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Chadian internet discussions gain momentum

January 16, 2015  »  City ProfilesNo Comment

WenakLabs, a non-profit initiative in N’Djamena to provoke experimentation with tech innovation, was founded early in 2014. The workspace is full of ICT enthusiasts and WenakLabs hosted a BarCamp event in November. Several topics were discussed during the workshops: the use of social networks, the importance of free software, the digital economy, access to the Internet or blogging.

After visiting WenakLabs, RFI’s Atelier des Médias met with five Chadian bloggers to discuss why they chose to share their lives with the rest of the world using the internet. Some use blogs as a tool for expression. Others discuss ways to improve daily life (like traffic jams). Another utilizes political cartoons to raise awareness of the government’s actions.

Separately, the 1st Internet governance forum, organized by Internet Society Chad and supported by the Ministry of Posts, was held in December under the theme <<Tchad, le hub des TIC en Afrique>>.

A week later, various organizations held an internet festival (fêté l’internet) at the national library. Over 300 youth participated, with some creating email (Gmail, Yahoo) and social media (Facebook, Twitter) accounts for the first time. Panels discussed the merits of open source software, good social media practices, digital mapping, and learning by experimentation. Participants were invited to create blogs about social realities. Finally, there was a Q&A about the digital economy and the basics of e-commerce.

Also worth noting is how Airtel Chad has been making strides to connect the country. Not only did they sponsor the fêté l’internet, but in October Airtel launched 3G services. Speedtest results posted on Tchadinfos shows only a 1 Mbps download speed with a massive 780ms ping time. Pricing remains prohibitive for many though SMEs and NGOs could enjoy the better speeds in time.

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