Key Issues
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"Key Internet Policy Issues" is a series of contributions from people living in countries new or relatively new to the Internet about what they consider to be key policy issues related to the deployment and use of the Internet in their country. Each text is published under the complete responsibility and with the permission of its author. These contributions were solicited by Alan McCluskey, guest editor, in preparation for a special issue of the Internet Society's magazine "OnTheInternet" entitled "Strategies for development: from thought to action" to be published in November 1997. For more information and comments on the preparation of this special edition see "Addressing Key Policy Issues".

The need to popularise the Internet and its use

Togo was isolated from the Internet for a long time, having only e-mail based on UUCP connections until August 6th 1997, when full connectivity was established by the company "Cafe Informatique et Telecommunications".

Seventy percent of callers and users of the Internet in Togo are expatriates or members of international organisations. This situation illustrates the difficulties of access and the lack of knowledge on the part of the general public about Internet services. The very high cost of computers, the inaccessibility of telephone lines, the inadequacy of telecommunication infrastructures in Togo as in most of African countries, and the insufficiency of awareness campaigns and training seminars don't further Internet development and its use by the general public.

Some action has been taken to solve the problem through :

  • the SYFED centre of Lomé offers Internet access to students and professors as well as training in the use of the Internet;
  • the installation of cybercafes and the organisation of training seminars by Cafe Informatique;
  • the forthcoming installation of a permanent Internet connection by UNDP Togo which will be used by the government and some organisations.
These activities need to be reinforced if many people in Togo are to have access to the Internet as quickly as possible. What is need would be to:
  • reinforce and develop telecommunications infrastructures to allow easy and quick introduction of Internet;
  • equip schools and cultural sites with Internet access.

Setting up the national chapter of ISOC as soon as possible would also help. The Chapter could promote the Internet with the support of the ISPs and public authorities. At the same time, Cafe Informatique plans to reinforce the installation of cybercafes and to increase the organisation of training seminars. On another level, let's hope that the arrival of Network Computers will help us solve the problem of computer prices.

Alain Aina, Cafe Informatique et Telecommunications, Togo.

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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey,
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Created: September 5th, 1997 - Last up-dated: September 5th, 1997