EC e-Infrastructure research project launches website

ERINA4Africa (Exploiting Research INfrastructures potentiAl for boosting Research and Innovation in Africa) is an EC-funded project which aims to provide African and EU policy makers with a detailed analysis of exploitable scenarios of existing and new e-Infrastructures in Africa. Due for completion at the end of 2010 at a cost of €450,000, the project, led by the Department of Information Systems and Computing (DISC) at Brunel University, is expected to deliver:

  • A Virtual Observatory mapping the trends of current evolution of e-Infrastructures in Africa and its application to e-Health, e-Government and e-Learning, and its innovation potential for Industry
  • A Foresight Study helping to align directions and ensure coherency in e-Infrastructures policy in Southern Africa
  • Robust results validated by the community, via a series of virtual conferences and local meetings

The project aims to map the demand side of Africa e-Infrastructure potential to understand what projects are being run, with which technology, how it these are financed, who are the partners and what geographical scope. It will also map the supply side to evaluate innovation potential of e-Infrastructures in Africa, in the areas of e-Health, e-Government and e-Learning. Three events (workshops  in Malawi and Rwanda, and a final conference) are planned. The project has close working relations with the eIAfrica and IST-Africa initiatives.

Call for papers on ICT4D transparency

The Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER) is calling for chapter proposals for its next annual anthology which will focus on  “Transparency through ICT – empowering people and communities”.  The intended target audience is both Swedish and development community partners, including civil society. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Mobiles as a means to fight corruption
  • E- governance – fighting corruption through systemic change
  • Expose – investigate – disseminate: looking at Wikileaks and similar services
  • ICT as a tool for increasing transparency of national and international aids flows
  • Transparency without users – the need to empower citizens and civil society

Proposal deadline is 15 March with chapters to be submitted by 15 May.

see  SPIDER – Call for Chapter Proposals for next issue of ICT4D Series

Tanzania seeks to strengthen HIV Health Management Information System

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on behalf of the Tanzanian Ministry of  Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), is currently tendering for a major revamp of the country’s information systems handling the response to HIV and AIDS. The purpose of this program is to provide technical assistance to strengthen Health Management Information System (HMIS) capacity within all levels and units of the ministry in order to:

  • Build on lessons learned and investments in the HIV/AIDS sub-sector to support national planning and harmonization of health sector information systems to achieve the goal of one data collection and dissemination system that meets the needs of all government, cooperating partner, non-governmental, and civil society institutions operating in the Tanzanian health sector.
  • Improve the capacity of the ministry to collect, manage, and analyze aggregate program monitoring and evaluation data to meet government, international, and cooperating partner reporting requirements.
  • Support the ministry in systems analysis, process design, vendor selection, and deployment of operational or transaction processing management systems supportive of standard operating procedures across the MOHSW.
  • Support the creation of a data warehouse, or analytical processing system, which brings together information from aggregate data collection systems, surveillance and evaluation studies, transactional systems and National Bureau of Statistics  data.
  • Support application of data analysis in dissemination papers, abstracts, and report cards.
  • Support the use of policy analysis, projections, and modeling techniques to build evidence-based policy formulation, programmatic resource allocation, and decision making across the health sector and at all levels.

via International Development Business at devex.com

“Don’t rely on donors for ICT”

A senior Mozambican minister has said Africa will lag behind in the development of science and technology if the continent continues to rely on donors as major funders of the sector. Mr Venancio Simao Massingue, Mozambican minister for Science and Technology, said Africa can support development of ICTs out of its own resources as long as the right strategies and policies are put in place.

Mr Massingue was talking on the sideline of 14th ordinary session of the assembly of Africa heads of state taking place in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Mozambique for instance,  has launched an ambitious $25 million Science and Technology Park to be devoted to research and business incubators for ICT related sub-sectors. He said the move is part of the larger decade and half long Africa Information Society Initiative (AISI) championed by the AU, aimed at integrating ICTs to catalyze Africa’s socio-economic development.

