Expanding Broadband Connectivity Requires Innovation

WestAfrica Com 2018. Dakar . Why Expanding Broadband Connectivity Requires Innovation

Connecting underserved regions of West Africa requires new efficiencies and innovative business models. Here are three reasons why, elaborated on by Jim Teicher, CEO of CyberSmart Africa  during his keynote panel remarks at WESTAFRICA COM, the premier telecom conference held this week week in Dakar, Senegal.

1. Government(s) are not serious enough about connecting the unconnected: Existing bureaucracies are not structured to benefit from the efficiencies of connectivity and technology. In fact, efficiencies can create unwelcome risks that threaten the socio-economic fabric of West African nations. Understanding these challenges will enable the private sector to advance faster.

2. Telecoms must work harder to leverage government finance extending connectivity to the unconnected. The current model is just the opposite, meaning that governments attempt to leverage external financing to implement a variety of connectivity and technology initiatives. Governments are not in the Telecom business and boundaries need to be better defined.

3. We should not complain that closing the digital divide is too expensive when affordable technologies and solutions  do exist. There are ways  to bring improved connectivity, information, and knowledge to everyone in West Africa — including rural villages and schools without electricity.

CyberSmart Africa has developed an innovative solution to bring advanced education technology to schools without electricity. We have proven the concept in Senegal with a model for growth that can achieve massive scale.

Jim Teicher, CEO CyberSmart Africa at WestAfrica Com2018 Dakar

4th of July at the US Embassy

The US Embassy, Dakar hosted a special July 4th US Independence Day event! What better way to strengthen connections between the US and Senegal than with a party!  CyberSmart Africa was invited to show off our work to scale educational technology, which is a critical part of connecting in today’s globalized world. Pictured below: Jim Teicher meets again with US Ambassador Tulanbo Mushingi and Emilie Ndiaye, a Senegalese educator, demonstrates the CyberSmart Digital Learning Platform

Delivering health education

It’s practical and inevitable that the CyberSmart Digital Learning Platform will one day deliver healthcare education to thousands of schools. But medical treatment will require always face-to-face visits.  Maine (USA) -based “Partners for World Health” visited our pilot Senegalese school  in May to provide on-site medical treatment to students and villagers. Jim Teicher had connected with this wonderful American healthcare group three years ago, and this is their third visit to the school! We so appreciate them!!




Millennium Promise Education Program Manager observes CyberSmart Digital Learning Platform

Pictured is El-Houssaine Bah, Education Program Manager for Millennium Promise leading a conversation (in May) with teachers at Ecole Sinthiou Mbadane 1, a rural Senegalese school off the electric grid. We were pleased to welcome our partner to observe an interactive classroom lesson taught using the CyberSmart Digital Learning Platform. Classroom teacher Mounirou Cisse and his students demonstrated how language learning can be made more effective and engaging in ways that would not be possible without technology.

CyberSmart makes this affordable technology possible for schools off the electric grid! We are a  long term partner with Millennium Promise and their affiliate The Earth Institute at Columbia University and we appreciate their support.

Met with the French Minister of Education – Sustainable technologies key to digital transformation

Jim Teicher, Director of CyberSmart Education, met with the French Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, in conjunction with the visit of President Emmanuel Macron to Senegal in early February 2018. They discussed the need for new, more #sustainable ways to use #educational #technologies and established a good, ongoing dialogue.

Making Teachers’ Jobs Easier

Emilee Ndiaye,  a teacher at Ecole Sinthiou Mbadane 1 in rural Senegal, uses the CyberSmart Digital Learning Platform to have students match images to sounds during an interactive French language instruction demonstration for other local teachers.  “It makes my job easier,” she says – and with 50-60 students in her class this is critically important to her.

Teachers push a single button and teach. Previously unavailable instructional materials — maps, photos, videos and up-to-date quality content—directly support classroom learning. Based on 9 years of experience at the grassroots level in Senegal, The CyberSmart Digital Learning Platform delivers up-to-date learning and teaching resources to the vast majority of schools in Sub-Saharan Africa that have no electricity.

Easy to use as a mobile phone, the CyberSmart Digital Learning Platform is the winner of the prestigious Game-Changing Innovation Award, West Africa Com 2017.


Affordable, scalable solar-powered digital learning


“Even though this is a rural school without electricity, our students can use the same multimedia resources available in developed countries. This is the way it should be for every school in Senegal.”

Mounirou Cisse teaches at Ecole Sinthiou Mbadane 1, a rural elementary school in Senegal, West Africa. The school lacks electricity and has weak physical infrastructure – like most in Sub-Saharan Africa. It seems to be the least likely to integrate highly participatory digital learning as part of regular classroom instruction; but something special is going on!

Ecole Sinthiou Mbadane 1 partners with CyberSmart Africa to pilot a highly innovative approach to affordable, scalable, solar-powered digital learning. Based on 9 years of experience at the grassroots level in Senegal, The CyberSmart Digital Learning Platform integrates unique equipment, teacher training, and learning content into an all-in-one solution that is as easy to use as a mobile phone.

United Nations Africa Week

“Innovation like never before is the only way to provide the massively scalable learning Africa needs: Educational technology is vital. Population growth and economic growth demand it.” Jim Teicher, Director and CEO CyberSmart Africa, @ New York City United Nations

Massive Telcom Opportunity Reaching Schools Without Electricity

Jim Teicher, CEO of CyberSmart Africa is interviewed by Russell Southwood CEO of Balancing Act, a consultancy and research organization specializing in the Technology, Media and Telcom industries in Africa.

Video Highlights:

  •  There is a new, huge growth opportunity for telcoms to provide value added services to education, and to reach rural and underserved areas — where the vast majority of schools lack electricity.
  • “I started CyberSmart Africa after seeing hundreds of millions of dollars flushed down the toilet in a variety of technology projects in sub-Saharan schools that were completely unsustainable…and totally ignored the specific needs of the majority of classrooms without electricity.”
  • Information poverty needs to be addressed at massive scale.
  • The CyberSmart Digital Platform is entering a pilot phase in 50 Senegalese middle schools. The impact will be enormous and immediate — virtual science experiments in classrooms that have never had any science equipment! The pilot will set the stage for massive scale throughout the region and globally.