By Larry Magid

NAIROBI, Kenya (KCBS)— In the rapidly evolving world of information technology, interest in developing Africa seems to be on the brink.

KCBS’ Technology Analyst Larry Magid is in Nairobi, Kenya where he had the opportunity to speak with the U.S. Ambassador there about that country’s potential to develop economically through information technology.

KCBS’ Technology Analyst Larry Magid:

“It’s an English-speaking country, relatively well-educated, but very poor,” Magid said.

He pointed out that business officials in Kenya along with the ambassador are trying to lift up the economic prospects of the population.

“That could be anything from call centers—which of course we all know is common in India, to computer repair facilities, to working in the mobile even social networking industries,” he said.

Magid said there are plenty of possibilities, but that because of infrastructure issues and poverty that it won’t happen easily. On the other hand he noted that he’s sensing optimism from officials that the standard of living can be raised because the internet is turning the world into a global village.

“It’s no longer that expensive to call Kenya to communicate and there’s a lot that can be done in this country that can be economically viable,” Magid said.

China, he added, is in Africa looking for ways to outsource some of their labor.

But Magid said it’s not just manual labor that these company’s seek.

“We’re also talking about intellectual labor and programming.” Magid claimed India is a very ripe source of talent for companies in the west both in terms of Indians who come into the United States, but also thousands, if not millions, of Indians who were working over there doing software development and other highly skilled work.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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