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SECTOR-BY-SECTOR OPPORTUNITIES 129


Jean-Pierre Ezin


Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology


The Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology covers three main areas, namely education; human resources and youth; and


science, technology and information and communications technologies (ICT). Education in Africa is a challenge that requires urgent attention. Given


the challenges of obtaining a quality tertiary education in many African countries, many of our citizens go abroad for university and don’t return home for want of opportunities to advance professionally on a par with their peers in wealthier nations. This phenomenon is commonly known as the ‘brain drain’ and must be halted immediately. Accordingly, in order to better address the specifi c developmental needs


of African people as they concern education and professional capacity, the African Union has decided to create the Pan-African University (PAU), which will enhance the quality of African higher education and research. Preparations are under way to ensure the September 2011 launch of its fi rst three institutes, which are: the PAU Insitute of Earth and Life Sciences at Ibadan University in Nigeria for Western Africa; in Eastern Africa the PAU Institute of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and technology; and in Central Africa, the PAU Institute of Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Yaounde. Another critical area is information and communications technology


(ICT), for which the African Union has developed the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE). One of its important concrete initiatives is the African Leadership in ICT program (ALICT), developed as part of the 8th Partnership of the Africa-European Union Strategy, 2008-10. This Strategy intends to deal with the challenges Africa faces in science, information and space. Its pilot program focuses on capacity development of future leaders, policymakers, educators and human resources in ICT in Southern and Eastern Africa. The Government of Finland and the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI), for example, have proven valuable partners for implementing the ALICT program.


The commissioner’s remit also extends to human resources and education


subscribe to a mobile phone service, and 15 million people transfer around $7 billion a year using their phones; this represents around 20 percent of the national GDP that is transferred by phone in general, with everything from electricity, school fees and salaries being paid through mobiles. Such examples are just the beginning, as mobile phones


are being improved consistently through the creation of new applications, while smartphones are becoming better performing and more cost-effective. Outsourcing is also gaining increasing popularity. The general globalization of the supply chain through ICT is a key


driver of growth and profi tability, enabling actors that outsource their activities to charge considerably lower prices. The internet’s potential to transform vital sectors is undisputed. It has the potential to fundamentally transform the structure of healthcare by bringing a more integrated approach to the sector, linking the various actors – such as providers, fi nancial institutions and consumers – with the aim of signifi cantly cutting administrative costs and improving the quality of service. ICT is also an important tool for facilitating banks’


organizational structures, business strategies and customer INVEST IN AFRICA 2011


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