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Learning English - Words in the News
24 August, 2007 - Published 10:30 GMT
IT growth in Africa
Mobile phone

Officials from African countries have told a conference in Kenya that more must be done to spread digital and mobile communications to remote parts of the continent. 80% of Africa is not connected to fixed, mobile or digital lines, impeding economic growth and social cohesion. This report from Adam Mynott:

Listen to the story

The growth of digital communication and information technologies in Africa in the past five years has been dramatic, but it started from a very low base and Africa remains the least connected region of the world. African governments struggling to shake off their developing-nation status see the digital revolution as helping to pave the way for an economic and social revolution.

The per capita costs involved in putting a small town online make profitable sense for the private sector - the challenge, though, lies in connecting remote rural locations. A one-per-cent levy on private companies is being used by nine African governments to build infrastructure, erecting mobile-phone masts and laying cables.

Some private-sector companies say that greater efficiencies and lower costs mean there is profit in accessing rural communities, and they say they're concerned that the money raised by the one-per-cent levy is not always ending up being spent where it should be.

Adam Mynott, BBC News, Nairobi

Listen to the words

sudden and very noticeable

it started from a very low base
at the beginning, communication and information technologies were hugely underdeveloped

the least connected
where more people have no access to telephones or computers than anywhere else in the world

struggling to shake off
trying very hard to get rid of

to pave the way for
to prepare for, to facilitate

per capita costs
the amount of money needed to connect each individual (the expression 'per capita' comes from Latin)

rural locations
places outside cities and towns, e.g. villages

an amount of money, such as a tax, that you have to pay to a government or organization

greater efficiencies
when time and energy are used better than before and not wasted

money earned by doing business or being involved in trade

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