Some years ago I attended a conference on sustainable growth and development using IT and I was impressed by a grass root project with an immediate impact.
Students from the University of Dakar had developed a text message service that provides Senegalese fishermen information about the locations of the fish, the price
of the various fish on the market and the latest meteorologic information. For 5000 CFA per month (about 10 US $) the fishermen could subscribe
to this text message service and as a result their productivity and efficiency increased significantly.

Today fishermen go out and make informed decisions on what fish to catch and where to find them and they
know when it is time to go back if the weather is getting too rough. All of this for 10 US $ per month.

Will it be Red Snapper, Barracuda or Thioph ?

The students that worked on this project of course gained a wonderful experience by applying todays technology showing immediate returns.
What better motivation can you provide a student to carry on investing time and effort in his or her study and not become a drop out by showing
him or her their capabilities to add value to their communities.

The University has a wonderful reference story to tell students who consider to sign up.

The consumers are better served and in the long run will pay a price without mark ups of middle men.

This is a very simple example demonstrating how ICT impacts day to day life and adds value to all layers of a(n) (developing) economy that
leap frogs when it uses state of the art technology, that is accessible and affordable at the same time.

All that is needed is creativity and understanding of what is locally needed and considered a priority and the opportunities to create wealth using
todays new technologies can change the face of African economies. Some low cost projects can make the difference to get people out of a poverty trap.

© Desi Lopez Fafié

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December 2008

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