Recently I read a news article on BBC which states Ethiopia’s aim for digital revolution. What kind of digital revolution is the government of Ethiopia is aiming when the country has failed its citizens. In a world where even our neighbor Kenyans are spending tens of millions of dollars to guarantee that their citizen has high speed broadband connections, fewer than 1 per cent of Ethiopians have access to the internet.
I want the schemer of the country’s digital revolution to think about this: more than 99 per cent of our population does not know what Google is. So what do we do?
One would think that, like may be South Africa, government should be allowing at least one big telecom corporate competitor to Ethio -Telecom and spend as much money on telecom infrastructure as possible. (By the way International Telecommunication Union (ITU) requires Ethiopia together with other African countries to digitize its broadcasting services thorough set top box devices. Technically this process would enable broadcasters which is ETV in our case begin to make use of internet to distribute. However, Ethiopia is a way behind the deadline (2015) of ITU on digitizing its analogue broadcasting facilities let alone to consider ETV as a provider of internet for at least 5 per cent of Ethiopians as a minimum of 5 per cent of Ethiopians can access Ethiopian Television with my modest guess. But, the ones in power oddly believe that a mere 1per cent of the internet penetration is an astounding achievement of the last twenty years.
It is also evident that that Ethio-Telecom services are dreadful, which is why many people sometimes decide not to have any of its services even a landline phone.
I do not have any faith in the system here. I strongly believe it is decayed to the foundation, and even if I am paying all my taxes, I do not think the priorities set by the rulers of this country are sound.
So then, what’s a digital revolution? You know and I know that 20 years from now nothing much will change here. For you and me, yes. We might do fine. We could survive. But not for more than 80 million Ethiopian population. These huge population will still be illiterate, and they still won’t have heard of Google, won’t be on Facebook and certainly won’t be Tweeting, not to mention that other new life changing technology might have been invented by then.
So I repudiate to be party to the hype of what they call a digital revolution. Mentally and physically, I remove myself from unreal digital revolution