPTC to cut all international connections for three days however his has been recently upgraded to a special Internet connection JamboNet. From KenStream’ s cost of $US 14,755 per month1 connectivity costs have fallen to just over $US 5,000 for the same bandwidth however the growth in traffic levels somewhat mitigates these changes. JamboNet has had reliability problems itself and in September 1999 was out of operation for three days. With just a single monopoly KPTC/Telkom Kenya route out of Kenya, the entire national Internet was shut down.2 The effect of this infrastructure policy was to provide a connection kit for ISPs in the manner of Tanzania with the freedom to land the connection in the US and to the heart of the Internet using the state's well maintained and generally reliable telecommunications connections and satellite groundstation. Kenya experienced a boom in Internet Services that saw national capacity expand sixteenfold with five new ISPs connected in 1997. Competition was intense and prompted the opening of a further five Points of Presence in three locations – Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru, all connected by the KenStream service. JamboNet replicates these three connections while KenStream is now available in most points of the coast, highlands and lake corridor.


KenStream is the KPTC service offering frame relay data connections over leased lines and replaced the x.25 packet switched network, KenPac at the beginning of 1996 1 Source: Mike Jensen’s Africa Connectivity statistics at 2 Except for Raha’s Kenyan ISP, Ikenya, in Mombasa


The genesis of policy has been slower, less consistent and more draconian that in either Uganda or Tanzania but similarly has mirrored the unsteady processes of liberalisation. For instance, after allowing the growth of three self-made local service providers: ELCI, ARCC and ThornTree, it threatened their continued operations by 'introducing' a flat rate, five year Internet services licence of close to US$50 000. For larger players this was a reasonable figure although it would impact severely on the old NGO services. They had helped create the latent demand for Internet services which was certainly underpinned by the success of email-only services such as Fido. The licences have turned out to be more of a coercive measure on the whole Internet and email sector. ThornTree has managed to negotiate an exemption from a full licence as it remains an email-only, limited service provider but this was the last straw for ELCI who sold up. East Africa comparisons Figure FD KenStream network

Figure FE gives a representation of the Internet market with figures compiled from tips, estimates from research and the Africa Connectivity site1. It shows the promising side of technological cost reductions but also that the rise in subscribers is not enough to ensure a full market of a reasonable spread of connectivity. Figure FE East African IP Market and customers
Country Number of ISPs National serviced capacity (Kbps) Cost of 64K connection Best user cost per month No. of subscribers Kenya 1997 1999 Tanzania 1997 1999 Uganda 1997 1999

10 659.2 $14,755 $60 6000

8 4100 $5,200 $50 15000

10 768 $17,500 $55 3000

9 1024

4 320 Negotiated

5 544

$40 4000

$50 3000

$35 4000



There have not been enough customers to provide either costs or payback for all of these ISPs. The market for conventional access is oversupplied while demand is constrained by the costs of connection, costs of equipment and distance. The commercial pressures are therefore to expand infrastructure to provide service to the widest number of users possible, to poach from the userbases of other companies or to pursue takeovers and acquisitions. One ISP has reported that Internet Service itself ‘ would not be making money in four months’ 1 and that money would have to come from associated services. This indicates the fragility of the situation however the ISP is still operational. Comparison The outcomes of the three national regulatory regimes have been divergence in the shape and orientation of infrastructure. First, Uganda has no Internet Points of Presence outside Kampala to extend dial-up connectivity by offering cheaper and more reliable local access. In Kenya and Tanzania, the effects of competition driving companies to seek more customers and the planned capabilities of the datacommunications infrastructure have allowed a spread of connectivity into urban areas outside the capital. Second, a network of communication centres, offering cheap national and international telephone, fax and email services have been installed by the ambitious StarCom telecommunications company. They are funded by a commercial loan1 from the soon-to-be-privatised Commonwealth Development Corporation and use VSAT technology to offer these services in up to 15 towns throughout the country. They are in competition with UTL/UPTC whose services are more expensive and less extensive and the network operates as parallel rather than extending infrastructure. This competitive initiative would not be allowed by Kenyan or Tanzanian regulatory regimes. KPTC has begun to franchise payphone agencies operating for commission over exclusive geographical areas2 while the Tanzania tender for a second payphone operator was won by ACG3 The processes of installation and the development of these Internet infrastructures are unfinished while regulation is fixed. None of the processes extends the ‘ frontiers of modernisation’ geographically beyond where they have already been plotted but they thicken and quicken communications capacity. The potential of digital technologies to spread telecommunications further into rural areas have not yet been thoroughly assessed. Zantel, of Zanzibar has installed (cheap, obsolete) radio telephones that can provide voice only calls. These have not been accepted as equal technologies as they are of low quality, yet the historical standard infrastructure of copper wire have not provided anything like universal service. The new model uses a diversity of techniques to aim to achieve this end yet this in turn requires interconnection and therefore more interfaces, more protocols and more imported technology. The two gravities within diverse communication solutions are the development of wireless telecommunications and the introduction of shared public facilities. Wireless should be something more than the Zantel solution but the spread of options extends from mobile
1 1

Interview, Carlos Chavez, Nairobi, April 1999 With more favourable international rates and payback 2 Kweyuh PHM (1996:23) Time for a change, an Interview with Jan Mutai, MD KPTC Communications Africa June/July 1996 3 The Africa Communications Group operating from Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Second National Operator in Ghana


telephones to email delivered over shortwave (HF) radio. Telecentres represent the publicaccess solution and there have been a series of pilot projects mooted and there are three operational facilities in Uganda.

Public Access
The interface between rural areas and the Internet appears to be at what Giddens would call a time-space edge or ‘ forms of encounter between types of societies organised according to different structural principles’ as was stated in Chapter Three. I think the theory best put to one side until after the more mundane experiences have been outlined. Urban alternatives The concept of a telecentre has already been used by StarCom in an urban setting with their International Communications Centres (ICCs). These are less exciting than their name however and turn out to be office-type environments where an assistant carries out services already mostly available elsewhere such as faxing, photocopying and operating discount call booths that appear like any payphone. Electronic mail is sent through the administrator’ s computer and there is a human barrier. Similar facilities are to be seen around Zanzibar, a tourist area par excellence. There are perhaps a dozen locations where at least emailing can be done and these are generally stationers or bookings offices with email facilities as value added or connections subsidised by paying customers. Prices can be negotiated and again, the services are mediated by secretaries, assistants and managers. There have been a number of ‘ Cyber cafes’ in Dar, Nairobi and Kampala. Three have closed down and a similar number remain. Their charges are high enough (from $4 to $8 per hour) to discourage all but backpackers, pressed expatriates and a number of staff and friends, from browsing web sites. They also act as a test-ground and training centres for those who are thinking of subscribing to a Internet service. A row of computers with the default homepage seems neither enticing nor a start-point towards an inclusive information society. These costs and aesthetics, together with a limited market, have meant that profitability is low against connection and hardware overheads. There have been no competitive battles that have reduced prices and the individual ‘ surfing’ experience goes against customers pooling their money to share a terminal. ICCs, Email services and cyber cafes are not tools that can spread connectivity very far. The furthest penetration into the local market has so far been students wishing to check webmail accounts and those exchanging emails with relatives overseas. When asked how many of these – irregular, local to international – customers there were, the system operator at Zaccoserv1 in Zanzibar replied that around 50 people emailed intermittently. Data for webmail customers is provided below. Rural pilots – Nakaseke telecentre More recently telecentres have been funded and encouraged by ITU and Acacia organised projects1 in their new incarnation as Multipurpose Community Telecentres. The three active centres are in areas infrastructurally but not physically distant from Kampala – just north of
1 1

A very small email provider in Zanzibar founded in 1993 and since out-competed by the ISP ZanziNet Acacia is the telecommunications arm of IDRC, the initial funders of FidoNet projects


the capital at Nakaseke; on the main road to the South-West, Buwama; and at the edge of Kampala, Nabweru. The Nakaseke telecentre in Luwero District,2 was visited in the course of the research while others have become operational in the latter part of 1999. It is situated about 50km north of Kampala in an area devastated by the violence of the last years of Obote between 1982 and 1985.3 It has a market every two weeks which is very busy in the coffee season and it is a district of farmers and with a hospital. The telecentre itself is based on a library/resource centre with fax, phone and dial-up Internet connection. It has good facilities, excellent staff and is managed by a local committee drawn from education, farming, women’ s and youth representatives while a coordinator from Kampala visits once a week. The project has brought new telephone lines and computers with the objective of serving and training the community in IT and Internet. Participation is high and there are a hundred people already registered and some with ready money to pay for, or invest in, services. Already farmers have prepared contracts on the machines and the newly trained facilitators are marking up web pages after only six months experience with computers. There are some blockages that have failed to meet the high expectations that have been raised by official visits and the introduction of the world through an Internet interface. The telecentre has been struggling with phone lines and to get on-line since November 1998 and by April 1999 they were still not live. The battery power back-ups were not installed and any computer breakdown takes time, money and distance to fix. The district hospital too, will be prepared to try out telemedicine but it has yet to receive its own telephone line. Bookshelves have yet to arrive and new and expensive books lie ordered and catalogued in boxes. In the wider community there is still 80% illiteracy 4 so there are language and communication barriers to be addressed in the project. Logistical shortcomings seem to be the result of a complex system with many funders and providers of inputs and services failing to deliver together. The example of UPTC (now UTL) and the telephone lines shows the problems of both organisation and connectivity. Without the possibility of a ‘ lubricated’ or fast-track process, the telecentre suffered from a less-than-voice-quality connection limited to weekday office hours for the first six months. Technical difficulties of exchanges and maintenance of cable in rural areas added to the dilemma. For a prestige project there have been too many disappointments already, despite initial successes. The telecentres at Buwama and Nabweru follow a different model varying by organisation, funders and infrastructure. IDRC has implemented the projects through the USAID-funded East Africa Help Desk run by Charles Musisi whose pedigree includes HealthNet, Mukla and Uganda Online, a small ISP. Connectivity is provided by mobile phone and this has been donated by the mobile phone service provider, CelTel. Both are in areas with coffee production and the comparisons between the successes and failures for these three


Nakaseke Multipurpose Community Telecentre Pilot Project, Uganda ITU, UNESCO, Uganda Public Libraries Board (UPLB) , UPTC, British Council 3 And it is said that Museveni himself hid there while being pursued by government troops 4 In the sense of alphabetisation.


projects will give a balanced view of location, community and project implementation for the future. Telecentres promise to rewrite theories of time-space edges yet the contradictions that may seem to exist between hot and cold areas are not as hard and fast as McLuhan’ s textbook example.5 Since Queen Victoria’ s death – perception, reflection and rumour of the faroutside have been written in the metaphor of development. Television, the glimpse of it or a life in its shadow, clarifies pictures of the promise of progress both through the carrier (TV) and the carried (programmes). The weight of historical experience filtered through layers of opinion mean that there is pre-acceptance and enthusiasm for a new technology. The view of Internet from a district neighbouring Kampala might be seen through a cutting from the ‘ Up-Country’ section of The Monitor newspaper:
‘ Mukono RDC, Peter Kalagala, has blamed the increasing rural-urban migration among the youth on lack of computer knowledge, saying the youth are more interested in towns which have access to the Internet. He also said that despite the growing population, tax collection is dwindling due to lack of computer data. "With the presence of computer data, there would be no need for anyone to ask for tax exemption," he said. Kalagala was, Sept. 1 commissioning a one-month computer literacy course for Mukono district heads of department and headteachers.’ 6

It says more about Mr. Kalagala’ s version of the Internet than ‘ the youth’ but underlines modernity and its drawing power. The solution to rural-urban migration is rural development and Internet. More than factories and tractors, it has the potential and significance to bring the world to the village if literacy and markets offer this space. At the same time there are local uses including Mr. Kalagala’ s idea of databases and tax.7 Telephones and power Telecentres are not the only working model of a rural interface for Internet and email connection and they have followed other commercial, agency and NGO ventures. The basis of these temporary connections have been wireless carriers. Digital technologies make increasing efficient use of narrow bandwidth as demonstrated in the nascent metropolitan networks that are proceeding piecemeal in Nairobi and Kampala but with full state involvement in Dar es Salaam. The example of Zanzibar is not helpful here and countries are watching South Africa to see a fully adventurous and organised attempt at providing telephone connections through the air. Large-scale wireless telecommunications field trials are being undertaken in rural Kenya1 with promising results in terms of technology. Implementation of rural networks would require significant extra funding and these future telecommunications services would be likely to be based on the technologies of wireless local loop, HF radio2 and satellite mobile. They are (presently) low bandwidth connections but have digital capability, they are all significantly cheaper than copper-wire technologies in the short and medium term. Their properties are outlined in Figure FF.

5 6

McLuhan M (1994) Understanding media: The extensions of man Routledge, London pp22-40 Musisi- Musoke M (1998) The Monitor September 5th 1998 7 I think surveillance is a bit dramatic in this context and that ’modern’ and ‘efficient’ cover the non-emergent properties here. 1 Rural telecommunications field trial and commercialisation pilot, Kenya. World Bank InfoDev and KPTC 2 Radio that operates in the 3 to 30 Mhz range by bouncing signals off the ionosphere, formerly short wave.


Figure FF Properties of wireless technologies
Range of service Hardware Cost per Unit Extras Data rate (Date) Call cost Configuration User training Local Loop 20 km from base $1000-$1500 Power Source 9.6k (1996) Normal Network None HF Radio Satellite Mobile 1000km universal $3000 - $10000 $200 - $1000 Battery Battery 9.6k (1997) 14.4k (1998) None High Individual/Network Individual Medium None Source: Jensen 19961


Jensen M (1996) Wireless Technologies Acacia report IDRC,


Shortwave email Of the three technologies in Figure FF, only HF radio data services have been developed within the region. BushNet, based in Kampala, Uganda was founded to exploit technologies developed in the course of United Nations operations in the Central and Eastern Africa. Again it was a form of voluntarism that helped establish the technology and the World Food Programme (WFP) has a track record of experimenting and developing leading edge technologies in ‘ disaster areas’ and remote locations with the need for some connectivity to co-ordinate remotely. The HF email system has been used to connect WFP in Kampala with two dozen Deep Field Mailing Stations in the Great Lakes region 1. It combines conventional emailing software, a default radio protocol and reconfigured radio-modems. Remote communications with appropriate technology presented a near market package which has readily transferred to commercial application. It offers automated datacommunications together with voice and telephone functions and is marketed for tourism, business and community use. It represents a technology where value has been added locally through the production of a regional configuration and, of course, it is exportable. The HF connections started as expensive commercial propositions but there are two good examples of not-for-profit initiatives that are there to be copied. First is a pastoralists community media project in northern Tanzania2 which will be discussed in the next chapter. Second there is radio email connection to Kuluva Hospital, Arua which was set up by the Uganda Connect project. Run by more-missionary-than-missionary expatriate volunteers, this NGO has dragged forward connectivity issues and practical technologies but left many former supporters behind in the rush to Internet salvation. Its legacy here was to execute a valuable, reliable, low cost and ‘ appropriate technology’ connection with a sustainable future. The multiplier effects of selfless acts of ‘ diffusion’ can be seen in the examples of connectivity for health development in the next chapter. The immediate consequences however have been to allow concentrated yet global communication where a 12km gap existed before and to prove the position and replicability of mail over radio. Who is using the Internet? The analysis of an East African Internet Service Provider provides a powerful insight into the composition and diffusion of users in May 1997. It has a sample in excess of 700 accounts which more than covers the inadequacies of using a single ISP profile and allows a view of around 30 percent of a single country’ s Internet population. The five categories of data are the connectivity status, the physical location by telephone dialling code of the user, the locale of the user, the sector and an institutional classification. They strike a balance between anonymity and precision and the largest compromise was in fitting a user to a single sector and where a category such as ‘ service’ covers forms of consultancy, maintenance and service not the wider, more conventional, tertiary umbrella. The status of connectivity shows the splits between users with email-only, with different levels of Internet access, grouped by hours free on-line together with users that are behind in payment. In all only 57% of users were paying for current accent and this splits 70/30
1 2

Interview, Official at the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Nairobi, August 1997 Community Media Project, Orkinerei, Tanzania UNDP, EcoNews, OIPSIS


between defaulters and those with gratis accounts. Attitudes to timeliness of payment on the part of users and patronage on behalf of the ISP are not affected by the commerciality of the enterprise and these would be problems to address in lean times or under strict management. The split between email-only and some Internet access is 18 percent to 72 percent so the extra cost of at least some browsing or other functions is attractive. It underlines the move from the FidoNet mail services to Internet services and the attractiveness of this option and another factor is revealed by cross-matching data. Just under a third of those choosing UUCP mail have contact numbers outside the capital and this is a better choice for poor quality telephone lines. It indicates that the telephone data may be flawed in some way and a closer look at the anonymous user profiles shows that there some institutional names in fact reflect locations outside the capital. The figures derived from contact telephone data point to an overwhelming concentration of users in the capital city with just 7 percent indicated as outside and 6 percent with mobile phones. The proportion of email-only users is identical to this first figure and indicates then that users outside the capital could be perhaps double the number previously indicated and that email is a choice governed by location as much as by charges or choice. Nonetheless location data puts users in the capital city at over 80 percent of the total with the remaining fraction – 7 percent – with an unknown contact number. The data has been correlated with the wider data collection and through the telephone directory to reduce ambiguity. With a maximum range of error, I estimate that the split between rural users, mobile-based users and users in the capital as 14,6 and 75 percent respectively. This is not a surprising statistic and reflects concentrations of user sectors in the capital and administrative information rather than the use of datacommunications in the field. Few local users Locale, sector divisions and institution extend the user algorithm and are grouped in Figure FG. The basis of the classifications was on overt company or organisational registration and by using name as a marker for accounts where the email name matched the account name.1 The telephone directory was the ultimate arbitrator to confirm continuity of stay plus certainty of identity and leaving a maximum of 15% as unknown2. Locale has been drawn as national, African and international categories and gives the breakdown of these divisions, tellingly, as 34 percent, 5 percent and 53 percent respectively. Over half of email users were internationally based and a only a third certainly local.

1 2

Unless they were obviously tied to an organisation – for instance the editor of a national newspaper As dial-up connectivity is fixed by telephone access and the notion of ex-directory numbers is extremely rare the phone book is a very useful constant.


Users by sector Unknown Expatriate Development Health Agriculture State Tourism Trade Industrial Religious Transport Media Computer University Service Diplomatic Legal Financial Academic School Pharmaceutical Insurance Oil Telecommunications 0.4 Accountancy College Internet Social Arts Environment Percent 14.3 13.3 12.2 7.7 7.2 5.7 5 4.3 3.9 2.9 2.9 2.8 2.6 2.5 2.2 1.7 1.5 1.2 1.2 1.1 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.1

Figure FG Locale, sector and institutional divisions in an ISP user base 1997

Users by institution PercentCommercial34 Individual19.3Government14.7 NGO10.2Unknown7.2Agency7 Academic6.5Organisation1.2

Sectorally the divisions in users is more complex with 30 categorisations. These are displayed in Figure FG in tabular format. I see them as reflecting scales of outward orientation, dependence, economic importance and liquidity in that order with concentration as a rogue factor. Expatriates embrace four of these traits while arts, social services and environment are poor and impacted by larger sectors. Modern and high technology sectors such as oil, telecommunications and Internet are squeezed down the list because of their minimal presence in numbers and concentration of connection points. Institutional data shows that the bias is towards company and commercial access but that individuals – 80 percent expatriates – and government are not poorly served. A closer look at the data shows that government actually means bilateral initiatives and diplomatic missions plus local ministries and IMF influenced reform bodies rather than elected national representatives. Final analysis – Internet mail 195

Data has been taken from Internet mailing logs to analyse more current trends in traffic. The resulting graphs show incoming and outgoing email traffic details by message and size for two Internet Service Providers, CyberTwiga3 and SwiftGlobal Uganda.4 Twiga was the first Tanzanian ISP and its data covers the 18 month period between January 1996 and July 1997. SwiftUganda started its Kampala-based Internet service at the end of 1996 and the data covers a twelve month period between January 1997 and January 1998. The three segments are continental patterns, country by country patterns and information from second level domains and they show data that is specific to the ISP and a reflection of its user base. Comparisons are made to telephone and FidoNet traffic which reflect national trends and these are the only anchoring points to larger analytical units. The data for continental traffic is set out in four graphs, Figure FH, that show incoming and outgoing numbers of messages and volumes in proportion to total traffic. The first columns show African traffic which is mainly comprised of local traffic between users on the same Internet service and in the same country with more detail shown in country statistics below. Both incoming and outgoing levels are affected by message size and Twiga exchanges large messages both ways, averaging 22Kb, or five pages of text, while SwiftUganda’ s traffic averages just over 6Kb. Incoming message proportions are therefore equal while Swift sends well over 50% of its messages locally or continentally to 50% of Twiga’ s incoming volume and 40% of its incoming messages. These high figures for African traffic display the characteristics of ‘ late Fido’ – between 1996 and 1997 – where there are two common characteristics. First they are both in an era where electronic mail use has matured in terms of its acceptance and user-friendliness while second they represent a time where flat-rate charging systems were in place. The Americas and Europe are represented well in the traffic patterns with an enormous amount of incoming traffic for SwiftUganda from the Americas compared with around onethird of Twiga’ s total. Message sizes are nearly half the size of African traffic both ways for Twiga while SwiftUganda sends messages averaging twice the size of those it receives. This helps balance out the disparities between its incoming and outgoing volumes which are 10 to one with the Americas against an imbalance of around two to one in the Dar es Salaam exchanges with the United States. European statistics do not follow this extreme pattern with the exception of the Russian Federation, which maintains a ratio of 500 to 1 with CyberTwiga based on 24 messages averaging 700Kb each!5. Its balance is skewed towards Europe, three to two while traffic sizes from Kampala are close to parity with Europe with messages numbers heavier incoming. Surprisingly Europe is only really important for SwiftUganda in terms of the size of outgoing messages where they are double the size of any other continent, averaging 15Kb.

3 4 and just ‘Twiga’ from here on and ‘SwiftUganda’ from here on 5 Bull Worldwide Information Systems, Russian division, probably linked with ‘Smart’ cash cards. The system is no longer operational.


Figure FH Continental email traffic CyberTwiga and SwiftGlobal Uganda

Asia and the Pacific region are badly represented in proportions of email traffic in these two East African examples. The one distinctive characteristic is that emails sent from these locations and to both ISPs are huge if few and far between. Statistically significant Asian and Pacific countries in electronic correspondence are Australia, Japan, Singapore and India for CyberTwiga, in that order, and just India and the Emirates for SwiftUganda. This 197

suggests two possibilities/tendencies the first of which is that other ISPs have cornered the market for communities, businesses and organisations handling this content and the second that exchanges are constrained by the technologies or markets between these areas. Evidence from the African traffic suggest the former in terms of technology and evidence from FidoNet, trade and telephone calls reinforces this view. By country and domain The picture from Figure FI shows that Tanzania and the United states dominate Twiga’ s pattern of email connections as well as the commercial .co and .com domains. This points to most email traffic moving amongst ISP mailers and proprietary systems, with surplus being made somewhere a result of transactions. Country traffic reveals that the continental statistics not affected by Tanzania and the US are comprised of smaller pieces added together. In this country perspective the presence of Denmark near the top of rankings is double-edged. Telecommunications restructuring, aid and diplomatic activity can cause traffic to rise but at the same ISP preference affects indicators. Domain information indicates traffic is indeed marked by projects (here the .tele domain, the .cowi domain) and diplomacy (the .pj domain) but ISP clustering can be neither proven nor disproven. International traffic is dominated by faxes and the UNCTAD trade point development centre mailing list1. This explains large numbers of smaller messages. Incoming fax traffic are confirmations of delivery and billing while the mailing list contains small pieces of a continuous dialogue. Outgoing traffic would therefore contain larger messages for fax and indicates a greater stream of outgoing agency (World Bank, ITU, United Nations) traffic. In a more general overview the receivers and senders of emails are similar to those for Ugandan telephone traffic with immediate trading partners, donors and countries where there have been significant relationships in the post-Cold War period2 Domains provide a good insight into the composition of traffic. The three domains .edu, .ac and .uni* should be read together. They all represent educational and university communications with the last, .uni*, figure compiled manually from countries without institutional domains.3 This places them above .net traffic in incoming and just below .org traffic in the outgoing selection. The combined non-government traffic of organisations and educational sectors then becomes the second most importance category below commercial traffic helping to show the residual effect of FidoNet and the continuing importance of these institutional currents. The ‘ odd’ domains, again from countries with no institutional domain facility, are mixed between large companies and consultants (.cowi, .carlbro, .ericsson), Internet service providers (cybernet, clinet, tamnet and arcadis) plus government development agencies (.gov, .idrc) and mailing lists (.dinoco). The spread indicates the difficulties of information gathering against non-standardisation in the Internet.

