Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some Collection of Web 2.0 Products and Services

By Kwami Ahiabenu,II

Google Maps Provides directions, interactive maps, and satellite/aerial imagery
The Google Maps API lets you embed Google Maps in your own web pages with JavaScript.

2. Social Book Markings
3. Online to Do list
Ta-da list
Remember The Milk

4. Online file Storage
X Drive
Omni Drive
All my Data
Back App

5. Project Management and Team Collaboration
Base Camp
Central Desktop

6. Online Office Applications
Java-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation package
web based word processor (acquired by Google)
web based word processor
web based word processor
NumSum online spreadsheet
Jot online spreadsheet
Create simple, web-based tools to enhance and foster team productivity.
7. Peer Production News
Digg Dot

8. Online Calendaring
Calendar Hub Online calendaring
Kiko online calendaring
9. Image Storage and Sharing
Glide Digital
10. Blogs
Type Pad

11. Wiki
PB wiki

12. Conversation Tracker

13. Online List

14. Validating Web 2.0 products and Services?

Lists of Web 2.O products and Services

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ghana: Rapid growth in Internet use despite cost constraints

Ghana was amongst the first countries in Africa to get connected. Although it suffers from all the usual constraints on growth - especially the high costs of connectivity - it is estimated that around half a million people have access to the web in some form. Kwami Ahiabenu describes the development of Ghana's internet culture.

The genesis of the Internet in Ghana started in the early nineties(1989/90) with the initiation of a pilot project by the Pan African Development Information system (PADIS) and the International Development Centre (IDRC) Fidonet network to connect the Ghana National Scientific and Technological Information Network (GHASTINET), the Association of African Universities(AAU) and the Technology Transfer Centre (TCC), to GreenNet in London by dial-up.
The service was limited to E-mail which was sent 3 times a week at 2400bps. Later, AAU started using Unix to Unix Copy Protocol (UUCP) while the Health institutions migrated to HealthNet. The HealthNet system was based on Satellite technology at this time. Full commercial Internet access went live in January 1995 with pioneering work done by Network Computer Systems ­NCS. Majority of organisations, both private and public were connected to the Internet in 1997 when Internet usage explored.

Internet usage in Ghana has taken off in an unprecedented way with individuals and companies rushing to get access to the Internet. The increase in the number of cyber cafes has been one important contributory factor. Though cyber cafes are found in every part of the country majority of them are located in the country's capital Accra.

With the number of Internet access centers (cafes, post offices, communication centers, telecenters, etc.) mushrooming all over the city, it is estimated that the city alone has over 100 Internet access centers with occupancy rates reaching over 90% in most centers. Growth has also been particularly strong in the private sector for whom the internet has become a very important tool for business.

According to the National Communication Authority ­ NCA over 39 ISPs have been licensed but there are currently 8 Internet providers operational in Ghana: Network Computer Systems, premier followed by Africa Online and Internet Ghana, Africa Express (Christian internet service providers) and IDN. Three additional ISPs went live early this year namely WWWPLUS, ESS LTD and as the latest ISP.
Each ISP connects to the International Internet links independently and there is no local Internet Exchange or peering, meaning local internet exchange traffic has to reach the international link before it drops to Ghana.

ISPs mainly found in AccraAll the ISPs operate from Accra, the national capital hence majority of users outside Accra, have to make a trunk call to get access to the Internet. Though some ISPs provide Point of Presence - POP in other parts of the country, the number is woefully inadequate. There is an urgent need to provide more POP to ensure that the whole country has access to the Internet without making an expensive trunk call to Accra.
Currently it is estimated that over 15,000 users have direct connection to the internet, whilst it is estimated that over 500,000 users have access through shared Internet connections- homes, offices, through friends and cyber cafes.

The government of Ghana does not have a specific policy on the use of Internet. However it has not been hostile to its implementation in the country, though in recent past the National Communication Authority- NCA shut down one ISP ­ InterCom Data Network ­ IDN and some telecomms operators for operating Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology. IDN is now back in business and because of its flagship as the best ISP in Ghana it was able to get over 90% of its clients back on its network.

Though commercial voice over the Internet is not permitted in Ghana, a lot of Internet users tend to use this technology especially to call relatives and friends outside Ghana.
Most service providers offer full Internet services, including value added services. Interestingly some ISPs do not offer a dial up e-mail account only option. Thus a user is left with no option than to subscribe to full Internet services. Furthermore, most ISPs also tend to provide web designing and traditional web hosting services. There is a sharp increase in the number of companies providing specialised web content development and hosting in response to the rising demand for such services.

E-mail remains the "killer internet application" in Ghana: the ordinary person likes the fact that he or she can be reached by a click of the button through their inbox. Web browsing follows closely as the most popular applications with most users visiting websites with content produced outside Ghana. This is largely due to the fact they do not have a lot of websites to visit with content local to Ghana. Unfortunately this situation makes the Internet very foreign and irrelevant to some people.

