Summary of mtng in Montreal - looking toward Addis Ababa
Oct 31, 2002
Here is a quick translation of a report in French on a meeting of Africans at the Global CN conference posted by Ken Lohento to Afrik-IT and africa_net (entitled "compte rendu"). On the latter group (URL below) there is a discussion in French on the upcoming preparatory meeting in Addis Ababa for the WSIS.
On the topic of lists for "generalists" below, I take that to mean general discussion of ICT in Africa, as opposed to specialized, often technical topics (in which "specialists" might be the main participants).
[An informal summary report. This message is diffused to all the
generalist lists cited below, as agreed by the joint authors of this
message. If somebody can translate into English and diffuse it
where necessary, thank you. Sorry for the cross-postings : -) ]
At the time of the last international Global CN meeting in Montreal: www.globalcn.org, the Africans present met (about thirty). See list (incomplete) below. After consultative meetings, they noted or called for the following:
- There is too much dispersion of Africans, too many initiatives,
but little coordination between the initiatives; and in many cases,
it is not Africans any more who speak in the name of Africans;
- There is not sufficient information on the various initiatives and they cross sometimes
- If possible, the meeting which will take place in Addis Ababa in November should be used as framework for discussion of better coordination of these initiatives, in particular related to the preparation of the World Summit on the Information Society.
- It would be necessary to work to associate to the civil society not specialized in ICT in the process of preparing for the WSIS in Africa;
- There are several discussion lists on Africa and ICT; if possible we should work to merge them; there would be inter alia, a problem of translation to be solved; often the same ones [people] are on the same lists...
Within this framework, I was asked to try to give a progress report on existing discussion lists on the ICT in Africa.
To my knowledge, there are on the one hand formal and restricted networks which created their own lists or of the lists installation within the framework of regional or international efforts and on which information is from time to time diffused (Ex: list of the Africanti network of the French CNRS [research institution], list for participants of the AIG' 98 meeting in Cotonou, FIA list, etc.); other there are lists open to all.
With regard to the latter, here the lists of which I am aware:
- AFRICA_NET; discussions in French, has existed for 2 years; http://www.iafric.net/div/africa_net/africa_net.htm
- AFROCN, in existence for a little more than one year, English discussions; list created within the framework of the initiative Global CN http://globalcn.tc.ca/mailman/listinfo/afrocn
These three lists are or seek to be, I believe, for generalists.
There are lists relating to specific subjects, for example:
- Linux-Africa, on free software, (managed by la Francophonie I believe?) for more information contact Pierre Ouédraogo pierre.ouedraogo@...
- Unicode-Afrique; created approximately a year ago, information in French http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/Unicode-Afrique/
There are probably even more specific lists, in particular in the anglophone world.
Note especially all the lists maintainted by Bellanet http://www.bellanet.org/lyris/helper/index.cfm?fuseaction=Home which that currently focused on the meeting in Addis Ababa http://www.bellanet.org/lyris/helper/index.cfmfuseaction=Visit&listname=aisi-l (archives)
The participants in the discussions thus wished that be merging [of lists] be made where possible, or that no more lists for generalists be created.
They hoped that information on the African initiatives be in the future either on a common site, or on all the sites treating of Africa and ICT so that those who are not informed will be.
Consequently, they hope that those who will be present in Addis Ababa would to take account of these remarks and proposals.
I hope that I covered the main points. Please let me know if I omitted something or poorly conveyed an opinion.
List of participants in the meetings:
I don't have the complete list but included among others were: Kodjo Gonsalves, Emmanuel Njenga (one of the organizers of the meeting in Addis), Peter Benjamin (also with APC), Gideon Chonia, TONYE Emmanuel, Marie-Helene MOTTIN, Gabriel BOMBAMBO, Mariama MALE, Fatimata SEYE SYLLA, Mamadou COULIBALY, Aboubakar Abdou, Abdoulaye Diarra, Rabia Abdelkrim, Mamadou Gaye, myself. All the regions of Africa were represented (by chance, maybe?). Africans living in Canada, France and England in particular were present.