As technology giants make moves on Africa’s tech scene — either by collaborating with local telecom groups or with each other — the reach of the internet is slowly extending into places that have traditionally been hard to connect. Various African countries have struggled to implement information and communications technology networks for a few reasons, one of which is cable theft. Copper used in network cables is valuable, batteries from cellular towers are regularly stolen, and certain fibers are also traded, which makes setting up physical networks difficult in areas of high crime.
Ghana has had a particular, historical problem with cable theft, which has significantly impaired the growth of internet networks. Some companies including Google and Samsung are trying to find ways around these problems as they see Africa as the next frontier for web and mobile markets. Samsung in particular, has focused on delivering internet for mobile health and education purposes, and has recently launched another branch of its solar-powered internet school in Ghana.
Samsung Ghana has launched solar-powered internet schools in certain locations in East and South Africa, and most recently established one in the community of Dago in the Akuapem South District of Ghana’s Eastern Region. The initiative aims at reaching over 2.5 million students by 2015. Samsung has partnered with the government of Ghana through the Ministry of Education and the Korean Education and Research Information Services to launch the schools that are outfitted with a set of desks, computers, tablets, wi-fi-enabled cameras, and an electronic board. The school has a central server provided by Samsung which stores the curriculum. The curriculum itself is partly pre-installed on devices in the solar classroom (thanks to a Samsung-Intel partnership), which has been designed through collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
While providing technology is half of the project, the other half is to develop interest in technology-based education and to bring more teachers on board with tech skills. Avoiding the need for wired internet is a step forward for such regions with network and cable crime, and hopefully Samsung’s initiative will help breed the next generation of tech-invested individuals.