Gov’t lauded for prioritising IT
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Delegates at the ongoing 13th Africa Network Operators’ Group (AfNOG) and the 16th African Regional Internet Registry (AfriNIC), currently underway at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, have lauded the Gambian leader for prioritising Information Technology in his ongoing development agenda.
Speaking at a press conference, Professor Muhammedou Kah, the vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia (UTG) said: “His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr. Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Chancellor of the University of The Gambia gives priority to science technology innovation specifically ICT.”
The UTG VC recalled that three years ago, when he took office, the president asked them to immediately include in the faculties and school within the university, a School of Information Technology and Communication, which is now in its third year. He said this ongoing meeting came a few months after the president launched the Science and Technology Innovation Park, which is among the first in universities in Africa and will start operation very soon.
He expressed UTG’s gratitude to be part of the AfNOG and AfriNIC convergence and commended the Qcell boss and local host, Muhammed Jah who he said was one of those young people that were trained on Information, Communication, and Technology and are now impacting positively on the people of Africa. He congratulated AfNOG and AfriNIC for changing the lives of the youth of this continent through technology and also contributing immensely to the socio-economic development of Africa.
At the level of the UTG, Professor Kah stated that they were invited to host the Africa Research Initiative Network (AfRIN) as part of this year’s series of activities, which involve research institutions from the continent. He noted that during the AfRIN meeting, many universities were represented together with partner institutions based in the United States.
He said deans and students of UTG participated in the highly intensive training that will yield benefit to the IT infrastructure at the institution. This, he went on, shows the UTG’s resolve to respond to the 21st Century need for ICT, adding that the intervention by AfNOG and AfriNIC is of significance to the institution.
Professor Kah also informed the gathering that they are currently deploying wireless connection to the UTG campus, which cost them a huge amount of money to put the necessary IT structure at the campus, which is to the benefit of the students.
He continued: “Because of the intervention by Qcell, UTG was able to provide laptops with 3G internet services to every faculty member and staff of the UTG to ensure that they are more efficient and productive in their service delivery of learning. Also through the generosity of Qcell, The Gambia’s best mobile network, we have laid a fibre around the park in Faraba Bantang. We thank Qcell for their continued efforts in contributing to development of the IT structure at the UTG.”
The UTG vice chancellor opined that the future of youth unemployment in the country and in the continent relies on the efforts that the AfNOG and AfriNIC continue to make to build relevant, competent and capacity on ICT for the young people. He further stated that the training that the youths receive is today creating employment for hundreds of people, citing Muhammed Jah, CEO of Qcell as an example.
He called on AfNOG and AfriNIC to continue to give the requisite skill and capacity to the young people. He finally assured of UTG’s continued partnership and collaboration with AfNOG, AfriNIC, and Qcell for the benefit of the youth of the country, while thanking them for having their session in the country.
For his part, Professor John Ssebuwufu, the director of Research and Programmes at the Association of African Universities also recognised the importance of information technology to any university, noting that IT can have a positive impact on the lives of the university students.
Dr. Nii Quaynor, AfNOG convener said a lot is expected on the side of the government of The Gambia, being the place where the Africa Internet Summit was launched. He stressed that all hands must be on deck and policies must be in place for the realisation of the desired goals. He finally commended the government of The Gambia for playing its part as expected.
Author: Alieu Ceesay