UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
6.1 In making the following recommendations to the GEF, the consultants take the position that
desirable. Long-term results would be achieved only if existing policy instruments, human and
institutional resources, were actively involved in initiating and i mplementing appropriate action.
Exogenous inputs -- capital, equitable access to relevant knowledge. political support etc -- are
considered critical to African capacity building for IT (ACBIT), only if they help to pro mote and/or
sustain indigenous capacities.
6.2 Our recommendations are not presented in any particular order of priority, However, it should
not be too difficult to set appropriate priorities in the context of, say, a workshop or seminar in
which the recommendations (and. perhaps, hose from simila r studies) form the basis of formulating a
definitive programme of action to the GEF and the World Bank.
6.3 The recommendations themselves are in groups. The first four recommendations address policy
issues tha t are considered imperative for appropriate political and economic action. at
international. regional. sub-regional and national levels, The fifth recommendation has four sub-
components. all dealing with the critical institutional perspective of capacity b uilding for IT use.
The four sub-components of the sixth recommendation are on the dynamic role envisaged for the regional
approach to achieving some of the GEF-specified objectives of the study.
6.4 That the GEF, alone or in collaboration with other international development agencies (such as
Canada's IDRC), evolve and actively support a results-oriented African Capacity Building for
Information Technology (ACBIT) programme, both in the short term (say, five years) and mid -term (ten
years) using, as much possible, existing African human, material and institutional resources.
6.5 That every opportunity be taken to persuade African political leaders at national and regional
levels to evolve and implement a policy of acquirin g and using knowledge as a vital development
resource, and to invest substantially and continuously in an effective telecommunications
infrastructure as the bedrock of such policy.
6.6 That the advantages of using information and networking technologies . promote, monitor, and
sustain environmental concerns in all aspects of policy formulation, decision making, and management
for African sustainable development be actively and contin uously demonstrated:
(a) Initially, through a regional seminar or worksho p where national policy makers responsible for
environmental issues, as well as selective IT specialists in the Region, learn to understand,
appreciate and work together to promote: (i) the objectives of Agenda 21 and other Rio Agreements,
with particular emphasis on the GEF mandate; (ii) the responsibilities of African nations with
respect to implementing the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; (iii) how IT and
networking technologies might help African nations to achieve sustainable developmen t in a sound
environment; and (iv) the need for a definitive national plan of action to promote the GEF cause.
(b) Thereafter, through periodic reviews of progress made in using information and networking
technologies to promote environmental concerns in all development programmes in the Region.
6.8 That a major effort in African capacity building for IT use be targeted at a selected number of
African institutions, with a view to:
(a) Encouraging individual initiative in bringing the IT use culture to Africa as rapidly as
(b) Promoting a few centres of excellence for appropriate educational, training and retraining
programmes in IT use;
(c) Inculcating an IT equipment maintenance culture in several institutions, with a view to
promoting a desirable multiplier effect in others; and
(d) Evolving effective twinning programmes, with a strong emphasis on GEF concerns between 2
selected number of African institutions which are actively engaged in promoting capacity building for
IT use and an equal n umber of institutions in other African and developing countries, Europe and
North America, and using appropriate electronic networking technologies to maximize the spread effects
of twinning beyond the paired groups.
6.9 That the GEF, perhaps in collaboration with other international development agencies, identify
and encourage regional and sub-regional programmes in African human resource development in
communications and information science by helping to strengthen s uch programmes to address the
specific use of information and networking technologies for capacity building geared towards
implementing the GEF mandate in Africa. Specifically, the GEF may wish to initiate or collaborate
(a) Establishing. maintaining, and utilizing an 'African Environment Database' at PADIS to help
promote environmental concerns as an integral part of socioeconomic development efforts in the
(b) Providing annual bursary and/or fellowship awards for students to specialize in environmental
systems and technologies, tenable in specific Africa regional or sub-regional institutions;
(c) Promoting a more cost-effective use of Africa's human and institutional resources in
information and networking technologies, using existing collaborative initiatives, such as CASIS;
(d) Funding an annual training of trainers' course on Environmental Information Systems and
Technologies at INFOTERRA (UNEP) or PADIS. The participants would include computer-literate
environmental scientists, as well as computer/information scientist s who are sensitive to
environmental issues. Subsequently, the GEF should encourage the participants to share the knowledge
acquired more widely by subsidizing sub-regional and national workshops, organized by the trainees who
attended the 'training of tra iners' course. Editor: email@example.com