Kenyan government is making frantic effort to construct a software program which is aimed at creating employment in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, a top government official has said.

The Kenya is regarded as one of the fastest growing Information Technology (IT) and ICT nations in the African continent after South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt respectively. Read More Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary in the ministry of information and communications for Kenya, said the East African nation had since identified software development, which has a potential of sourcing income for the country as well as creating jobs.

The software development, according to Ndemo, would help Kenya’s ICT industry grow fast as well as providing employment and generation of revenue.

Ndemo said Kenya’s ICT sector- under government drive recorded a whopping Sh500 million (about US$30.500) last year, which would be channeled towards setting up of incubation centre for nurturing budding developers.

Kenya is seeing increased growth in companies seeking different software solutions for their businesses, such as skills promotion and service delivery.
Source: IT News Africa

African postal service providers should not shy away from embracing information and communication technology (ICT) as it plays a major role in shifting market and customer needs, Tanzania's Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Prof. Peter M. Msolla, said Monday, marking the Pan African Posts Day.

'ICT is expected to improve the quality and efficiency of service provided. It will also provide a platform for the development of other e-services,' Msolla remarked ahead of the opening of a two-day conference of African ministers responsible fo r communications at Arusha, northern Tanzania.
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The conference coincided with the inauguration of Tanzania's national addressing and postcodes, a project pioneering the implementation of a street-type addressing system with postcodes and the creation of a national address database.

Msolla said the system involves naming and identification of streets and numbering of all houses in accordance with new addressing standards.

Under the same system, Tanzania will be divided into postcode areas and a five-digit postcode system will be used for identifying areas. Postcodes will also be allocated to specific post office establishment and major customers.

Calling for the cooperation of all Tanzanians in developing the system, the minister said: 'Enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of universal postal services in the country is of concern to the government. Movement of letters, packets, parcels and finan cial services form part of the daily lives of people across the country, contine n t and the world.

'Postal services therefore have a critical role to play in our collective efforts to accelerate development ⦠and hence we need to continue to harness the po tential of postal services as an instrument of development,' he said.

The African Posts Day was observed under the theme: 'The Post, a veritable means to bridge the digital gap'.  Meanwhile, the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) celebrated the day in line with the organisation's new vision, mission and strategic objectives, said PAPU Secretary General Rodaqh A. Masaviru.

"Our primary objective is to have an efficient postal network in Africa that effectively interlinks with the rest of the world and guarantees a wide range of qu a lity ICT-based products and services to meet and even exceed customer expectations," said the c hief of the Arusha-based specialised agency of the African Union.

"A truly integrated information society can only be a reality if the rural and urban, as well as the information-rich and information-poor communities are connected through modern communication infrastructure," said Masaviru, noting that the

21st century was increasingly being defined by phenomenal growth in the ICT sector, driven by the 'Internet explosion' that has created new ways of doing business.

According to a UN study in 2008, Internet users were five times less in Africa than in North America -- 51 million in Africa compared to 248 million -- whereas the African continent is three times more populated (955 million) than North America (338 million).

In Africa, more than half of the Internet users are in the Northern subregion and in South Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa only 3 percent of the population are connected to the Internet.

"The digital gap negates the building of a fully integrated, harmonious and equitable information society [in Africa]," said Masaviru, who urged stakeholders in the communication industry to take measures to mitigate the effect of this phenomenon.

At world level, the Post has about 660,000 post offices. In Africa, the post net work has 30,300 post offices widely spread in urban and rural areas.

Member countries of PAPU have been called upon to support the e-Post Africa project, so that it could successfully embrace digital integration on the continent.
Source: Afrique en ligne

Makerere University Main BuildingMakerere University uganda's leading university and Uganda telecom (utl) have signed a memorandum of understanding that is meant to equip the university's study centres with a range of communication services. 
The communication services are to enable students in upcountry centres access the same education services as those at the main campus. Uganda telecom will provide all the infrastructure and technical support needed to run all the upcountry learning centres.

"The centres will be connected to the main campus and access services as if they were in Makerere. We are going to help establish video conferencing facilities so that students in upcountry learning centres can attend the same lectures," Mr. Emmy Olaki, the Uganda Telecom marketing communications officer told East African Business Week.

The partnership is envisaged to bring down the operational costs of students since students from upcountry locations who wish to study from their centres will spend less on food and accommodation. 

Under the partnership, Uganda Telecom will procure, supply and maintain computers and associated accessories according to the specifications provided by the university. Uganda telecom will initially buy 100 computers and 100 uninterrupted power suppliers in the first year of the partnership.

