Africans Hanker For Porn

Tina Reilly
KENYA, Africa – While African delegates are calling on the U.S. and other countries to close the digital divide between wealthy and poor nations, reports out of Africa's capital say that Internet cafes are springing up everywhere and that Africa's youth are big fans of downloading porn.

According to the AFP, Kenya, Nairobi and other African cities have experienced a boom in Internet cafes, which can be found on most city streets.

Typical web surfers are between the ages of 15 and 35, states the AFP, and favorite activities are viewing and downloading porn, online chat, and music downloads. Unlike other countries, Internet usage is mainly regarded as a source of entertainment and rarely involves business transactions.

One cyber café owner told the AFP that on an average day, a minimum of 500 to 600 people pay to access the Internet, but that over the weekend that number dwindles to around 300.

"Many of our customers are youths who are very interested in entertaining themselves by viewing pornography and listening to music," an Internet café owner told the AFP.

Typically, a cyber café in Africa charges around one cent (U.S.) per minute for Internet access and connection speeds are very slow.

The AFP states that despite the increasing numbers of these cyber cafes, regular users are still estimated at around 200,000, which accounts for only half of one percent of the entire African population as a whole.

This low number is due in part to the stunted economy in Africa, a general lack of electricity, and a telecommunications monopoly by state-owned Telkom Kenya, which controls international calling access to Internet service providers, says the AFP.

However, the AFP reports that access will soon be on the rise with the launch of wireless access points in 350 post offices throughout Africa.

Africa made a very vocal demand this week at The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) for rich countries to put their money where their mouth is and help pull Africa out of its technology slump.

According to Reuters, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade had pushed for the creation of a special fund to close the digital divide for many of the poorer nations involved, many of which cannot afford the basic telecommunication infrastructure that supports telephone lines.

Statistics state that only half of one percent of the population of the West African state of Burkina Faso has a telephone line.

WSIS negotiators have committed to re-addressing the idea of a fund before the second stage of the summit in Tunisia in November 2005.