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Africa starts to tap solar energy for IT

Governments and development organizations in Eastern and Southern Africa are starting to adopt solar energy to bolster energy resources for Information and Communication Technology in rural areas. The e-school project in Africa is already using solar energy to power computers in remote areas where schools are not connected to the national grid. Solar energy will have a positive impact on rural societies by enabling people to access computers and the Internet, said Paul Zambezi, Ministry of Science and Technology permanent secretary. A lack of electricity has made ISPs and mobile phone service providers hesitant to build capacity in rural areas. "Underutilization of solar energy is depriving rural areas of an opportunity to access information through ICT," Zambezi said.

The e-Africa Commission, in Johannesburg, which is chartered to develop ICT in Africa, wants more than 500,000 schools throughout Africa to have Internet connections by 2015. The head of the physics department at the University of Zambia, Geoffrey Munyeme, said social and economic development is inseparable from scientific and technological advances. "Africa has lagged behind in technology and harvesting solar energy to use for developmental programs," Munyeme said.

News source: InfoWorld

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