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African nations agree to $1 billion Indian satellite project
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Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 20 November 2007 10:00
Indian government will finance $1 billion project to at develop Africa's information and communication technology infrastructure

By Michael Malakata , IDG News Service
November 20, 2007
InfoWorld


A critical mass of countries are signing on to a plan for India to invest $1 billion in the Pan-African e-Network satellite project, a joint initiative with the Africa Union aimed at developing the region's information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure. The African Union last year entered into an agreement that calls for the Indian government to supply funds for the project. The Indian government will finance the project over a period of five years through a grant to the African Union. Ethiopia for example, has been given a grant of $2.13 million from India for the project.  

So far, 27 African countries have signed agreements for the project, designed to connect African countries by satellite and fiber-optic network. The countries that have signed for the project include Zambia, Gambia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Mauritius and Tanzania.

The project will include installation of Very Small Aperture Technologies (VSATs) to carry VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) communication. The VSATs will be used for online education and telemedicine programs expected to extend ICT infrastructure to rural areas and other underserved communities. The telemedicine network will be used to share knowledge from Indian doctors with their African counterparts through an online training program.

"The project is significant to African countries because it overcomes limitations that make access to remote areas in most African countries difficulty by using VSATs," said Patrick Sinyinza, Zambia's ambassador to Ethiopia, where the project is based... More   Comment in the Forums
 

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