INTERNET GROWTH BEGINS TO TAKE OFF IN MAURITANIA

Internet

Cybercafes are springing up like mushrooms, despite the slow speed of the connections, according to Olivia Marsaud of Afrik.com. On a short visit to Tevragh Zeina, a district north of the capital Nouakchott she counted no less than 15 of them. Cyber Valley is one of the bigger ones with 16 computers in two large areas. Owner El Hadj Diatold her:" We opened in November 2001. Between 1999-2000 cybercafes grew up very quickly in Nouakchott. In 1997 only local ICT company Top Technologies had an internet connection. Those who knew about it could surf but they were few in number. Little by little people got to know about it." Today even though few sites are created locally, the internet has become part of Mauritanian life.

Growth of cybercafes has followed falls in the price of connectivity. In 1997 at the only outlet available you would have paid 500 ouguiyas (2,50 euros) an hour to surf. In Cyber Valley, as in many other cybercafes, an hour now costs 200 ouguiyas (less than 1 euro) with a special lower rate for half an hour. Users are mainly young people and students and do not have much money and find even these rates expensive. The lowest price is 100 ouguiyas but it is in an outlying district and its computers are not good quality.

El Hadj Diatold of Cyber Valley points out that his machines are known brand and new: such an investment will take five years before a return is made. Many of the people opening cybercafes believe they will make a quick return on the craze for new technology.