Africa online: getting set for a digital revolution
Only 2.6 per cent of Africans have access to the Internet, compared with 69 per cent of Americans.
But plans are afoot to bridge the 'digital divide' and transform Africa from passive consumer to a producer of Internet content.
From 2007, the continent will be connected to the rest of the world through a high-speed telecommunications cable, allowing users to download large files or listen to online radio.
The East Africa Submarine Cable System, or 'EASSy', will stretch underwater for 9,900 kilometres from Durban, South Africa, to Sudan.
The plans were agreed at last year's World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia, as part of a series of information and communication technology projects outlined in this article.
One project is trying to make software and Internet content more accessible by using Arabic and African languages. The lack of information available in local languages is a major reason why Internet use is so limited in Africa.
South Africa is trying to involve its citizens in deciding how to allocate, manage and regulate space on its Internet domain name '.za'.
And many countries are connecting schools across the continent under a programme called SchoolNet Africa.