Samsung’s New African Digital Villages

Oct 31, 2013

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Samsung Electronics has announced an ambitious plan to connect remote villages on the African continent with resources in larger cities by way of new digital villages.  The company plans to use solar power as the main source of electricity for each of the villages.  According to company officials, the project is aimed at improving the standard of living as it applies to healthcare delivery, education, and economic independence. A ceremony to mark the official launch of the project was hosted recently in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Samsung was joined by representatives from various African countries, representatives from the UN, and plenty of social welfare groups and international organisations working on the African continent.

What It Looks Like

A typical Samsung digital village will start with a facility designed to generate solar powered electricity.  That electricity will then be used to power the rest of the facilities in the village.  Facilities will include the following:
  • Medical Centre – The tele-medical centre will use the Internet to link patients in remote villages with doctors at major city hospitals.  The solar hospital will utilise the latest networking and conference technologies including video conferencing.
  • Portable Health Centre – To enable greater access to healthcare delivery, the village will include vehicles that will take the medical centre resources out to those who need them.  These vehicles will also be solar powered.
  • Internet School – Samsung will take advantage of the Internet to provide online schools with curriculum and programs tailored to each unique culture and geographic area.  Curriculum materials will all be stored at a central data centre and accessed by students during the day.
  • Solar Lanterns – Solar powered lanterns will be used to provide lighting inside the digital village as well as homes, businesses and offices within the general vicinity.  Samsung believes their lighting systems can provide adequate lighting for as long as 10 years before needing replacement.
Building the entire infrastructure necessary to sustain this digital village is quite an undertaking. If Samsung can demonstrate a successful model in the first village they build, there's no telling how many more will be constructed across the African continent. Plans are already in place to build digital villages in South Africa, Ethiopia and Gabon before the year is out.  Samsung is cooperating with local governments and international organisations to make it happen, including world health agencies, universities, relief organisations and even UNESCO.

Additional Potential

Samsung's announcement is certainly good news for underdeveloped countries in Africa.  The project has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of those who use the villages, however success also yields potential benefits to the IT sector.


If Samsung technology can do what it promises, it could pave the way for harnessing solar power that can be used in IT in the future.  One hundred percent solar powered data centres and collocation facilities have been a dream for a long time.  Maybe Samsung has what it takes to make it reality.