UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
PADIS NewsLetter Vol. 10 No. 1, 1995
One of Pan African Development Information System's (PADIS) strategies to implement its regional programme is the establishment and strengthening of PADIS subregional information and documentation centres, which are responsible for the provision of certain categories of training and technical assistance to national information and documentation centres and serve as subregional clearing houses for information emanating from the respective subregions.
For Eastern and Southern Africa subregion, PADIS has established its subregional centre, the Eastern and Southern Africa Development Information System (ESADIS) within the ECA MULPOC office in Lusaka, Zambia. The mandated purpose of ESADIS, which became operational in February 1993, is to accelerate the development of information and documentation infrastructure and related activities and the exchange of information in the member states of the Eastern and Southern African Subregion, with the assistance of PADIS.
In order to make ESADIS fully operational, financial resources in addition to those provided by the Government of Zambia are required to equip the centre with the necessary information technology and to build up information resources for access by member States of the subregion.
Mr. Francis Inganji, PADIS Training Coordinator, undertook a mission to Lusaka from 6-9 February 1995 within the context of getting additional resources for ESADIS. The main objective of the mission was to work with the ESADIS staff to prepare project documents for various donors for the financing of ESADIS activities. The mission also assisted ESADIS staff in the preparation of necessary background material for the carrying out of a consultancy assignment given to ESADIS by the Economic Commission for Africa.
The operationalization of ESADIS was among the issued discussed at the meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts of the Lusaka-based MULPOC (subregional office) took place in Gaborone, Botswana from 21-25 March 1995.
The Committee noted the progress that had been made in making ESADIS operational and congratulated the Government of Zambia for having put human as well as financial resources at the disposal of the MULPOC to operationalize ESADIS. On the question of future funding of ESADIS, the Committee emphasized that the funding of ESADIS was solely the responsibility of the member States of the subregion and urged member States to support ESADIS in its endeavours to access funds from international organizations and governments. The committee recommended that concerted efforts be made by the respective member States to raise the necessary funds to fully operationalise ESADIS.
One of PADIS' activities is to assist African member States and institutions to build their capacity in the management of information services and systems. This is done by the organization of short courses, seminars, workshops and attachment training. Since 1987 PADIS has organized several courses, workshops, and seminars. These events have yielded valuable material for publication.
In order to publish some of these materials, Mr. Francis Inganji undertook a mission to Nairobi, Kenya from 26-27 January 1995 to the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) to explore the possibilities of the ICIPE Science Press publishing PADIS documents. As a result of the mission, ICIPE Science Press has agreed to publish the following PADIS documents:
PADIS Reader on "Information Management Strategies for Africa". The Reader contains the following articles:
i) Human resources development and utilization in the information and documentation sector in Africa.
ii) Use of information technology for the benefit of African development.
iii) Cultural issues in the utilization and dissemination of information.
iv) Management Information Systems (MIS) in support of planning.
v) Marketing of information in Africa.
vi) Strategic value of information utilization in Africa.
Ten articles on strategies for human resources development and utilization in the information and documentation sector. These papers have been contributed by professionals from various institutions in Africa.
The two publications will be ready for distribution by end August 1995.
Future PADIS Publications
Other publications under print include the following:
Four modules on information services and systems management.
Six modules on the management of information technology in Africa. Each of these modules of approximately 20-25 pages will be published individually.
During the period 5-16 December 1994, PADIS organized a workshop for university lecturers in Gaborone, Botswana. The workshop was organized in response to the need to review the existing curricula in universities offering library and information science. The workshop recommended the development of specific training material for use by universities in teaching library and information science in response to the general shortage of training material in this area.
Participants at this workshop noted that materials available for teaching were often inadequate, sometimes irrelevant, and generally out of date. Because of this, institutions were failing to respond to the changing demands of the information profession. Workshop participants thus recommended that training material be developed on the following topics.
- Human resources development and utilization in the information and documentation sector. - Abstracting and indexing. - Tools for processing user needs. - Information and society. - User studies related to information services. - Research methodology. - Computerized documentation techniques. - Information management. - Information systems and services management. - Information technology management, to include policies for acquisition and utilization. - Electronic data communication in Africa. - Software packages for processing information. - Networking principles. - Information policies and programs. - Standardization and harmonization of information and documentation systems in Africa. - Marketing of information services and products. - PADIS methodologies. - CD-ROM technology and its application in Africa. - Database development and maintenance.
