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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 29 2013: I am curious about your idea... what devices would you use as your end-points for the everyday user? How would those that are in poverty acquire these items. I can imagine that bringing manufacturing to the country to provide jobs making these items is a possibility but again we come back to how will the manufacturer make money. The problem with poverty in the mass is that poverty breeds poverty, unfortunately. It takes money to educate and provide jobs but no way to make money to do that education and provide jobs. Then you have exporting that would allow for money to be brought in but we have seen in other countries that this often breeds mass slavery and human trafficking. I realize I am just bring problems and not solutions to the table.. this is why I am curious how you would overcome these challenges. Please do not say the government could help...
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      Oct 30 2013: Without attempting to put the mechanics of the whole strategy in a paragraph, at this point perhaps I can simply illustrate how it works in a place like rural India and specifically those who are in the BPL (Below Poverty Line) and very poor category. The reason I keep drawing a parallel with India is that Its important we try and find an as relevant a possible example such as this where the concept has worked. Some of the common variables between India and Africa are: Large population in the very poor/BPL category, low education, low access to basic social facilities, health, nutrition, and safety being key areas where the population can avail of mobile /smart phone based information access. What has really increased the uptake of the cell phone based use by this segment of the population is low-cost mass produced cell phone units, and one of the lowest cost/minute rate in the world. In fact the government has nothing to do with it. The kind of information made available to these communities via these phones is related to local vaccination schedules, health / epidemic related issues, crop cultivation, weather forecast, micro loans, sanitation advisories, and of course communication/calling. The phones support regional language capability (given that India has more than 600 languages and dialects). The phones also support a built in radio helps the farmer. The cost of these phones is as low as $20 (Nokia is the most popular brand). The subscription model is a pay-as-you-go model that allows the user to control his use/cost based on affordability. As to whether this model is helping - there is ample statistics in the public domain to prove it is. The infrastructure is completely set up by the private sector - the government's only contribution has been the auctioning of the airwaves/spectrum for cellular phone companies to buy and operate.

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