It describes its services as, ‘ GTPNet, connecting Trade Points and Trade Promotion Organizations around the world [and] the Electronic Trading Opportunity ETO system which uses email based technology to broadcast trade and investment leads among Trade Points and ETO subscribers…The ETO NewsGroups… receives 2 million access per day and broadcasts over 2.5 million emails every day. The ETO total email broadcast reached 0ne billion emails in October 1996… The ETO system now reach over 7 million companies around the world, with a distribution of 40% via email, 30% via newsgroups’ 2 which is over ten years ago and preceded Internet 3 For instance is the University of Kiel in Germany and is the University of British Columbia in Canada. The institutional element prefixes the institutional classification to the name


Moving to the SwiftUganda statistics, in Figure FJ, there are more distinct exceptions within the email exchanges marking the beginning of an Internet service. This is where the user base has distorted a pattern that might compare to telephone call statistics or to trade, aid, tourism and commercial influence. It also marks the specificity of email and its functions. Countries that immediately ‘ stick out’ are Iceland, Portugal, Poland and ‘ Yugoslavia’ . Firstly the extreme concentrations of traffic for the United States and Tanzania seem to be partly caused by the ISPs’ start-up process where internal messages and contacts to and from the United States parent. The remaining volumes are relatively small and diffused allowing marginal countries with strong presence in the ISP’ s client base to appear in the rankings. Iceland’ s traffic is spread between many destinations which indicates that it is does not replace a dedicated link, merely that there is really some strong traffic there and possibly a connection with Danish traffic. Portuguese traffic is heavily weighted by the contribution of Marconi ( engaged in telecommunications projects, Polish traffic is primarily to and from educational domains and traffic to Serbia/Yugoslavia is attributable to some of SwiftUganda’ s technicians and manager’ s own emails. With these limitations the emails in and out of the Kampala ISP can be read as coming from different parts of the same spectrum as the Twiga results but on a steeper curve away from the main country traffic generators. In terms of domains there a much stronger representation for educational traffic arriving through SwiftGlobal although the bulk is concentrated from two US sources, comprise of many small messages and are not mirrored by outgoing traffic indicating that these are probably mailing lists. Organisational and network traffic reflect a similar balance to Twiga’ s incoming mail and the vague trend points to a 7:1:1:1 divide between .co/com, non-government, .net traffic and other domains in this category. Outgoing traffic has a slightly heavier weighting to the .co/.com measures and specific to SwiftUganda are the .cprm (Marconi), .t-online (German ISP) and .iss (Italian health) domain which mask disappointing levels of outbound government, network and academic messages. Volumes correct this distortion with the exception of large message sizes to .tele (Danish telecoms) and .icelandic (Frozen fish)


Figure FI Country and domain rankings for CyberTwiga email
Countries Incoming Tanzania USA Denmark UK Kenya Uganda Sweden Australia S.Africa Nederland Belgium UAE Finland Singapore Canada Norway Russian Fed Int'l Zambia Germany Domains Incoming co com org net edu uni* ac bullsa cowi cybernet gov pj idrc ericsson vilhelmina Size
739,173,754 co 330,661,478 com 94,166,088 org 59,474,275 edu 38,900,963 uni* 22,311,637 net 22,008,335 fax 18,031,375 untpdclist 16,584,406 ac 15,550,826 gov 15,122,951 clinet 14,941,825 vihrealiitto 12,581,446 idrc 11,352,795 ericsson 10,789,824 tele

611,323,394 USA 418,901,203 Tanzania 83,937,758 Int'l 44,958,850 UK 41,428,269 Australia 38,871,636 Denmark 34,965,497 Finland 32,173,404 S.Africa 31,253,889 Kenya 28,919,129 Nederland 23,973,126 Canada 22,908,179 Germany 21,778,752 Sweden 20,941,617 Norway 19,521,542 Italy 19,281,269 Belgium 18,291,108 Uganda 14,258,879 Ireland 10,243,936 Switz 10,090,959 Singapore

Messages Outgoing 37,101 Tanzania 27,020 USA 7,732 Int'l 5,213 Denmark 3,632 UK 2,844 Belgium 2,741 Kenya 2,484 UAE 2,162 Nederland 1,858 Australia 1,684 S.Africa 1,377 Finland 1,283 Sweden 1,006 Germany 650 Canada 547 Norway 484 Uganda 453 Italy 421 Ireland 401 India

611,570,647 Tanzania 256,834,634 USA 47,425,959 Int'l 40,658,798 UK 40,382,630 Denmark 25,735,329 Kenya 24,808,092 S.Africa 22,376,815 Germany 21,183,441 Nederland 20,718,918 Sweden 18,903,920 Canada 17,463,788 Finland 15,918,382 Australia 13,556,557 Norway 11,706,889 Italy 11,647,395 Ireland 10,718,173 Belgium 6,616,761 Brazil 3,875,706 Singapore 3,117,016 Japan

Messages 27,065 17,877 3,944 3,612 2,851 1,453 1,320 1,275 1,260 1,255 1,152 1,044 1,040 1,004 872 496 385 370 363 353

Messages Outgoing 32,350 co 21,802 com 10,914 org 7,544 fax 5,236 net 4,146 edu 3,756 co 3,729 ac 3,513 arcadis 684 idrc 654 cowi 641 dinoco 623 carlbro 534 finnagro 506 uni*

656,708,670 co 177,619,962 com 77,272,103 fax 45,181,671 org 40,013,914 edu 25,159,881 ac 21,231,718 net 19,431,487 co 10,290,200 uni* 9,795,494 ericsson 9,551,294 tele 7,146,444 cowi 7,112,495 tamnet 6,762,679 gov 6,490,092 idrc

Messages 30,003 12,819 3,873 3,809 2,535 2,236 2,030 1,312 930 532 499 415 398 395 386


Figure FJ Country and domain rankings for SwiftGlobal Uganda email

Incoming US Uganda Kenya UK Germany Portugal France Switz Sweden UAE Denmark Nederland Iceland Canada China Yugoslavs S. Africa India Poland Tanzania DOMAINS Incoming co com edu net org cprm t-online insead ac tj ericsson uni* eunet unhcr

249,667,064 US 125,320,960 Uganda 42,602,832 Kenya 12,165,569 UK 10,974,608 Germany 8,123,277 Canada 5,796,901 S. Africa 4,430,495 Denmark 4,307,779 Nederland 4,271,351 India 3,955,690 Iceland 3,712,427 Switz 3,376,431 Sweden 3,091,113 Int'l 2,799,590 Italy 2,444,961 Tanzania 2,115,053 Emirates 1,490,948 Norway 1,446,248 France 1,151,116 Australia

Messages Outgoing 53,210 Uganda 22,189 US 2,256 Kenya 1,559 Portugal 1,071 Germany 553 UK 525 Yugoslavs 381 Denmark 351 Italy 341 Sweden 321 Tanzania 309 Emirates 155 Iceland 152 Nederland 127 India 123 Norway 123 S.Africa 118 Canada 90 Switz 79 France

125,320,960 Uganda 60,727,234 US 20,649,419 Kenya 18,558,191 UK 7,167,820 S. Africa 6,114,551 Germany 5,088,071 Denmark 4,845,335 Emirates 4,480,980 Canada 3,532,814 Iceland 2,250,233 India 2,130,387 Tanzania 1,570,002 Switz 1,432,984 Norway 892,917 Nederland 865,874 France 787,515 Sweden 652,888 Italy 570,631 Int'l 381,045 Japan

Messages 22,189 7,378 2,183 1,328 439 414 402 338 319 231 198 166 161 161 147 129 122 111 108 93

178027571 co 115131003 edu 61643784 com 57818256 net 21094625 org 7681357 ac 5855358 rwth-aachen 4831203 bc 3144379 uni* 2792334 fh-reutlingen 2580854 t-online 2413685 fax 2101615 iprolink 2031520 tele

Messages Outgoing 25661 co 22643 com 17934 net 9124 org 3632 edu 885 ac 539 t-online 286 uni* 247 tele 221 icelandic 161 fax 131 iprolink 131 on 121 fh-reutlingen

149663804 co 39537245 com 18208933 cprm 11023841 org 5468835 t-online 4111191 iss 4065272 cowi 3997241 ac 3326254 kth 3113924 eunet 2225268 edu 1305210 uni* 1234484 icelandic 1116452 uva

Messages 25083 4541 1481 990 940 878 168 148 132 102 92 71 67 65


These Internet log analyses have shown that the bulk of email traffic is concentrated in communications with users under other Internet Service Providers and with companies. These statistics display the personal and commercial values to electronic mail while the traditional development sectors that should be classified in the .org and .edu/.ac./.uni domains play a significant but not determining role in the communication exchanges. Incoming traffic is generally higher but the huge disparity with the United States deserves attention as it indicates poor terms of communication trade and hidden costs to users in terms of bandwidth consumed. The question should not be how to prevent the traffic arriving but how to increase local content and outputs by for instance, initiating locally based mailing lists that either subdivide issues for a local context or ‘ mirror’ discussions. Halfways – Webmail and Workplace Access. Access to the Internet from terminals is hard to measure but represents a discontinuous form of connection and probably from public terminals. The following table shows results from research using the Yahoo people search to collect information on all those accounts displaying the ke, tz and ug country classification. Some accounts were duplicated and some spurious but the figures display a manually compiled and scripted count of the outputs. I regard it as an accurate reflection of those holding accounts in East Africa with expatriate Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandans filtered out but expatriates in East Africa retained. Figure FK Webmail accounts in East Africa Kenya Tanzania Uganda Yahoo HotMail RocketMail Others Total 837 210 197 64 1308 548 32 94 10 684 138 29 15 10 192

The statistics in Figure FK show that another ten percent can be added to user figures by this measure. These are the uncounted and peripheral participants in Internet with an email identity held on a computer in the US and unable to check mail with the regularity of paying subscribers. However there is another sector that offers restricted email, and possibly Internet access – workplace and university systems. The Bank of Tanzania network offers email to its employees and shows user email addresses live on the Internet.1 A count shows that around 500 personal accounts have been activated. Other known email systems of this kind are the PriceWaterhouseCoopers system operating through a secure gateway, the African Virtual University, TTCL and most UN agencies. It is a sector that is proliferating and adds a further 5-10% 2 on the number of East African users. The experience of Internet is spreading and public-access and employee accounts are growing probably a little faster than conventional subscriptions. Intranets are hiding growing Internet use.
1 2

Handy but extremely insecure. After all it is a bank. My estimate


Infrastructure and Growth re-emerge
The agenda of development has been conditioned from its inception by the concern for building spaces of development. In the period between 1880 and 1980 this seemed to govern all development policy in East Africa as outlined in Chapters Two and Three. From the 1980s, the modernisation of government and its role in the management of the economy became the development priority of international agencies and this was forced upon the state itself through the policies of structural adjustment. Underlying these changes however was the continuing delivery of large amounts of funds for large physical infrastructure projects. Chapter Six has detailed the telecommunications restructuring programmes that re-laid digital connections over the paths of redundant analogue systems and examined channels created and reserved for new Internet and datacommunications connectivity. The late 1990s has seen the regrouping of Internet within a larger telecommunications paradigm. This is partly due to ‘ hopping on the bandwagon’ of successes credited to privatisation and liberalisation but also due to the increasing homogeneity of converging telecommunications technologies as shown in the move from POTS3 to VANS4. The models for this are being formulated in developed countries where three forces are converging towards a meeting point. Digital television now incorporates information services and interactivity as value-added and technologically integrative sides of commerce and infrastructure. Third generation mobile multimedia services or Universal Mobile Telephone Services (UMTS)5 incorporate messaging, querying and data delivery for cellular and satellite telephones. Lastly, the growing domestic bandwidth available through fibre-optic cabling and the compression of conventional copper cables using digital subscriber loop (xDSL). The implication is that Internet, in the form we understand it as a distinct method of connection, has already passed its useful lifetime. New technologies are developed outside Africa and the continent is a prisoner to these trends and hopelessly dependent on movements in informationalised countries. The orthodox telecommunications industry first spurned then embraced and now has incorporated this packet protocol into a wider, multimedia and electronic commerce, assault on service industry. In the face of this it is wise to look forward with a broad view yet to note that the commercial engine of growth requires attention and capital to be focussed on wide sectoral possibilities. Drawing attention back to Africa, these interests are most concentrated in the small technical sector and in government and regulation. The World Bank, ITU and USAID Southern Africa Regional Telecommunications Restructuring Programme ensure that the agenda sticks to the vector of liberalisation and privatisation and that telecommunications solutions are the best policy direction. In this cause, their publications and involvement in publications and publicity is direct, hugely biased and relies on statistical manipulation and the removal of choice. The main claim of these organisations is that growth in telecommunications equals economic development and that liberalisation implies more Internet access. Charles Kenny stated that the 1999 World Bank document, Economic
The Plain old Telephone System – analogue voice services Value-Added Networks – digital data circuits carrying voice and other services 5 Which won’t be installed in developed countries until 2003 yet, with enhanced Wireless Application Protocols and their offspins, will approach the ‘Dick Tracy scenario’
3 4


Internet toolkit for African policy makers found that, ‘ African countries with more liberal telecommunications regimes had, on average, lower cost, broader access to the Internet. The report also noted that a number of other studies, from a wide range of sources, had found that there was a correlation between the level of telecoms development and future economic growth’ 6 These are the myths on which the drive towards infrastructure and growth are based. Liberalisation and Internet The Internet toolkit1 is an important marker of the tactics used to influence the direction of telecommunications change as it involves the Africa Internet Forum, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa as well as the World Bank in its InfoDev2 manifestation. The first critique must be its empirical methodology. It contains little data gathered by the authors themselves and the example of the Kenya mission should be invoked again here. The team pulled out from its visit to the Nairobi in 1997 because of the ethnic cleansing occurring 300 miles away at Likoni, Mombasa. On this basis it sought data from the only regular ‘ live’ source – Mike Jensen’ s web page at and CABECA studies co-ordinated by Michael Menou3. The first source offers best estimates for Internet subscribers and country by country and data on connection costs. The second undertook data gathering in 1995 and 1997 with 46 interviewees for the Uganda section and a total of 267 interviewees for four countries.4 The indications are that the research for the Internet toolkit set a wider range of objectives and scope of datasets than this thesis, yet delivered significantly less focused and less accurate data spread over a wider series of time samples. The report marshalled its evidence to show that there were a growing number of Internet users in Africa and that liberal telecommunications regimes equated to cheaper Internet access. It did not subtotal the number of users in sub-Saharan Africa and outside South Africa. These were tiny – 7.7% of the African total with an average of 1163 users per country. These statistics were also dated by the time they reached the report and the numbers of users have doubled and tripled since, similarly costs of Internet access have dropped dramatically from the figures used in the case of Kenya and Tanzania. The matrix of cross-references for the data was that of a liberalisation/privatisation index that was arbitrarily concocted with points for each liberalisation stage and on a scale of private sector involvement multiplied out by the number of Internet hosts 5, the number of ISPs6 and monthly costs to send 10 and 50 pages a day7. The data also includes the liberalised South
6 1

Posting to African Development Forum 1999 Discussion, July 13th 1999 re: Governance good or bad World Bank (1999) Economic Internet toolkit for African policy makers AIF/UNECA/World Bank, Washington 2 The agency was created to solidify project and ‘research’ aims into one funding arm 3 Menou M (1998) Connectivity in Africa: use benefits and constraints of electronic communications – Synthesis report Part1 and 2’ IDRC/UNECA/PADIS May 1998 4 Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia and Senegal 5 for instance every address counts as a national Internet host yet the ISPs in Tanzania, in Kenya and in Uganda are not counted. It is arbitrary and misleading data, East Africa has 9 .com ISPs against 23 national domained ISPs – a 39% error in this case. It weights data to countries where domain registrants are least vain about an international domain and are happy to make a national domain the first choice, ie South Africa 6 Not including the extent of ISP oligopoly, nor their bandwidth nor the concentrations of users. State-only providers are the ones discriminated against in the statistics. 7 This is an indicator of email only while they claim to be assessing Internet sensu latu. It also contradicts and gives completely different results to the other measures (monthly flat-rate costs) used throughout the rest of the report


Africa which, with 89% of all African Internet users, totally distorts any resulting picture. When the data for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are analysed separately the indications are that there is absolutely no correlation between liberalisation and Internet access, costs and service. These, as shown above, are in fact very individual figures that depend on national income, on the strength of competition and on the underlying costs of access determined by the Internet connection costs and the financial burden of ISP licenses. Some CABECA derived data seems to contradict the results of this thesis’ results. The Internet toolkit lays out the ratio of outgoing to incoming emails as 1.2 or 240 to 2008. Chapter 5 showed that for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda these ratios have fallen from a maximum of 0.6 to below 0.2 – a difference of 600% from the CABECA data. Internet email data shows figures of 0.7 to 0.1, reaffirming the ambiguity of these extraordinary statistics. Also the data puts the number of subscribers/users per connection at between two and eight which I see as a wholly misleading and ambiguous figure. The growing use of web mail detailed above shows that there is an increasing informal method of connection sharing that is extremely hard to measure. Statistics can only show the two (subscriber numbers and web mail users) side by side without CABECA’ s bizarrely presented statistics of shared terminals and connections. However other CABECA data is useful and falls outside the scope of thesis data. Numbers of email sent per subscriber were garnered from survey and interview data where this thesis did not attempt to collect the constituent parts (emails sent and subscriber data) from the same ISP because of privacy considerations. The figures show 48% sending at least an email a day and another 44% sending 1-5 emails per week. This proves that connections are used regularly for email at least but sheds no light on the general thrust of the World Bank document. In summary, the Internet toolkit presents a warped view of the possibilities of connectivity and policies towards that end in Sub Saharan Africa. Its statistical basis is at least partisan, a point conceded by Kenny,9 and I would also add spurious as an adjective. It is the cornerstone of a series of documents offering ‘ guidance’ to developing countries with regard to privatisation and stress connections between economic growth and telecommunications. Others include the introductions to the ITU’ s African Telecommunications Development Indicators of 1996-1998 and its African Green Paper10; the World Bank’ s Telecommunication policies for sub-Saharan Africa11; The Southern Africa Transport and Communications and Development Commissions/USAID Model telecom policy document and Model telecom law12; finally the African Development Bank’ s Information technology and the challenge of economic growth.13 Their collective thrust is simple. Telecommunications are good. Liberalisation is good. Telecommunications equals growth. Telecommunications equals information society. Infrastructure is the solution.

8 9

These figure from World Bank 1999: Annex 6 Posting to African Development Forum 1999 Discussion, July 13th 1999 re: Governance good or bad 10 see ITU 1998; ITU (1996) The African Green Paper: Telecommunication Policies for Africa ITU, Geneva 11 World Bank (1997) Telecommunication policies for sub-Saharan Africa Discussion Paper No.353 12 Both prepared by Price Waterhouse Coopers, SATCC (1998) Model Telecom Policy Document, USAID Washington and SADC (1998) Model Telecom Law, USAID, Washington 13 ADB (1999) Information technology and the challenge of economic growth, African Development Bank, Economic Research Paper, No. 36


Examining growth East Africa is a good example with which to display the logic behind the resurgence in the growth and infrastructure paradigm. Figure FL plots growth in the number of telephone lines and growth in GDP per capita together. There is a clear relationship between the two variables and regressions provide a statistical inference of this. For Kenya 1982-1992 the R2 measure is 0.98, for Tanzania 1973-1988 it is 0.97 and for Uganda 1985-1992 it falls to 0.84.14 Internet and electronic mail data cannot be reliably plotted or measured in this way as their increasing use is split between protocols and it is initial and immature growth. This measure however has founded an El Dorado for telecommunications analysts – the statistical relationships between communications and economic growth. There are problems in differentiating between these statistics as indicators and as determinants of change. This is not always made clear by the reports already mentioned. An idea of the flimsiness of the relationship is given by examples from Kenya of traffic accidents and railway transport. Between 1985 and 1992, road traffic accidents give an R2 measure of 0.94 against GDP per capita. Similarly, the revenue from transport of livestock on railways correlates at 0.97 for the same years15 It has already been shown in Chapter 5 that changes in incoming telephone traffic to Uganda show a strong relationship to changes in imports and virtually anything else ‘ incoming’ . This indicates that there is a dead end, or more gallicly an impasse, in the use of statistics to prove a point and that telephone traffic and GDP per capita relationships are a phenomenon for indexing rather than prediction or policy making tools.

14 15

And would have fallen further if there were further GDP statistics to align with the 1993 subscriber line drop Sources from Kenya Government (1997) Statistical abstract Office of Statistics, Nairobi


Figure FL


The Internet toolkit and the World Bank itself still rely on the alchemy of these methods and cite even more obtuse studies and assign them an importance above their results. The best one that I have seen used indicators such as anti-government demonstrations and cabinet changes,16 one of ’ a number of other studies, from a wide range of sources, had found that there was a correlation between the level of telecoms development and future economic growth.’ 17 Despite these extravagant claims there are indications that infrastructure helps growth. There are some specifics that need to be dismissed before the argument precedes. First the building of infrastructure feeds into GDP statistics themselves and these are aided by the linkages with industry from actually installing or supplying the equipment and the employment produced. That aside, the actual casting of infrastructure as a long term skeleton or even a drip feed to the economy is indisputable. The change has been that there is the underlying redirection of the economy away from the statist model and towards a private model with cumpridor government. The installation of telecommunications infrastructure will be directed by new and commercial actors. The mechanics of privatisation that allow the funding of infrastructure improvements are based in a crude sense on the mortgaging of national assets against overseas borrowing. Previously the state would borrow by issuing government bonds but this involves high interest rates and affect the national accounts. In this situation the World Bank has been a useful partner with its triple-A credit rating18 however its leverage is enormous because of its position of first and last resort. Its will has been most of the driving force of privatisation and many of the risks of defaulting are based in Africa with project success rates in East Africa between 1982 and 1992 the lowest in the world at 48.2 percent for Kenya, 34.8 percent for Tanzania and only 17.2% for Uganda19. These country stabilities such as foreign exchange availability and rate, together with the regulatory and policy regime also weigh against a private operator when balancing a risk. No short-circuits to progress The fact is that growth is driven by ‘ externals’ – commodity sales, foreign direct investment, aid and tourism. Internet and telecommunications facilitate international marshalling of resources. They grease the wheels of primary products, transport and disbursements. East Africa is very much integrated with the world economy but with three recessionary forces from agriculture and commodity prices, from aid and donor funding and from external orientation – trade and tourism. Telecommunications is an index, not a motor. The lifting of the shackles of colonialism was predicted to start an African renaissance. At the beginning of the 21st century, the relaxation of state controls is predicted to do the same thing. With little capital to finance any transitions there is little prospect of East African nations leap-frogging into the information age as equal players. Chapter Eight shows how international finance has begun to reconfigure some sectors and to produce truly modern

‘ Any peaceful public gathering of at least 100 people for the primary purpose of displaying or voicing their opposition to government policies or authority, excluding demonstrations of a distinctly anti-foreign nature’ and ‘ the number of times in a year that a new premier is named and/or 50% of the cabinet posts are occupied by new ministers’ in Easterly W and Levine R (1996) Africa’s growth tragedy: Politics and ethnic divisions Mimeo World Bank, Washington 17 Kenny 1999 18 And also the WorldTel partners for Uganda. AIG has a triple A rating from Poor and Moody’s. 19 Message posted by Pratap Chatterjee on NATIVE-L list 29th October 1994 Wappenhams summary and update based on an internal World Bank report


and international systems and linkages, especially in the banking and higher education systems. However most changes are transfused by stories of individual projects, pilot programmes and small advances. These are set against even more rapid international changes, as yet unmatched in East Africa.


