Africa is the continent with the highest growth in the number of mobile phone users and one observes also an important growth in the number of Internet users. This leads to great changes in the African countries, by offering new possibilities for economic, political and social development.
The object of this master thesis is to examine the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in Africa, through the case study of Malian students’ use of the Internet and the mobile phone in their studies and in their spare time. A lot of studies measure the level of access and use of ICT, I wanted to go beyond the statistics and study the use and the differences that ICT are making in people’s everyday life in a low-income country.
The thesis concerns different aspects of communication. Who does the Malian student make contact with on the Internet and who does he talk to on the mobile phone? What kind of information is he searching for on the Web? Which language does he prefer to communicate in? What does he think of as the most important advantage and disadvantage of the ICT? The mobile phone and the Internet; are these means of communication integrated in a student's life or are they still articles of luxury? These are some of the issues I discuss, while presenting an image of a Malian student’s use of ICT in 2006. In Africa, where the basics needs, such as water supply, food supply and energy are not yet resolved; shouldn’t the development of ICT be a secondary issue? Trough this thesis I argue that the impact of ICT on the continent should not be ignored.