Theme: ICT For Development in Africa – Sustaining The Momentum, Extending The Reach
Numerous gatherings and research have x-rayed the potentials and impetus for development resultant from a full scale adoption of ICT in Africa. Emphasis has been on creating awareness, identifying potentials and building capacity. The fact that current challenges relating to infrastructure, security and government policies can slow down the benefits accruable from a virile ICT growth has also been highlighted. Empirical evidences on ICT adoption and diffusion in Africa reveals an upward growth. This fact is supported by the rapid increase in mobile telephone subscribers, online banking, the proliferation of e-government portals and electronic commerce. Firm-level variables such as financial capacity and technological absorptive capacity have also influenced the intensity of the adoption of ICTs thereby suggesting that globalization has also influenced the adoption of new technologies in Africa. Unfortunately, the developmental trend has concentrated in cities, metropolis and urban communities in Africa with millions still out of reach of the ICT development wave. This scenario raises two basic questions in the mind of ICT technocrats, practitioners and the academia. How can we sustain the present developmental momentum? What can be done to extend the reach of ICT to the unreached? There is an urgency to keep pace with ICT development and its benefits while also addressing possible areas of developmental benefit of ICT to other target groups. Rural dwellers, farmers, extension officers, health workers and social workers must be empowered to use and apply ICTs much more creatively and pragmatically to development problems beyond the internet-enabled PC telecenters. There is also the challenge of the non-involvement and imbalance of gender, dearth of sound ICT-roadmap and strategies by policy makers resulting in uncoordinated and unsustainable ICT-development activities.
These are the issues that ICT4Africa 2011 conference is determined to address. The conference will initiate research and practice agenda where ICTs will aid the academia, organizations - public and private and non-governmental to improve socio-economic conditions and directly benefit the disadvantaged in some manner. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and The Louisiana Board of Regents, we are pleased to announce The International Conference on ICT for Africa 2011 themed "ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA – Sustaining the Momentum and Extending the Reach".
This conference will bring together a fine mix of practitioners and academicians in the area of ICTs for sustainable development. The conference will explore the possibilities of continuity in terms of contributions from Africa to the ICT for Development discourse as well as initiate pragmatic measures needed to extend the ICT reach. The objective is to highlight the synergy of collaboration between African countries and other developing countries, and between African countries and the developed countries towards development solutions. Discussions and panel debates will focus on what can be done to sustain the developmental pace and close the ICT gap still existent in Africa. Workshops will examine international grant-seeking opportunities for ICT research and projects, the menace of cybercrime as a limiting factor on ICT for development and e-learning for African universities and new frontiers in telemedicine.
In this respect, we highly appreciate your participation to enrich the diversity of perspectives and contents to be presented. We believe that your invaluable experience, insight and comments will add to what is potentially a very important discussion for developing nations.