While CNN’s news reporter Christiane Amanpour was having a good time comparing the light off situation at the recent super bowl to the plague of constant light offs in Africa; she took particular aim at poking fun at President Goodluck Jonathan’s claims that the power sector was one of his government’s greatest achievements that has satisfied the majority of Nigerians in getting more consistent electricity. Ms. Amanpour as the investigative reporter that she is drilled President Jonathan on his claims and put out an open mic to Nigerians to refute his claims. While Ms. Amanpour is within her rights to go after any claims in her interviews with high profile government officials which she deems to be untrue, it seems she has been having way too much fun trying to embarass President Jonathan on an international scale about constant “light offs” when that is the least of Nigeria’s biggest problems. I am all for exposing the lies, non-truths and corruption of Africa’s leaders; however I wish western reporters like Ms. Amanpour would be just as courageous and overzealous in exposing far more sinister ills from drones to globally sanctioned torture amongst these same ills that African and western leaders alike share, and how they directly contribute to this cancer in Africa as President Jonathan claimed in his interview in addressing why such a rich oil nation like Nigeria isn’t able to keep on its lights nor reap high profits off of such an in demand commodity as oil.
While President Jonathan’s claims of achievements were more fantasies of grandeur than reality, we must keep in mind that if “light offs” can happen during a world event showcasing one of America’s greatest past times where billions are spent in advertising alone and after millions have been spent to rebuild one stadium after a natural disaster, we should take into account that most independent African nations have been in the stage of independent development for a little over 50 years with many natural disasters without the millions to billions being invested to rebuild nor build most of anything, while America is well over 200 years old in its development with many parts of the nation experiencing the same problems of young African nations in crumbling infrastructure, poverty, huge gaps between rich and poor, corruption, high unemployment and just general failure of government to work for the good and needs of the people, while depending and insisting on private sector investments to do most of the work for the people. We must all come to the point where we can face our uncomfortable truths and not just highlight that of others.
As much as I am critical of African leaders because I feel most nations have gone backwards instead of forward due to individual greed and feeding the beast of foreign interests, I still have to give credit where credit is due in the fact that many nations are trying and are on course to be respected competitors in the world market with technology becoming the golden baton that is pushing Africa forward in the global race for development. Technology is clearly on the rise in Africa from multinationals vying for market share to women making strides in changing the face of tech on a local and global level. Even young African children are finding solutions to energy on a small scale, so surely African governments with all their advisors and flowing Masters, PHD’s and Doctorate degrees floating about should be able to find solutions on a larger scale. Hopefully the shaming of President Jonathan on an international scale as the leader of one of Africa’s richest and most populous nations with tremendous spending power cutting its own growth off at its knees by not focusing on investing in technology to heal some of Africa’s biggest wounds in productivity, will wake up the rest of our leaders to see the importance of education and investment in the technology sector to build nations in real development instead of just leaving it up to the private sector and foreign investors to do it for them, or at the very least create an environment that makes it easier for local investors and entrepreneurs to be included and to benefit from development in homegrown technology solutions in preserving the past and building the future. It seems Africa and Africans in general have a long way to go to learn how to properly manage our own affairs economically because as over $60 billion in Diaspora remittance hits African nations annually with more than double or triple that being taken out of Africa by multinationals and general corruption –it has left us with little to nothing to show for all of our efforts from the Diaspora and at home except to be complicit in continuously feeding the beast of dependence, which leaves those at home and abroad unable to ever live up to their full earning potential.
Africa must look to cooperative economics in intra-African trade and Pan-Africanism for global African sustainable economics as a way forward at home and abroad. If there is to be any comparison between the light off situation in New Orleans and the constant light off situations in Africa, it should be that our lights as a people have been dimmed and turned off for far too long and it is time for global Africans to recognize that we still have the same collective battle in the need to eradicate impoverishment amongst populations of global Africans by building models of economic sufficiency and sustainability within and without. As a Ghanaian, I am proud to say that although Ghana is far from re-claiming its early globally recognized glory days under Dr. Nkrumah, the Black Star nation seems to be on course in claiming its number one spot in Africa again with the collective works of those at home and abroad coming together for the good of the nation. From being the top African country listed on the New York Times’ top 46 places to go in 2013 for business and pleasure, and now claiming the number one spot in Africa for internet speed which is by far one of the most important commodities in an ever growing digital world. Now if only the Ghana Black Stars could bring home the Africa Cup, my black star nation can officially claim our well deserved black star shine in 2013 at the number one spot in once again being the lone black star that paves the way for a United States of Africa with unity and cooperative economics at the helm. As the late great August Wilson said: “Since we have a common past, we have a common future also” !
“Africa has always been viewed as a continent that isn’t very connected in terms of internet speeds and the number of users – compared to other parts of the world. Research done by Net Index has reaffirmed this belief, and while Africa has some pretty impressive average internet speeds, the continent’s top country only managed to rank 77th on their list of 174 countries from around the world.
“Based on millions of recent test results from Speedtest.net, this index compares and ranks consumer download speeds around the globe. The value is the rolling mean throughput in Mbps over the past 30 days where the mean distance between the client and the server is less than 300 miles,” Net Index wrote.
While the average rolling mean throughput around the globe is 10.26 Mbps (Megabits per second), Africa is still well below this.
Ghana ranks 77th on their list, and makes it into the top position for an African country with the average download speed being 4.78 Mbps. Ghana Telecom scored the highest with 5.57 Mbps, while Zain Communications Ltd scored the lowest with 1.69 Mbps. The scores were calculated by “analyzing test data between 25 March and 23 Apr 2012. Tests from 38 225 unique IPs have been taken in this country and of 223 598 total tests, 12 181 are being used for the current Index.”
In what is a bit of a surprise, South Africa’s neighbour ranked 80th on the global scale, coming in second for the African continent with a download speed of 4.65 Mbps. Substantially less unique IPs (3 972 ) were taken from Zimbabwe, and 2 463 tests are being used for the current index. Telecontract is on par with countries like Singapore, with speeds of 23.74 Mbps, but Powertel Communications (Zimbabwe) and MWEB Connect are culprits in bringing the average speed down, with 0.92 Mbps and 2.57 Mbps, respectively. Zimbabwe Online had an average speed of 11.83 Mbps.
From the 62,877 unique IPs that have been taken in Kenya, the country made it into the 84th position on the global list, with download speeds of 4.46 Mbps. Speeds in Nairobi clocked in at 4.79 Mbps, and Mombasa 2.81 Mbps. A total number of 20 ISP were tested for download speeds, and Kenya Education Network came in first with 18.39 Mbps, and Swift Global Kenya Limited scored 12.33 Mbps. The lowest download speeds were recorded by Tangerine, at 0.46 Mbps.
Libya’s average download speed clocked in at 4.27 Mbps, placing it 86 on the global index. General Post and Telecommunication was the only ISP tested, and out of the 17 504 total tests, 300 are being used for the current index.
The African island managed to beat out industry heavy-weights such as South Africa and Nigeria with a download speed of 4.25 Mbps, while still making it to number 87 on the entire list. In the capital Antananarivo the average speed was 4.73 Mbps, while ISP Data Telecom Service clocked an average of 3.52 Mbps.
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