How can IT reduce the gap betwee

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					                 How can IT reduce the gap
                    western countries

Name: R.M Frederico da Silva
Student number: 9166626
1     Introduction______________________________________________________________ 1
2     Brief history of Mozambique ________________________________________________ 1
3     Mozambique in the African context in the area of telecommunications_______________ 2
4     Threats and challenges _____________________________________________________ 3
5     IT outsourcing in India_____________________________________________________ 4
6     Scenarios ________________________________________________________________ 5
7     Strategies ________________________________________________________________ 6
    7.1       IT parks __________________________________________________________________ 6
    7.2       IT penetration by implementing projects _______________________________________ 7
      7.2.1     Accessing information ______________________________________________________________ 8
      7.2.2     Necessary equipment _______________________________________________________________ 9
      7.2.3     Training people in IT skills __________________________________________________________ 9
      7.2.4     Information transfer ________________________________________________________________ 9
      7.2.5     Efficient use of information _________________________________________________________ 10
      7.2.6     Exporting IT services ______________________________________________________________ 10
8     Conclusion _____________________________________________________________ 10
9     Bibliography ____________________________________________________________ 12
1      Introduction
The Information and Telecommunication Technologies (ICT) have infiltrated many countries of
Africa for the first time in the 1980s. The software as well as the hardware necessary for the
technology is in great scale exported from developed countries to Africa and was initially applied
to research and education but with the arrival of the internet in the 1990s, ICT has rapidly
reached other sectors.
The objective of this document is to elaborate on the conditions necessary to transform the
African country Mozambique into a producer of Information Technology (IT), allowing the country
to export IT to developed countries and to use it for its own benefit. This should decrease the
technological gap between developed countries and countries in Africa and particularly

The document discusses two different strategies that Mozambique could use to bring the country
into the information age. One of the strategies is based on the success of the Software Parks of
India, the other is aimed to strengthening of the economy based on the IT.
First a portrait of Mozambique is given with a brief history of the country and the efforts already
made by government and others to bring the country into the information age.

2      Brief history of Mozambique
Like the most African countries, Mozambique has suffered the cruelties of colonization for
The Portuguese arrived in 1498, seeking to establish supply points for Portuguese vessels on
route to India. They established a number of trading settlements, where gold and ivory were the
most profitable items. Later, slaves were also traded.
Portuguese landowners gained enormous estates in the Zambezi Valley, where they imposed
feudal taxes on local peasant farmers.
The colony was governed partly by Portuguese authorities in Lisbon, and partly by private
companies. Rather than developing the country, the Portuguese exploited what they could. Little
infrastructure was built for the Mozambican people. What schools and hospitals existed were
located in the cities, and reserved for Portuguese, other whites and privileged Africans.
In 1962 several nationalist groups were united to form the Mozambique Liberation Front
(Frelimo), headed by Eduardo Mondlane who was assassinated in 1969 and succeeded by
Samora Machel who later became president of the country.
After the independence in 1975, Frelimo quickly established a one- party Marxist state which
outlawed rival political activity. In 1976 a civil war began between the government Frelimo and
the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo). Despite the peace talks in Rome lead by the
Catholic Church in 1980, a partial cease-fire agreement was not signed before late 1991. In
1994, after a transition period, the multiparty elections finally took place.
The turbulent history of Mozambique, the vulnerability for natural disasters as floods or long
periods without rain and the absence a political climate where investment and productivity could
be simulated have put the country in a very difficult position. On this moment, Mozambique is the
second poorest country in the world.

Figure 1. Geographical position of mozambique

Mozambique counts about 19 million inhabitants, with an area of approximately 800 000 km2 the
country is one of the least populated in the world. With about 70% of the population living in rural
areas and the same percentage of people living in absolute poverty, the country is facing many
socio-economical problems as the high rate of mortality, very high percentage of illiteracy (about
80%), skilled workers employed abroad, very weak road and communication infrastructure, etc.
There are 16 major ethnic groups in Mozambique. The most significant are the Makua (the
largest group) of the northern provinces; the Makonde (also from the north), the Sena, from the
central provinces; and the Shanagaan, who dominate the southern provinces. Each of the major
ethnic groups in Mozambique has its own language. The common tongue and official language
is Portuguese.

