e-Services and e-Infrastructure Conference AFRICOMM 2014

The two day 6th International Conference on e-Infrastructure and e-Services for Developing Countries successfully kicked off on 24th Nov at CoCIS Makerere University. 

Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi the current Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission and the Guest of honor officially opened the conference. He encouraged e-Services and e-Infrastructure researchers to go strong because such research is critical to development of ICT innovations and ICT industrial development at large. He mentioned that “The subject of the conference is indeed in line with the UCC’s current aim which seeks to provide broadband to everybody world over.” He applauded MUK as the no.1 university in Africa because of its innovations that are geared towards solving human problems faced by the developing countries especially in the health, agriculture, education and security sectors.

However Dr. Francis Fredrick Tusubira, CEO the UbuntuNet Alliance for Research and Education Networking and key note speaker commented that “Research is shown or measured by number of patents, of which Makerere has little to none. If Makerere is to be the best it should have research output in terms of patents”. He also added that “Innovative IT human resource is needed, yet the current education system educates innovation out of students. For the education system to change, teachers should be well paid and only the best at A-level should do education”.

Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim, AFRICOMM 2014 General Chair gave the welcome remarks on behalf of the organizing committee and welcomed all the delegates to the Pearl of Africa which is a major tourist destination. She promised the attendees that they will be provided with presentations of exciting technical content supplemented by installations of prototype services and technology in the exhibition area. She extended her deepest appreciation to the committee, volunteers, authors and MTN Uganda for their sponsorship towards the event.

The General Manager Human Resource MTN Uganda, Michael Kaweesa Ssekadde strongly emphasized the call for female representation in the ICT world. He mentioned the fact that women are inadequately represented (3% of the working population in ICT) compared to men due several challenges such as perception, stereotypes about women’s role, lack of confidence, lack of role models and so forth. However, MTN is supporting the women by providing internship places and training to students who are later retained to work as Engineers and telecommunication personnel. He said that “Allowing women to enter the digital job market makes the country more stable, peaceful, productive and strong and therefore boosts the GDP of the country”. The policies should favor the women and social media should be used to reflect the role models in ICT to mentor all the women out there.

The Vice chancellors’ Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamuremarks presented by the Academic Registrar Mr. Alfred Namoah-Masikye mainly focused on how to make e-services and e-infrastructure services more accessible to the people. He highlighted the University’s position and achievements which are quite many such as the partnerships that the University has with Other science Universities in the Middle East, Iran in particular; the joint research projects, exchange programs and the success of the colleges and school. “Makerere University’s goal is to top the list of the best Universities in Africa” said Mr. Alfred.

Dr. Amos Nungu the PC chair from Tanzania gave the highlights and statistics about the conference, the papers to be presented and gave reason as to why only 32 out of 62  research papers were selected for presentation.  He gave the reviewing criteria and mentioned the authorships from Africa, Europe, Asia and the USA. He encouraged and called for people to submit more paper since the turn up had greatly reduced from last years. Amos added that this time round short paper was considered to reduce on the hustle that people go through making the complete research papers.  He opened the presentation floor to the delegates from all over Africa including Uganda, Rwanda, and Cameroon. some of them were Roseline Akol from CEDAT, Dorothy Okello, Timothy Brown, Peterson Mwesiga and so many more.

The conference was spiced with an exhibition of innovations and prototypes of apps by the CoCIS students which concurrently runs at Block B and the delegates are the main viewers of these useful apps which range from utility, communication, security, agricultural and social media. The delegates have checked out these apps in their breaks and they have been impressed by the students’ ideas, everyone was welcome to the exhibition ground and they were blown away by the visible prototypes that the CoCIS students are working on.

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