Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Satellite for Afghanistan = Fondue Pots For Namibia?

The UK based Guardian reported on April 9, 2012: “Afghanistan announces satellite tender” (see which is also the photo source). The article describes how the Afghani government is looking for a partner to help them bring television and the Internet to all parts of Afghanistan. The article also talks about the open and competitive nature of Afghan television and the scrambling for frequencies by broadcasters.

When I saw the article I was reminded of the Saturday Night Life Eddie Murphy skit series centered on providing fondue pots for the African Nation of Namibia (see The implication to me is that the last thing an African developing nation probably needed was the luxury cooking item used for melting cheese or chocolate and dipping items into the resulting gelatinous mass.

The population of Afghanistan is overwhelmingly – say 75% or more rural (one source is: While having the signal is fine and dandy, you also need a few other components such as: receiving instruments, electric power for the receiving instruments and, oh yes, a population willing and able to use these new devices and the content for them to experience.

Of course such an effort would not happen for quite some time, but it seems to me that MISO in particular should not count on this medium in the near future.

A counterpoint could be made that the leaders and more educated population lives in cities and that perhaps there has been a stimulation of migration from rural areas to cities in Afghanistan just has there has been in China and Africa. If so, then beefing up the electronic media profile makes a great deal of sense.

My gut however, believes this is a Quixotic effort destined to fail due in part to the fact that investment partners are looking for a return on their investment.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Voodoo said...

CJSOTF was putting wireless internet up around the ARV, and using it as a "hey look, we're bringing development" "message" to the mostly rural farmers whose primary mode of transportation was donkey, and whose only source of electricity were the solar panels they'd taken from the laughable 'solar lights' project from a few months earlier.

It was something the locals neither wanted, nor needed, and was in no way tied to a behavior change. Clear, Hold, Build. Why is that such a hard doctrine to *follow*?