Thursday, 31 January 2008

EuroAfrica – ICT – 31 january 2008 – the morning

Some thoughts:
Brain drain is affecting research in Africa. (There are more African researchers in the USA then in Africa itself).

Passing information:
For Maxime: the central website of EuroAfrica will post more information on the open corporation meeting between Europe and South African companies on ICT.

Speakers roughly (with the ones I liked on top)

(this is a very new media focussed person, really into it – contact him for collaboration) Beza BelaynehBotswana (director of ICT4Dev in Botswana)

Key foundations for eCommerce are not yet established.

And focussing on eLearning and mainly the challenges

And HIV/AIDS health

Focussing on indigenous knowledge (really great!) he emphasizes the dying of old people’s knowledge => need for research.

(has a good idea of cost of fiber optics, ask info on umts)

Christine Leurquin – ISI (a technical actor to contact, mentioned telemedicine and heatlh and the importance of developing with models from Africa)

Suggests an African satelite to cover all of Africa, especially the rural areas.

Easy is broadband and telecoms services. Also wimax

Main communication needs: institutional framework,

Emphasizes need for African local actors in this field.

Major topics to tackle: health (mentions medicine and telemedicine)

Areas ISI wants to work on (connecting schools (geant), delivery through local actors (point of presence in villages), large pilot projects localised on up to 3 countries could be possible, and wants to integrate mobiles, how to make it work in the field (maintenance, how to organize it), work on low cost access. She mentions that she has strategies for all of these areas.

She mentions prices and demonstrates the need to decrease the cost of terminals and services, low cost satelite capacity. She says (does she mean it) that she wants models from Africa to develop possible services (would be great).

(Remark from a participant: cable is still half of the cost of satelite, 5 billion EUR to provide Africa with fiber optics. Answer of Christine: right on the cost, too much demand, too little offer is the cause. What ISI 200 EUR per terminal 500kbs, the lowest would be 30EUR per capacity (am I right? Not sure, need to ask again).

Another remark: difficult to talk about demand driven, because the impact of ICT is not clear to the potential user. In Burkina Faso a lot of satelites are dying, because the users can not put the money in to get them alive. Awareness on local level will improve and breach barriers for users. It is difficult to understand – as a user – that 1 EUR investment in satelite will be more efficient than 1 EUR in health of the user.

Another remark: how can Europe bring this service to Africa, because the cost is very high and all health (he is a physician) is affected by this. Mobile market is the fastest growing market in Africa.

[- because of this interaction, it immediately got the meeting more interesting - ]

Tara Dasgupta - Caribbean Academy of Sciences proposed by CARICOM. Stressing the impact of polution through computers. The developing countries risk to have a higher percentage of toxicity in the blood of people, because toxics in computers are not disposed off in a secure way.

Peter Zangl

5% of financial resources of Africa goes to R&D in ICT !?! (is this possible? Ask him)

Fiberglass investment millions of EUR’s, but why not jump directly to umts (cost?)?

Call 3 is coming up: will it include social media => can enhance development of user-generated content localy.

Santhi Kumaran delivers a presentation on KIST in Rwanda.

Johan Eksteen – Meraka institute South Africa - Focusses on benefits of FP7 for sub-Saharan Africa

Serge Ferré - Nokia

Correlation between mobile implementation and countries wealth (he says).

Says “no taxes on communication” so no benefits for the regions that give these access, but he of course still wants to make a profit on his mobile devices. It just sounds very uncomfortable.

Need for a taylored user interface that is conform culture models.

Emphasizes enabling regulatory environment.. And of course – because climat is on the world agenda – he emphasizes the need to regulate waste (of mobile devices etc) which is of course very good and necessary.

Remark from someone from the ‘digital forum project’? not only focus on mobile devices, but develop hybrids computer ó mobile.

Another remark: yes, but what if everyone has a mobile phone, then what, because the cost equals a salary at this moment, just in connecting.

Things to remember corporation wise:
Ubuntunet Alliance
Wireless Africa (Nokia driven)
Living Labs