3       Mozambique in the African context in the area of
From a status rapport from September 2002, the total number of Africans was in 2001 about 816
million, from which:
  • 1 in 4 have a radio (205m)
  • 1 in 13 have a TV (62m)
  • 1 in 35 have a mobile phone (24m)
  • 1 in 40 have a fixed line (20m)
  • 1 in 130 have a PC (5.9m)
  • 1 in 160 use the Internet (5m)
  • 1 in 400 have pay-TV (2m)

From this numbers it is known that the most users come from the metropolitan areas of northern
Africa. What is surprising is that the number of mobile phones already exceeds the number of
fixed lines. By the end of January 2005 the number of Africans with a mobile line reached 82
million, a growth of 340% since 2001 while the number of fixed lines remained behind with 27
million people. This increase in the number of mobile phones in Africa is following the trend of
the rest of the world.

In Mozambique, less than 3% of the population has private access to a telephone, from which
75% of the lines are mobile.

Fortunately, in 1997 began a pilot initiative called Acacia, leaded by the International
Development Research Centre (IDRC) to promote ICT among governments and the population.
The initiative focused on four African countries: Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda
it began by organizing symposia and other events to explain the importance of ICT for the overall
development of the countries and especially among poor and disadvantaged communities.
Acacia consists of three main projects:
   • Telemedicine
      provision of medical services and health care via existing telecommunications-based
      systems (terrestrial and satellites links). Two hospitals, one in Maputo and one in Beira
      are now able to exchange laboratory results, radiographs images and so forth.
   • Telecentres
      Public centres situated in both urban and rural areas where the population has access to
      telephone, fax, internet, pc use and copying and printing facilities, against reasonable
      payment relative to the possibilities of the population supporting network and shared
   • Schoolnet
      The project consists of ICT training for students and teachers in secondary schools. This is
      a very important project because 42% of the Mozambican population is 14 years old and
      younger. This project are being quickly expanded along the country, a first step to provide
      education and information for all.

Nowadays seems those projects are of great success in Mozambique due to the ability of Dr
Venancio Massingue who chairs the Scientific Committee to stimulate the interest of the
government at the highest level.
For curiosity only, Dr Venancio Massingue promoted in Information and Communication
Technology Application and Management from Technology University of Delft (TUDelft) in 2003.

4      Threats and challenges
One of the major threats in Africa is the absence of social and political stability. There was no
nation in the history that could build anything in war time. On the other side, corrupt governments
are building the future for themselves instead to build a future for their nations. African
governments are still investing in military defense, often sustaining ethnical conflicts and even
In general, social and political stability is required to general development and so to reduce the
gap with African countries and the rest of the world. This would be the greatest challenges of
Africa in the 21st century. But given the situation it is not realistic to assume even in spite of the
beautiful talks, that from one day to another the governments in Africa will make great
investments in heath care, education or infrastructure where a huge amount of money is
required, not to speak about the investments necessary for African penetration of high
technology issues.

The second major threat is in my opinion, the lack of ambition. In such a climate of poverty and
violence where the daily activities are mainly related with survival questions it is off course
difficult to think about the future in terms of development and competitiveness. The most African
countries stayed dependent on developed countries even after their physical independence.
Africa has learned to live from developed counties charity for the most fundamental things in life

as food or health care. The population must learn to make use of the available resources, hard
work, creativity, and peer development activities in order to make Africa competitive and real
independent of the rest of the world. This last should be the Africans ambition.