Chapter Eight

‘ Information economy’ and development
The ideas that were inspired by emailing and Internet in East Africa were first, that it would be able to give a new form and reach to intercommunication for development. That shifted to an idea that Internet could subvert the shackles of location and allow local participation in a electronically interactive global economy with a comparative advantage of value-formoney20 labour with transportable skills and unlimited by space. Lastly there has been a move towards the idea that Internet can be a self-sustaining modern sector which uses a low investment threshold to develop virtual infrastructures of retailing, trade and other services. These claims have retreated spatially, socially and economically. While development information is collected, published and produced by the centre there has neither significant distribution of infrastructure and hardware nor subcontracting of the building and stocking of knowledge bases. The participation and benefits derived from digital and data driven communication technologies have been dissipated by a slow African momentum towards fostering information skills, self sustaining investment and the deployment of bandwidth with little effective encouragement from the centre. The lack of systems underpinning remote business to consumer sales – card based transactions, distribution networks and the exchangeability of currency – emphasise a further layer of peripherality from circuits and mechanisms of exchange. East African countries are followers rather than innovators21 and research and development is centred in geographical regions and cities of specialisation in developed countries where highly capitalised technologies are cultivated and marketed. The time leading up to ‘ takeoff’ for Internet technologies and interconnection has been ‘ creeping’ in western economies while in East Africa there have been breakpoints – Fido email to Internet, Internet to ecommerce and non-government to international projects. Work practices and forms of digitalisation in the economy have been installed through bursts of finance, project funding and investment. Continuity has been hindered by liquidity which is both tied to transitions between comprador and cumpridor governance and a lack of systemness and interconnection. The present current of affairs in the ‘ West’ shows a consolidation of cheap or free Internet access22, service delivery and exchange underpinned by huge economies of scale based on accumulations of minute percentages of revenue from advertising and telephone terminating rates. New interfaces such as mobile and cellular handsets are frontiers/front regions of communications while the backtiers/back regions are the satanic mills of calling centres.23 Divisions of labour have now split the 1995 job of ‘ webmaster’ into a year 2000 configuration of web designer, developer, producer, programmer, incubator, data miner and information architect.24
20 21

Or perhaps cheap labour In terms of indexes of research and development and patents by volume. Modern terms and measures in a modern arena. 22 Calls and/or connections 23 Staffed mainly by women and appearing remarkably similar to the banks of loom operators in the 1850s and of telephone exchange operators of the 1950s. 24 Based on a short trawl of the site


In East Africa only a selection of these changes have been introduced or gained a hold. A deeper, non-market, process of economic restructuring has run parallel with degraded local autonomy and the importance on foreign investment and the control of outsiders has been reaffirmed. As Nyerere said in 1967, ‘ Private investment in Africa means overwhelming foreign private investment. A capitalistic economy means a foreign dominated economy.’ 25 There are serial changes wrought by networks of connected computers and in the human and institutional dimensions of economic relationships and ways of working. This chapter will locate and analyse those changes that have actually gripped East Africa and it traces local developments in instant communications by a broad sectoral overview. To start there are the experiences of those sectors dependent on timeliness and currents of information. Next, there is an examination of possible information economies through the restructuring of labour relationships and occupations with a short pause at ecommerce. The chapter then concentrates on the three social development sectors of environment, health and education to assess their continuing histories following the decline of FidoNet email. These locales have seen the most promising long-term investments and experiences based on building local capacity through transfer of knowledge, technology and training rather than a short term fix of encouraging inward investment. A post-script deals with the foundation of development knowledge bases.26 Throughout the analysis there is qualification of forms of datacommunicated development that might be emerging from this expanse of interactions. These show the ways in which Internet has been installed, how users have gripped interconnection and how information is passed between terminal, hard copy and word of mouth.

Private and proprietary27 networks, Development gaps
The theme of public and private infrastructure is at the core of seeing how there is clear divergence in access to data communications. Public access data systems in East Africa are licensed by the state and provided by small venture capital operations, mostly Internet Service Providers. Private systems are necessarily part of global networks where speed and security are seen as critical, perhaps defining, properties. They are concentrated in finance, media and tourism. There is a blurring of these boundaries however and an important target of Internet Service Providers is to move into the corporate market. At the same time Internet Connectivity Providers are keen to spread risk and secure overheads by operating as agents for both public and private networks. I see privacy and security as the main perceptions affecting decisions between cheaper public routes or the expensive, exclusive and managed connections. The proprietary network has been separate from public traffic, by carrier and by code, and the most prominent systems are financial networks for savings, investment and speculation.

25 26

See Chapter Three, African Socialism A mixture of website, discussion forum and searchable library-like database dealing with development topics such as livelihoods, microfinance and gender 27 I don’t like the word Intranet and I’ll try not to use it


Banks, Banking, Bankers
Financial networks are drawing urban centres and municipal branches towards instant global transactions. The units of technology that are seen as central are cards – credit and debit, communications networks, databases and encryption. The processes are transaction, authorisation and verification, accounting and management. Figure GA shows the configuration of such a network. It includes a management function that once would have been devolved but cards and cashless systems are now firmly integrated into international rather than national verification. This model of spatially diverse organisation based on economies of hyperscale with chains of accounted procedure is very removed from an individual’ s lived experience in East Africa. A different form of a cashless system uses face to face interaction and reciprocity rather than money as ‘ pure data’ and double entry ‘ real time’ balances. However there are similarities, meeting points and means of sharing some of the benefits of global Figure GA Configuration of a bank network Management Accounting Authorisation East Africa Cards ATM EPOS Branches Internal External Information Payments ‘ Regional’ Hub Verification Authorisation Transfer

connectivity and these will be examined below with reference to microcredit and further reflection of gap theories of development. While at least four East African banks failed in 1998-99, international banks maintain an unflustered appearance. Part of the answer lies in the network, part in the ‘ sign’ and each of these have been continually developed and upgraded in conjunction with the services rich markets require. International banking networks promote the use of higher end technologies and compatible links with which to carry the pure data of the cashless system supported by verification, assets and ‘ trust’ . The underlying structure for interbank transfers has been the Society for World-wide Interbank Fund Transfers (SWIFT), a co-operative 28 network which moves funds and documents over secure digital lines. In Tanzania the use of the system by domestic banks has jumped from a single connection to four connections as state monopolies have been reduced and a liberalised sector devolves control. It offers a form of open access acceleration of transactions but does not satisfy the multiple demands made by leading players who are building their own branch lines of credit and debit.

based on the ‘nobody trusts anybody’ principle of co-operation


Barclays ‘ Orbit’ programme and Standard Chartered’ s ‘ Out of Africa’ project show a tendency towards individual networks that dwarf the capacity of interconnecting links like SWIFT. These two players are linking East African branches to central processing hubs over proprietary connections and reorganising international relationships, tasks and functions between the hub and the branch. Barclays’ system connects direct to Manchester in the UK while Standard Chartered data travels to its London hub. According to Barclays, there is a ‘ fixed point of reference’ and ‘ information is transferred within the networks rather than gathered, disseminated or used for trading’ .29 For Standard Chartered, ‘ The [information system] solution has enabled us to respond to accelerating global competition, Y2K and the new regulatory requirements. We needed a swift implementation of the new solution but it also had to be dependable… [and] …w ould ensure that the components of this new framework would be reliably and securely linked, across different types of network and communications, so that our operations would be covered globally. Now we can monitor our risk exposure in near real-time around the world.’ 30 The financial sector has an ethic and an obsession for security with a strategy of computerisation which contributes to cost saving through reduced risk, reduced labour and higher information speed. Barclays are keen to state that systems are driven by the demands of customers in a retail banking situation. Large customers demand standardised services and individual customers demand easier transactions for cards and points of sale. This implies minimum technological standards and a level of reliability that can only be guaranteed with proprietary links controlled from end to end by a single institution. Standard Chartered’ s position as a trading bank, where negotiating time zones is critical, should imply a different configuration but it uses a similar, centralised UK hub. Both networks necessitate the expatriation of many functions that were formerly carried out in East Africa and trust has been relocated and digitised. Speed, competition and niche Time advantages through these, satellite-based, systems are notable and time delays create asymmetries of advantage. From personal experience, a cash advance made in Kampala was not debited from my UK account until 3 months later and this held true up until 1997. Conversely, international1 payments to East African accounts have been held up for long periods. The only continual winner was the banking group. Accounting at local branches would have been disadvantaged when waiting for payments and the delays seem to have occurred at the centre. By these examples, the opportunity costs of this delayed capital would mostly impact on people awaiting overseas payments – externally oriented and exporting customers. With new systems, subtotalling has moved from ‘ end of the day’ to real-time and information is captured earlier with all functions carried out in the UK. Fund, verification and authorisation requests follow this pattern and services are accelerated. Signs and trademarks of corporate identity have become more globalised and corporate procedures combine to reinforce the association of banking brands with efficiency, security
29 30

Interview with a senior Barclays official AFCAR programme, May 1998 TIBCO Solutions Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) technology helps Standard Chartered Bank manage its global risk, in real-time, throughout its operations. 1 And this includes from African and other East African countries, even within the same banking system


and service. Faster transactions are a condition imposed by the standardisation of technological networks and also imply less flexibility in the granting of loans with more fixed criteria and the notorious points scoring system2 is now ubiquitous in East Africa. Harsh judgements are made by modern measures – such as access to a telephone where less than 1% have a line – and lines of credit are more fragile. For East African branches, local autonomy is reduced in terms of strategic control and a central corporate identity is embedded deeper within services. International banks have promoted greater regional datacommunications links but the actual connections are invisible to public service – Internet – users even though they follow the same technological dynamic. Through currency markets and exchange rates, government bodies and national debt, their effects reach even to the monies paid for staples and the prices attained for commodities. The public interfaces for banking services – the cashier, the ATM and the EPOS3 – have not spread dramatically outside major urban centres however user charges for all customers remain high and with a minimum deposit. ATM use is subject to hefty levies and they need armed guards which mitigates against convenience and cost-savings. EPOS systems are scarce because of the infrequency of valuable transactions while internationally accepted credit cards are rarely issued because of stringent safeguards and high qualification barriers. There are knock-on effects in the spread of retailing with constraints on the growth of a ‘ modern’ cashless customer base closely interdependent with wider EPOS/ATM infrastructure. Part of the vanguard of distributed money/data systems is the push for the interconnection of local branches by satellite and to the centre. This tendency produces the diffusion of service with accounted surveillance that reduces financial risk ultimately paid for by customers, ‘ rationalisation’ and employment savings and perhaps by increased business. Barclays Kenya, where it holds 25% of the banking market, deployed its information system following clearance from the Kenyan government this year and installed a VSAT dish and matching information system at each of its branches. Information travels over Internet Protocol which is now perceived as secure enough to carry all forms of traffic. Tanzania however was the first of the East African countries to be connected to the SCB and Barclays networks. National entities have also initiated connections and two local banks, the Bank of Tanzania and the Co-operative and Rural Development Bank (CRDB) 4, are now configured with VSAT dishes and data networks. This has pushed Tanzania towards a national topology of satellite interconnectivity whereby many of its commercial and industrial functions are now conducted over these VSAT links. There is a pattern of digital islands where poor public transport and


Where an applicant is scored by measures of stability and creditworthiness such as employment, ownership of a telephone as plus points and bad debts and bankruptcy as big minus points. The moot points are that loans are either granted or not according to the total score, they are based on secret criteria and the process is hidden from the applicant. Some refinements are being made to this quantitative process in the form of ‘character scoring’ and ‘character loans’ enabled by quantitative techniques. Examples are thos of the microfinance instution ACCION in Chicago and in Chile, see Donley M (1999) ‘Land of opportunity’ Crain’s Chicago Business, November 8th 1999 3 Electronic point of sale terminal 4 Mentioned above as a newly privatised organisation. It is 29% owned by the Danish development Agency DANIDA and conducts a lot of business with aid funders and


telecommunications arteries have been short-circuited with investment in exclusive yet secure main lines for data. The pattern is being replicated in Uganda and Kenya. All initiatives are welcomed in Uganda while, in late 1999, the KenSat network was opened. KenSat bears a remarkable similarity to the Tanzanian Datel network – state operated VSAT connectivity – and it will allow remote interconnection to the JamboNet and KenStream services. Aspatial competition The transience of traditional ‘ branch’ banking has been exposed by cheaper technologies that can offer similar high-security transactions. In developed countries, telephone and Internet banking displace many functions of counter service but some middle level functions are now available from a simple terminal on a public network. It is not an issue of processing power but connections, gatekeepers, procedures and commissions. Remote Access Management systems can process ‘ quasi-valuable communications’ such as shipping or factoring contracts and international stock-broking deals from a standard PC. This allows a company or individual to operate commercial and trading services1 over Internet Protocol. The transactions are by text only through a United Kingdom ‘ post office’ and are ‘ stamped’ with confirmed delivery date and time. There are guaranteed financial penalties if security is breached or the message is not delivered.2 The barriers of entry to the market are lower and small players threaten to outcompete banks unless their overheads are similarly reduced through speed. Another example of competition ‘ from below’ are the recent East African interstate money order services run by the three postal corporations that allow same-day payments within the subregion and forty-eight hours for international transfers. They are based on another technology network – the Postal 2000 system3 – and reaffirms the ease with which technological ‘ tweaks’ can allow market entry, especially if it can build on already existing institutional infrastructure. Computerisation has pervaded all forms of banking operations, less formal employment is generated and many African locations can now operate in the same time frame as developing country banks as well as expedite secure and value for money regional transfers. Opportunities for development space and gap theory revisited With the advent of these middle level solutions – transfers independent of proprietary networks and VSAT connected municipal branches – there are means for smaller institutional units to undertake financial movements with local investment and to operate regional and international connections. With the spread of the participatory ethos, poverty targeting and community level microfinance – village banking, group lending, and credit unions – there are less connected and grassroots initiatives that are viable, appropriate and ‘ fundable’ . New development space has been created based on the reduction of entry costs and the levels of ‘ cuts’ to be taken by intermediaries forced by globalised competition in the first case. In the second, microfinance uses local knowledge and mutuality to drive

Typically those of the vertical industries of commerce: banking, insurance, stocks and shares, shipping, transportation and commercial law. 2 Personal contact, Ascend Communications representative for East, West and Central Africa. Ascend has recently been acquired by Lucent Technologies. 3 East African 1997:19


enhanced repayments1 and targeted credit and savings. The information and development potential drives forwards a fresh emphases on savings mobilisation and village level credit for ends of poverty reduction or microenterprise. Domestic savings and investment in Africa fell significantly over the years of structural adjustment and the opening of electronic financial conduits. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) African Development Report,1 ‘ Gross national savings (GNS)2 tell an even more daunting story. Between 1975 and 1997, GNS declined by 42 per cent for Africa as a whole… [and]… GNS in sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa and Nigeria fell by 60 per cent.’ The financial capacity for local investment had been whittled away without visible growth in the economy, social capital or agricultural surplus. An examination of the Tanzanian case from the Institute for Global Communications isolates further constraints.3
Consistent with the demand of the IMF for a tight monetary policy, the government has sought to lower inflation and increase the domestic savings rate by raising interest rates. This has greatly increased the budget deficit, since a large portion of domestic debt is owed by government-owned parastatals. It has also contributed to raising informal-sector interest rates as high as 100 percent. The high interest rates, coupled with the privatization of the Co-operative and Rural Development Bank, has meant that credit for small-scale agriculture has virtually disappeared. According to the IMF, the private (mostly foreign) banks now operating have restricted their activities "mostly to trade financing in Dar es Salaam, avoiding for the most part domestic lending activities."

Clearly there are also development gaps in savings and investment. With the tools of Remote Access Management at the international level, the advent of satellite connected municipal abnks and Postal Transfers at the regional and rural levels there are tools that can reach around spatial and institutional constraints of banking and islands of connectivity. In combination with existing project resources and experience plus the middle reach of conventional banking there are clear possibilities of creating spaces of opportunity. So far, sector projects such as microfinance and telecentres have been limited by ambition, risk and interconnectivity while some of these limitations could be short-circuited and gains made by cross-sectoral co-operation. A combination between these technologies and sectors would enhance targeting of credit and savings products towards poorer, rural and peripheral clients. Payment, credit and banking services at a community scale have national, regional and international reach without huge transport and intermediary costs. Infrastructure already exists at the locale of the Multipurpose Community Telecentre that can undertake these functions with participant community management. The will, initiative and donor commitment are in question here rather than local capacity.


Although much of these impressive results can be attributed to loans to women and their greater propensity to repay. See Mayoux L (1999) ‘Questioning virtuous spirals: micro-finance and women' s empowerment in Africa’ Journal of International Development Vol.11 No.7 pp957-984, also, Obina O (1996) ‘Women' s access to credit and finance in the 1990s’ The African review: A journal of African politics, development and international affairs Vol.23 Nos.1and 2 pp33-45 1 UNECA (1998) African Development Report Economic and Social Policy Division, UNECA, Addis Ababa. Quote, section 1.A.3 2 Defined as the sum of Gross Domestic Savings (GDS), net factor income and net private and public transfers from abroad. 3 Hammond R and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (1998) ‘The impact of IMF structural adjustment policies on Tanzanian agriculture’ in On the wrong track: A summary assessment of IMF interventions in selected countries January 1998 Development Group for Alternative Policies, Washington


In addition there are opportunities to be exploited in data driven commerce. There is a market already existing in the development sector with activities conducted in London, Geneva and Washington that are highly transportable. Services such as web page markup, translation and audiotyping seem eminently subcontractable to developing countries. Already some of the divisions of labour in web production have meant that agencies are seeking outsiders to take on the work load of larger and larger online information production. There are also demands from the local market and an existing skills base in a general climate of underemployment. Starting from a narrow project or bilateral perspective there are means of decentering information value added activities and piloting the disbursement of development administration tasks into a form of development in itself.

Media Networks
More open conduits for data have been media networks. These are providers of financial and general news carried over high speed links. With 200 accredited foreign correspondents in Nairobi4 flows are significant although affected by the 'seasonality' of elections and disasters. Financial information comprises a larger proportion of traffic between developed countries and are also available as turnkey solutions within Africa. Reuters and Agence France Press started as news providers with a growing component of financial information and are open to membership by subscription. Now they provide interconnection and intercommunication for global members offering equipment, email and interactive services. Reuters operate a 64k leased Internet line out of Nairobi. Datacommunications capacity is both internal and external, organising or purchasing, ‘ last mile’ and international link connections. They can offer services as secure as banking networks together with the financial information with which to make decisions. Their infrastructure spreads with markets and underlying trading patterns, with a connected club class of the private and organisational élite opting for these global solutions. Newspapers The growing presence of smaller online news services has also been seen in the region. The New Vision newspaper was the first daily to be posted on the World-wide web in 1995 and since then all the leading East Africa newspapers1 have an Internet edition. The forces behind this were initially as publicity for versions of the papers that would be emailed daily to overseas subscribers. A standard rate of $US150 emerged and the ventures have received a limited success. An example is that of UgandaNews, a small company that would receive morning newspapers from all Ugandan sources and compile them into a single daily emailable document delivered over the Internet for the $150 subscription. The venture peaked in 1996/97 but by 1998 the sector had changed in character, subscriptions fell and the service was discontinued at the end of the year. There are two trends that determined this decline in the direct news by email market. First, editors began to publish full editions online, seeking to place advertising at the forefront of revenue gains. The international rather than local market for newspapers meant that foreign currency payments for standard, banner type advertising would follow with the
4 1

President Daniel Arap Moi, Press Conference, Nairobi, 14th November 1997 Except the East African Standard which ran a dummy in 1997 and the Daily News which went off-line in late 1999. This may be due to unpaid bills. Most newspapers have initially been provided with email accounts and web space, gratis.


regular international readers. Circulations had not declined as a result of online editions,2 news by email subscriptions had not boomed and more competition from more online newspapers forced a rethink of strategy. Meanwhile, the largest surges in traffic on regional newspaper sites have been in the wake of disasters. The Nairobi and Dar es Salaam bombings generated a massive 100,000 hits a day on the KenyaWeb site while Julius Nyerere’ s illness and death has increased interest in Tanzanian newspapers. Sensation generates markets and a current of affairs. Secondly AfricaNews, a not-for-profit organisation based in the US, entered the market in mid 1996. It offered a common home for African newspapers while presenting them with a form of a guaranteed return, a reduction in the costs of production and hosting with consequent lowering of risk. They organise advertising on an entire site basis and, with strong statistical analysis, can provide a more targeted and economical service to advertisers. According to their statistics they boast a readership embracing the highly educated, wealthy diaspora:
Over 90% are college graduates 85% have postgraduate degrees and 35% hold doctorates Approximately 40% are African American 60% are in the 25 – 54 age bracket More than a quarter have household incomes above $75,000 Average household incomes exceed $45,000 65% have lived overseas and 60% travel frequently (more than six times a year)3

The online news sector may not be assessed easily in financial terms. In many ways is it a by-product of upgrading news-services to computerised systems where document mark-up is easily configurable to a hypertext format. Then there are the financial advantages of a contribution to fixed overheads. The rôle of local news in engaging with the diaspora is very important especially as foreign news carries disaster information more readily than regular business or social commentary. Investment, remittances and return flows of capital follow opportunity as much as obligation. The experiences of Italy and Ireland have continually suggested the economic importance of distant human connections in economic and social change and evidence from Uganda has shown the example of returning Asians. Between 1991 and 1997 they contributed 50% of foreign direct investment in the country. 4 The interlinking of remote readers and publishing country through this new space is an example of distanciation. This should be qualified by adding that worldwide subscriptions to hard copies have existed for a longer time and it is a form of instantiation – news arrives as it happens without time penalties from post and transport – yet the some of the direct experience of a newspaper is removed.


Circulations are generally increasing because of demographics and literacy, on the ground competition rather than virtual competition is the determinant. 3 Sourced form the AfricaNews website, information for advertisers, I would think these are fairly exaggerated claims however. There are no indications of numbers of regular users, the sample might be small, I have never encountered a survey on regular visits to the site and non-visibility encourages imaginative answers. 4 Kostecki M (1997) Uganda: Country case study for the International Trade and Development Centre World Trade Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland


Transport and Tourism
The last network category of transport and tourism provides closed sector-based services, membership services and also conventional public Internet access. Technical and market convergence has seen global transport and tourism datacommunication networks move into the markets of local and international dial-up access. The most significant player in the East African market is the SITA network which offers the core services of airline ticketing, reservations and communications. In 1993 it became a licence holder for Internet backbone services for Tanzania and carried CyberTwiga’ s traffic between a London peering point. With this experience the parent body has launched its infrastructure as part of a transitional Internet service, I-Pass, and in 1998 it won the best Internet service award from Network Week magazine. Its connections provide national PoPs for dial-up connections to a market of internationally mobile subscribers. In effect a transnational organisation is attempting to pick of the cream of East African subscribers – visiting businessmen, expatriates and representatives of the donor community. It has a minuscule local presence and retains the bulk of revenues outside of host countries. However a measure of its success – in terms the number of users – is unavailable. The immaturity of the market at its launch may have also hidden competitive threats from webmail and more ubiquitous free Internet access. Other VSAT customers have been connected in the last months of the 1990s. Those of the international hotel chains in the tourism sector, Tanzania Railways and also players in the mineral industry. Current travels through and pays for modern links as parallel networks and these connections – VSATs carrying Internet and other protocols – are also forming the infostructure for local stock exchanges in a global market and the nervous system for the delivery of exports and imports. More importantly this is the space where commodity prices and their transport will be negotiated. Commodities make up over 50 percent of the exports of Kenya and Tanzania and over 95 percent for Uganda5.

