The first underwater fibre optic cable has reached East Africa. The project – a collaboration between seven states and a variety of private companes – aims to bring faster and more affordable access to broadband to East and South Africa. Currently, an unreliable broadband connection costs STG£75 a month in Kenya, and twice as much in neighbouring landlocked countries. The cost of broadband will still be out of reach of most Kenyans – the Gross National Income per capita in 2007 was just over US$1,500 – but the availability of cheaper broadband should benefit universities, government departments and employers. Many African governments hope that they will now be able to compete in the global call-centre and outsourcing industries, and Google have already opened a development office in Nairobi. In this way, Africa may well become yet another spatial fix for capital, concerned with expanding markets in the face of diminishing returns. Yet, as in Europe and Asia and Latin America, the IT revolution will create its own social and spatial hierarchies, and new maps of connectedness and of marginalization are sure to emerge.
Connecting the world