The Penetration of Information Technology in Ethiopia
October 8, 2007

In his book titled The World Is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman shows the potential of developing countries to the penetration of the internet technology and the huge benefits that can be reaped from it. Today, with a connection to the internet, anyone anywhere in the world who has the skills to use the internet can count on to be virtually everywhere around the world. In fact, the amount of the information on the internet is so much that one canít be everywhere around the world because time is limited.

This technology has opened a new opportunity for people in the developing countries on an unprecedented scale. Today one can visit the American virtual world without having to leave Africa. With good education and creativity, Ethiopian professionals in Ethiopia can tap on to this opportunity. America is coming to them instead of them coming to America. This must be good for the country and the emerging economy.

Some of the important aspects of information technology in Ethiopia are availability and affordability of equipment and software tools, trained information technology professionals, and accessibility to the internet.

Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to import computing equipment and software tools not only to distribute them around the limited major cities in Ethiopia but around the country in a way that the digital divide in Ethiopia is minimized.

The Ethiopian government is reported to be already working on fiber-optic installations in the country. This is very important for internet accessibility in the country where its current state is marginal.

Many universities are reported to be in the process of establishment in different cities throughout Ethiopia. The amount of focus these universities are putting on the introduction and utilization of the science of information technology is not very clear. In addition, mechanisms that university students could use to choose the area of specializations that suits their professional inclinations may not be available. However, this is an excellent opportunity for those students with a strong background in computational science to carefully consider if the area of information technology is best for them. These students will serve as the experts to help the penetration of information technology to every corner of Ethiopia.

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