Electronic commerce
New value-added services outside these sectors could also be expected to follow global examples or to build on the existing web presence of newspapers. Ecommerce has spawned two National Task Forces – in Kenya and Uganda – to look at the possibilities and problems of retailing or providing commercial applications over IP. The technology is certainly available but the disparities between developing country infrastructure and markets and those in industrialised, digitised and informationalised countries show the fastness of the gap. Ecommerce has to be externally oriented because there are simply too few users in East Africa. Internationally recognised credit cards are rare and this is the cornerstone of online transactions. In logistical terms there are also disconnections such as the lack of integrated and efficient just-in-time delivery and warehousing systems characteristic of the amazon.coms or the Dells. What is left are specialist sites for local ‘ ecommerce’ and souped up import/export businesses. Local service sites divide in two. First, sites where goods can be ordered but by email only, an example is the hugely expensive and perhaps some shopping could be done this way. Second there are sites where time is saved browsing


Figures for 1994 from the 1995 International trade statistics yearbook (1996) UN New York


products, such as the online estate agency This ‘ newspaper but cheaper’ model has extended to jobs and insurance.7 Exports are the most attractive ecommerce sector that cater to financially mobile customers and use transnational parcel and postal companies. Without an international credit card connection or overseas account everything is reduced to electronic advertising hoardings with email back-up. Emoney never came to fruition and everything on the Internet is priced in dollars, euros, yen and hard currency. The best submissions so far are tourism sites and Muriuki Mureithi estimates that, ‘ the impact of the Ksh5 billion Kenyan annual bill on tourism marketing worldwide could be considerably improved.’ 8

Agriculture and horticulture
The direct influence of Internet technology as ‘ perfect competition’ is bypassed by the contracts, bonds and ownership of an historical plantation industries like tea and the dispersed power of coffee cultivation but more welcome in the new, dynamic horticulture sector. Really they are perfect examples of ‘ old globalisation’ versus ‘ new globalisation’ . Tea has been a pawn in the transcontinental wars between the traditional beverage sectors, the ‘ ready to drink’ market and the ‘ fast moving consumer goods’ sector. Major players have been Brooke Bond, Liptons/Unilever, Tetley and Tata 9 yet ‘ consolidation’ is seeing alliances between Brooke Bond and Unilever while Tata has taken over Tetley. East Africa has also been heavily impacted by drought in 1997/99 and by frost in 2000 and lies between the gods of oligopoly and weather. However Nairobi has the world’ s second largest auction and generates high foreign exchange earnings for all three countries. The online development of tea trading will be highly exclusive because of the distribution and marketing oligopolies but there are fair trade and specialty sites in developed countries already starting to promote the small scale growers interests. Commodities have crossed into electronic, but not Internet, trading at the Nairobi coffee exchange and the 1998 venture operates in a closed network with potential for some controlled access. The coffee industry in Kenya is being torn apart by low productivity, mills operating at very low capacity and the vacuum that followed the dismantling of the cooperative system. More widely, prices are at their lowest since the slumps of the early nineties. It has been horticulture which has become the most dynamic commodity sector particularly in Kenya and now Uganda. It is a dramatic example of changes wrought through globalisation and a prime candidate for transport and exchange mediated by global computer networks. Horticulture has grown from nowhere to one of the most important local industries in the last fifteen years aided by zero or low import tariffs under the Lomé convention. WTO negotiations in 2000 may stunt the growth of the sector with threatened duties of 15% and this might shake it from the present contract and supermarket deals and into freer
6 7

Only 10% of properties to rent on this site are under $200 per month 8 Mureithi M (1999) ‘Re: The African information economy’ Message posted on the ADF discussion list 25th June 1999 9 A multinational with significant high technology interests in India. Joint ventures include AT&T/Lucent, IBM, Honeywell, UniSys and Microsoft.


exchange. Already the Kenya Flowers Network operates a London Office and website for co-ordination and news while purchasing and selling online are promised by the Flower Purchase Network, Floraplex. The advantages10 to companies are shown in the tutorial section of their ecommerce site11 and read like a sales pitch for the information mode of production itself.
Advantages for sellers Expand Your Market. Offer Discounts To Build Loyalty. Gain Entry To Previously Inaccessible Markets. Control The Price Of Flowers Sold. Negotiate A Price Directly With A Buyer. No Longer Engage In Lengthy Telephone And Fax Machine Interchanges. Advantages for buyers Search For New Suppliers Of Exotic Products. Pay Lower Prices. Avoid Delay. Lower Costs, Less Time. Bid On The Lot You Want Without Being Outbid. Flowers Spend Less Time Waiting, And More Time In Transit. They Arrive Faster, Fresher.

Ecommerce initiatives are very slowly arriving. Newspapers remain the proven regional model of success but their only income is from the click-throughs on web banners, advertising duplicated from the newspaper and email subscriptions yet their overheads are low. The leading sector of ecommerce on the Internet – pornography – does not look likely to be duplicated while the second generation sectors – books, records, software and hardware – may never be sold from East Africa, merely imported. It is in the buying and selling of commodities that ecommerce may have the greatest effects but these changes are out of the public view and in new contingent forms of just-in-time wholesaling. Global computer networks are gradually colonising commercial exchanges and from the top down.

Environment, Health, Education and Electronic Networks
This FidoNet standard had become the preferred tool of East African networkers by the mid 1990s. Three sectors became pioneers in incorporating electronic techniques in their day to day workings. Learning from the work of ELCI, education and health sectors embraced extensions of their capabilities for information mobility and for negotiating distance that had already been tested locally by NGOs in the field of environment. Characterising the three sectors Health and education are sectors where humanitarianism has traditionally been concentrated. However this initial information technology transfer, and its implications for communications potential and knowledge exchange, coincided with a rising global debates in environmental issues. With the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme situated locally, in Nairobi, there was further direct interaction between the issues, funding and directing institutions. More than this, the environment has been integral to issues of health and education. The fields of health education, environmental health and environmental education corroborate intersections of the three. Health and education were formalised into ‘ modern’ fields by colonialism. Missions typically provided limited service for Africans while Europeans were served by the imported models of surgeries, hospitals and schools. At present their importance as financial fulcra can be

10 11

There are apparently no disadvantages The Floraplex Purchase Network,


highlighted in two ways, first by the international aid community and second by the respective national governments. Indicators are used to highlight progress and failure especially by outsiders and the development assistance community. First they offer unit comparisons against a standardised, rationalised and averaged dataset. Second they are used to target areas of concern and exception to the trend, for instance by development agencies seeking to offer a rational distribution of aid and resources. The UNDP human development indicator1 places special emphasis on education and health which are weighted with spending power to produce an internationally comparative measure. It includes data for adult literacy, mean years of schooling, and life expectancy which together comprise two-thirds of the weighting for the final figure. Health and education are picked out for specific funding by donors and ‘ human development’ can be influenced by investing in the two sectors. A current example of the solidity of this paradigm can be shown by agreed targets by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the World Bank. According to the UK Department for International Development (DFID), ‘ Research by the World Bank has shown that education for girls is the single most effective way of tackling poverty’ and this in turn is pushing forward an agenda for the assertion of gender sensitive indicators into all statistical sources.2 The stated DAC target is that ‘ progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women should be demonstrated by eliminating gender disparity by 2005.’ 3 Table GB Expenditure on Health and Education 1995 Health1 Total Public Sector % GDP % GDP Kenya 2.6 1.6 Tanzania 2.5 Uganda 3.9 1.8

Education2 % GDP 5.8 5.1 2.8 % Budget 19 30.6

Health and education are also an important part of national government spending in East Africa as shown in the table GB. Health and education take up around 25% of the Kenyan annual budget and over 40% of Uganda's budget while Tanzania spends significantly. Both countries have operated universal primary education policies which aim at producing mass literacy. Uganda introduced a Universal Primary Education (UPE) system in 1997 and funding has increased yet further both in terms of budget commitments and through direct assistance from the US. However not all initiatives are immune from budget cuts and Tanzania now levies charges on parents to cover staff and infrastructure while Kenya

'A contribution to [the] search…for a better, more comprehensive social measure ' Human Development Report 1988, UNDP 2 DFID (2000) Strategies for achieving the international development targets: Poverty eradication and the empowerment of women Consultation document, DFID, London. Quote from page 1 3 DAC (1996) Shaping the 21st Century: The contribution of development co-operation Development Assistance Committee May 1996, OECD, Paris 1 1995 data from World Health Report 1999, World Heal 2 th Organisation, Geneva UNESCO (1995) Report on the state of education in Africa. Education strategies for the 1990s: orientations and achievements UNESCO, Dakar pp160-180


Figure GC Oxfam debt, education and health expenditure comparisons for Tanzania
Source: Oxfam Debt Relief for Tanzania: An opportunity for a better future Oxfam position paper April 1998

Debt Service, Primary Health and Primary Education expenditures as a % of GDP
7 6 5 4 % of GDP 3 2 1 Primary Health 0 89/90 90/91 91/92 92/93 93/94 94/95 95/96 96/97 Primary Education Debt Service

Financial year

operates the now institutionalised gift system of Harambee to generate more local funds for education, health and community projects.3 Figure GC shows some of the budgetary constraints affecting health and education in Tanzania and the legacy of debt that diverts national revenues overseas.

The education system is reflected by data showing percentages of the population reaching educational levels in Table GD below. It reveals the tiny proportions of those reaching university and reflects the limited number of places that have been available at tertiary institutions. Through the 1990s, a number of private universities have been opened or are currently being founded throughout East Africa. The sector is demand driven with a swell in the demographic curve promising further future growth in student numbers. Table GD Proportion of students attaining different educational level1 Primary % Secondary % Kenya 95 29 Tanzania 69 5 Uganda 80 14

Tertiary % 2.2 0.2 1

Perhaps resembling the Japanese model of democratic capitalism rather than the 'American' model trashed by Andrew Morton in his autobiography of President Moi. Moi's gifting ranges from the impromptu to the formal: 'Sometimes during a stopover he will call out…' Who is your leader, who is your leader?', before handing out a gift of cash to be dispersed among the wananchi (the people) to help pay for school fees.' Morton A (1998) Moi: The making of an African Statesman Michael O'Mara Books, London p12; ‘As Vice-President, Moi attended literally thousands of such events all over the country. His presence ensured the success of the harambee and in the process cemented his relationship with the local MP, provincial administrators and other influential members of the community. In this way he quietly and unobtrusively built up his personal constituency in the country. These years of unstinting activity on behalf of the harambee programme have led to numerous schools and hospital wards being named after him, a fact used by his critics as an illustration of the cult of personality that has allegedly been allowed to flourish since he became President.' (Morton 1998:93) 1 UNESCO 1995:165


The health sector shows three further development patterns in Figure GE. First the sector is heavily dependent on external assistance and second, the health services of each country are limited. Comparatively Kenya shows better figures for the numbers of doctors and a smaller dependence on aid. Health services are more concentrated in 'expert centres' i.e. hospitals. Correspondingly, Zimbabwe has an identical proportion of doctors yet over seven times the proportion of nurses and midwives (164 per 100,000 versus 23). Tanzania shows an opposite tendency where there are a significant number of nurses and midwives yet a small number of doctors per population. This indicates a tendency towards decentralised primary care. Uganda has a similar proportion of doctors but only 60% of Tanzania's nurses and midwives per 100,000 people. A part of the reason for the differences in the health care personnel ratios for the three countries can be attributed to geography and population concentrations. Kenya's corridor from Kisumu, through Nairobi and to the coast is densely populated while Tanzania' population is spread more widely. Uganda provides a middle picture and has a health care system distributed evenly over primary and doctor-based delivery. This can be linked to more balanced population densities in a smaller country area. In comparison to western neighbours, it displays better figures (4, 28, 21) than Burundi (6, 17, 12) and a different spread to the Central African Republic (6, 45, 6). Table GE Health investment and infrastructure
Aid as percentage of Health Expenditure1 Doctors per 100,000 pop’ n Nurses/Midwives per 100,000 pop’ n Number of dentists2

Kenya 22.3 Tanzania 48.3 Uganda 48.4 Source: WHO, Geneva

15 4 4

23 46 28

664 83 21

Environmental issues are influenced by the 'Think global, act local' philosophy yet in fact, the environment is difficult to isolate as sector as it covers the areas of natural resources, human habitation, agriculture, tourism, climate and population. Local issues for East African countries are the shared resource of Lake Victoria, land use and distribution, indigenous knowledge, national parks and biodiversity. Electronic networking has put global paradigms onto the agenda and rainforests, climate change, biodiversity and desertification all amplify complex interactions that have their local impacts. There are severe problems with climate change and desertification in relation to pastoral livelihoods and biodiversity is a critical factor for tourism industries based on many endangered species. The international volume of these issues through conferences, television, radio are conjoined with government and non-government channels and the streams of information and discussion reach a local audience. Environmental networking therefore takes place in a ‘ hot’ and ‘ live’ locale with informed and experienced populations. The local current is enabled by feedback, which can allow a width of input and from remote areas where impacts are keenly felt.
1 2

1990 Estimates by the World Bank from HFA indicator s 1996, WHO, Geneva Data for 1992, Three figures from WH0 estimates of Health Personnel,


The figures shown in Table GF reflect the empirical authority of World Bank/WDI statistics as much as the present a picture of East Africa. They are indicators, pure and simple, and this short selection does not display local characteristics such as the Ugandan propensity for plantain cultivation and the pastoralism of the Maasai, Kalenjin, Banyankole and Karamojong. However they show that there is growing pressure on land and production in East Africa although this is most concentrated in marginalised and poor areas. Climate change is predicted to reduce both of these in the long term and I have chosen statistics that give a ten year window on natural resource depletion and impacts. These reflect generally negative changes – particularly in Kenya with its already low baseline – that have occurred in the era of structural adjustment and on both sides of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.

Table GF East African environmental indicators
Kenya Cropland Cropland per capita (ha) % change per capita /10year Cereal production % change/10 years per capita (kg) % change/10 years Deforestation 1980-90 deforestation natural forest (ha/yr) % change/10 years Resources remaining % Forests % Grasslands Tanzania Uganda

0.17 -25.8 -25.8 0.08 -47.9 7 -5.5 29 57

0.12 -18.4 35 0.14 -1.6 438 -11.5 60.1 51

0.34 -23.2 34.5 0.09 0.25 65 -9.2 21 29

Source: World Resources Institute (1997) Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda at a glance: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environment The World Bank/Agriculture and Natural Resources


Forces and relations of electronic networking
The next three sections analyse the progress of electronic networking in the context of this poorly serviced and environmentally diverse regional situation. It takes up from the 1990 collaboration between ELCI and IDRC that led to NGONet for the non-government sector, ESANET for education and the technical and institutional integration of the initiatives with Satellife's HealthNet programme. Firstly, the sections introduce arguments to show how institutional service providers with distinct development agendas met the challenges of restructured communications potential and local information expansion. Secondly, they will assess the sectors following the widespread introduction of local commercial Internet and email provision and the broadening of information possibilities and communication spaces. The sectoral lines between environment, health and education are hazy. These differences have weighted but have certainly not determined the development of individual connectivity patterns. Their commonalties have been first, their rising, falling then rising participation in the founding and growth of email and Internet. Secondly they have all enjoyed types of funding and support not readily available to other sectors, such as the retrenched civil service, or even to business. Email services were jump-started by trainings, international funding and the involvement of NGOs. These provided service for health and education and not-for-profit organisations which soon found a market outside to subsidise expansion. Eventually they became independent centres of knowledge and information distribution.


Networking and environment
The UNCED conference gave the environment sector a large boost and it was well represented in two high profile preparatory conferences for the UNCED Youth Process and the Nairobi Preparatory conference. Press coverage ensured the informal marketing of emailing and ELCI's client base rose sharply with an estimated 200 users by 1992. The pattern of communications was shaped by the predominance of ELCI who were the NGO email service provider. Their mission statement, shown in their web homepage, was to operate as a 'global network of non-governmental organizations and community-based groups [to]
facilitate the voice of the grassroots by fostering communication and sharing information and skills between groups working at the grassroots level [by] developing mechanisms for greater and more effective communication between the NGO/grassroots sector and the governmental/intergovernmental sector [and] maintaining close contact with the United Nations Environment Programme.'

ELCI acted as a petty communications producer:– running the email node, maintaining an online database of 8000 NGOs and publishing hard copy information, to link the grassroots with local and international issues. They were home to the International Women in Environment and Development Network (WEDNET) and produced three regular publications. Ecoforum was a bi-monthly issues based environment and development journal in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. International Environment and Development File was a quarterly review of global environment news and lastly ELCI nurtured and launched EcoNews Africa.

Figure GG A posting from EcoNews Africa
Topic 190 EcoNews Africa Vol. 4 # 13, 3rd August Mwambui 6:18 PM Aug 3, 1995 (at p65.f1.n7321.z5.gnfido.fidonet.o) (From News system) ************ INTERNAUTS ON THE RISE By Mercy Wambui EcoNews Africa has used electronic mail since its inception in 1992. Reasons? The need to communicate faster, access information cheaper, more efficiently and with fewer hassles commonly experienced in popular international communication. If it seems then that I am glorifying this technology - you are right! For like most users of email it is this facility that has enabled our readers, including various government departments involved in global negotiations, to receive information on global policy issues before meetings actually take place. This way the actors are able to attend the meetings having consulted with a wider group locally, before they attend the actual meetings.


EcoNews: A glocal bulletin EcoNews Africa has proved to be an innovative example of the best work of ELCI. It combined its organisational aims of connecting with the grass roots together with global networking in a 'top-down and bottom-up' interface between issues and organisations as broadcasted in figure GG. It was started at the African Centre for Technologies and by Family Network Africa, Kenya Consumers Organisation and African Water Network in the late 1980s, and moved from hard copy to electronic format in 1992, as a late response to the parallel process of UNCED. In publication form it collected around half a dozen articles from different geographical levels and produced them in electronic and hard copy format. It was an online publication that innovated a direct news connection that diffused material towards the global non-government community. It acted as network, information gatherer, publisher and Non-Government Organisation. Mercy Wambui, Co-ordinator of EcoNews until 1997, outlines the process and patterns of distanced communication and news gathering thus:
EcoNews was not attempting to reach the grassroots at first and the initial objective was to produce a weekly newsletter to be disseminated to NGOs based on networks. They would redistribute information through these national networks. Email was not widely used at that time and information was by hard copy until [in 1992] email was the best means of remote communication and with [the potential of] feedback. NGONet , based in Uruguay, was the main source of newsfeeds and the information was localised. The wider network involved GreenNet and the [Association for Progressive Communications] APC. Technically it was the email gateway and it also provided conferences and places for information and discussions. It provided space and communications capacity for both UNCED and the [1994] UN World Conference on Women. UNEP now provides a larger amount of information feeds that are received as email.1

By 1995 EcoNews was available on the World Wide Web and hosted by a server at the APC network member, Web in Canada. The project had extended its connections through the APC network of ideologically charged FidoNet and Internet hosts. This synthesis of non-government service providers, donors such as the Ford Foundation and IDRC and African email organisations spread undiluted networking materials through their world-wide connections. EcoNews has achieved two spin-offs. First has been a promotion of gender-based networking, initiated by a programme to disseminate and feedback material and opinions to the 1994 UN World conference on Women in Beijing. With the 'dry run' of UNCED, the APC and EcoNews were prepared for the task of distanced networking and the experience influenced the second spin-off, a new programme of 'Women and information brokering'. According to Wambui, Beijing was very influential, 'You are right in the middle of all this information, in a sense you have power over information so you do some brokering work. You decide what people will receive and what they won't receive.' The latest projects of ELCI- and EcoNews-influenced environmental electronic networking have been, again to address the global/local interface. This time the emphasis has been on the technologies of email over HF radio together with local information provision by FM community radio. It has been based on the experiences outlined in Figure GH and is supported by the Community

Interview, Mercy Wambui , Nairobi April 24th 1997


Radio Network with new funding arriving from the Trans Africa Rally. 2 Again, the environment sector is leading the way in communications innovation based on the electronic broadcast of grassroots issues. The telecentre model is used in this case with the value added for local information that can be looped through email and Internet and received locally.

USAID AfricaLink – grappling with connectivity Figure GH Orkonerei Pastoralists Integrated Survival Programme In  September  1996,  EcoNews  provided  information  from  the  UN  Convention  on  Desertification to the pastoralists. It was  very relevant as they are facing serious land  degradation.  The  UN  documents  were  translated  into  Kimaasai  and  put  into  simple  language  and  then  the  issues  discussed.  Anna,  the  local  information  broker,  passed  back their views and these were then passed on through to UN channels.  This formed a local­global link where it is not just passing the information to them but  also  to  get  their  views.  Most  local  actors  are  illiterate  and  translation  is  important  for  training materials, advocacy and negotiating jargon. The information loop was filled in  by  one  more  layer  when  they  used  the  information  in  the  convention  to  lobby  the  Government of Tanzania, as a signatory to the document. The pastoralists are aware  of  the  role  of  communities  and  indigenous  groups  in  relation  to  land  issues  and  then  can question their policies. It is harder for government to hear the views of those that  are so marginalised. EcoNews reintroduced the information into its newsletter. The issues of desertification  and the opinions of pastoralists were fed into the environment information network. A synthesis of the FidoNet networks with agriculture, natural resources and environment sectors was forged with the external input of USAID’ s AfricaLink. This formal project is a ‘ network of networks’ linking policy makers and scientists in Africa with on-the-ground support systems. It embraces international institutions such as ICRAF1 and IUCN,2 regional organisations including the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA) and the Integrated Pest Management network (IPM) together with national organisations such as the Ugandan National Agricultural Research organisation (NARO) and the Kenya Forestry Institute (KFI). This multi-layered networking project has undertaken trainings, installed hardware and helped with the proposal based funding that drives this professionalised portion of the sector. Over the four years 1995-1999 AfricaLink has been under the supervision of an informed and experienced networker, Jeff Cochrane and allowed it to work with an open technological and institutional mind-set.3 A core component was co-ordinating the networking of East African crop forestry organisations via ICRAF in Nairobi. Funds initially
2 1

Organised by Jay Naidoo, South African Minister of Communications Forestry 2 Wildlife and Conservation 3 It has been his dynamic that has lifted at least my prejudice about the workings of the previously maligned USAID


spent on providing Internet connection and trainings from commercial service providers while successes have widened the project to the networks mentioned above. A newer component has been the funding of on-the-ground support structures of which the East Africa Help Desk will be examined below. AfricaLink shows the beginnings of a network to interlink research within sub Saharan Africa. With funds of around $350 000 it offers status and value for money for donors. The users and participants are in the public research sector, they are highly qualified and they depend on international expertise and funds. This outward looking sector is ripe for accelerated information exchange and exposure to a width of research hitherto restricted by connection. Their experience helps describe the detail of both training and use of these new tools. This installation goes beyond the set-up of computer and modem and includes configuration of personnel, learnt procedures and system intuition. The operator is taking on board a series of procedures between author, self , software, machine, modem and network. The human element has been a weakness in the systems and the process of training and continuous development (or permanent revolution as it sometimes feels like with computers) has brought out the detail of problems with technology. Computers ‘ break’ , something is wrong and help is far away. Shem Ochuodho of the African Regional Computer Centre (ARCC) first outlines the trainers’ perspective and then Jeff Cochrane reports from the user perspective:
‘ There are two common circumstances and often the first hurdle is that the person using and responsible for Email has not followed the correct steps to send and receive messages. Instructions are jumbled and they do not wish to accept responsibility or ask for help and so the Email is broken. Sometimes we get a telephone call, sometimes not. I think the problem is that the right person has not been chosen for the responsibility and they are often secretaries. When there is someone who is enthusiastic, things work well. The other situation we see is where a single person is responsible for the Internet and Email and they leave. Often they get another job because they know Internet. The first we hear again is that the Email is broken but really there is no-one there who can operate it. I think that has changed our way of seeing training and support. People have to be trained as trainers, things cannot happen ‘ just like that’ and there should be more backup than a [commercial] ISP can offer’ 4

From the other side, Jeff Cochrane’ s September 1997 AfricaLink report lists experiences that illustrate these problems in context. For example:
‘ Dr. Nandwa is the African Highlands Initiative (AHI) national co-ordinator. His is the first Email account to be installed at the NARL, which has the most scientists (90) of any KARI centre, and which hosts six distinct projects. Of the 25 AHI scientists on Dr. Nandwa's team, three make use of Email. Dr. Nandwa himself is the principal user. Two secretaries operate the system, having been trained for two weeks by their service provider, ARCC. Email is the sole use of the system to date, though Web browsing is installed and feasible. Dr. Nandwa and staff were unaware of the existence or function of Netscape on their system. A connection was established after three attempts – a busy exchange signal was heard on the first two, suggesting a problem with KPTC, not with ARCC. Dr.