As said before, in Mozambique there have been some initiatives in order to bring communication
technology to the population and IT training to schools. These initiatives are remarkable by being
initiated by organizations who took efforts to involve the government in the projects from the
beginning, who used the monitored data from the experiment into its own ICT policy.
Apart from the social importance of Telecenters or Schoolnet, the projects have also contributed
to awareness of the population and government on how ICT can contribute to help solve other
problems in Mozambique as poverty and to achieve sustainable improvements of the economy,
education and wealth. The challenge is to take these pilot projects as trends for future projects in
Mozambique in cooperation with neighbor countries.

5      IT outsourcing in India
India is a good example of how an undeveloped country can be turned out in a super power in
the area of IT outsourcing. Lets look inside this success story, because it may be can be also
applied to Mozambique.
Currently, India is designing, implementing and exporting software to many business companies
worldwide including multinationals. Today the IT is the fastest growing sector of India economy.
The total software export is expected to reach 50 million dollars around the year 2008; this is a
share of about 25% of the country’s total exports. Indian competitive advantage is mainly due to
the huge cost savings provided to outsourcers, a friendly tax structure, the large trained
manpower pool and the large number of English speaking people, the second largest in the
world. Generally this leads to a win-win situation for both India and outsourcers.

Today, Indian companies are offering a variety of outsourced services ranging from customer
care, transcription, billing services and database marketing, to Web sales/marketing, accounting,
tax processing, transaction document management, telesales/telemarketing, HR hiring and
biotech research. India ambition to be the largest generators and exporters of software in the
world by the year 2010, on this moment, the Indians market share for IT outsourcing is about

By establishing Software Technology Parks (STP) all over the country, India has set up a curious
institutional framework for IT activities, which works. The STPs are equipped with fast internet
connections based on optic fiber supported with international gateways at several locations in
the country and communication links to the rest of the world. India became one of the most
materialistic societies on the planet, providing glaring disparities. For one side the software and
industrial parks as oasis of high technology, luxury housing, commerce and entertainment
surrounded by a vast desert of misery and absolute poverty that according to official numbers
was in 2004 about 26% of the population, i.e. about 260 million people!

STPs are Figure 1 below shows a map of STP though all over India.

Figure 2: Location of the STP parks of India

6       Scenarios
Scenarios can be conservative, drawn on the continuation of the present situation. Other
scenarios more dependent on changes in the world, though less likely to happen should be
considered. We can off course discuss the scenarios I put here have a more or less likelihood to
happen however, I tried to relate them with events going on in today’s developed and developing

    • The shifting of power scenario
    • The pessimistic scenario
    • Self destructing scenario

In a shifting of power scenario, the terrorism that is affecting western countries on this moment
will be forth up, with terrorist attacks all over Europe, North America and Japan. The western
economy will collapse completely. Multinationals search for new opportunities in the world that
can be found in South-Sahara African countries which are not affected by that war and have
made great efforts in the past years towards social and political stability. High educated
European and American refugees reach those countries in great numbers and start to build their
lives there. This creates big opportunities in that area: experienced refugees begin to establish
own companies which give a big impulse to the local economies as exploitation of local
resources, job creation, explosive exports and reformations in infrastructure, reformation of

health care which result in reducing expansion of diseases and mortality, etc. Due to this the
information technology penetrates the countries almost naturally. After the war, western
countries concentrate on rebuilding but continue importing a great variety of products from Africa
contributing even more to the strengthening of the economy in Mozambique, a part of the South-
Sahara countries.

In a pessimistic scenario, Mozambique will not succeed on releasing the resources and
manpower to infiltrate IT in the country in order to export IT services to developed countries
missing also the opportunity of using IT for own benefit. The government is aware of the big
investments necessary to enter the information age and chooses to concentrate on other issues
as poverty and disease spreading combat; in a more conservative way which is more popular
among the population. The corruption in the country stay high and the government is not able to
put the several ethnic groups in line. The population is not stimulated to build up the country,
crime rates substantially increase, guerrillas emerge from all sides putting the country in a great
instability. The country is not able to attract any form of foreign investment and remains the
poorest country in the world.

