Is South Sudan a ghost residency?

I admired the courage of one youth who came to our Community’s open space JubaHub to check out and update his connectivity apps. Trying to sign in to Flickr, because he was encouraged to by the good qualities his colleagues talked about… but boom!!!! what happened? He is asked for country of residence and a telephone number. Unfortunately South Sudan is not among the countries listed in the drop down menu.

A chill on the enthusiasm, the excitement that was on his face dwindled away got up slowly came to the space host’s desk, ma’am I’m having an issue…(the narration goes on and on, questions next). It wasn’t a surprise ; for a long time many youths residing within South Sudan community have been having trouble with these kind of things, even worse with some connectivity services (apart from emails)from the famous Google, Microsoft and Yahoo do not recognize South Sudan in their drop down menus. Is South Sudan a ghost residency?

THE ISSUE

The lucky ones subscribe for these when they travel to other countries, the unfortunate ones especially those who are really interested would go to the extent of asking friends to lend them roaming numbers from other countries, and the most unfortunate ones can’t access the sim cards and either give up or remain grumbling. For how long will this go on?

Or try to download or even upgrade some applications and the response got is: “This item is not available for your country.” Is it an issue? Yes this is the complaint of many in the country!

One could go on to ask; “Are we living in a country that not many people know of? Does it mean that some aspects of the world have ignored the independence of this country? What about the People, are they invisible too? Why can’t we access these services yet the rest of the world around us enjoy this? Is this a customer segregation? What are the requirements to fit in this status? We can press for them. Who do we contact, how to start the process of making South Sudan exist in the anonymous technological sphere of the web? Who adds countries to these lists? Is there a central register where it will be automatically updated across the internet, or do we have to contact every service individually?

At times it’s annoying… it feels like being being invisible, yet in our minds we assume that we exist in the global village. The entire world talks of the global village, touch and experience the benefits. And for sure it takes connectivity, networking and communication tools and services as a priority to connect all corners of the world. There East Africa is highly represented…happily South Sudan is now a member. What is wrong with adding South Sudan? Does global village building exclude some portions of the world? I have posed these questions before to colleagues but the answers don’t seem to fit in.

WAY FORWARD…?

As Trump would controversially spell it out: “Africa should stop being a cry baby…importing this and importing that…” Instead let’s get creative here, utilizing all resources to get to where the founders or the engineers who do all these thinking and reserve the knowledge to specific countries are. There is already a lively and vibrant innovation scene in Africa, which is starting to gain worldwide attention. It’s upon us South Sudanese to match up our Country to the prevailing technological development. Not the government but the creatives (community) if we can adapt to the hubs…utilizing open resources to learn almost any skill, apply the knowledge and think outside the drop-down menu, innovate and find a way around everything, we will get through. After all, innovations are built around challenges, without challenges the world would be relaxed and slow down.

So, much as at times we wish all would be smooth for South Sudan like the rest of the countries, to have the basic recognition of our existence, simply able to recognize my 211 country code or find South Sudan in drop down where required. I would like to thank Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo for the challenge posed. No spoon feeding South Sudan — grow up! Thank you for the connectivity software and appliances you have provided to the rest of the world, through the innovations and creativity in upgrading systems that render improved services and make users’ life easier. It is a wonderful thing you guys have ventured into, talk of competence and competition in customer/ user satisfaction… just amazing.

My two cents in this situation is; If there would be a consideration for the dissatisfied users or potential markets in South Sudan that could do good, take your time. The questions around here always end up as rhetoric, there is no easy answer it seems to providing basic technology services.

Ghost residency or not, proudly residing here, we continue thinking and promoting innovation and creativity ventures. Sadly listening to more of the unsatisfied concerned users and citizens of the global village, who care for answers yet best we can do is give more questions.

Thanks for reading…

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