On the university's part, they will procure Internet bandwidth and lease lines from the communication provider at a rate to be agreed on for the duration of the partnership.

The project will start with two centres in Uganda. One centre will be in Jinja, east of the capital, Kampala, and the other in Fort Portal in western Uganda. 
Olaki said Uganda Telecom plan to open up ten centres in the next one year depending on the demand. Source: Business Week

Telemedicine has finally arrived in Nigeria via a pilot project recently launched at Lagos University. This interactive electronic mode of teaching, research and provision of medical services has been embraced by lecturers, students and patients. Its efficiency and cost-savings have encouraged other universities to consider partnerships with IT companies that provide telemedicine infrastructure.

At a recent session with the media Professor Akin Osibogun, chief medical director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, said telemedicine employed modern technology to improve medical education and would also be used for communication between medical experts in Nigeria and abroad. Read More
The pioneering initiative is aimed at encouraging exchange of expertise between Nigeria and India, and is funded by the ministries of education, health and science and technology.

Many wealthy Nigerians are finding it difficult to obtain visas for medical treatment in Western Europe or North America. Even when they do get visas, the medical fees are exorbitant and discouraging. The idea of travelling to India is expensive and less appealing.

To solve this problem, a group of medical academics came up with the telemedicine idea and Indian universities were chosen as partners for three reasons.

First, telemedicine is well developed on the subcontinent because of India's strength and advanced expertise in information and communication technologies. Indian expertise is available in Nigeria - in fact, the development of ICT in the country has been supported by the presence of Indian hardware computer scientists and software developers.

Second, medical education in some Indian universities is on a par with the best universities in the West, and their services are not as expensive. Third, there is a tradition of collaboration between Nigerian and Indian medical teachers and experts.

All these factors are positive ingredients for fruitful collaboration between medical lecturers at the Lagos teaching hospital and their Indian counterparts.

"The telemedicine project enables us to exchange seminars with leading hospitals in India. Also we are able to facilitate teaching consultations with experts in India," Osibogun said, adding that specialist medical centres in India would also be able to provide second opinions to Nigerian patients.

Video conferencing, an integral part of telemedicine, already functions at the university. Medical professors in Indian universities present research findings to their Nigerian counterparts and medical students, and vice versa, while academics from both countries deliver lectures.

Osibogun gave a graphic description of the how telemedicine works at LUTH: "On an interactive screen, the patient sees and speaks with his Indian medical consultant. His Nigerian counterparts are also involved in the interactive session.

"Diagnosis of the ailment of the patient is undertaken and solutions are jointly agreed upon by both doctors. The patient is treated here in Nigeria and he does not have to travel to India. That is the beauty of telemedicine."

Meanwhile, an embryo of telemedicine is already in place between 33 university teaching hospitals and other regional hospitals in Nigeria. Mobile medical vans equipped with ICT facilities move between teaching hospitals to attend to cases.

The university doctors give instructions, via ICT equipment, to their counterparts in hospitals on how to carry out, for example, minor surgery. There are plans to replace mobile ICT vans with permanent structures in each of the university teaching hospitals, to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise on medical education.

An Indian communication provider, the IT company Suburban West Africa, has established teleconferencing technology linking up university-based medical experts working in National Hospital in Abuja and the National Sickle Cell Foundation in Lagos. The two institutions recently successfully performed a live diagnostic interactive on a 13-year old sickle cell patient in Lagos.
Source: University World News

The theme for this year’s e-Governance Africa Forum has been set. Organizers, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), said the event will be held under the theme “Effective Governance, transparent public services and citizen empowerment through Information and Communication Technologies”.

The event, aimed at facilitating and promoting information and communications technology development through knowledge-sharing events, is scheduled for Maputo, Mozambique, from 23 to 25 March. Read More
“At a time when ICTs are defining the way the world lives and conducts business, it is important for African governments to evolve themselves to meet the demands of changing trends in order to deliver effective services and to improve their citizenry.

“This also requires the formation of Public Private Peoples Partnerships to be geared towards achieving developmental goals through the application of ICTs to governance (e-governance/e-government), electoral processes (e-democracy), food and nutrition (e-agriculture), health delivery (e-health/telemedicine), learning and capacity development (e-education) and trade (e-commerce), among others”, CTO said.

CTO in conjunction with the ICT Ministry of Mozambique will be organising the 4th annual e-Governance Africa Forum where stakeholders in the sector will converge.

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