In a self destructing scenario, I focus essentially on the Mozambican culture and ethnical
differences. Due to the turbulent history of the country, the population is not used to undertake
initiatives in order to improve their own situation of life. In the time of occupation, the population
lived as slaves, under the pressure of the occupants. After the independence, the country
immediately entered in a period of war. Like before, the population were mainly busy to survive,
escaping at large numbers to neighbor countries. After the war, people must process the
associated traumatism from the past, try to survive epidemics and natural disasters. The
population does not trust the government because of its implication in the war and because of
overprotection of some groups above others. People from different groups are mistrustful and
jealous against each other. Any attempt to economic success from a group is seen by the other
as a potential oppressor and thus should be destroyed. In this context, emerging businesses,
initiated from ethnical groups members have less chance to survive. In this scenario a little IT
business is in no time burned out.

7      Strategies
Two main strategies will be here discussed. The discussions will take into account the scarce
country resources, geographical position, culture and the likelihood of the government to make
big investments as explained in the topic Threats and Strategies. Given the current country
situation explained above, I don’t think that Mozambique can be turned into a powerful IT
supplier in just let’s say, a decade. I therefore try to find a strategy that would improve a durable
and solid development of the country, mostly based on IT technology, which then at a long term
can raise enough to supply design and implementation of IT among African countries and the
world. This way, independent of whether the world changes to meet any scenario I described
above, Mozambique would be prepared to successfully face any one of them.

7.1    IT parks
There is a trend since the last decade for outsourcing activities related to software
implementation and other aspects of the information technology to developing countries. We saw
above how India profits ‘entirely’ from this trend.
In analogy with India, one of the strategies could be to establish STPs. However there a set of
constraints and threats for Mozambique in order to make it a success:

  • Only a few Mozambicans speak English
      The English language is absolutely necessary to develop software to western countries.
      Cooperation with Portuguese language countries is definitely too risky on this area.
      Portugal’s have no multinationals to import software at a great scale and Brazil have the
      ambition to profile itself as an IT outsourcing country.
  •   India is the second most populated country in the world
      Mozambique on the contrary, is one of the less populated countries in the world. The
      number of IT professionals in Mozambique would never reach the numbers of those in
  •   Mozambique does not have the means to invest in the necessary infrastructure
      The investments in the infrastructure of STPs by the Indian government cannot be made in
      Mozambique, simply because of the low population density it would not be profitable to do
  •   The software parks have not improved the conditions of life for the rest of the
      The STPs are like islands of prosperity only for the elite. The poor neighborhoods around
      those areas experiencing increasing prices for the daily goods and are not getting any
      better. Besides that, Indians are used to the cast system. People belong to high casts or
      they belong to low casts. It is generally accepted that high casts people live in better
      conditions than people belonging to low casts. Mozambicans would never accept this
      concept: misery or fortune must equally apply to everybody.
  •   IT outsourcing is emerging everywhere
      Not only India, but other developing countries as Brazil and eastern European countries
      have much potential to provide IT outsourcing at low prices. As these countries fully
      infiltrate the business by reaching at least the quality provided by India, prices will
      decrease, cultural differences will be emphasized, distances will become important,
      efficiency will be compared and competitiveness will be sharp enough. Countries as India
      where a great share of the economy is based on IT, this scenario will strike hard.
  •   Skilled IT workers are searching abroad for a better price for their knowledge
      This phenomenon is taking place in India as well as in eastern European countries where
      the distance to developed countries are less significant. This is a disaster, keeping in mind
      that the developing country of origin, have made expensive investments on this people.
      This is a lesson that Mozambique must take very seriously from those countries.
      Mozambique already loses a large number of educated people to western countries as
      medical care professionals, advocacy and other areas of interest for the country. This is
      already a problematic issue that the country is trying to abolish by creating the conditions
      necessary to keep them.

