ICT Policy



City Profiles

Key African ICT Terms

November 3, 2009  »  UncategorizedNo Comment

Updated May 2011.

Africa-specific Terms:

  • Cherrypal: Computer marketer that produces a $99 computer.
  • DRC: Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Etisalat: UAE-based telecoms provider.
  • g-[nation]: Google conference held to promote web tools
  • iHub: Open space for tech innovators in Nairobi.
  • InfraCo: Holding company that creates viable infrastructure investment opportunities in developing countries.
  • Intelsat: Communications satellite provider.
  • ISPA: South African ISPs
  • Kabissa: Network connecting people and organizations for Africa.
  • m-Pesa: Safaricom’s service allowing for the transfer of money using a mobile phone.
  • MTN: GSM cellular network operator, especially active in South Africa.
  • National ICT policy: A comprehensive and structured plan for information and communication development across all aspects of society. Usually long-term.
  • Rural Internet Kiosk: An independent self-contained solar powered station featuring three computer terminals with broadband wireless Internet access.
  • Safaricom: Leading provider of converged communication solutions in Kenya.
  • SSA: Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Ushahidi: Crisis-mapping website.
  • Vision [year]: A common name for a long-term ICT plan.
  • Vodacom: Telecommunication service provide in South Africa.
  • TENET: Teritary Education Network. Located in South Africa.

General Terms:

  • 4G: The fourth generation of wireless standards, more specifically, IP packet-switched networks, mobile ultra-broadband, and multi-carrier transmission.
  • ADSL: Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. A type of DSL connection over a phone line, with different upload and download speeds.
  • Backbone: The main “trunk” connections of the Internet, made up of high-capacity data routes and core routers.
  • Bandwidth: The amount of data that can be transmitted via a given communications channel in a given unit of time.
  • Broadband: High speed Internet access, usually greater than 2 Mbps.
  • ccTLD: country code Top-Level Domain. A domain reserved for a given country.
  • Cloud computing: Internet-based computing via shared resources that provide information on demand.
  • Cyber crime: Criminal acts that are performed with the aid of a computer.
  • Digital curriculum: An instructional plan that incorporates computer-based learning in the classroom.
  • Dial-up: Internet access via telephone lines.
  • Digital divide: The gap that exists between those who have access to information technology and those who do not.
  • Distance education: Using the Internet to study educational material.
  • e-commerce: The purchase or sale of goods and services using the Internet.
  • e-learning: Electronic learning, or learning conducted via electronic media.
  • e-government: The conduct of business with government using the Internet.
  • e-health: The provision of health care services using the public Internet.
  • e-waste: Electronic waste.
  • FDI: Foreign direct investment
  • Fiber optic: A glass or plastic fiber that carries light along its length and demonstrates high bandwidth, small physical volume, and no electromagnetic interference.
  • gTLD: generic Top-Level Domain. Domains like .com and .net that are not associated with a country.
  • GSM: Global System for Mobile Communications.
  • HDI: Human development index
  • ICT: Information and communication technologies.
  • ICT4D: Information and communication technologies for development. The application of ICT.
  • ICT transparency: The practice of allowing citizen accessibility of information and process held by centers of authority.
  • ISDN: Integrated Services Digital Network. Phone line connectivity that offers up to 128kbps bandwidth.
  • IPv4: Internet Protocol verion 4 – the current address space assignment.
  • IPv6: The future addressing scheme that uses 128 bits instead of 32.
  • ISP: Internet Service Provider. A company that offers Internet access.
  • IXP: Internet exchange point. An efficient method of Internet sharing where ISPs exchange traffic between their networks.
  • Leased line: A private dedicated communications channel.
  • LTE: “Long Term Evolution”. The latest international standard in mobile technology.
  • m-commerce: Mobile commerce
  • m-health: The practice of medical and public health, supported by mobile devices.
  • m-learning: The general idea of educating through mobile means
  • MDG: Millennium development goal
  • Mobile banking: Performing financial account transactions via mobile phone.
  • Mobile broadband: Wireless high-speed internet access through a portable modem, telephone, or other device.
  • LTE: Long-term evolution (beyond 3G mobile broadband)
  • NICI: National Information Communication Initiative
  • NGO: Non-Governmental Organization.
  • Open source: The philosophy of software distribution that allows free access to a program’s source code.
  • PPP: Public-private partnership
  • SME: Small and Medium-sized Enterprise. Businesses which employ fewer than 250 persons.
  • Telecentre: A public place where people can access computers.
  • Telecom: A telephone company.
  • VoIP: Voice over Internet protocol.
  • VSAT: Very Small Aperture Terminal. A two-way satellite ground station with a dish.
  • WiMax: Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. A long-range broadband wireless network that has a range of at least a few kilometers.

Undersea cables (current and planned):

  • ACE, Atlas Offshore, EASSy, EIG, GLO-1, I-ME-WE, Lion, Lion2, Main One, SAT3/SAFE, SEA-ME-WE-4, SAex, Seacom, SEAS, TEAMs, WACS:

Organizations (see links):

  • Acacia Initiative: IDRC-run program
  • ADB: African Development Bank
  • AfriNIC: African Network Information Center. The regional internet registry for Africa.
  • AfrISPA: African Internet Service Providers Association.
  • AFRIT: supporting tech diffusion
  • AFTLD: focal point for African TLD managers
  • APC: Association for Progressive Communications
  • CCK: Communications Commission of Kenya, the independent regulatory authority for the communications industry.
  • CITAD: Centre for Information Technology and Development (an NGO).
  • CIPESA: ICT Policy Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa
  • EAC: East African Community.
  • ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States.
  • ICITD: International Center for Information Technology and Development.
  • IICD: International Institute for Communication and Development
  • IMF: International Monetary Fund
  • KENET: Kenya Education Network Trust, promoting the use of ICT in teaching, learning and research in higher education.
  • NCC: Nigerian Communication Commission, Nigeria’s independent regulatory agency.
  • NEPAD: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
  • NSRC: Network Startup Resource Center
  • OLPC: One Laptop per Child, a non-profit association established to create an affordable education device for children in developing countries.
  • ICANN: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
  • IDRC: Internet Development Research Center.
  • infoDev: program of the World Bank and IFC
  • ISOC: Internet Society. Provided leadership and helped organize local chapters to promote standards, education, and policy.
  • IST-Africa: reducing the digital divide
  • ITU: International Telecommunication Union.
  • SADC: Southern African Development Community
  • SAFIPA: South Africac/Finland partnership
  • UNDP: United Nations Development Program
  • UNECA: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
  • UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • USAID: United States Agency for International Development
  • West African ICT Congress: sub-regional conference on ICT