Posts Tagged ‘video’

The distribution problem: IT, video and no Open Source

Mittwoch, Februar 6th, 2008

Emmanuel AhishakiyeI contacted Emmanuel via Facebook and he was so nice as to make an appointment with me in Kigali. Emmanuel Ahishakiye has been working as a part time trainer for a small IT company named CTC in Kigali. They have about 20 employees, doing IT training (as most IT companies in Rwanda do), installing networks and programming for NGOs and the Rwanda government.Now he is working for a health NGO outside the city. He told me a lot of very interesting details about the Rwandese IT business. There are a lot of companies, who work as public secretariat: Doing typing, copying, scanning and so on. Here exists only few IT companies, as I know them from Germany.

In our discussion we focused on the problems, IT startups have. There are a lot, I learned: The hardware, the internet connection, the money and the lack of knowledge.

There is a high demand of investment, because the IT start-ups don’t have the the ability to buy state-of-the-art computer equipment. IT companies with no financial backing have to buy their equipment in Dubai, where it’s cheaper. Emmanuel thinks they do this because of the many illegal products they have there, or they have the connections to get illegal products. IT from Europe is much higher quality, but the IT personell in Rwanda neither have contact to European sources nor money to buy state-of-the-art computer equipment. After I told him about Open Source Africa, he told me, that’s a great idea, mainly because the African IT companies can use Europe as a source for IT hardware. “Europeans can use this platform as a information base for business opportunities in Africa”, he is sure.

Rwandese programmers can’t compare with European”, mentioned Emmanuel as a potential problem. In his opinion, the difference between Rwandese and European skills is caused by the lack of high end IT equipment and the lack of good learning material: “Africans need to learn and get access to IT education.”

Emmanuel told me about a further problem IT companies have in Rwanda: the poor internet connection. Connection is on one hand very expensive, on the other hand is there a lack of bandwidth. A good connection is about 100 KBit/sec (other sources told me that they have 2 KBit/sec most of the time)

Antoine BigirimanaI asked Emmanuel about open source and he really didn’t know what I was talking about. “There is no law about the illegal use of software”, he argued (Antoine Bigirimana from E-tools, official distributor of Microsoft, told me otherwise). So MS Windows and other “expensive” software is copied widely. Emmanuel is sure that there are not many people in Africa who know about Open Source software. Emmanuel sees a great business opportunity in recording: African musicians and filmmakers don’t have access to do recording for an affordable price. There are neither music recording studios nor video recording studios in Africa, he told me.