Interview with Dr. Shem Ochuodho, MP ARCC, Chairman Computer Society of Kenya


Nandwa's computer operator, Prista Kkonge, observed that this was typical during the hours from 9am to 3pm. Upon establishing a PPP link with Trumpet Winsock, Ms. Kkonge was shown how to start Netscape, and several minutes of curious surfing then ensued.’

Jeff Cochrane’ s personal assessment is that systematic use and personal involvement over time have proved to be the keys in successful installations. Experience beyond this training dilemma and overcoming ‘ an almost universal lack of comfort with the technology’ 5 has led to many positive developments. The network has not reached its full potential because of patches of success and failure yet overall, correspondence and research has been extended. There are concrete examples of negotiating distance where, ‘ Email permits international contacts. This is virtually impossible otherwise due to costs for fax, phone, and courier. The [Email] system is used primarily for communications with European partners, though also with the USA and elsewhere in Africa. Most communications are either scientific exchanges or logistical arrangements for visits, conferences, and meetings.’ (Dr D Nyamai, Kenya Forestry Institute). Some reshaping of local interconnection patterns have occurred and the NDFRC saw that ‘ Documents to their project co-ordinator in Nairobi are now routinely transferred via Email, whereas in the past it was generally necessary to drive an hour for hand delivery in Nairobi’ . While in KARI, ‘ Email has virtually eliminated regular mail and courier to connected domestic correspondents..’ and brought closer contact when ‘ Dr. Nandwa recently worked with Ann Stroud, who is in Uganda, on a last-minute proposal for funding. This type of collaboration would not have been possible without Email.‘ (Dr Nandwa, KARI again). The helpdesk and UgandaOnline The development side of the AfricaLink project has focussed on fixing the links between researchers and practitioners, concentrating on this ‘ middle level’ . It approaches the writings of Bernard Woods in 19931 but takes the situation on the ground as a starting point rather than technology. From these components the East African Help Desk was created. The Help Desk is USAID funded but in fact acts as a centre for training, service provision and information extension. Run by Charles Musisi, the Internet ‘ pioneer’ from MUKLA it provides its contracted services but offers more on top. Again, the personal angle and the ties, history and connections that come with it save effort against co-ordinating a new organisation and allow short-cuts that would not seem possible in a totally formal situation. Musisi has offered informal training to students outside of the University since MUKLA was disestablished. A list of the ‘ graduates’ is impressive:
@ @ @ @ @ @ @

Technician for Wilken AfSat System operator at SwiftUganda System operator for World Food Programme Technician for StarCom Co-ordinator Acacia telecentres programme System operator African Virtual University System operator HealthNet


Cochrane JA AfricaLink East Africa – Assessment Synthesis August/September 1997, USAID publication USAID/AFR/SD/PSGE 1 Woods B (1993) Communication, Technology and the Development of People Routledge, London


AfricaLink has shown how there can be chain reactions of problems in a developing country situation of supporting systems on a shoestring and with logistical anarchy. By force of personality and contacts, local fixes have been organised. For instance connectivity was needed for the Acacia telecentres for which mobile phones were arranged through a negotiated deal. The help desk also undertakes petty communications production with small scale Internet service provision through Uganda Online and webmastering services undertaken by ‘ trainees’ . In a small information economy such as Uganda with 100-150 people working in electronic communications, the HelpDesk and Uganda Online have contributed significantly and delivered more in an informal mode than Makerere University has formally. It is a Ugandan means with artisans using locally derived experience and adapted technology.

Health online and telemedicine
HealthNet's trajectory has been to provide connectivity to the medical community. However the word 'connectivity' masks two important strains of electronic data – health information and telemedicine. The first describes the dissemination of knowledge resources and these range from training materials to medical journals to disease information, in order of timeliness. Telemedicine denotes more instant practice of medicine where the 'tele-' prefix implies distance and telecommunications. Ultimately they are parts of the same spectrum of transmitted health data and can be categorised by components of space and time – their distanciation and instantiation. Examples of a first, networked warning of an Ebola outbreak and second, the SHARE example of the transmission of electroencephalogram and electrocardiogram information both show a complex interplay of factors. The first is an example of point to network to point communications where time and established connections amongst institutions are critical to the timely mobilisation of quarantine and treatment procedures. The second shows point to point communications where the data network is critical for linking distant knowledge resources to local practice instantly. Both are means of speeding information and depend on the ‘ glue’ of ‘ networking’ emerging from the interaction of technology, communications and involved users. The rapporteur's group on telemedicine in developing countries in 1997, decided that, 'there is no globally accepted definition of telemedicine'. However there are a breadth of interpretations from other sources that confirm a width of interpretation. Read defines telemedicine as ‘ the use of advanced telecommunications technologies to exchange health information and provide health care services across geographic, time, social, and cultural barriers.’ 2 The American Telemedicine Association states that, 'Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications for the health and education of the patient or healthcare provider and for the purpose of improving patient care.'3 In Europe, the standing committee of European Doctors says that, 'The term telemedicine refers to the practice of medicine over a distance. In telemedicine, interventions, diagnostic and treatment decisions and recommendations are based on data, documents and other information transmitted through telecommunication systems'4

Reid, J (1996) A Telemedicine Primer: Understanding the Issues. Innovative Medical Communications Topeka, USA
3 4

Linkous JD (1999) Toward A Rapidly Evolving Definition of Telemedicine A merican Telemedicine Association


These cautious definitions cover all angles yet it is difficult to see how telesurgery and teleradiology – live telemedicine – can inhabit the same development space as disease early warning systems and the delivery of medical journals. Again the issues and relationships of the point and the network are uncalibrated but examples from East Africa show the pre-eminence of the network – in other words a predisposition to delayed health information rather than interactivity of the point. There are two, presently unfulfilled, attempts at normalising live telemedicine in the region. The first is the promise of such services for Nakaseke Hospital, part of the ITU, British Council and UNESCO Nakaseke Telecentre Project. This has been delayed because of problems with telephone lines to the hospital, crucial when medical procedures rely on the integrity of continuous telecommunications links. The second is the WorldStar project operating commercial initiatives over a GEO satellite owned by Noah Samara (an East African expatriate). According to John Mack, a publicist for the initiative,
Date Sun, 20 Jun 1999 160743 -0400 From John Mack <> To African Development Forum 1999 Subject: Re Protocol WorldSpace is ALREADY up and running with crystal clear FM stereo quality, digital signals to every inch of Africa (and London too) from the AfriStar satellite located above the DRC since last October. The WorldSpace foundation is already working with content providers to construct the Africa Learning Channel to bring sound and pictures (or whatever) via this medium to rural and non-rural Africa with a bit error rate that will accommodate X-rays.

While its benefits are contested by Hans-Dieter Winkens, executive editor of Channel Africa:
Date Mon, 21 Jun 1999 204721 +0200 From Hans-Dieter Winkens To African Development Forum 1999 Subject: Re Protocol The Future was indeed here, yesterday already, and new highways for delivery are being paved daily. But to state that WorldSpace and Digital AM/SW are here and ready to deliver is like having an eight-lane tarmac strip all over the world, but you can't afford the toll, the fuel, the car, the engine, nor the wheels!

The deployment of higher technology infrastructure is not unopposed and slower network changes for distant medical information and practice have been implemented by MAF and HealthNet. Missionary infrastructure Another NGO, the Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) displays a further tendency in distance medicine. Since 1946, the organisation has deployed flying doctors in Africa and is active in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. By the beginning of the 1990s, they started to deploy an independent electronic mail network. Simon James-Morse, the regional coEthical guidelines in telemedicine, Adopted by the Standing Committee of European Doctor


ordinator explained these changes in an interview. 'We have built up electronic mail as support for our other operations. The flights were first and [short wave] radio was our main way of co-ordinating people and schedules...Electronic mail has become a vital tool because it delivers messages that can be read later while radio means two people have to establish contact and relay the information...' Conversations can become impossible in difficult circumstances such as when batteries fail, when there is static interference and messages break up. '...When radio is not working, email usually is and vice versa...It is part of a communications tool-kit, and that now includes email over radio...It has grown into a network...we offer free email services for our users and allow others on a case-by-case basis.'1 Figure GI Clipping from MAF website, 31 Countries Served 2,600+ MAFnet® Members 69 MAFnet® Hubs (electronic post offices) 605,600+ MAFnet® Messages (bundles per month) 3,275,370+ MAFxc® Messages Per Month 1,680+ MAFxc®Conference Groups

The MAF network, statistics of which are shown in Figure GI, was most valued as a parallel, if proprietary, network for medical and humanitarian traffic while general connectivity was poor. Ben Parker of the United Nations Department for Humanitarian Affairs (UNDHA) described it in 1996 as 'a key component in the Tanzanian networking infrastructure'. However it stands as a conduit and carrier of information rather than HealthNet, which provides a large volume of content over and above physical connections. HealthNet itself has expanded to offer three local email centres2 in Tanzania – at Muhimbili Hospital in Dar es Salaam; Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara and the National Institute for Medical Research, Mwanza as well as the University of Nairobi Medical School and the Makerere University Medical School, Kampala. Apart from this spatial spread of the network there has also been diffusion in medical information and health information.

Health information, HealthNet and the direction of publishing
HealthNet addressed health information in parallel with its initiatives to install information infrastructure. Its own assessment of the situation of information poverty and falling access to current information has been articulated by Lown, Bukachi and Xavier:
Information poverty is a substantial impediment to better health in countries. Medical libraries are supplied with a few worn books and dated journals. Whereas a medical library in the USA subscribes to about 3000 journals, the Nairobi Medical School Library, Kenya (long regarded as a flagship centre for medical literature in East Africa) receives only 20 journal titles today compared with 300 to which it subscribed 10 years ago. In the 1960s, the Albert Cook Medical Library at Makerere, Kampala, Uganda,

s (CP) on the 12th of April 1997 Footnote: Interview September 19, Kampala 2 Ifakara and Mwanz


boasted over 2500 medical volumes and journal subscriptions; one of the largest libraries in East Africa, today it receives fewer than 40 medical journals3

The success of HealthNet has been mirrored by declining government funding but this link is unproven and falling funding commenced before the advent of the network. HealthNet has both identified and addressed the issue in three directions; access to resources, news bulletins and newsgroup conferences. For the first, the media of CD-ROMs, email database requests and web-by-email have enabled local or low-bandwidth access to stored records and references. Without a live connection, but with some patience, network users can search, request and download from a number of affiliated medical information publishers and providers. In theory the whole range of resources available in industrialised countries are available but in practice there is a time-lag and the bureaucratic procedures of payments, reduced-rates and institutional accounts are a disincentive to liberal use. Another issue is that the advertising that contributes to the funding of publications is not readily convertible to downloading format. For instance, images and signs of pharmaceutical companies cannot be marked-up for electronic mail nor might the advertisers be attracted to a continent with a small market turnover. Online publications provided over email have been negotiated by HealthNet. In the instance of HealthNet News, its contents often contain copyrighted material from, for instance, the British Medical Journal. As a safeguard it can only de distributed to developing countries but this allows health information delivery outside of the market. HealthNet news is produced each week and delivered over electronic mail, similarly WHO Library Digest for Africa is produced and delivered fortnightly, AIDS Action is quarterly and Community-Based Rehabilitation News and Health Action is delivered three times a year. The final format of health information is the mailing-list. There are seven of these that are currently being run, ProMED-mail: Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases, ProCAARE: Program for Collaboration Against AIDS and Related Epidemics, ProCOR: Program for Improving International Cardiovascular Health, E-Drug: Essential Drugs (in English), EMED: Essential Drugs (in French), INDICES: International Network on Drug Information and AFRO-NETS: African Networks for Health Research and Development. The mailing list acts a noticeboard where issues can be posted and replied to. Some, such as ProMed, are for alerts and so postings are irregular and time-critical. Others act as international and perhaps global centres for discussion and although lacking the possibility of live interaction offer a different rhythm of interconnection. The Harvard AIDS Institute manage the ProCAARE conference and Richard Marlink, its executive director has said that with ’ … a minimum amount of organization and funding, an actual international conference could be taking place daily that would supplement the international AIDS conference held every two years… We could set rules like a conference and have tracks like basic science, clinical, and epidemiological.’ 4


a generally connect by satellite Lown B, Bukachi F, Xavier R (1988) ‘Health Information in the developing world’ Lancet Vol. 4 352, Supplement 2, October 1998 Mitka M (1999) ‘Developing countries find telemedicine forges links to more care and research’ Journal of the American Medical Association. Vol.280 pp1295-1296


Issues can be floated that can challenge or open debate over a wide distance and experienced users can build the means of communication into ways of working. Bernard Lown used the launch of the ProCOR heart conference to address the spreading and now global epidemeology of heart attacks:
In 1990, two-thirds of the 12 million cardiovascular fatalities worldwide occurred developing countries. This profound epidemiological transition relates to a host factors including rapid urbanisation, inadequate shelter and crowding, loss community structures, excessive smoking, poor diets with increased consumption junk food, joblessness and other social stresses5 in of of of

Modern technologies and procedures had propagated information on the interface of modern lifestyles and livelihood strategies. Analysis of the Afro-Nets newsgroup The busiest newsgroup mediated by HealthNet has been the Afro-Nets newsgroup. Using the Perl scripting language it has been possible to deconstruct and reassemble data from the postings to produce a scripted analysis. The geographies of participants and the semantics of their subject line message headings have been cleaned, collected, sorted and analysed into tables shown in Appendices four and five. The analysis is in four parts: the background and history of the newsgroup; the statistical measurements of addresses; subject line components; and a discussion case study. The 'African Networks for Health Research & Development' (Afro-Nets) newsgroup was set up following the HealthNet-led 'network of networks' meeting in January 1996 in Zimbabwe and the 3rd African Essential National Health Research (ENHR) Network Conference in Uganda. Its stated purpose is for 'the exchange of information between the different networks active in Health Research for Development in the Eastern and Southern African Region' and with further aims of 'capacity building, planning and conducting research, transformation of research recommendations into action' by health networks.1 Afro-nets is a busy newsgroup with over 1300 postings in a 27 month period averaging more than 15 messages a day. The largest number of postings are addressed from the United States yet this is ambiguous data. Of these, around a third are ISP addresses (HotMail, Microsoft/MSN, CompuServe and AOL) a quarter are the addresses of international organisations' headquarters (International Development Network – USAID, Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and PATH). However the data still point to the majority of messages originating in the United States and it remains the largest contributing country. Other anomalies between international and local addressing have, by and large, been corrected by aliasing geographical country name data giving an accuracy in excess of 95%. A further observation is that Zimbabwe is well represented in the data because the newsgroups moderator, Dieter Neuvians, is based in Harare. The core data show that the conference is strongly African in terms of its contributors. They are overwhelmingly from eastern and southern Africa which is in accordance with its aims. Conspicuously absent countries include Somalia, Djibouti, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of

Lown B (1997) Commentary: Health technology, the developing world and Satellife Posting in ProCOR mailing list, 14th Feb 1997,, Cambridge, USA

From the AfroNets homepage,


Congo (DRC) and Sudan. Their absence can be explained by three persistent determinants in electronic networking: technology, contacts and language. Somalia, DRC and Sudan are all poorly served by telecommunications infrastructure. The first two are seeing a growing use of mobile phones for reliable communications2 while Sudan has only a single public sector FidoNet connection from the University of Gezira. Lesotho and Djibouti are in the umbra of their parent states – South Africa and France. All these countries display characteristics whereby organisational forces of electronic networking are less widely utilised, thus affecting personal and virtual contacts. In terms of language, only 1 in 24 messages are from countries where English is not a principal language. Of these 50% are from Francophone countries, 31% from Lusophone countries and 29% from Ethiopia3. With English as the lingua franca of the newsgroup, there are implications that trends in the use of English for technical tasks has not permeated potential users of this health-based newsgroup. The group does show a good example of globalised networking with over 400 organisations from 66 countries mailing to the list. The mix extends over a wide range of medical institutions with a large bias towards research and no noticeable participation from clinics and primary care. Pharmaceutical companies are also included along with universities, hospitals, international agencies, trusts and both regional and international NGOs. There are two key explanations for the strength of these deep global trends, connectivity and shared health problems and priorities. The technical components of computer, telephone and power are nearly always guaranteed in such centres of medical knowledge and practice. National priorities in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda aim to ensure that 'load shedding' and delayed phone maintenance do not impact on the few premier healthcare facilities available. Figure GJ Cases and rates of infection for selected diseases Tuberculosis Malaria HIV Kenya 38919 6100000 11.64 Tanzania 57594 8000000 9.42 Uganda 60798 2708118 9.51

Tuberculosis: Data for 1992, Three figures from World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates of Health Personnel,; Malaria: Est. number of cases. Kenya and Tanzania 1994, Weekly Epidemiological Record 1997, No.72, pp269-276, World Health Organisation, Geneva. Uganda 1991-93 Health For All Indicators 1996, World Health Organisation, Geneva; HIV: Adult rate of Infection end of 1997, UNAIDS Epidemiological Fact Sheet, WHO

Globalised medical networking depends on a global focus. The statistics in Figure GJ showed the prevalence of disease in East Africa and these are also key issues for the participants in Afro-Nets discussions. The analysis of subject line data from email postings clearly indicates the centrality of tackling infection issues. First, malaria is mentioned directly in 6% of postings and indirectly though bed-nets, prophylaxis, mosquito and vaccine in a further 3%, to a total of 1182 mentions. HIV is mentioned, in semantic

See for example The Independent (1999) ‘Mobiles replace guns amid the ruins: City life in Mogadishu’ The Independent, 17th May 1999, According to ITU indicators, the Democratic Republic of Congo has the smallest number of outgoing international telephone calls per subscriber in the whole of Africa. Furthermore numbers of fixed line subscribers have been stationary between 1993 and 1997 while mobile phones have risen to 25% of all lines since their introduction in 1996. ITU African Telecommunications Indicators 1998:64)

Where English is important as a language of instruction and expertise yet Amharic and Italian also represent local and i


variation, 1280 times while tuberculosis occurs on 259 occasions. The word global appears 149 times. The findings point to focused newsgroup networking strongly geared to problem solving. From observation, after a topic is raised the point is clarified and then answered and critiqued by eminent and qualified correspondents. Answers and relevant information are unearthed and aired in the most edifying and productive forum I have experienced.

Education: literacy and campus connections
In East Africa, the three forces of information technology connections over local and wide area networks, privatisation/paying students and distance learning are shaping the interfaces between students, knowledge resources and teaching. These issues are concentrated at the level of higher education and this has been most pronounced in the top universities. Changes are being met, dealt with, and discussed by increasingly technologically informed actors in more distanced relationships. The trend is towards shared western techniques and consequently in the medium of English. In higher education, a monetary surplus from operations has become acceptable at the expense of planned universality yet literacy and basic education remain national priorities. This section addresses the issue of literacy and then presents cases of change from within the East African education system. First it takes the development of electronic mail and Internet at Makerere university as an integrated example of how technologies have been integrated into higher education. The university displays continuous change rather than the stop-start of campuses in Kenya and Tanzania allowing a detailed log of successes, conflicts and decision patterns. Next the issue of distance education is addressed in terms of local initiatives and then the arrival of the World Bank's African Virtual University in 1997.

Discussion: education, literacy and Internet
Educational work with Internet connections has been concentrated in higher education, a less dilute sector and with a tiny proportion of the population. This strategy places computer and 'web' literacy at the centre of a new educational direction prompted by the World Bank, African Virtual University project (AVU). However the underlying force of education in the region is towards mass literacy and this is mainly implemented at the primary school level. Some of the budgetary constraints have been noted above and the effect has been for charges to be levied on parents. Poorer and less educated families tend to have more children and so they are most impacted. Girls' education will be sacrificed first despite its impact on the family size and wellbeing of future generations with the effect of reproducing a cycle of poverty. Literacy has been rationalised by the African state as both egalitarian measure and a component of economic and social modernisation. Mass literacy is an overtly populist measure offering components of classlessness, the amplification of traditional values through modern means and nation-building. However it offers fundamental knowledge rights within a national norm. The principal conclusions of a workshop, Combating illiteracy in Africa, objectives and strategies of literacy programmes, organised by UNESCO in 1994 show some of the underlying theories and motivations for literacy programmes: 238

'The cultural role of literacy is that of....bringing into the fold those who the school has not been able to receive as well as those who have abandoned school too early to become literate. More generally, literacy must make provision for the rewriting of history so as to encourage the re-establishment of the African cultural heritage, for the benefit not only of the Africans themselves but indeed for the entire world civilisation. As regards the economic objectives, professional skills will be improved by functional literacy activities…t he rural exodus will slow down because literacy would have contributed to the establishment of integrated activities for the rural populations in their own households. Literacy is considered a strong factor in the promotion and consolidation of democracy. It is a [lever] which transforms the perception of the peoples and their work, which enables the people to see themselves as agents as well as the targets, and with a right to freedom of speech and expression...Literacy can also be a tool for national integration.'4

This baseline literacy addresses fundamental personal, community and national issues. If addressed to marginalised groups such as women and girls then it has important implications for their status and advancement in society5. However the divide between mass and elite education is enormous. Universities and higher education are part of a 'trickle-down effect' for knowledge and training and it is these institutions that have élite, and therefore international, connections. Scarce information technology resources are concentrated firstly where there are programmes for computer literacy, secondly where there is reliable infrastructure and last where there are qualified instructors. These all point to cities and higher education facilities as the centres of electronic learning.

MUKLA and campus connectivity
Makerere's electronic networking shifted away from the first model of FidoNet, where individual institutions would own, control and manage email systems on-site. The second model has seen dissipated control and individualised, department by department and site by site connectivity. The breakpoint was the proposition for a campus-wide fibre-optic data network by the German development agency, GTZ in 1995. Musisi proposed a 'thin' 9.6k radio connection to the StarCom Internet Service Provider which would guarantee reliable mail while the Vice-Chancellor was sceptical of single operator deals, the growing profitability and independence of the MUKLA system and the hidden costs of the fibre network. The system was disestablished from the university and departmental connections made. The GTZ proposal entailed the laying of cables on campus and the expense of cable laying would fall on the university.


nternational idioms respectively UNESCO (1995) Report on the state of Education in Africa. Education strategies for the 1990s: Orientations and achievements UNESCO, Dakar 5 Ibid:55


Technology has since resolved the problem of cable laying with the new possibility of a wireless campus network and few local costs. The university has also prospered from large numbers of fee paying students contributing to a substantial increase in project funds. However Musisi’ s local-area network model could now became a reality but would now require wholesale reorganisation of resources and departmental connectivity. The early chance of an integrated campus network was broken by the interplay of technology timing, suspicion of public/private relationships and the mismatch of funding priorities between departments, aid agencies, administration and the email system. Its effects cannot be measured yet the relationships and steady progress of the years 1992 to 1996 were dissipated in the following years. A review of electronic mail addresses from 1997 in Figure GK reveals the disunity of Makerere's electronic communications From this time all connectivity and Internet initiatives have originated from outside Makerere. This pattern has been the same for Kenyan universities and there has only been slow progress at the University of Dar es Salaam. However they were the first university in the region to establish their own Internet link. From the start-up this ran through the South African UniNet system and allowed the Computer Centre to become the local issuer of Figure GK Spread of email addresses, Makerere University
Vice Chancellor East African School of Librarianship Makerere Main Library Academic Registrar Institute of Social Research

national Internet addresses. This financial boon will end with the establishment of an African Network Information Centre (NIC) shortly and probably in South Africa. The main issues for universities have shifted away from pure infrastructure issues since the arrival of commercial Internet and have moved to a new form of practice in control, content and carriage of learning materials. The most prominent initiative has been the African Virtual University. Distance learning to the present day The possibility of using Internet for distance learning was raises many issues. Open Universities sought to reach a marginalised population and in Africa this has overtly spatial implications. Rurality and poor communications are closely bound up with marginality while Africa itself has been seen as a periphery. Non-vocational qualification, continued learning and unit-based degrees were put forward as appropriate solutions to Third World education difficulties as early as 1972 in the UNESCO publication 'Learning to Be' – the Faure report. Before this even, the Correspondence Course Centre at the former Nairobi University College had been operating since 1967 and its successor, the Department of Distance Studies has achieved much success. Teacher training were its core activities and together with the educational enthusiasm of then Vice-President Moi and the literacy drives of the 1960s it established effective teaching mechanisms. These included radio and eventually 240

television programming for courses which have been adopted and tailored by the Ugandan system. By 1992 20,000 primary teachers had been trained in conjunction with the Ministry of Education6. In Kampala, the Department of Distance Education, the College of Education and External Studies and Centre for Continuing Education follow similar trajectories. In 1993, the Open University of Tanzania was founded to offer unit-based courses and, 'even with its low level of technological development, Tanzania has been able to provide a range of facilities to the University. The range covers face to face sessions, use of the postal system to handle printed study materials, the telephone, radio, television (although in a very limited way in a restricted geographical coverage), CD-ROMs, the fax, the computer, audio and video cassettes.'7 Student admissions have risen:- 1994 – 766; 1995 – 738; 1996 – 1221; 1997 – 961 and there are presently 12 equipped regional centres and 36 study centres.8 Internet offers further opportunities and inequalities towards achieving their aims. Opportunities stem from the ease with which materials can be delivered and the degree of interaction that these connections will allow. Inequalities are the same information divisions that exist nationwide – poor infrastructure, costly information technology and a lack of training personnel and institutions. Government expenditures have not funded local distance education to match technological challenges. Universities have no in-house resources or experience to deploy learning networks based on computerised communications. The opportunity for regional action has been stalled and the African Virtual University project has taken up some of the challenge. It is not offering teacher training in its curriculum and these remain in the hands of the state education system. It is creaming off foundation course and modular technology degree students. Connections remain with the local distance education system but AVU has taken over the premises of the Makerere facility and has given two email and Internet terminals to the Open University of Tanzania.