7.2    IT penetration by implementing projects
A more realistic strategy is to continue the efforts in the country related to the Acacia projects.
These projects should be reinforced and extended in order to first set Mozambique in the map of
the world economics. Again, to achieve good results, the social and political stability are
required, Because of the large number of ethnical groups and the experience in guerrillas,
stability is very vulnerable, disadvantaged groups can easily begin the process of citizen war
again. So the government must operate very carefully.

7.2.1 Accessing information
To develop the country, the government must invest in education for all. This assures the
participation of all ethnical groups keeping everybody satisfied. This issue is as we saw above, a
key factor for success. Access to information is very difficult to carry out due to:

  • High concentration of illiteracy
  • Weak communications infrastructure
  • Spreading of the population through rural, almost inaccessible areas

That illiteracy is a big barrier to information is clear. However, the country cannot literate 80% of
the population in just a few years. Trying to do so is wasting time and efforts that can better be
spend elsewhere, for example by addressing the youth, which forms 42% of the population.
The government should first begin a campaign to convince the youth to put all their energy and
enthusiasm for a better future and explain the IT technologies contribution to achieve that,
emphasizing that everybody will benefit from it. The youth, when appropriate stimulated is not
only much easier to literate but will try to take its share in the future opportunities.
The population should be informed about the increase in opportunities where he or she attend
education and providing the means to make that possible, for example by establishing more
schools to cover a greater part of the country.

All over Africa and Mozambique in particular, the use of cellular telephony already exceeded the
use of fixed lines. This shows that African people are prepared to embrace entirely the new
technology. The advantage of mobile telephony in Africa, abstracting from technological issues,
is quite the same as in developed countries: accessibility wherever you are. So instead of
investing in expensive communication infrastructure per land, the government should put efforts
by keeping up with advances in technology investing in wireless satellite access, perhaps by
cooperation with neighbor countries. The internet can be accessed by connecting a satellite
receiver center with satellite internet dishes on computers. See figure 3 below.

Figure 3: Wireless internet via satellite

Satellite internet dishes are an alternative to cable modems and ADSL suitable to reach areas
without broadband communication infrastructure, providing cheap high speed internet access.

Another means of very cheap communication is Ham Packet Radio. With this digital side of
amateur radio technology it is possible to send data over the airwaves with appropriate cables
connecting a radio and a computer. But a simple radio only is surely suitable in the beginning
phase of spreading up population IT awareness campaigns.

7.2.2 Necessary equipment
Once the problem of accessibility is resolved, raise the problem of providing people with the
necessary equipment to take maximal profit from the information available. A big problem is the
absence of electricity in many rural areas. Although Mozambique produces annually about 7
million kilowatt/hour of electricity, at the moment only 6% is distributed in Mozambique (80% is
exported to South Africa), the low population density make it costly to connect new customers. It
is therefore unrealistic to expect that this problem is to be solved in a near future. This problem
let only one option left: the extensible use of information centers where the necessary equipment
should be concentrated, at schools, churches, etc.

But where do computers and related devices come from? Saving money by buying old
computers is not the answer. Old computers cannot effectively run the newest software, are not
quick enough and have little data store capacity. The role of the government in this area is to
attempt to get the most computers donated from developed countries with the motto: better
quality than quantity. This could be supported by Mozambique embassies from all over the world
which have the means to make the necessary contacts.

7.2.3 Training people in IT skills
Again the process of training people in IT skills cannot be done without western countries. IT
technology and techniques are developing very fast. To keep up the developments IT
professionals should continue to learn every day. This requires not only fast access to
information, but also regularly attend updating courses and cultivating vast contacts is
particularly valuable. Such an environment is not available at great scale in Mozambique.
It is therefore common practice to sent students to western countries in order to provide them
with quality education.
The international student exchange programs have been exhaustively used by Mozambique.
Portugal, for example signed an educational agreement with former Portuguese colonies and
receive annually thousands of students from Cabo Verde, Angola and Mozambique. Those
students attend education at secondary schools and universities, without paying college money
and getting a modest amount of money as grant from the country of origin for subsistence.
Unfortunately there are two main problems with this kind of student exchange programs.
Because of the relative high costs to stay in a western country the students must rely on
relatives for additional money for subsistence, which obviously implies discriminating the people
who cannot. Another problem is that the students are good aware of the hopeless situation in the
country of origin, trying everything they can to stay in western countries where they have more
probability to find a job.

