Developing World Case Study 1
African Global Information Infrastructure Project
Access to global information via the Internet is an essential element of commerce and democracy. For many African countries, even access to phone lines often requires years of waiting, if connectivity is available at all. African Internet access is commonly government-controlled and offered to the public at unrealistic rates. USAID launched a program to combat this, providing broad communication across Africa, in the 1990’s in honor of the late Congressman Mickey Leland, known for his humanitarian efforts in the developing world. In the Leland Initiative, USAID provided equipment and training for Internet infrastructure in 21 African countries to help expand middle class business communication. GTS delivered these systems to installation teams, and the information ministries of those countries were required to provide universal public access at reasonable usage rates. The Leland Initative is credited with having made a significant impact on commerce and free flow of ideas throughout Africa.
Given the remote areas where the telecommunications infrastructure was set up, GTS implemented crating plans that would protect the equipment in wet or dry and dusty conditions. Scheduling with the USAID installation contractor, GTS coordinated routing plans for the cargoes to arrive in each country, obtaining diplomatic clearance and dropping delieveries to each site when the American crews arrived. USAID rules for use of US flag air carriers were in full effect, and route planning required the forethought and early provision of documentation to embassies abroad.
The GTS Group has met every remote delivery requirement on time, on budget, and without damage claims. GTS crating meets every challenge posed by bumpy roads, poor local handling equipment, and uncertain weather conditions. European offices were employed to troubleshoot cargo transfers in the US flag routing scenarios, and to insure a timely movement to destination. Local African partners facilitate diplomatic clearance between information ministries, the US Embassy and local customs with GTS’ documentation before shipments arrive. Each installation crew immediately began work upon arrival and the Internet infrastructure for each country grew immensely, supporting commerce and democracy.