AVU – African Virtual University
The group of emails below shows a variety of reactions to the AVU from the Afro-Nets discussion group: 8 out of 19 postings over 6 days are shown. The issues they raise, in chronological order of posting, are:- access to information through libraries and knowledge centres; imperialism and the educational market; salaries and the 'brain drain'; academic terms of trade; and technological progress. These all reflect on the locale of education and the possible spaces that the African Virtual University could create.
-----------------------------------––-------------------------------From: Justin Chisenga <> Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 04:49:58 -0500 Indeed, a African university needs to be brought into Cyberspace. However, one university department which should not be left out in the project is THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY.
6 7

Kinyanjui (1992) Mmari G (1997) Putting knowledge to use: A case study of the Open University of Tanzania Paper presented at Global Knowledge 1997 8 Chale E (1997) The role of open universities and distance education in increasing access and equity in higher education using the experience of the Open University Of Tanzania Paper for a UNESCO Consultation Meeting, Nairobi, February 12-14, 1997


In fact, if there is any department in the University that has suffered worse budget cuts, is the Library. Most libraries in Africa are still using manual systems and have no access to the Internet. Some hold unique collections, which if made available on the Internet, will be accessible to the whole world. How many times have we heard of researchers and sometimes students from Africa studying in Europe or USA sending letters and faxes back home requesting for information materials from university libraries in Africa? If the collections of these libraries are made accessible, and better still available, on the Internet, library and information professionals in Africa, will indeed be contributing to the development of the information content of the Information Superhighway. -----------------------------------––-------------------------------From: Menghestab Haile <> Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 04:49:39 -0500 I am afraid that when Western Universities are facing huge budget cuts this is probably a means of increasing their incomes in the name of African Universities. Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 09:01:11 -0500 In fact I just returned back from the UK to work in Ethiopia after studying and working in the UK for the last 7 years. You know what, I could not work at the University because the salary offered is not enough. I know a lot of my Western friends working for NGOs here in Ethiopia are earning 30 times my salary. Don't ask about the UNDP and Worldbank staff. They will be earning 40 times my salary. Guess a university prof. here gets around US 4000 a year. With that money just imagine how many lecturers you could have. There are many highly educated Africans who would like to return back to serve their countries. If the Worldbank is really wanting to help African universities then the first step would be to encourage and support the Africans to return back. -----------------------------------––-------------------------------From: Nemo Semret <nemo@CTR.COLUMBIA.EDU> Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 16:21:32 -0500 Bureaucrats may still be inclined to fund white elephants, but judging from the postings there are enough people who are highly clued. I wonder, is there really a shortage in Africa of people who can teach first year calculus? I doubt it very much. Most countries probably already have graduates who get A+ in calculus and then go on to be traders or sit around because there are no scientific/ technical jobs. Yet some aid projects seem to be designed with the assumption that Africa suffers from a shortage of neurons, rather than hardware. A good measure of the project would be the ratio "new bandwidth going out"/"new bandwidth coming in". By this measure, the benefit from the $1.2 million investment [From the World Bank, another $4.5 million has since been pledged by agencies, governments and the EU] is dangerously close to zero. -----------------------------------––-------------------------------From: Ralph Andreano <> Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 12:30:07 -0500 Colleagues: I am amazed at the degree of suspicion that exists. The technological revolution is bypassing Africa: here are efforts to latch onto the changes: take a hold , don't grip, use the technology for your own ends and stop being so suspicious of others. -----------------------------------––-------------------------------From: Dr Eberhard W Lisse <el@LISSE.NA> Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 21:30:49 -05:00


Besides the fact that the infrastructure is just not there yet, though initiatives are underway to build it (and I have had the immense pleasure of being allowed to play a very insignificant role in one of those, recently), such a top-down project is going to make things worse. It will create dependency and complacency and of course will never be sustainable. -----------------------------------––-------------------------------From: "Karin A. Dumbaugh" <> Date: Tue, 8 Apr 1997 12:00:11 -0400 Now Africa is an important "market" for UK and US University degree programs and continuing education courses. Would the Internet allow more Africans take these courses from their home base? How would that simplified access and lower cost to a degree from the London School of Hygiene, for example, affect the developing African degree programs and continuing education courses? Would professionals in the UK and the US be a potential market for African University programs? -----------------------------------––--------------------------------

The strongest arguments for the Virtual University can be made in raw economic terms. The rationale of the projects are the establishment of a centralised distributive education network based on the distanciation of teaching and resources. An evaluation of this bare categorisation shows that the teaching elements stand up best to scrutiny with stated aims of being 'the first attempt to use, on a grand scale, the power of information technologies to deal with the challenge of bringing to the market a large number of well-trained African scientists, technicians, engineers, business managers and employees'9 The knowledge resources for the University however present some technical difficulties including their location, their presumed storage and transfer in digital form and finally the mechanisms of distribution to individuals. The crux of the knowledge resources component is the issue of libraries and identified by the first response to the initial AVU pilot project posting in Afro-Nets by Justin Chisenga and shown above. He states the potentials of libraries and they can generating outputs, status, traffic and possible revenues. They are the poorest and most impacted sectors of the university but at the heart of a learning hub. The AVU has not placed them centrally despite their position as providers of ‘ pure data’ . The AVU grandly outlines its aims precisely and states that, '... the short-term objective of the library component of the AVU is to provide access to online journals and archived materials, medium- and long-term goals of the library component are to act as a catalyst for the automation of African universities' libraries; to preserve African rare collections through scanning and digitization, thus making them available online to students, the academic community, and the wider public; and finally, promoting online publishing of scholarly work by the African scientific community.'10 This avoids mention of the technical difficulties of maintaining remote resources, issues of payment and copyright for academic materials and the implicit decision to delay the library components of AVU in favour of teaching. In the first case searching, access, retrieval and feedback for online library resources will have to be negotiated over expensive real-time satellite connections. Next,

World Bank (1997a) African Virtual University Concept Paper: presented to WB Africa Region and the Finance and Private Sector Vice Presidency of the World Bank, World Bank, Washington

World Bank (1997b) Rationale for AVU pilot phas


either a flat-rate or per-item levy will have to be fed through to students and institutions to pay for substantial materials from journals, texts and databases. These two barriers may account for the delay of the library component which achieved the short-term goal of going live, at the beginning of the first term of actual operation. An unanswered letter posted by Stephen Adibo on the AVU email forum shows some of the frustrations felt by users.
-----------------------------------––-------------------------------Message: Adibo Stephen ( [Improve AVU Library] 6/12/99 3:37:20 AM Thank you so much for improving the AVU webmail. Let me hope that you will also improve on other data bases like UMI, AVU Library search and world bank Site. I work in Avu digital Library some times researchers get frustrated especially when trying to acess certain journals on line in this particular site. Some times it gives no records at all. Please can you advice me more along this line. Bye for now. Adibo Stephen -----------------------------------––--------------------------------

The short-term success of the AVU can be measured by large demands for its courses. In Kenyatta University, Nairobi it has been reported that it earned Ksh 10 million in fees for its first year of courses. The Financial Times11 reported that these are based on charges to individual students of Ksh 3000 per module and Ksh 30,000 per pre-university course and would equate to sales of 3000 modules or over 330 courses. The project itself is heading towards the model of an international private distance learning company and according to Shola Aboderin, 'The current thinking is to establish AVU as a foundation with a business arm called AVU Inc.' The reflections of Menghestab Haile in the Afro-Nets conference might then be justified. The objectives of the pilot programme are clearly to carve out a regional market share in education for western universities, telecommunications companies and local 'investors' by using information technology, economies of scale and virtual connections. The World Bank clearly states its aims of expansion thus: '(I) provide the various educational market segments in Africa with sufficient exposure to AVU programs and make the African public fully appreciative of the potential of AVU in expanding access to education at the tertiary level and in the area of continuing education; and, (ii) demonstrate the business potential AVU represents to content, technology and service providers'12. This is not classical imperialism yet defines the African agents as 'compradors' who gain from trade rather than adding value locally. The effects of the virtual university in stemming 'brain drain' or the movement of Africans to other countries or sectors to seek better training, more recognition or better financial rewards are yet to be proven. AVU notes that in sub-Saharan Africa there, '...has been a steady loss of university staff, often the most talented, to non-university employment (either government or private sector), to the brain drain and to retirement.'13 Its potential is good as it offers internationally accredited qualifications locally and at a good price in fact,'...they

e Jan'97, World Bank, Washington Turner M (1999) AVU: Virtual learning spurs universities Financial Times, Feb 17 1999 12 World Bank (1998) Report on the AVU Pilot Phase Operation July 1, 1997 to June 30, 199 13 8 World Bank, Washington


are cheaper than similar courses offered by the US International University'14. However, educational materials and experience are imported through distance learning and many African students study overseas by choice or as a condition of sponsorship. These trends, together with 'brain drain', are symptoms of poor academic terms of trade where there is an imbalance in the exchange values of the local products to the imported products. For instance, primary African data are collected by grant-funded academics from the West and then exported and published, yet its return to Africa is mediated by the costs of the publication in hard currency and costs of transit and arbitrage and the academic value ascribed to the status of the publication. Technology, such as the digital links used by the AVU, can reduce the costs of the first two components and improve the marketability of an African product. As Karin Dumbaugh puts it in the Afro-Nets discussion above, 'Would professionals in the UK and the US be a potential market for African University programs?' The AVU is moving very slowly on these issues. Libraries, knowledge centres and African knowledge production are low down on the list of priorities and 'online databases which are accessible by Internet provide cost-effective alternative to journals in print'15 have encountered problems. Alex Twino, the technical co-ordinator of AVU, Makerere University Kampala said that there were two publishing agencies contracted by AVU to supply access to, and delivery of, online versions of academic journals. Of the two – Bell and Howell and HW Wilson – the latter had pulled out for an unstated reason. Although there are still an enormous number of journals available – over 500 – a quick Internet search revealed that HW Wilson were providers of 10 African journals while Bell and Howell could supply only two. Clearly there are administrative, organisational and possibly financial difficulties to 'iron out'. In addition there are no plans for local publications at AVU Makerere and none are known for Kenyatta nor the University of Dar es Salaam. The imbalance may change slowly and continued educational dependence and poor terms of trade represent a low starting point to move from. Nemo Semret suggested in AfroNets above that a '...good measure of the project would be the ratio "new bandwidth going out/new bandwidth coming in"' This hints at the configuration of the project with incoming video streams and question and answer sessions with lecturers at the end of the session by voice only. The project is laying out a huge (256kbs+) bandwidth for incoming video seminars which are recorded to be replayed later in lecture theatres. However outgoing links are small. In Kampala there are plans for a medium sized 64kbs link (the same capacity connection as is possible through a domestic telephone lines in the UK) through Wilken-AfSat and IntelSat. Semret is making the point that links are structured to import and that is an indicator of the information status of African AVU sites – they are receivers. The operation of the project is being continuously worked out and there have been many problems. In an sharp interview on the 3rd of October 1998 by Edwin Njoroge of the Kenyatta University AVU Newsletter, Shola Aboderin outlined some of these difficulties. The programme was executed hastily and she explains, 'We did not have time to train everyone involved on the ground. We had to try and explain procedures and requirements from a distance through e-mail and phone calls.' The technical complexities were not fully
14 15

World Bank (1997a) Turner (1999)


addressed and this was excused because, 'One has to deal with various entities: satellite providers, different institutions, each with their own way of doing things and some of whom are not able to respond to requests in a timely fashion. There is the satellite time reservation, studio reservation, different schedules for the individual professors, acquisition and shipment of books, researching and finding and reviewing the courses. Many things have to happen before a course is ready for delivery' There are many things still to do and she outlines them and their background as 'completing the curriculum, improving the digital library, working out AVU's organizational structure, improving the technical infrastructure so that AVU sites can have good Internet connectivity that will allow them to use the Web in a truly meaningful way. We are racing to complete all these tasks, but it requires a lot of time and manpower, especially since we also have to continue current programs. We are currently recruiting more people to help accomplish all these tasks'. At Makerere there are a group of 300 AVU students wishing to access PCs – Personal Computers. This individual interface for a network of users emphasises an issue of the educational interface of AVU: users, machines and communication. Alex Twino estimates that on peak days, those with most lectures, there are 200 users per day for just 20 AVU computers. This pressure is driving new interface procedures and learning away from traditional models. On the user side there is a movement towards web-mail, where individuals log onto international email provision services and, 'they are finding themselves in the middle of the Internet - adverts, links, electronic forums.' The distanced FidoNet email interface has been replaced with a live connection to the edge of modernity. 'I have to see where they are going to check problems...mainly they are searching and researching, looking at overseas universities and checking on their favourite hobbies'. This presents new and untested research areas which fall outside the scope of this thesis. As a measure of 'decadence' I asked the proportion of pornography traffic and the answer was around 40% which has been the average throughout East Africa and much less than in developed countries. 16 Enrolment figures have shown that the AVU is offering what the market requires. There is huge demand for higher education with branded quality and this initiative will contribute to the expansion of the sector. Many of the problems within the AVU have been attributable to haste, to large numbers of students and to the configuration of complex technological enclaves. The future hangs between virtual university and real life.

History lessons and the information development prognosis
The experience of old globalisations and new globalisations has shown that there are clear differences between ordered and hierarchical exchanges that have been built up in the years following the incorporation of East Africa into a world economy and to the present where there are newer, faster movements of data. Commodities underpin the East African economy but the sectors of tourism and horticulture are currently contributing most to economic and social change. Banking and finance together with transport mediate payments and carriage for tea, tourists and even technology itself.

World Bank (1997) Twino is the AVU system manager, the interview was conducted on 26th May 1999


The research questions whether the Internet, like the railways before, will kill ‘ every form of locomotion that formerly held the same ground’ , which social relationships will these technologies impact on and what changes will they drive. In answer to the first proposition I would say that it is ripping up the rules of engagement in all modern sectors fuelled by investors and speculators that willingly leap into the arms of a post-futurist enigma. Then it is continually re-formed through its own boom and slump cycles – memory shortages in Taiwan, processor glitches in Houston, anti-trust judgements in Seattle, overcapacity in submarine fibre-optic cables and initial public offerings in Frankfurt and Madrid. I judge these forces to be far removed from a continuous development – building up industrial strength around training, knowledge and social improvement. I see it as far removed from sustainable development because the global exploitation of human and natural resources concentrated onto a small chip drives a desperate squandering of petrocarbons to move speciality beans 6000 miles by aeroplane. Global computer networks power an insidious and seductive mode of production picking the brightest flowers from the global garden and presenting knowledge, food, songs and spectacle quite literally into your laptop. There are concrete examples of how distributed knowledge is easing the interconnection of medical science for the benefit of developing countries. HIV/AIDS is a classic example of globalised disease where researchers in Nairobi inform institutions in Geneva and spur further research in Brazil then trigger the release of funds from Washington over the course of weeks and months rather than years. It demonstrates raw gains in efficiency that work just as well for the Ford Motor Company17 with its shared international design and development project spread across a band that includes west coast, east coast, Europe and eastern Asia. The issue then, at its starkest level, is whether the capacity of global computer networks is used to their fullest where location is not important and here humanitarian and economic arguments should be deployed. Inclusivity is just as cheap an option as exclusivity and tasks and knowledge can be distributed. Intercommunication touches the peri-urban millions who have a hard and cruel life cradle to grave, dawn to dusk and the precarious pastorale of the rural areas. In this sense Internet is not enough of a unit of analysis. The phenomena of the mobile phone, the UN truck with the dish on top and the government or agency 4x4 sprouting aerials are the isolated then serial incidence of electronic networks. They represent contacts with something larger and richer and to use these means of communication then you need a network to tap into yourself. There are greater layers and deposits of intercommunication being written into localised histories of post-telegraph, post-wireless, post-phone, post-Internet through first contact and hard experience. It is the means of exploitation of the asymmetrical and asynchronous and the width of benefits gained that is the final measure. Dependency theory has been a good critical tool for examining these issues as they develop – new bandwidth in/new bandwidth out and an indicator for distributive and intercommunicative capacity. African universities have been so disconnected and outiside the current of academic exchange that the Virtual University is rain on a parched land. The next stages must be recognition and respect, the reason I have

Owner of Class A Internet domains, the virtual capital of distributed networks. See Chapter Five, Internet Addresses


come down hard on the lack of attention on their ‘ extensions’ – publications, an international presence for libraries, local networks equal to international networks – and means to be acknowledged, heard and then judged. Primary education is now at the centre of development efforts. After thirty years of neglect it has been rediscovered as a relatively cheap means to the end of reducing equalities and enhancing prospects. A project I have seen emerge is an alliance between Cisco – market leader in Internet routers – and the UK Department for International Development for training primary teachers – training trainers. The reverberating lesson that has been put to me by networkers has been that people are the best multipliers and carriers of information and in face-to-face (telepresent?) instruction. Initiatives that multiplying the social asset of education, which cannot be taken away yet might wither away in a ‘ cold’ ‘ dead’ climate, will address the issues of literacy identified earlier on in this chapter and add to empowerment. Two cuttings from the Ugandan press below give perspectives on the prospects of the AVU and university graduates and the possibility that the water is being pumped yet the bucket is not there. I have seen many struggling, few achieving the employment they wish for and hard compromises made in order to support families or maintain dignity.

Postscript: Knowledge bases
The will to create virtual development spaces has become irresistible. The AVU has indeed shown that relatively small and well targeted amounts of development capital can provide supply side solutions to specific demands. These have been short term, unassessed and
‘Satellite varsity to cut costs’ New Vision, September 4, 1999 Kampala  ­  Students  of  the  newly­conceived  satellite  university  education  system  will  pay  less  than  half  the  current  university  fees,  the  State  Minister  for  Higher  Education,  Dr.  Abel  Rwendeire,  said  yesterday,  reports  Charles  Wendo. He  said  compared  to  the  current  Makerere  University fees, which average sh1m per semester,  the satellite university students will pay sh400,000  per semester.

‘Too many degrees, too few street signs’
Charles Onyango­Obbo East African, October 11, 1999 Kampala  ­  Last  Friday,  there  was  a  convocation  for  the  first  batch  of  Makerere  University  students  to  complete  their  degrees  in  the  1998/9  academic year. With  the  president  and  the  cream  of  society  in  attendance, the roads in the busy northern sector  of Kampala city leading to Makerere were closed.  People  travelling  to  and  from  work  lost  hours  in  the  long  traffic  jams  that  developed  on  those  outlying  roads  that  were  open.  It  was  ironic,  because most of the nearly 1,500 graduates won’t  get jobs. Or, if they do, they will be lousy jobs.

"We are forming a task force which should report  in two months. We shall be starting next year," he  said during an international veterinary conference  Unemployment has been so high for decades, it is  at the International Conference Centre. not measured any longer – and it’s getting worse.  Students  in  various  parts  of  the  country  will  simultaneously  listen  to  their  lecturers  sitting  in  Kampala, and be able to ask questions, Rwendeire  told the conference attended by veterinary doctors  from Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia.


Now  that  Makerere  has  churned  out  another  lot,  over  the  next  nine  months  we  can  expect  to  see  pictures in the newspapers of graduates who have  looked  everywhere  for  jobs,  finally  losing  their  minds,  throwing  off  their  clothes,  and  walking  along the streets mumbling their grief

popular pathways to accumulated the knowledge resources of industrialised countries with local add-ons that can also back-fill. The World Bank’ s AVU has been recently been followed up by a USAID African Virtual Library which can only be ‘ seen’ by African Internet addresses.18 It is an achievement but underlines the aspect of ‘ afterthought’ as it arrived a full three years after the university and by April 2000 had not neither opened nor discussed access to online materials.19 The two initiatives presage wider trends in development where significant resources are being earmarked for the development of ‘ knowledge bases’ . These have three stimuli. First there have been the structural changes from librarianship to information management where inter-library loans have been replaced by online texts and remote access. Next there has been developing country demand – as articulated above by professionals and academics calling for library extension and outreach. The third trend has been by donors that link these components into relatively cheap and high status projects which offer electronic texts with minimal editing and abstracting through a world wide web interface. The last year has seen a number of these projects reach outside the narrow academic community20 through national subject projects,21 via international sector based initiatives22 to the vast international projects spearheaded by Washington and the World Bank. 23 This latter project will create a contreversial24 $60 million development portal with edited country and sector websites with the aim of providing digests, country guides, investment opportunities and selected reading materials to ‘ visitors’ . It will be completed in 2003 and already there is a model of the site although the details of ‘ editing’ are in the process of wider consultation and dispute. These new gateways and knowledge bases offer do not replace the journals that have disappeared from the shelves of African libraries. In fact there is an imbalance in materials that are available online. There are the publications that have fallen out of copyright and are more than 70 years old at one end of the spectrum and on the other there are the most recent texts – those created in the digital era, already published in ASCII text and portable document format (.pdf) and already online. Knowledge bases are at once huge information filters, centralised collections, connections and accumulations of value added knowledge. A highly technologised centre is wholesaling processed developing country data from a capital intensive high technology centre that has been funded, constructed, staffed and edited by industrialised countries. It achieves the first objective set out at the beginning of this chapter – intercommunication for development – yet fails to embrace the potential economic and institutional participation of the subjects of this development. The World Bank’ s Development Gateway still has the chance to remedy some of these failings, yet it
18 19

An therefore remains unverified by this research in its latter stages The African Virtual Library Initiative (2000) Quarterly report No.1, March 2000 Nairobi, 20 For instance the Electronic Library Development Information System (ELDIS) at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex 21 The DFID offers a Sustainable Livelihoods knowledge base at 22 The Consultative Group for Action on Poverty (CGAP) Microfinance Gateway, 23 The Development Gateway, 24 Already the UK Institute of Development Studies has pulled back from involvement under guidance from its ethics committee


seems that there will remain one way traffic, local production will remain close to zero while value-added and the accumulation of expertise will remain at the centre. Development information is being marked up and distributed, yet with an opportunity cost to development itself. Despite the spread of participatory methods in research and the poorest representing their own poverty, criticisms made at the beginning of the 1980s remain. Robert Chambers ethical guide to rural development25 berated the time delays of repatriating the results of research. Internet and knowledge bases meet this criticism with the possibility for a timely turn-around between data gathering, analysis, publishing and local consumption. However the spatial divisions of production and control of this information remain unaddressed by DFID, World Bank and CGAP. The architecture and machinery of intellectual property are far removed from the subjects and participants in an anti-ethical application of controlfreakery that runs counter to economic logic. The research identified companies, institutions and individuals highly capable of hosting and working on the portals of development information. The means of transporting, monitoring and paying for this work are in place yet there remains a development gap – communications between markets, subcontractors and capital remain inactive due to a lack of self-confidence on the part of African players and protectionism in the development industry of the North.