The Mozambican government has recently won an award for spearheading e-government, that is, deployment of ICTs on its governance structures in order to improve service delivery. Identity cards in the country can now be obtained electronically using biometrics, and the country would soon issue passports online once the national database is substantially improved. He said its funding mechanism is set to be sustainable, as it hinges on public/private partnership model (PPP).

via The Citizen (Dar es Salaam), 3 Feb 2010

The village scribe project – empowering rural villages

The Village Scribe Association (or more formally the Association for the Advancement of Innovative ICTs for Rural Development) is working on a number of interesting projects in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. The Village Scribe Project is aimed at providing remote rural communities with meaningful access to the internet.

As it stands, the community cannot make use of the opportunities being offered on the Internet because they lack sufficient awareness and understanding of the multiplicity of concepts required to master the tool. Only a person who is part of the community but also understands the Internet is able to make the resource available to everyone. It is this concept that gives our Association its name: the village scribe is someone who brings digital services to the community to improve their lives…

UN publishes report on post-conflict public administration

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs has published Reconstructing Public Administration after Conflict: Challenges, Practices and Lessons Learned. Strong on the role ICTs need to play in the communication of information for “citizen-centric service delivery”, the report ignores the need for well-constructed information systems in institution building and the strengthening of public administration in general.

Kampala launches new local tax system

Kampala City Council has introduced a new computerised tax system that will monitor and identify new tax opportunities in the city. The global tax information system will require all the five city Divisions to register their businesses at the district so as to determine the number of taxable businesses, identify new revenue opportunities and identify tax defaulters. The innovation, according to the KCC Principal Finance Officer, Mr Patrick Kazoora, will fetch at least Shs71 billion ($35m) from the local revenue base, indicating an increment of Shs40 billion ($20m). In the 2008/9 financial year, KCC failed to hit the anticipated revenue projection registering a deficit of about Shs9 billion ($4.5m) due to alleged political interference.

Kampala Town Clerk, Ruth Kijjambu said KCC was lacking a reliable data base to closely monitor divisions’ revenue performance. “We expect to implement this system in the next financial year after acquiring new computer soft-ware. We shall also conduct a tax education workshop for the business community,” Ms Kijjambu said.

via Robert Mwanje at allAfrica.com, 17 Feb 2010

Nigerian judge calls for e-administration of criminal justice

Chief Justice Hassan Gummi has called for Nigeria to embrace ICT for the efficient delivery of justice in the country. “Especially now that it is possible to sit anywhere in the country and coordinate crime in any other state of Nigeria, there is need to embrace the Internet as a tool for justice delivery”, he said. Speaking at a summit on expediting the trial of criminal suspects held in Abuja, he asked “ Have we considered for once how our criminal justice administration will be given a boost if, for instance, the office of the Attorney-General can have access to all data relating to the activities of the various agencies by one push of the button?”

He charged the participants to consider the provision and maintenance of a computerized filing system of accurate and timely documented criminal justice information. “The information in this system would include details on wanted persons, criminal history information, missing persons information, information compiled in the process of investigating crimes, including information on identifiable individuals compiled in an effort to anticipate, prevent or monitor possible criminal activity. From this data bank there will be computerized criminal history, automated finger print identification system, incident-based crime reporting system, case information management system and DNA data bank.”

Gummi however stressed that the success for the data bank depends on qualified manpower. “Without training the necessary manpower that will manage and maintain the required systems, our criminal justice system will still be in its present state if not in a worse state”, he ended.

via Okoro Chinedu at ITNewsAfrica.com, 17 Feb 2010

Rwanda upgrades ID to multi-purpose smart card

Rwanda has launched the next phase of its National ID Project by contracting a British company, De La Rue, to develop a multi-purpose smart card.  According to project coordinator Pascal Nyamulinda, “The services offered will include identification, access to insurance services, bank services and immigration services. ”

The production of the cards has already started and they are expected be ready by the end of the year. “As we integrate the services, we will start with institutions that use electronic systems in their operations. So far only the immigration and emigration department are set for this,” Nyamulinda added. All biometric data required for the new card – digital picture, electric finger print and signature – have already been captured for the existing national identity cards which began to be issued in 2008. Over 95 percent of the population, including those in the diaspora, have already acquired this card.

via Rwandan Development Gateway, 17 Feb 2010

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