Bookmark: "Internet cafes introduced Uganda to the internet"

Sebastian Greger


“Rest of World” is a publication that “challenges expectations about whose experiences with technology matter”, so this is just down my alley – just as is their effort to “connect the dots across a rapidly evolving digital world, through on-the-ground reporting in places typically overlooked and underestimated” (here’s their RSS feed, this truly is an inspiring source!).

A collection of journalistic stories, this article and the ones on the same topic presented on the same page below, presents a rich ethnography on the rise, fall, and future of internet cafes in Uganda, Nepal, Nigeria, Mexico, Argentina, and Hong Kong.

I enjoyed reading every single one of them, as they tell such fascinating stories of the interaction between technology and local economies/communities. This may not be obvious to a CTO in Silicon Valley or Berlin Mitte, but internet cafes are still a thing in 2023. Their roles may have shifted, not least with the arrival of ubiquitous availability of wireless broadband, but even more so, these reports tell us where this ubiquity reaches its limits:

Amos is still optimistic about the business. “As long as ownership of personal computers is low, then we will still be doing some business. There is so much one cannot do on the phone conveniently,” […]