Company employees lack access to e-mail Though majority of private companies rely on the internet a lot, there are strong indications that a significant number of their employees do not have access to the internet and other services. It is common to see pile of e-mail printed out for people to read because they do not have access to the Internet to read such mails.
Over 53.1% of the companies do not provide full Internet access to their employees. Usually access is provided to IT department personnel and top level management and with the rest of the employees having shared access or no access at all.

Furthermore, most companies tend to have only one e-mail and internet access point thus you find employees waiting for their turn to use this account primarily to check their free web based accounts. But this trend is rapidly changing with most companies making investment in systems which provide each employee with a personal Internet account.
For the majority of subscribers in Ghana having a fast and reliable service, is a dream which is yet to come true. A dial-up subscriber must be prepared to dial for an average of 40 times before establishing a connection. The average telephone line to subscriber ratio in Ghana from ISP is 20/1.Most ISP receive data on average at a speed of 2Mbits/sec and run it to subscribers at an average speed of less than 1Kbit/Sec.

To add more agony for subscribers, support for users is nothing to write home about, with some ISPs having no support at all for their clients. The lack of good quality skills especially qualified engineers is adversely affecting the operations of ISPs with attendant negative effect on quality of services. Furthermore, the few qualified engineers available are leaving the country each passing day to Europe and USA.

How do people get connected?
Dial Up Access is the most popular backbone options for Internet connectivity, using basically the services of Ghana Telecom. The second national operator, Westel does not support data in a efficient way.
Secondly, most corporate users tend to use leased line from Ghana Telecomm, while some corporate users use wireless connection such as radio links, satellite and broadband access. It is not uncommon these days to see some users browsing the Internet using their GSM mobile phones as a communication backbone.
User feesA typical web user currently has to pay a subscription fee of an average of US$ 35 unlimited access of web browsing, one e-mail account etc plus telephone usage rate of 200 cedis (0.03 cents) per minute.
The cost of having dedicated access to the internet is prohibitive and this cost goes even higher when you add the cost of a PC, the most popular mode of connection now costs an average of US$ 1,000. The majority of prospective users of dedicated access are faced with the problem of cost.
It is important to find a creative way of providing a uniform tariff regime which will include the cost of telephone charges plus the urgent need to reduce subscription charges.
Cyber cafesCyber cafes are the most important and popular options for Internet connectivity for majority of internet users, since individuals and some organisations can not afford dedicated access and have to use shared access.
Two main types of cafes, Africaonline e-touch where only e-mail access is provided and other cyber cafes providing almost all internet services plus other services such as printing, scanning services. Average charge for Internet usage is US$ 0.02 per minute of usage.
Currrently there are over 150 cyber cafes in Ghana with 90% of these cafes found in the national capital Accra, generally the trend is to find majority of cities and big towns well endowed with IT resources meaning a "digital divide" is found in Ghana with the cities and big towns on the have's side of this "divide" and the rural areas finding themselves on the "have nots" side of the coin.
All universities and polytechnics in Ghana are hooked to the Internet, with some access for all teaching staff. Though graduate students have access to the internet, majority of undergraduates level have to use privately run cyber cafes dotted all over their campuses.
At lower levels,only few secondary schools have access to the Internet and majority of Junior Secondary and Primary Schools do not have access to the Internet for both teachers and students. IT as a whole and Internet as a subject is not generally taught as a compulsory subject in schools at all levels in Ghana, though plans are underway to introduce IT courses in Schools.
Majority of Internet courses such as Internet appreciation, web site development and related courses are taught in private IT schools found in almost every part of the country. There is a rapid increase in the number of homes in Ghana getting connected to the Internet and this is contributing to the development of an Internet culture in Ghana.

By Kwami Ahiabenu, for Balancing Act. 2001

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

From Accra to Elimina via Cape Coast

Time is fast approaching for the 3rd Legal information and knowledge management workshop
So today Wednesday 12 July 2006, set off for Elimina at 6.00am sharp
the journey was quite uneventful, it was cool in the morning so was driving at 100km per hour with all my windows open
Traffic getting into Accra was very packed, grateful that I was heading in the opposite direction
Saw a lot of policeman on high way duty but none of them stop me till 15km to Mankesim, I was flagged down by three policeman, apparently they wanted a ride to Mankesim and I gladdly gave them a ride. Apparently, these policeman were on funeral duty that means a dead important person need a police security at his funeral
At 9.ooam arrived in Cape Coast and my first point of call was Cape Coast University, the Computer Science and Information Technology Dept to be precise, had a scheduled meeting with Mr. Daniel Obubi who is the head of dept and Jerry, the man in charge of the computer lab
we had a fruitful meeting at the department, basically we are exploring the possibility of taking Legal KM participants to the computer lab so that they can have hands on experience with some ICTs tools that can enable KM.
I move on to Elimina Beach Resort, the venue of legal KM workshop, unfortunately for me, the world bank was having a workshop on Protected Areas so we have to wait for some to have access to our workshop room
Took advantage of the waiting period to visit the Elimina Beach Resort, Business Centre with about three computers, I was able to plug in my laptop and did some quick work, I found out that on each of the computers in the Business Centre you can send free SMS via the web once you log in as a user. The charge 600 cedis per minute fo r Internet usage