Although the essence of the above approach cannot be considered a bad option, a better
approach is to take experienced teachers from western countries to Africa. This should include
professional teachers in the area of heath care, environment, mechanics, architecture, ICT, etc.
Advantages achieved by the increasingly amount of students from all classes of the population
that can be educated, when the government can actually save money. As a matter of fact it is
cheaper to pay for a teacher to educate 30 students than send 30 students to a western country.

7.2.4 Information transfer
An important aspect of ICT is information management and transfer for a better strategy
efficiency and management of business processes. In addition to what is said by the topic
Accessing Information, the transfer of information needs a more coordinated strategy. People

access information voluntary when the possibilities to do so are present but not everybody feels
in how that could be useful. This is surely the case for IT. People employed in the fisheries or
agriculture does not see immediately how IT (or other kind of innovation) can improve the
competitiveness of their activities. Information transfer aims to reach also those economical
areas. Note that the information should be available in the best case in the native languages and
in the worse case in the official language. English, French or other language has no potential to

There are many ways in which the information transfer can be made for example, by establishing
knowledge centers where appropriate educated people should be placed. The centers should
work dynamically in order to educate the population in the skills necessary to perform activities
making use of innovating techniques, providing additional information and monitoring the
different activity processes.
This should include narrow cooperation between the regions and universities again with the
universities providing knowledge and monitoring knowledge application.
Another way to transfer information specially designed to serve regions where the population
density is very low is by placing a communication facility, for example based on Ham Packet
Radio, connected to knowledge centers or universities and where help can directly be offered on
demand by a person responsible for the development in the region.

7.2.5 Efficient use of information
The knowledge acquired in high schools and universities needs to be immediately applied on the
‘field’. The information technology can be applied in almost every branch, from agricultural
improvement until public sector management. It is surely a challenge to Mozambique to find out
which activities dominate within the regions and how those activities could be integrated. Then
apply the necessary knowledge in order to improve the quality and efficiency of the processes
related to those activities and entire sectors as a whole.
Another positive effect of the use of information is for example the appearance of new activities
to complementary to existent ones, the strengthening of the private sector and job creation.

7.2.6 Exporting IT services
Once the overall economy of the country as been improved and IT has successfully been
integrated in the most sectors of the country economy, the country is then mature enough to look
abroad. On that point the government could consider to establish sophisticated centers (STPs?)
with all necessary conditions to produce quality software for inside and outside the country, with
English as basis language. This would be seen as an emerging activity in the IT sector, like
others had been raised in other sectors.

8      Conclusion
The Information Technology is necessary in Mozambique. It will help to improve the economy as
it did in western countries. However the country must take into account its history and the
differences of the population because of its social and political vulnerability.
Personally, for the reasons I discussed above, I do not believe that IT dependent on other
aspects of the economy could save the country.
What Mozambique need is a government free from corruption being able to bring stability to the
country and stimulate the population to believe in their own potentials. Ironically, the
improvement of the economy can be achieved with minimal government investments, but with a

government taking the right decisions. Think for example, how costs can be saved by using
satellites instead of investing in a more traditional communication infrastructure per land.
Besides that, Mozambique lies in a part of the world yet full of opportunities also those related to
Information Technology which have not yet really reached Africa. The country should therefore
focus entirely on that area.

On the other side, the first scenario I described Shifting of power, have the less probability to
happen. But when the government of Mozambique does not perform the necessary reforms, the
other two scenarios become dangerously close to reality and then the gap between developed
countries will become irremediably larger.

9      Bibliography

Brief history of Mozambique

Mozambique in the African context

ICT in India

Threats and challenges



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