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Sri Prakash

E-Com Canada Inc.

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A cloud strategy in Africa makes absolute sense.

Africa – a large continent with a number of countries with disparate levels of access to education and commerce. This makes it exceedingly hard for the standard distributed computing model to proliferate. ‘Cities that can’ and ‘Centers of Excellence’ are too few and spread too far apart to seed the development of distributed networks more common in other parts of the world. A faster and more practical model for growth would be to establish a cloud infrastructure clustered in the few cities that can actually host it.

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      Oct 25 2013: Cloud infrastructure is a relatively much cheaper way of making information/computing resources available to a population. The overheads are much fewer and cheaper. The benefits of relevant information accessibility by the population can be had by simply owning a cheap cellphone. Cellphone /smartphone penetration in Africa is currently at between 17 to 19 percent.

      Regarding who and how they will benefit; Given that the majority of the population is still extremely poor and is striving to meet basic needs, the kind of information that will be most helpful and be readily consumed by is that which pertains to healthcare, hygiene, literacy/education, safety, micro farming, small business, micro business, and basic social development including village and small town development; in this scenario, the majority of the population are going to be “consumers” of information rather than “producers”. In such a model, a cloud approach makes most sense since these population centers cannot really afford to maintain their own data centers from a financial, logistical, and know-how perspective.

      Regarding whether the above is achievable - well lets simply go by an example - India's poor and agriculture sector as a whole has benefited tremendously from cheap affordable cell phone and internet access.

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