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike's The Potter's Wheel

Currently reading Chukwuemeka Ike's The Potter's Wheel
very interesting paper pack written by a prolific Nigeria writer
the story set during the second World War and the only means of modern entertainment was the The Mobile Cinema Van.
the book is very rich is proverbs and a lot of wise words
The main character is Obuechina Maduabuchi ( mouthful) who happened to be the only boy born to his parents Mama Obu( short form of Obuechina) and Papa Lazarus Maduabuchi
among six older sisters. Due to the "value" placed on the male child, he become a totaly spoilt brat, though academically brilliam Obu was growing into a hopelessly spoilt child to reverse this trend, Papa Lazarus decided to send him away as a servant to a schoolmasster with a dragon of a wife
Of course, Obu goes and comes back very different
published by University Press PLC Ibadan Nigeria 1993
email address is unipress AT
though first published by Harvill Press 1973
ISBN 9780302832

" It is because you have not trained him very well that I'm talking about sending him away before he dissolves completely like a bag of salt"

" The dog does not eat the bone chained round its neck"

'John whose face knows no laughter"

" Vultures will eat your meat as thy ate Jezebel's if you continue answering me without putting Ma"

"When the cricket knows the crime is has committed, it dabs whitewash round its eyes"

web 2.0

currently working on web 2.0 article, have written a short article about it but working on a longer one, this is taking some time becuase, I am not spending more time on it
hope to devote more time to it and produce a master piece hopefully

SMS via Web

I took time off today to play with SMS via the web
it was very cool, had to work on my database and convert it into a CVS which enable me to import it into the SMS databas
thereafter, I was able to compose and send messages out, I am using this tool to remind people to check mails but more importantly since we need to wake up participants coming to our legal KM workshop early in the morning to drive two and half hours to the workshop venue,
hope to use the tool of SMS to wake them up, hope they would not be cross with us about reminding them to woke up
read more about our SMS solution provider SMSGH, or a youthful Ghanaian company with a dedicated team of professionals who develop this product locally, very impressive
During my play time with SMS, customer care from SMSGH was superby. My contact person
Alex was particulary helpful in walking me through the system, though easy to use, you need to learn some few things
Recently, I am also using free SMS via yahoo chat which is also cool but it limited you to our few mobile phone operators but with SMSGH(paid service) I can send personalised SMS to any body with a mobile capable of receiving SMS

SMSGH; the worldwide service that is designed to change the way you or your organisation communicate.
Being a market leader in SMS application solutions, SMSGH introduces SMS/Internet Telephony and Integrated Data Transfer (Text Messaging) on the same platform. This is a first in Africa.
Mobile technologies supported with these applications have inspired new ways of communication amongst individuals and organisations.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Ghanaian corporate lawyers will be gathered at Elimina Beach Hotel from 13th to 14th July 2006, for the 3rd Legal Information and Knowledge management workshop under the theme: Developing Legal Information and Knowledge Management Strategies for Change.
Knowledge management is a new field of management now assuming a very important strategy for successful organizations. Knowledge management strategies empower organizations to acquire both the financial and non financial assets necessary to better inform and align their work to key organizational objectives. The increasing relevance of knowledge management and the contributions of knowledge management to the legal field present unparallel opportunities, innovations and strategies for the legal counsel.
It is against this background that AITEC and Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has over the last two years successfully organized the Legal Information and Knowledge Management Workshop to equip Ghana corporate lawyers with the relevant tool to be on top of their professions.
This years workshop, which has attracted over 40 lawyers from all sectors of corporate Ghana is expected to cover areas such as: How Information and Communications technologies enable Knowledge Management; Developing legal Knowledge Management System and Legal Database management among a host of other topics. The overall aim of workshop is to contribute to the capacity building process of legal professionals in Ghana to effectively use knowledge management to increase efficiency.
Commenting on the workshop Peace Addo Frimpong, AITEC GHANA head of Marketing said ‘The key objective of this workshop is help legal practitioners to align knowledge management concepts to corporate legal practice and implement basic legal information and knowledge management system in the most cost effective manner.

For further Information contact:
Email : aitec AT
Website :

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My day with Day

My day with Peter Day, the host of BBC Global Business

picture show Kwami with Peter Day after Peter interviewed him for Global Business from Accra, Ghana


how delicious is delicious
visit my at

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Highway Africa ten years anniversary

Highway Africa Conference is a very exciting networking space and knowledge opportunity. Hope to be at 2006 Ten anniversary big duo and help in training sessions as well, check out my blog over 11 to 15 September 2006 for more info from HA 2006

3rd legal information and knowledge management workshop

i am currently working on 3rd Legal Information and Knowledge Management workshop scheduled for 13th and 14th July 2006 at
we hope to have 35 legal practioners participating in this two day workshop
AITEC GHANA and Ghana Bar Association (GBA) are joint organisers of this workshop

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

welcome to my blog

My name is Kwami Ahiabenu,II
knowledge chief sounds very interesting, it does not mean I am chief of all knowledge but any indication that I am helping create and share knowledge