19 June 2017
IST-Africa 2017 Week, which took place in the Safari Conference Centre, Windhoek, 30 May - 02 June, put international research cooperation and African innovation under the spotlight. Over 400 delegates from leading public, private, education and research, societal and funding sector organisations around the world spent an intense three days discussing and reacting to over 190 presentations from 36 countries focused on applied Information and Communication Technology (ICT) research and innovation. Participation in IST-Africa provided a wonderful opportunity to gain a better appreciation of some of the socio-economic, cultural, technological and training issues impacting on global eAdoption today.
IST-Africa 2017 Week was hosted by the Government of Namibia, through the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology, Supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission and Technical Co-Sponsored by IEEE Society on Societal Implications of Technology, IEEE Region 8 and IEEE South Africa Section.
IST-Africa cooperated with IEEE to organise the first IEEE Experts in Technology and Policy (ETAP) Forum on Internet Governance, Cybersecurity, Privacy and Inclusion to take place in Africa, as the pre-conference event on Tuesday 30 May. This workshop focused on CyberSecurity and featured keynote presentations from Namibia, South Africa, Cameroon and NEPAD to share experiences in relation to policy development, cyber security awareness and implementation at Member State level as well as insights into the AU Convention on Cybersecurity. This was followed by participatory working groups focused on specific topics and reporting feedback to the full group. There were over 65 participants from 25 countries. This pre-conference workshop was complemented by a full track related to Cyber Security in the Scientific Programme of IST-Africa 2017.
IST-Africa 2017 featured an invigorating mix of business and government case studies, technical and policy papers and interactive workshops.
The Opening Plenary focused on sharing insight into research and innovation international cooperation opportunities between Europe and Africa under Horizon 2020, the importance of research and innovation within the Higher Education sector in Namibia, the importance of ICT in Namibia and the Digital4Development framework to mainstream digital solutions into the EU's development policy. Plenary speakers included:
- Hon. Dr Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of Namibia on behalf of His Excellency Dr Nickey Iyambo, Vice President, Republic of Namibia;
- Mr Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Namibia on behalf of Hon. Tjekero Tweya, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Namibia
- Mr. Nhlanhla Lupahla: Deputy Director: Innovation, Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation on behalf of Hon. Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi, Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Namibia
- Mr Raniero Leto, First Counsellor, European Union Delegation to Namibia on behalf of H.E. Ambassador Jana Hybaskova, European Union Delegation to Namibia
This is then followed by a High-level Roundtable focused on the role of ICT, research and innovation in supporting entrepreneurship and socio-economic development in Africa. This interactive session explored issues related to the development and implementation of a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach to leveraging policy, research and innovation, ICT, eInfrastructures and eSkills development. Panelists included:
- Dr Eino Mvula, CEO, National Commission on Research Science and Technology, Namibia
- Mr Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Namibia
- Mr Festus K. Mbandeka, CEO, CRAN
- Mrs Karin Fröhlich, Department of Public Service Information Technology Management, Office of Prime Minister
- Wilfred Kuria, CEO, Xnet Development Trust, Namibia
- Prof Kingo Mchombu, Pro-Vice Chancellor Academic and Research, International University of Management
- Dr Anicia Peters, Dean: Faculty of Computing and Informatics, Namibia University of Science and Technology
- Mr. John Sifani, Director: Centre for Innovation and Development, Office of PVC: Research, Innovation and Development, UNAM
- Mr Laban Hiwilepo, Chief Operations Officer, Telecom Namibia
The Scientific Programme incorporates over 190 presenters from public, private, education and research organisations in 35 countries in 40 thematically focused sessions. Themes addressed include International Cooperation, eHealth, Technology-enhanced Learning, CyberSecurity, Next Generation Computing, eGovernment, ICT4D, Internet of Things, eAgriculture, Content Technologies and Societal Implications of Technology. Presentations share insights from projects funded at national, international and European Commission level. The mHealth4Afrika, ITS4LAND and WAZIUP Horizon 2020 projects focused on African ICT Research Challenges and co-funded under the ICT-39-2015 Call shared initial results with the conference community. Click here to download the final programme. Over 150 blind peer reviewed papers were published in the IST-Africa 2017 Conference Proceedings which are available to the IST-Africa Community on an open access basis.
The Closing Plenary focused on sharing insights into development instrument funding from DG Development of the European Commission, NEPAD Activities, lessons from the eGovernment Initiative in Namibia, SAIS II and preliminary outputs from the first African IEEE ETAP Forum. Presenters included:
- Mr Francesco Affinito, Head of Sector for Research and Innovation, DG DEVCO, European Commission
- Dr Towela Nyirenda-Jere, NEPAD Agency, South Africa
- Mrs Ndeshipanda Ndilula, Director, DPSITM, Office of the Prime Minister, Namibia
- Flora Ismail Tibazarwa, SAIS II, Namibia
- Dr Maike Luiken, IEEE, Canada
Hosting IST-Africa 2017 facilitated the National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST) to engage with all relevant stakeholders involved in ICT and STI Research and Innovation across the public, private, education and research and societal sectors. Key representatives were identified and supported to participate and share their results during IST-Africa 2017. This had a high impact at national level.