Happily, more and more each day it seems that technology is available to help previously left behind regions get on the grid quickly — new products and services that can be deployed in a fraction of the time it would take to rebuild traditional infrastructure. In recent years a whole host of technologies have been developed that could help war-recovering Africa “skip steps” in re-development, in much the same way that the cellphone revolution has brought personal communications to Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and yes, southern Uganda.
Three years from now (or even less) I could be in a transformed Gulu, where international and local investors work together seamlessly to get work done. I could be managing my investment from a distance, speaking with my staff from a Skype phone, or perhaps working with a young entrepreneur who learned how to surf the Internet on a $100 laptop.
Mack and Goldberg mention, among other things, Wimax, which can increase wireless internet access in areas without cable or telephone networks. Infocom started installing a Wimax network in Kampala last June, and Celtel has plans to expand Wimax throughout East Africa, but no mention was made of moving this to northern Uganda. Here’s to hoping….