I coined this expression in 2007 as a way of calling attention to the gap between efforts to support diverse languages with Unicode, fonts, and input systems on the one hand, and lack of impact of those efforts on the ground in much of Africa on the other. An example of this last mile was in 2008 when in Bamako, finding that new Windows systems in one location did not have even basic Unicode fonts of the era that would support display of Bambara or Fula text (webpages or documents). That I saw as analogous to "last mile" issues in telecommunications.

Dwayne Bailey's reference to "last inch" limitations in the context of ANLoc, as I understand it, is a related but different issue, dealing with localisation and full access to the technology (basically "soft access"). The "last inch" might be (and likely is) an issue even where the "last mile of i18n" either has been solved, or never was a problem to begin with (e.g., where African language orthographies use ASCII only).- Don Osborn

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