Chambers R (1983) Rural Development: Putting the last first Intermediate Technology, London


Chapter Nine
‘ With the realisation of dromocratic26-type progress, humanity will stop being diverse. It will tend to divide only into hopeful populations (who are allowed the hope that they will reach, in the future, someday, the speed that they are accumulating, which will give them access to the possible-that is, to the project, the decision, the infinite: speed is the hope of the West) and despairing populations, blocked by the inferiority of their technological vehicles, living and subsisting in a finite world’ 27

In East Africa, everything is for development and everyone votes for development. Internet is bound up in that ideology of progress and proclaimed on advertising hoardings, clips on the radio and in full page newspaper advertisements. It is in all the other media, it is infiltrating their structures, it carries the New Vision to desktops in Florida, it carries Radio Simba in streaming audio and costs more than the average wage. There are two circuits, Milton Santos declared. ‘ The upper circuit is the direct result of technological progress… Most of its relations take place outside the city and surrounding area and operate in a national or international framework. The lower circuit consists of small scale activities and is almost exclusively for the poor.’ 28 This segregation holds true for modern infrastructure.

Table HA: Urban access to utilities
UN Habitat, Urban indicators Database 25/02/99

On the edges of Nairobi there are roughly constructed booths with lop-sided signs marked ‘ telephone bureau’ and in Kampala, women sit all day beside phone kiosks selling units from their phonecards for a small commission to cash-only clients. They are the local infomediaries for the un-connected. Internet and email cover two sides of distance. Social distance is maintained through the divisions of infrastructures, literacies and money. This mean that rural areas, slums and economic backwaters, without access to education and utilities, are remote from the Internet. Geographical distance has been eaten away by the information potential of rapid multimedia interaction but the underlying transport produces unevenness. Poor roads and irregular timetables conspire to slow down training and maintenance while thin satellite connections struggle with congestion and the current of incoming traffic. Data connections are configured to the nation and its stock of modern resources. The development of Internet connectivity is tied up with historical dilemmas in development –

‘ Dromocracy: the power of the people plowed under by the power to technological speed’, Virilio P (1983) Pure War Semiotext(e), New York 27 Virilio P (1986) Speed and Politics Semitotext(e), New York p47 28 Santos 1979:9


people, capital and progress. In the 1930s it was simple. The British maintained a balance in expenditures between development and welfare. Development was generally infrastructure and welfare was generally health and education. In the 1960s it was more difficult because welfare had become an intrinsic part of national development. In the 1990s, much of infrastructure development is in the private sector while more of the welfare services are in the voluntary sector. With this fragmentation away from a central state then communications have become important in linking projects, funders, implementing companies, consultants, administrators and government. It is no coincidence that the majority of subscribers to electronic mail and Internet services are at this ‘ middle level’ as Mercy Wambui put it. McLuhan boldly states that:
Retribulation is the universal mode in every kind of organisation, regardless of geography or ideology. The cause is the speed-up of information movement to instant levels. The resulting “ inflation” of cultural currency creates a corresponding decline in all residual or establishment areas29

The concept of retribalisation/retribulation may not be re-exportable to East Africa but a unified and Africanised civil service has been streamlined and structurally adjusted. Communications service provision now rests with at least three telecommunications companies in each country and there are more than twenty Internet Service Providers in East Africa. Welfare provision is underwritten by 30,000 harambee groups and 500 NGOs in Kenya,30 8,000 NGOs in Tanzania31 with 154 Kampala NGOs listed in the yellow pages 32. There is growing diversity in communications infrastructure and the social sector. Internet thrives in this entanglement of information needs. It combines two standard pieces of office equipment – the phone and the computer – and an email is a fraction of the price of a call.1 It delivers documents much faster than by post and more aesthetically than by fax. Between 1990 and 1999, it was steadily adopted by both large-scale and grassroots development sectors. As pioneers, they adopted these means of communication in four main ways. First, as an effective ‘ substitute mobility’ for transporting ideas, perspectives and documents to other connected individuals and institutions, and to link in with oral and hard-copy circulation. Second, to create and add to forums of discussion which had not existed in this form before, like mailing lists, newsgroups and conferences by email. Third, as a billboard with an international reach where materials could be published and with directories of text, images and sometimes audio or video clips. Lastly, email and Internet have been exploited to search and retrieve diverse and unconnected encyclopaedic news, archive and research resources. The full range of these techniques have been used in combination by organisations such as EcoNews and HealthNet in their electronic networking repertoire. Events such as the UN World Conference on Women and the UNECA African Development Forum 1999 linked remote actors and challenged codes.2
29 30

McLuhan M with Watson W (1971) From cliché to archetype Pocket Books p119 Kanyinga 1995:74-75 31 Karsan A (1999) ‘ NGOs deride govt move on national policy’ The Express 9th July 1999 32 In fact, The Monitor Business Directory 1998 1 There is a psychological factor in play here. Just as livelihood strategies implies a denial of the long term in preference to the short term, this is a situation where costs and overheads are not totalled. An example is when a motorist measures cost by the amount of petrol consumed rather than with insurance, taxes, maintenance and depreciation factored in. Internet and email users often measure cost by an individual transaction rather than accounting for phone rental, computer depreciation, ISP subscription and call cost. 2 Melucci A (1996) Challenging codes: Collective action in the information age Cambridge University Press, Cambridge


Public access Internet is in a continual process of change as subscriber numbers jump from the minuscule to the tiny. The four fundamental ways of using the connections, outlined above, have been widely adopted yet commercial use has added little to the extension of function. Competition, especially in the structuring of Kenyan and Tanzanian Internet service provision, has forced ISPs to seek out customers and covered all market concentrations. This has also impacted on smaller and email-only operators who have been forced to innovate and subsist on niche services. With the on-line market stretched to maximal levels and access out of the price range of mass usage then interfaces, multipliers and halfway solutions show means of spreading connectivity. Interfaces The layer of exchange between on-line and off-line spaces is the grey area where forces and relations of communication interact. At the widest level, other currents – newspapers, radio, television and ‘ society’ – soak up influence and pass it down. These are one-way systems and for reflexive interaction then human nodes are necessary. Information brokers, cumpridors and operators at the exchange can train marshal resources. Johnson Nkuuhe states the scenario succinctly: ‘ As the Internet is basically English and more than 80 percent of the people don't speak English, there has to be some value added in terms of translation. Also the Internet has lots and lots of information which can be very frustrating and costly if you don't know what you are looking for. So for the Internet to be able to reach Africa in a meaningful way, somebody will have to add value in selecting appropriate information and assisting users.’ 1 Networking has provided internal support mechanisms that have allowed the multiplication of skills through the training of trainers and the APC were at the forefront of this in the midnineties. However these means of skills diffusion are only as useful as the multiplication of Internet connections. Training is affected by the technical interface of a personal computer rather than a community interface. As Johnson Nkuuhe puts it, ‘ Computers in the Western world are "personal" computers: one person, one terminal. In the African context, it would help to have a community tool whereby an expert or a few experts use it so others in the community can also benefit from it. Right now in Uganda, many people who want to send messages for funerals, weddings, family announcements and so on, have to travel about 50 kilometres to the district town. They write the message which they give to the post office and somebody phones. If there was a community facility using the Internet, they could explain their problem to whoever is using the equipment and this person would put it in a form that can be transmitted’ . Systems then need to take a step backward – contrary to Latour’ s absolute of irreversibility – and to reintroduce human agency at this level and away from the graphical user interface. The approximate solution seems to be the multipurpose community telecentre, where library meets exchange. Multipliers and halfway solutions


Extracts of an interview with permission, Alan McLuskey, Kuala Lumpur, 21st June 1997


There is a divide between subscribers and informal users. While subscribers make a conscious choice of long term expense, informal users can open an email account with just a short window of Internet access and then will use it further by their own measures of costs and benefits. This fills in the gap between access and no access with accessibility. The FidoNet connections were open to public use but hidden away and with little promotional activity while cybercafes and ISPs have such capitalisation that not to advertise would be suicide. Promotion and advertising are therefore multipliers but they combine with economic and social demonstration effects. Competitively, in the form of the status of having an electronic mail addresses; Co-operatively, where friends and colleagues introduce each other to email and web interfaces; Proprietarily, by access given as part of employment. The Bank of Tanzania shows how a large group of users were introduced en masse to workplace electronic mail access. Webmail has been an area where previously unconnected groups have been able to maintain an Internet identity without a permanent connection, domestic electricity or phone. FidoNet has an enduring quality because it is very cheap, it works anywhere with power and electricity and it is email, plain and simple, which cannot be differentiated from conventional email by the recipient. ISPs are also wise to plain email services and the example of Form-Net’ s 500Ksh2 NGO account attests to the fact that around 600 users are happy with this solution. However Webmail and workplace users now outstrip legacy Fido and email only accounts. This is the future of halfway solutions. HF radio and Fido will only remain options while mobile phone connections are rare because the market dictates through its economies of scale that SMTP/IP is be the ‘ cheapest’ form of connectivity.3 The personal homepage is ubiquitous in developed countries where it is more rare in Africa.4 This is also an opportunity cost of webmail use and it misses the creation of a deeper, 24 hour, Internet identity and interface with the world. In the United States especially, it has been a motor of web development in the form of petty communications production. Many portals were started by enthusiastic amateurs whose ‘ first mover’ advantage gave them web gravity that enabled the professionalisation of their sites. Examples are an ethnic portal, a ‘ wallpaper’ portal, an educational portal. A large number of web editors and webmasters also followed this route5 and these are the means of addressing traffic imbalances and towards local ecommerce – producing local content and generating East African net output.

2 3

About $US8 per month I put cheapest in inverted commas here because on a spreadsheet calculation of reliability of connection, data transfer rates and the expense and depreciation of basic equipment FidoNet would probably still win. When the unmeasurables of mobile phone versus fixed line reliability, fast new computer versus slow old computer and the potential of web browsing are included then SMTP/IP is worth it. 4 I measure this by statistics from with just 40 personal homepages 5 Including two ‘graduates’ of a lecture I gave on HTML at Makerere in 1995. I installed freeware mark-up tools on a computer and the rest was self-taught. They have been responsible for Sheraton Hotel, Acacia, UNESCO and a number of other Ugandan located sites.


Geopolitics and the pipeline from the west East Africa has been reconfigured. In global capitalism, independent governments have always had to heed bankers and the markets. In East Africa, these bankers – by financial importance the IMF and World Bank – are themselves accountable to other governments. This leads to a chain of international patron-client relationships with East African governments near the bottom and just above their citizens. In recent times, Uganda more than Tanzania and Kenya, has been disciplined in government and economic management by the outside world. It has remained a geopolitically strategic bulwark against the ‘ fundamentalism’ of Sudan, supports the Sudanese People’ s Liberation Army (SPLA)1, has intervened in Rwanda and invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo. This brand of politics is regionally strategic yet Cold War markers – ‘ military advisors’ and closed trains with arms consignments – have been a feature of the conflicts. Permanent, low-level warfare has marked the period 1987-1999. Three prominent armed rebel forces are the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) 2, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)3 and the West Nile Bank Front (WNBF)4. These groups have allied and then disengaged but have proved to be a serious force of destabilisation and are not alone5 in opposing the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government. Faced with these, defensive and offensive, military involvements the Ugandan defence budget has grown6 and outside funding and debt relief are vital for the impact on the rest of the budget to be minimised. Bill Clinton’ s 1998 visit to the country brought the promise of $US 120 million over two years to target Universal Primary Education7, this of course is unrelated to military expenditure. In April of the same year Uganda qualified for $US 338 million debt relief through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) programme. Meanwhile Kenya is caught between a rock and a hard place. As the Sunday Nation8 puts it:
The government, by its inability to control the haemorrhage of resources as a result of corruption and by its inability to win widespread support form the population because of a poor record in satisfying common expectations, has hedged itself in.
1 2

Whose leader John Garang studied with Museveni at the University of Dar es Salaam The LRA has supported by the Sudanese. It is commanded by the uncle of Alice Lakwena whose Holy Spirit Movement marched on Kampala in 1987 – 5,000 died. They both relied on Maji Maji-type mysticism to encourage their forces. It has been militarily active in the North and around Gulu and Lira since 1992 and responsible for continuous death and destruction. After local and international pressure, Museveni has offered the rebels an unconditional amnesty and in 1999 peace seems sure. 3 The ADF are a mixture of Interhamwe, ex-Zairean troops and Ugandan dissidents active in western Uganda. They have been responsible for the Bwindi massacre, a series of bombings in Kampala and two ‘invasions’ at Bundibugyo and Kasese in 1997-98. Their recent threats have singled out foreigners and Uganda’s obeisance to World Bank money and reforms. The threats (mainly decapitation) were faxed to hostel where I was staying in Kampala which had already been hand-grenaded in January 1999. The bombings were recently foiled and have now stopped. 4 The WNBF is based in the North-West near Arua , sporadically raids the area and it lists one of Amin’s sons (he was from West Nile) in its ranks 5 Other notable groups are the Ugandan Salvation Front in Eastern Uganda, The National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (through whom ADF threats were faxed) and the Uganda Muslims Salvation Front while the Mukono Forest, close to Kampala, is a traditional home to bandits and army deserters. 6 The 1996/7 budget was detailed as $US37 million or 4% of GDP, Mwangangi A (1999) ‘Used guns: Uganda is armed and dangerous’ East African No.256; The real figure may be many times more than this. With a standing army of 100,000 at the average wage ($25/month) just the cost of troops is $30 million per year. 7 The Monitor March 24th 1998 8 Owned by the Aga Khan


And the only way it can extricate itself is by pleasing the IMF and the World Bank. Whereas this is not an evil in itself, for the conditions imposed by these institutions frequently overlap with national interest, there is an inner national sanctum into which the IMF must never be admitted.9

By these two cases, sovereignty has been enhanced a little and dimmed a lot. It was no coincidence that in 1985 the late Julius Nyerere asked, ‘ Should we really let our people starve so we can pay our debts?’ 10, shortly before he retired and shortly before the 1986 IMF structural adjustments. Tanzania, like Uganda, has also implemented the full IMF and World Bank programmes and under HIPC, should see external debt reduced from $US 8 billion to $1.2 billion by 2005. Multinationals are back The shape of global computer networks in East Africa is overshadowed by these shifts in influence and orientation. Import barriers have fallen and the countries are more firmly oriented to the outside world. The data in chapters five, six and seven shows that there is a strong relationship between telecommunications traffic and the other external interfaces of trade and tourism. The unmistakable trend however is that the currents carry larger volumes of goods and traffic into East Africa than the region sends in return. Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are sacrificing control over profitable PTTs and reshaping their own role from production to regulation. This has produced increases in teledensity that could be sustainable and a climate of change. Meanwhile, this local disintegration is matched by an upsurge in multinational telecommunications mergers. The Financial Times assess these changes in terms of national monopolies moving towards global oligopoly within liberalised markets.
‘ For most of the 100 or so years the industry has been in existence, the big operators have provided mostly basic services on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, protected behind the barriers of their monopoly status. Now, stripped of this protection and facing competition at home and abroad, operators are seeking ways to secure and, more important, hold on to as many customers as possible. As a consequence, merger and acquisition activity in the industry has never been more intense or more iconoclastic as operators strive for size and influence’ .1

Megamergers have gripped the global telecommunications, computer and media sector. MCI World Com took over Sprint for $US115 billion in 1999 while Alexander Bell’ s AT&T has spent $100 billion on buying up companies in the same year. East Africa is irrelevant in this context and the defensive stance of KPTC over the past ten years seems entirely reasonable. The mergers have impacted on Uganda and Kenya through their links with Vodafone2 and Uganda and Tanzania through their connections with Global One partners.3


Sunday Nation (1999) ‘Editorial: Our sovereignty is not for sale’ Sunday Nation September 5th 1999 The Guardian (UK) 21st March 1985 1 Cane A (1999) ‘The gloves are off and no holds are barred’ Financial Times Telecoms June 9th 1999 2 Vodafone Airtouch who recently merged their US mobile operations with those of Bell Atlantic to create the only country-wide US mobile phone network 3 France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, partners with Sprint in the international Global One alliance. They will be ditched by the merger.


Kenya calmly holds onto its state monopoly to maximise returns and its strategy has been the model of well organised state capitalism. KPTC and the government have manipulated competition to deliver the best national terms in the form of cash and connectivity. The ‘ evil’ of the retained monopoly has been explained by the example of their neighbour. ‘ That is the mistake Uganda made. They set out to license a Second National Operator before privatising the existing telecommunications firm. That had the net effect of reducing interest in it’ , Jan Mutai told a Reuters reporter in 1998. The global awareness of the corporation was also stated clearly at the same time, ‘ The major point of worry right now is the relative problem of emerging markets, after what's happened in the Far East and elsewhere. It worries us whether it will reduce the appetite in Telkom Kenya’ .4 There are no short-circuits to progress and Uganda has shown that, even with the IMF at one ear and the World Bank at the other, there are better ways to operate. The Internet policy error has meant that the potential connectivity outside the capital city lags behind both Tanzania and Kenya. Privatisation however is still in contention. Rushing policy forward all at once, rather than to ration lucrative contracts, could work out well. Rather than maximising returns to the state from the proceeds of sale it has given an incentive for MTN, the second national operator, to establish a customer base. This has knock on effects for teledensity where initial results are promising but the future is unknown5 Research reflection The thesis has been limited by the possibilities of working between three different countries with three ways of doing things, three sets of permits and with vast distances to travel. The research started out at the middle level/upper circuit, working outwards from these people and stayed mainly in cities. Telecentres arrived late in the timetable and provide an exciting counterpoint to the urbanity of Internet and email connections. The research has picked its way between technical, social and geographical theory and practice. Although it may seem to have crossed into the technical, it is at the near side of telecommunications engineering and policy. Many times my eyes have glazed over when the specifications of equipment and the intricacies of protocols have left me feeling that I must be in a different world. Technical specialisations have themselves multiplied through the research and what was a fairly homogenous sector in 1995, has split into half a dozen sub-disciplines. Disciplines are very much alive and as a generalist by training, it has been a case of learning as I went. Datasets would have been improved by cultivating contacts to ‘ acquire’ information through the back-door but would have crossed ethical lines drawn up. The formal approach of data collection provoked mixed reactions. Promises were made, some were fulfilled and there were some big let-downs. A researcher in this environment can only work on all fronts at all times because nothing is guaranteed. As a contemporary, Ellen Kole, wrote to me in an

Esipisu M (1998) ‘Market woes may hurt Telkom Kenya sale, Interview with Jan Mutai, managing director of KPTC’ Reuters November 20 th 1998 5 Ethiopia provides a warning to MTN's low-tariff, loss-leading approach. ETC, the state mobile phone operator saw 46% of their customers leave the service after tariff increases. According to the Xinhua press agency, the charges are still below the levels charged in the current Ugandan mobile boom. ‘ With a capacity to serve 50 000 subscribers, the ETC is now offering service to only 7 000 users mainly due to the high tariff rate of about nine U.S. cents per minute.’ Xinhua (1999) ‘Nearly half of Ethiopia' s mobile phone users cancel’ Xinhua press agency, August 31st 1999


email, ‘ It was Murphy’ s Law all the time’ . However, time spent researching in the region previously had reined in my ambition and they do things differently there. I enjoyed my time and learned a lot in diverse and innovative countries, the ‘ cradle of mankind’ . I think that the thesis has matched the markers set by Actor-Network theory and the poststructuralist schools and more. It provides a statistical, historical and qualitative basis for perceiving the ‘ complexities’ , ‘ discontinuities’ and ‘ rhizomes’ of development and datacommunications in East Africa. It offers pointers on the configuration of informationalised countries and unequally connected countries. Uniquely, it pilots new techniques for examining traffic and the ethical boundaries for this type of research. Its strength is that it closes theoretical gaps between technical and social research without drifting into technological determinism. We are at the beginning of an age when on-line materials will provide a lot of the input for undergraduate and other studies. The thesis has sought out, and engaged with, these sources while maintaining a firm grounding in situated theory and area studies. There is a lot to carry forward. The region and research, present and future East Africa is at another uncertain juncture. Kenya is once again at an impasse with the IMF, making promises then reneging on deals. The issue has returned to governance and the contention is over planned constitutional changes. These are focused around the impending retirement of Daniel Arap Moi, scheduled in 2002 and have provoked concern in the church, civil society and the donor community.1 Tanzania meanwhile has recently lost the father of the nation, Julius Nyerere, while its union with Zanzibar remains as shaky as ever. Uganda is showing the first signs of economic trouble with inflation rising rapidly while it continues on its mission of nation-building. A constitutional referendum will be held in 2000 and elections in 2001. Together the three countries are still struggling to come to full agreement and to sign a treaty which would bring the East African community back into existence, albeit with a smaller role that in 1976. The inequalities of inter-country trade and are still barriers to mediated progress but negotiations have come tantalisingly close to reigniting the regional partnership. East African countries are reaching into history to present a united front and to combine political and economic resources to confront the severe changes in the world economy that have occurred since their divergence. The common fibre-optic cable is one of the first manifestations of this new will and, unsurprisingly, infrastructure and customs will be the centrepiece of these initiatives. This is a repetition of colonial development in the empirecolony model and the last major co-operative venture between national PTTs before privatisation transforms them entirely. These global influences of liberalisation, technology and interconnection are at the centre of forces of change. In all computer mediated networks, packets have become the standard means for carrying voice and data. In boundless space, the boundaries are the same as they ever were. Economic lines distinguish between the mobile and the immobile and the circuits they track. The new spaces are those unearthed by differently drawn frontiers of

The push for the last changes, in 1997, culminated in bloody monthly demonstrations around the country led by the church and the opposition


taboo or by the new reach of seeing – understood or misconceived. Mobility is the new desire. The new digital technologies are not benign. They are knowledge technologies which emphasise existing centres of research and development. They are organising technologies that emphasise existing centres of control. They are distributive technologies which ‘ follow the cables’ as far as they reach. Local alternatives must compete yet what seem to be low overheads to market entry are higher in developing countries by virtue of borrowing costs, opportunity costs of foreign exchange, costs to ensure reliable power and network access and low economies of scale. The state is hanging on to control of the means of information by its fingertips and cannot support, nurture or subsidise local research and development. Trickle down development is being upgraded to a gush of incoming data, culture and influence. This corrente2 – both flowing current and restrictive chain – shows the abstract and virtual bonds that encircle development. The production of local goods and local content is guided by the context of the western consumers. Local consumers – ‘ the few’ – favour the tide of imports. East African commodity production was a cornerstone of the old global economy and if it is the consumer that is king then current producers will be continue to be subject to the tyranny of ruthlessly efficient – organising and distributive – digitised international markets. East African culture and learning will wait at the end of Internet pipes for the lessons and materials pumped from the west.


In the Portuguese this means current, running, flowing, common and chain


A form of electronic substitution and duplication commonly used to present internet and email addresses in an alternative format for systems and users

of, relating to, or being a mechanism in which data is represented by continuously variable physical quantities (source:

Association for Progressive Communications, a global alliance of providers of electronic and internet services

Automatic Teller Machine, a cashpoint

The World Bank funded African Virtual University

Correcting or adding to a process in retrospect. Bug-fixing and preparing current software for other platforms is a form of backfilling.

The opposite to a frontier, hidden regions of experience

‘ The bandwidth of a transmitted communications signal is a measure of the range of frequencies the signal occupies. The term is also used in reference to the frequencyresponse characteristics of a communications receiving system. All transmitted signals, whether analog or digital, have a certain bandwidth. The same is true of receiving systems.

