Plans laid for West African Internet Governance Forum

The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and other partners, with support from the Open Society Institute of West Africa (OSIWA) is launching the West Africa Internet Governance Forum. It aims are:

  1. To facilitate Internet policy discussions on a multi-stakeholder platform for issues relating to the development and the governance of the Internet in West Africa.
  2. To increase awareness of Internet governance issues in West Africa
  3. To facilitate the participation of a broad range of West African stakeholders in the IGF process.
  4. To create an opportunity for West Africans to engage in/contribute towards discussions regarding spam, Internet and Security, and other IGF related issues at the global Internet Governance Forum.
  5. To create a systematic, bottom up, national, regional and global policy dialogue process in West Africa.

via FOSSFA on 27 May 2020

New public health laboratory network for East Africa

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$63.66 million to create a unique regional network of 25 public health laboratories across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda. This network will operate across country borders, improving access to diagnostic services to vulnerable populations in cross border areas and making optimal use of internet and mobile communications to improve public health.

Laboratories are currently the weakest link in the region’s public health defenses, seriously hindering each country’s ability to confirm and respond in a coordinated manner to disease outbreaks. By bolstering diagnostic and surveillance capacities, the new multi-country laboratory network will help to identify potentially devastating disease outbreaks at an early stage, enabling countries to act quickly to prevent the rapid spread of diseases across borders. Communicating outbreak-related information across national borders in real time is more important than ever before, as labor mobility is likely to increase shortly with the establishment of the East African Community common market and with growing global travel.

The network will also support the roll-out of new technology for drug resistance monitoring and more efficient tuberculosis diagnosis, most notably for people living with HIV/AIDS. Greater access to diagnostic services is expected to significantly contribute to improved health outcomes, and ultimately to attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

via World Bank Press Release, 25 May 2010

Botswana M&E system aborted

Escalating contractor costs have led the Botswana Government to terminate a P55m ($7,6m) contract with Accenture for the development of  an M&E system that would have helped it to monitor the implementation of development projects. The contract was agreed in 2008 to serve the Government Implementation Coordinating Office (GICO) – a department falling directly under President Ian Khama – to track and monitor project implementation and to facilitate quality assurance and value for money.

Accenture had recruited a team of international experts from the UK, USA, Spain, Portugal, South Africa and other countries numbering about 22 people that were paid fees ranging from P18 000 to P36 000 a day ($2,400-4,800) each.

Dubbed the National Programme Implementation Coordination (NPIC), the project required local presence with a clearly defined citizen empowerment component. The system was projected to go live on January 2, 2010. Under the contract, Accenture was required to: Design the framework for implementation and coordination of policy related programmes and projects; design a monitoring and evaluation strategy and model; design and implement a programme management office; and design and implement an effective project management system – software application. They were also expected to implement a system for trouble-shooting and training. The company was also expected to draw up a strategy for the coordination of government programmes; conduct a detailed review of the current ICT systems used by government in issues related to projects; as well as advise on the best way to ensure systems' ability to link with one another; as well as review reporting formats in government. The project would link together government programmes within parastatals, NGOs, government departments and the private sector.

It is understood that last year GICO told the Public Procurement & Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) that the consultants had advised a change in the scope of the project – a second phase – to provide an alternative geographical information system (GIS) solution and office accommodation for the consultants, at additional cost. PPADB was given the impression that Accenture would be allowed to execute this second phase also without it going through a competitive bid on the grounds that the Company had demonstrated knowledge and expertise of the subject.

The Gazette learnt that recently GICO’s new management decided not to continue with the roll out of the project and cancelled the contract; the reasons for cancellation have not been published but it is rumored that GICO was worried about the escalating cost of the project. According to information received by The Gazette one other bone of contention when the project was initially advertised was that potential applicants were let in on the budget for the project – P55 million, excluding contingencies. It is understood that some government officials queried that the tender guided potential bidders on the money that was available for the project. The winning tender quoted just under P55 million.

via The Botswana Gazette on 20 May 2010, reported on Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA-Africa).