African Bloggers

Africa Calling
By Victor W.A. Mbarika and Irene Mbarika

This is a great article for anyone interested in the African wireless revolution or digital divide issues. One of my most time consuming hobbies is reading about technology; especially technological development in Africa. So here’s one of my favourite articles, (also posted on my blog:

Mobile in Africa

Mobile Subscriptions Skyrocket: Africa far outpaces the rest of the world in average annual growth of mobile phone subscriptions. According to the International Telecommunication Union, from 1999 through 2004 Africans signed up for cellphones at a far greater rate than Asians and nearly three times as fast as Americans. Most of that growth was in the sub-Saharan region [left]. Illustration: Bryan Christie Design (2)

Mobile vs. Fixed

Mobile vs. Fixed Lines in Africa: The most recent figures from the International Telecommunication Union show that between 1994 and 2004 the number of telephone subscribers per 100 inhabitants in Africa increased dramatically, thanks to a huge upsurge in cellphone usage starting in the late 1990s.
Source: International Telecommunication Union


I’ve been meaning to designate an afroRise! Person of the Year for 2006.

I think I will dedicate to all Africans conscious of the digital divide and raising awareness about the potentially democratizing effect of the internet. So, my Persons of the Year are African Bloggers. You’re the bomb.

I realize that TIME Magazine and I are on the same page. We took the easy way out by acknowledging everybody and nobody at once. I’m just making the Time Magazine awards more particular: African netizens. Because there’s so much more for us to do!

Here’s the TIME article, which is now a month old. Here’s a snippet if you don’t want to read the whole thing:

NEW YORK (AP) – Congratulations! You are the Time magazine “Person of the Year.”

The annual honor for 2006 went to each and every one of us, as Time cited the shift from institutions to individuals – citizens of the new digital democracy, as the magazine put it. The winners this year were anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web.

“If you choose an individual, you have to justify how that person affected millions of people,” said Richard Stengel, who took over as Time’s managing editor earlier this year. “But if you choose millions of people, you don’t have to justify it to anyone.”

Good one. At least by isolating African bloggers I’m choosing hundreds, maybe thousands. (I don’t know, is there a count?)