Thursday, July 14, 2011

South Sudan recognized by world powers, but not the internet

Those South Sudanese nationalists searching for “Juba, South Sudan” in Google maps will be sorely disappointed. According to Google maps, Juba is still a part of Sudan. In fact, the border is not even delineated—those using Google maps as a reference cannot find any country named “South Sudan.”
It’s becoming clear that as the new African nation struggles to overcome its internal problems, the Internet will be catching up to document information on the country itself.

Somehow less-practical websites have caught up. The list-based quiz website Sporcle has made a public effort to update its quizzes to include South Sudan under quizzes such as “Landlocked Countries of Africa.”

Other authoritative websites such as the Encyclopedia Britannica have updated their websites to include South Sudan. The CIA World Factbook hasn’t been able to Wikipedia, in keeping with its user-edited nature, has a trove of information on South Sudan.

Internet prominence may mean very little to those South Sudanese, seeing as Internet penetration is abysmally low, a product of decades of systemic neglect by the Khartoum government. The national power grid only reached South Sudan in March 2010.

One wonders when South Sudan will eventually gain its own country domain—it applied for the domain .ss—although registering domains will prove rather expensive for a country with less than 100 miles of paved road.

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