Generally speaking, bandwidth is directly proportional to the amount of data transmitted or received per unit time. In a qualitative sense, bandwidth is proportional to the complexity of the data for a given level of system performance. For example, it takes more bandwidth to download a photograph in one second than it takes to download a page of text in one second. Large sound files, computer programs, and animated videos require still more bandwidth for acceptable system performance. Virtual reality (VR) and full-length threedimensional audio/visual presentations require the most bandwidth of all.’ 1

Baseline Bitnet

The measure of a 'starting point' Because It's Time Network

Irregularly timed yet significant communications, for instance electronic mail

Capacity Building for Electronic Communication in Africa, collaboration between Padis and UNECA

Allows callers to dial an access number and register the international telephone number they wish to call. They are then called back with a connection and charged US international rates for the call



Prepaid telephone units to make international or local calls using internet telephony or call time bought from a wholesaler or minutes exchange

A heavily protected convoy of humans, pack animals and supplies for transporting people and goods long distances

Lotus email program (Lotus is now owned by IBM)

Code Division Multiple Access, bandwidth divided up into strips to allow secure and dependable encrypted and transported communication.

A measure in internet advertising where the hot-link from an advertising banner is activated and the user leaves their current site for the advertisers site triggering a payment for the company displaying the advert.

Literally 'a buyer', a derogatory term for an agent of international capital. A group or person that gains from the commercial exploitation of their own country.

A means of shrinking the size of data while retaining its integrity through open standards such as shorthand, ZIP, JPEG, MPEG/MP3 and HQX. Closely related to encryption.

Literally 'responsible', a form of honest brokering that depends on justice and rights rather than the commerce of a 'comprador'.

(1)Immediate information that has a 'best before date' and opportunity costs. (2)Circulating and regularly routed information. Many complex osmoses between 'hot and cold' locale and circuits (3)Forces of information with an intrinsic value based on the exploitation of distance and asymmetry

A commercial access point for email and internet

Unequal relationships based on exchange and connectivity

Information represented as binaries – zeros and ones, on and off – that allow signalled transport and imply a more efficient use of bandwidth and greater ease of compression and encryption

Cutting out the 'middleman' or, as the French say it, 'entrepreneur'. Where ecommerce links between consumer and producer act to exclude conventional intermediaries

Giddens’ term for the operation of society and the conduct of relationships over larger and larger distances and enabled by technology and extensions


Domain Name Server. The means by which Internet routes are determined through resolving numbered Internet addresses ( from named ( Internet addresses

The addition of geographical co-ordinates into DNS information

Structures of named Internet addresses based on international, national and proprietary administration

The East African Internet Association

Electronic commerce - usually in reference to secure selling, ordering and purchasing through a remote web page interface

Where data is transformed for secure carriage between points of exchange. Decryption is under proprietary or user control based on transaction identity verification, passwords, keys, cards and other unlocking mechanisms

Electronic Point Of Sale, where credit and debit cards are charged locally and transacted remotely

FAT binary
File Allocation Tables in a binary format. A format for storing and retrieving information on magnetic and solid state media

Abbreviation for file and mail transfers and protocols using the FidoNet wide area network

A proprietary standard, non-Internet compatible protocol routed through a gateway which maintains durable connections with a high resiliency and using crash recovery. Also, the organisational structure that supports the messaging system

Reducing quantities of information to a proprietary criteria

the Fibre-optic Link Around the Globe, a joint venture between Bell Atlantic; Asian Infrastructure Fund, Hong Kong; Dallah Albaraka, Saudi Arabia; Telecom Holding Co., Thailand; and Marubeni Corporation, Japan. This is where the BIG money comes from

Storage media that archives data optically on flexible discs

VHF radio stations using Frequency Modulation

Full Duplex
Live two way communication such as a telephone

Geostationary satellites operating at a height of about 36,000km above the earth


Geographical Information Systems, databases with a graphical interface used for archiving, analysing and representing spatial data

Application software designed to provide electronic support for groups of individuals working collectively toward a common objective

Half Duplex
Delayed two-way communications ie a walkie-talkie

Kenyan fundraising organisations and meetings for donations that are made towards community initiatives

An old distinction, similar to a Cartesian dichotomy, distinguishing parts of computer systems by their 'tangibility'

Radio that operates in the 3 to 30 Megahertz range by bouncing signals off the ionosphere, also known as short wave.

HyperText Transfer Protocol - Means of requesting and delivering text and other data usually for display in a browser application

A form of information 'roundabout' which can mediate, route and direct data and traffic.

Internet Connectivity Provider - organisations which providing the bandwidth out of the country, operating links between local ISPs and an international connection ultimately to the fibre-optic Internet backbone in Europe and the US.

International Centre for Research in Agroforestry

The upward spiral of technical specification based on increasing capacities of memory, storage and data transfer speeds which are entwined with larger programs, greater databases and market expectation. Overspecification creates expectation which is fulfilled by overspecification.

An electronic or information intermediary. An organisational electronic interface for the provision of goods or services or a human communications intermediary.

Information broking
Filtering or mediating electronic information

The time-based version of distanciation. The operation of society and the conduct of distant relationships over shorter and shorter periods and elapsed time, enabled by technology and extensions

An electronic or human frontier of exchange between humans and networks, networks and networks.


An adaptation of internet protocol based on a 10(3) increase in addresses and the introduction of priority.

A proprietary or private computer network often based on http protocol

Internet Protocol – TCP/IP

IP Address
A numbering ( and naming ( convention for Internet connected computers

Internet Protocol Next Generation - Internet2

Internet Protocol version four - The Internet protocol dominant between 1989 and 2000

Internet Protocol version six - Internet2

Integrated Services Digital Network, a system that uses three telephone lines and no modem (instead a terminal adapter) to allow two full data channels (2 times 64k = 128k)

Internet Service Provider, The organisation providing dial-up, ISDN, xDSL and/or wireless Internet connections.

The United Nations International Telecommunications Union mediating international standards, statistics and analysis for telecommunications

The World Conservation Union

A language (and scripting language) that is portable between different computer platforms and developed by Sun Microsystems

Kilobits per second. A measure of data transfer speeds and therefore bandwidth. A copper telephone line offers between 56 and 64 Kbps.

The Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation. The former name of the state operated PTT

A protocol for simple transfers of data between two computers. Now becoming more complex!

The myth that it is possible for countries can jump development 'stages' and implies moving from primary production directly to 'information economy'.

Low Earth Orbiting satellite, LEO systems can be either "Little LEO" systems or "Big LEO" systems. A Little LEO system "is a small non-geostationary satellite which operates in Low 264

Earth Orbit, providing mainly mobile data services" and a Big LEO system "is a larger nongeostationary satellite which operates in Low Earth Orbit, again providing mobile telephony services." International Telecommunication Union World Telecommunication Policy Forum

An open source operating system influenced by UNIX that is free, durable and can operate on most computer platforms

A technique of themed email conferencing where single messages are sent to multiple recipients, usually through a list moderator

The local proprietary internet domain

An automatically generated record of system processes in computers

A Kenyan shared taxi or minibus

A Low Earth Orbiting Satellite weighing between 10 and 100kg

More than two way communications

Munge or Munj
Automatic processing of information to discriminate between and separate out elements

A foreigner/European. Literally, an exclamation of surprise

Distribution of information to an audience over electronic connections

A technique of themed and sometimes moderated email conferencing where messages are 'posted' in a addressed location and/or distributed to members of a mailing list.

A Non-Government Organisation The tendency towards NGOs as leading players in society

The Orkonerei Pastoralists Integrated Survival Programme

Practical Extraction and Reporting Language, a scripting language very useful for text manipulation and common tool for inputting and outputting information from Web Pages

Point to Point Protocol, a means of carrying Internet over a telephone line

Point of Presence, a local point for dialling into an ISP without having to pay long distance rates or negotiate shaky national lines


Post Office Protocol, for retrieving email over a dial-up connection and similar to SMTP but with a limited and appropriate instruction set

The Plain Old Telephone System

The set of rules defining and controlling the interchange of information between two sets of data processing equipment

Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones. State telecommunications providers.

Reduced instruction set computing, a type of processor

Equipment for switching and forwarding data. However it is in the process of being superseded by better host and node functions

Satellite periphery
Dependent locations that rely on satellite connection to the Internet

Standard Drawing Rights, A international payment standard or currency

Single Line Internet Protocol, A means of running an Internet connection over a telephone line

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, A protocol for sending and receiving internet mail

The other side of the hardware/software dichotomy representing 'intangibles'

Junk electronic mail and unnecessary excess (often promotional) information

A variety of Sun Workstation

Streaming media, streaming video, streaming audio
Chunks of narrowcast data designed to be downloaded and played on the fly to be discarded (and therefore not saved, copied and owned) by the application

A lower level in the hierarchy of named Internet addresses more often arbitrary rather than proprietary and never national

Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol - Internet Protocol or Internet

Time division multiple access, a form of multiplexing

A location for the public access of internet and other telecommunications services

Distance medicine conducted over electronic connections, usually referring (optimistically) to 'live' interventions using interactive video 266

Transaction data
Automatically generated records of computer and/or telecommunications communication transactions

Tanzania Telecommunications telecommunications provider Corporation Limited, the Tanzanian state

Tunnelling is a term used to describe the encapsulation of an endpoint address in a message routed via an intermediate address, the tunnel address2

An operating system widely used in workstations and mainframes

Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, the former Ugandan state telecommunications provider

Uganda Telecommunications Limited, the now-privatised former UPTC

Unix to Unix CoPy. Electronic mail originated from this simple application to copy data between two Unix machines. The basis of a durable emailing system lying between compressed and resilient FidoNet and relatively delicate SMTP on POP3

Value Added Network Services, telecommunications services

Very Small Aperture Terminal, a type of digital satellite connection particularly suited to data

Programming technique to check for errors, follow instructions and see how it operates

Email that is held on a web site and accessed from a remote terminal with a user name and password. Allows on-line composition and transmission of messages

Windows NT
New Technology, A higher end operating system for servers and workstations soon to be superseded by integrated Windows 98/NT bundle – Windows 2000

An open connection protocol from the 1980s and 1990s commonly experienced in the form of PAD or KERMIT access

Digital Subscriber Line, Local-loop or ‘ last mile’ access technology that delivers broadband connectivity (between 1Mbps and 54 Mbps) over copper wires

Porter J and Gilmurray D (1996) Tunnelled Signalling for the Support of Mobile ATM Contribution to the ATM forum, Olivetti Research, Vancouver


Appendix One:
Perl script walk-through $inlog = '/home/rupert/logs/teralogs/data/maillog'; $outlog = '/home/rupert/logs/teralogs/output/swiftlog.log'; $localuser = ''; Set data input and holding locations. open(SAVEOUT, ">&STDOUT"); open(SAVEERR, ">&STDERR"); open(STDOUT, ">$outlog") || die "Can't redirect stdout"; open(STDERR, ">&STDOUT") || die "Can't dup stdout"; Open files for select(STDERR); $| = 1; processing select(STDOUT); $| = 1;

open (LOG,"$inlog"); while (<LOG>) { tr/A-Z/a-z/; if ( $_ =~ "size=" ) {
Convert to lowercase, Pick ‘ from’ lines

($date,$day,$time,$system,$sendmail,$fromid,$from,$size) = split;

$_ = $fromid; s/://; s/AA//; ($one,$two) = split (/\d/); s/\D//; $fromid = $_; $first = ord($one); $mid = join ('', $day,$first,$fromid); if ( $from !~ "@" ){ s/,//; $from = join ('@', $from,$localuser); }

The two halves of the message are not adjacent. Set up a unique message ID for sorting which will pair the two components.

Add local domain to local user identity

Output message ID, ‘ size’ and ‘ from’ address to holding file

print "$mid $size }

$from \n";

Pick ‘ to’ lines


if ( $_ =~ "stat=S" ) { ($date,$day,$time,$system,$sendmail,$toid,$to) = split; $_ = $toid; s/://; Set up ID for ‘ to’ lines s/AA//; ($one,$two) = split (/\d/); s/\D//; $toid = $_; $first = ord($one); $mid = join ('', $day,$first,$toid); if ( $to !~ "@" ){ s/,//; $to = join ('@', $to,$localuser); } print "$mid $to\n"; } } print STDOUT "stdout 1\n"; print STDERR "stderr 1\n"; close(STDOUT); command, pairing the two message halves by their Ids. Run unix ‘sort’ The lines are now arranged from, to, from, to; in descending order close(STDERR);

Add local domain to user identity

Output ID and ‘ to’ address to holding file

$outlog = '/home/rupert/logs/teralogs/output/swiftlogged.log'; $inlog = '/home/rupert/logs/teralogs/output/swiftsorted'; Open holding file to be processed into final log open(SAVEOUT, ">&STDOUT"); file open(SAVEERR, ">&STDERR"); open(STDOUT, ">$outlog") || die "Can't redirect stdout"; open(STDERR, ">&STDOUT") || die "Can't dup stdout"; select(STDERR); $| = 1; select(STDOUT); $| = 1;

Print column headers


print "SIZE,FROM,,,TO\n"; Split log data components to process individually Remove extra characters from ‘ size’ information

open (LOG,"$inlog"); while (<LOG>) { if ( $_ =~ "size=" ) { ($id,$size,$from) = split; $_ = $size; s/size=//; s/,//; $size = $_;

Remove extra charcters in ‘ from’ information

Remove personal information

$_ = $from; s/,//; s/<//; s/>//; s/from=//; s/.*@//; $from = $_; $fromswap = "$from "; $_ = $fromswap; &swap; $fromswap = $_;

Invoke the ‘ swap’ subroutine, see below

Split up the ‘ from’ domain

Reverse domain Retain three domain levels ( or and add to ‘ size’ data in the ‘ output’ array

$fromsplit = “$fromswap “; ($a,$b,$c,$d,$e,$f) = split (/\./); $fromsplit = $_; $fromlast = join (" ", $f,$e,$d,$c,$b,$a); $_ = $fromlast; ($flast,$fsecond,$ffirst,$frest) = split; $fromlast = $_; @output } = "$size,$ffirst,$fsecond,$flast,";

Pick messages with matching IDs and ‘ to’ information. Split log data components

Remove excess characters


if ( $_ =~ "to=" ) { ($toid,$to) = split; if ( $toid = $id ) { $_ = $to; s/to=//; s/,*$//; s/<//; s/>//; s/>//; s/.*@//; $to = $_; $toswap = "$to "; $_ = $toswap; &swap; $toswap = $_; $tosplit = “$toswap “; $_ = $tosplit; ($a,$b,$c,$d,$e,$f) = split (/\./); $tosplit = $_; $tolast = join (" ", $f,$e,$d,$c,$b,$a); $_ = $tolast; ($tlast,$tsecond,$tfirst,$trest) = split; $tolast = $_;

Remove personal information

Invoke ‘ swap’ subroutine

Split ‘ to’ domain

Reverse domain levels

Pick off three levels

Add three domains from ‘ to’ data to ‘ output’ array Print ‘ output’ array with ‘ size’ , ‘ from’ and ‘ to’ information in spreadsheet format

push (@output, "$tfirst,$tsecond,$tlast"); } print "@output\n"; $gone = pop (@output); } sub swap { s/\.or\./.org./; 271

Aliasing The swap subroutine changes non-specific, international and US domains into local, national domains. Information built up using a database of domains.

… s/\.gn\.apc\.org./; } } print STDOUT "stdout 1\n"; print STDERR "stderr 1\n"; close(STDOUT); close(STDERR); Close all files


Appendix Two:
Printout of the HTML survey


Appendix Three:
Continental categorisations and country domains
Europe ad al am at az ba be bg by ch cs cy cz de dk ee es fi fo fr gi gr hr ge hu ie is it li lt lu lv md mc mk mt nl no pl pt ro ru se si sm sk su ua uk va yu Africa ao bf bi bj bop bw cf cg ci cki cm cv dj dz eg eh et ga gh gm gn gq gw ke km lr ls ly ma mg ml mr mv mw mz na ne ng rw sc sd sl sn so st sz td tn tz tki ug vda za zm zr zw Asia ae af bd bh bt bn cn hk il in iq ir jo jp kz kg kh kp kr kw la lb lk mm mn mo my np om ph pk qa sa Gambia Guinea Equatorial Guinea Guinea Bissau Kenya Comoros Liberia Lesotho Libya Morocco Madagascar Mali Mauritania Maldives Malawi Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Rwanda Seychelles Sudan Sierra Leone Senegal Somalia Saint Tome and Principe Swaziland Chad Tunisia Tanzania Transkei (arbitrary) Uganda Venda (arbitrary) South Africa Zambia Zaire Zimbabwe United Arab Emirates Afghanistan Bangladesh Bahrain Bhutan Brunei Darussalam China Hong Kong Israel India Iraq Iran Jordan Japan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Cambodia North Korea South Korea Kuwait Laos Lebanon Sri Lanka Myanmar Mongolia Macau Malaysia Nepal Oman Philippines Pakistan Qatar Saudi Arabia sg sy th tj tm tr tw uz vn ye Pacific ck cx fj fm gu hm id ki mh mp nc nf nr nu nz pn pf pg pw sb tf tg tk to tp tv vu wf ws yt Singapore Syria Thailand Tadjikistan Turkmenistan Turkey Taiwan Uzbekistan Vietnam Yemen Cook Islands Christmas Island Fiji Micronesia Guam (USA) Heard McDonald Islands Indonesia Kiribati Marshall Islands Northern Mariana Islands New Caledonia (French) Norfolk Island Nauru Niue New Zealand Pitcairn Island Polynesia (French) Papua New Guinea Palau Solomon Islands French Southern Territories Togo Tokelau Tonga East Timor Tuvalu Vanuatu Wallis and Futuna Islands Samoa Mayotte

Andorra Albania Armenia Austria Azerbaidjan Bosnia-Herzegovina Belgium Bulgaria Belarus Switzerland Former Czechoslovakia Cyprus Czech Republic Germany Denmark Estonia Spain Finland Faroe Islands France Gibraltar Greece Croatia Georgia Hungary Ireland Iceland Italy Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Latvia Moldavia Monaco Macedonia Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russian Federation Sweden Slovenia San Marino Slovak Republic Former USSR Ukraine United Kingdom Vatican City State Yugoslavia Angola Burkina Faso Burundi Benin Bophuthatswana (arbitrary) Botswana Central African Republic Congo Cote D'Ivoire Ciskei (arbitrary) Cameroon Cape Verde Djibouti Algeria Egypt Western Sahara Ethiopia Gabon Ghana

Americas ag Antigua and Barbuda ai Anguilla an Netherlands Antilles ar Argentina aw Aruba bb Barbados bm Bermuda bo Bolivia br Brazil bs Bahamas bz Belize ca Canada cc Cocos (Keeling) Islands cl Chile co Colombia cr Costa Rica cu Cuba dm Dominica do Dominican Republic ec Ecuador fk Falkland Islands fx France (European Territory) gp Guadeloupe (French) gs S.Georgia &S.Sandwich Is. gt Guatemala gy Guyana hn Honduras ht Haiti


jm kn ky lc gd gf gl pe mq ms mu mx ni nt pa pm pr py re sr tc sv tt um us uy vc ve vg vi Others aq arpa bitnet bv com fax Fido Gov gb io int mil nato net org sh sj

Jamaica Saint Kitts & Nevis Anguilla Cayman Islands Saint Lucia Grenada French Guyana Greenland Peru Martinique (French) Montserrat Mauritius Mexico Nicaragua Neutral Zone Panama Saint Pierre and Miquelon Puerto Rico Paraguay Reunion (French) Suriname Turks and Caicos Islands El Salvador Trinidad and Tobago USA Minor Outlying Islands United States Uruguay Saint Vincent & Grenadines Venezuela Virgin Islands (British) Virgin Islands (USA) Antarctica Old style Arpanet BitNet Bouvet Island Commercial Fax FidoNet Government Great Britain Br. Indian Ocean Territory International Military NATO Network Organisation Saint Helena Svalbard Jan Mayen Islands


Appendix Four:
Health Africa Internet Course Malaria research epidemiology african cards conference aids hiv new training sector development south reproductive information web developing international countries care condoms traditional public announcement amp afro­nets against medical aid women bednet colleges reform courses female who value network

Afronets newsgroup subject-line analysis world management tb global essential workshop looking congress short religious document azt project population contacts available accuracy workers trials electronic child site week healers diseases initiatives request system reforms family service impact booklists media transmission book update material call hmis systems analysis 276 161 161 154 149 147 146 142 142 140 140 140 140 139 138 135 134 133 133 132 132 132 128 126 125 119 117 116 114 112 112 112 112 112 110 110 109 108 106 105 105 103 102 socialist reflections old spread planning managers assistance dollar projects participation learning genital mutilation issues journal prevention condom press how children director idn viagra technology disease free resources discussion online list sought directory meeting informatics journals software protection income job decentralisation informal kenya 98 98 98 98 97 93 92 91 91 91 88 87 87 86 86 86 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 84 83 82 81 81 81 80 79 79 78 78 78 77 77 77 77 77 77 77

2606 1207 1001 865 745 592 565 510 469 424 418 414 405 374 337 311 277 275 263 251 239 235 232 231 224 218 215 212 206 202 198 198 194 193 189 180 179 171 171 169 168 165

website generating dr jobs treated access district zimbabwe distance appropriate male use over drug century gender materials medline seeking quality food southern human hospital review collaboration study abstracts now other gis support one next tropical man prophylaxis zambian breastfeeding building forum medicine communication

77 77 77 77 77 76 75 74 74 70 70 70 70 70 70 70 70 70 70 69 69 65 65 65 65 65 65 64 64 63 63 63 63 63 63 62 62 60 60 60 59 59 58

rural database vacancy resource tanzania botanical education violence bed­nets zimbabwean disappointed impregnated republic dilemma programme churches nutrition made africans trainers publications centre e­mail evaluation community tuberculosis year newsletter news work activity studies sciences plants allocation time indiscussion obstetrics initiative release bednets policy control 277

58 58 57 57 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 55 55 55 54 54 53 52 51 51 51 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49

treatments usaid proposals front center line sex group providing std programmes hsr­newsletter men definition first uganda on­line page rights capacity onchocercal eradication linkage treatment betweenprivate releases campaigns clinical regions rsa report more skin sub­saharan drugs thought filariasis social strengthening educational address papers childhood

49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 48 47 47 47 46 46 45 45 44 44 43 43 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42

ngos fellowships medicines articles asia polio zambia practice diagnosis schistosomiasis leadership nairobi addresses out telemedicine fees mother­to­child working manager position physiology integrated cost migration questions contributions opinion capability therapy affecting southafrica tdr invitation area mosquito follow legal library front­line Leprosy symposium sexuality photographs 278

42 42 42 42 42 42 41 41 41 40 40 40 37 37 36 36 36 36 36 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35

required dissertation financing funds pharmaceutical added letter gambia grants revolving economics tools factors mission future taxfor partners testing services help laboratory publication inreproductive nutritional meta tba intersectoral scientists society botswana bank insouth statistics change cell water durban outlook council day preventionof immunisation programs

35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 33 32 32 32 31 31 31 30 30 30 30 30 30 29 29 29 29 28 28 28

mann Formation based cours program mass healthsector cd­rom consultancy ngo cameroon scholarship xmas commission reviews grant feeding operations infectious please patients paper digest cochrane youth agenda image natural adolescents million collaborative de merry ministers prosperous dots caribbean about trends cd­roms downloading jonathan some

28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28

mailing systematic researchcapacit y transformation trust documents literature back forsub­saharan vitamins sexual lymphatic open action scientific ftp assurance multilateral ghana maternal contraceptive abortion rd methodology epidemic malariavaccine oppose polygamy tour dates organisation tobacco drum helina poverty beat road stds nd swaa transport sa 279

28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 27 27 27 27 27 27 26 26 26 26 25 25 25 24 24 24 24 23 23 23 23 23 23 22 22 22 22 22 22

connections healthcare adolescent dot july guidelines costs allergic anti­malaria chat regional theatre lancet distribution

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