Internet Usage in Africa – Somalia

Since 1991, Somalia has been living without national institutions. Recent presidential elections by a transitional Parliament will hopefully lead to a democratic normalization. In Mogadishu Telecoms thriving in lawless Somalia, BBC News journalist Joseph Winter describes how three telecoms – Telcom, Nationlink and Hormuud – have managed to emerge in this context and to operate at relatively low prices: 10$ monthly flat fee; International calls at 50 cents per minute. They have joint forces in the ISP Global Internet Company which mostly serves Internet cafes in and around Mogadishu. Internet cafes are extremely popular. One-hour web surfing costs 50 cents. E-mail is the killer app as people can use their own language; have many family and friends abroad – the Somali Diaspora being very large – with whom they keep in touch and do business. What I found very strong in the article are a series of portraits of Somali Internet Cafe users who describe how they came to use e-mail and Internet and how they usually use them. I warmly recommend you to read these portraits, and look at the vivid pictures that accompany the text.

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