Chapters on the above topics are being prepared by lecturers from universities in Africa and by PADIS staff. Once these chapters are completed, PADIS intends to publish them in two volumes.
Following the nomination in June 1994 by the Government of Eritrea of a PADIS focal point in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, a mission composed of the ECA Regional Adviser in Information Systems Development Mr. Makane Faye and the Telematics Project Officer Mr. Lishan Adam went to Eritrea from 23-28 January 1995. The overall objective of the mission was to assist Eritrea to plan for the setting up of a national development information system and network linking various relevant government departments, using compatible tools and methods in support of research and economic management.
PADIS conducted a training course for participants working in information and documentation centres in Senegal, from 6-17 March 1995. The course content included PADIS methodologies, the use of micro-CDS/ISIS software package in information processing, trade information systems and marketing of information products and services. PADIS staff conducting the training were Makane Faye, Saddik Solbi, Noellie Akande and Teferra Woldeyes.
A national level training course was also conducted for staff of information and documentation centres in the Republic of Uganda, from 20-31 March 1995 in Kampala, Uganda. The course was held in the East African School of Librarianship of the University of Makerere, with 20 participants from the following institutions: Bank of Uganda, Ministry of Gender, Uganda Export Promotions Council, Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, Uganda Management Institute, Uganda Council for Science and Technology and the University of Makerere. Among the topics covered during this course included the following;
- Introduction to PCs and DOS - PADIS methodologies
- Networking at national level - Electronic communication
- Introduction to micro-CDS/ISIS software package -
Information management - Marketing of information services/products
PADIS staff conducting the training seminar were Francis Inganji, Frew Dubale and Bethlehem Teshager.
Mr. Moussa Fall and Mr. Bob Barad undertook a mission to Mali from 12-26 January 1995. The primary objective of the mission was to evaluate the potential for electronic communication in Mali and to identify a suitable institution to take responsibility for operating an electronic node. The mission recommended that all necessary technical and material support be offered to the Balanzan Institute, which agreed to host a FidoNet host and nurture the expansion of cooperative low cost electronic communications in Mali.
PADIS is intensifying its utilization of advances
in information technology. It is presently storing
and disseminating information produced by the United
Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) utilizing
up- to-date information technology that permits greater
and less costly dissemination. This works through the
PADIS databases of "grey" literature produced
by UNECA and through the dissemination of full text
of UNECA documents. Maintaining the PADIS databases
increases the number of persons with access to the
materials ECA produces. PADIS has concluded an agreement
with IDRC to mount PADIS databases of ECA development
literature on their Internet server, so that anyone
with Internet access can access it. PADIS is also working
towards the development of programmes that will allow
automatic e-mail searching of its databases resident
in Addis Ababa as well as full Internet access.
In the area of dissemination of full-text ECA documents, PADIS had made arrangements with two electronic Gopher systems and one Web site to post the best of UNECA documents, making the full text of these documents available to some 30,000,000 readers worldwide. The United Nations Development Program now has a section of UNECA documents on its Gopher, which contains the full text of a number of substantive ECA documents, including the survey of economic conditions in Africa, as well as the PADIS newsletter. Similarly, a UNECA section has been established on the United Nations Population Division Gopher where PADIS has collected, processed and transmitted substantive documents from the ECA population Division. It has also negotiated the establishment of a UNECA section on the University of Pennsylvania African Studies World Wide Web, which has more than 20,000 users per month. In one month of 1994, 6 percent of total usage of their WWW usage was accounted for by readers downloading UNECA materials.
As soon as the Executive Secretary of ECA issued his 1994 end-of-year statement on the performance of the African economy, PADIS "broadcasted" it electronically to the above two gophers and the University of Pennsylvania WWW. Additionally, PADIS is encouraging e-mail search requests from its users in Africa, with the results of the searches returned electronically.
The American Library Association has an international
relations listserv for discussion of international
relations issues in the library and information world.
The listserv is designed to provide a forum for ALA's
various international groups to exchange information
and for libraries around the world to post information
and ask questions. E-mail users can subscribe to ALAWORLD
by sending send an e-mail message to the text type:
SUBSCRIBE ALAWORLD, a space; then [your first and last name].
According to Alex Tindimubona, Chairman, African Science and Technology Exchange (ASTEX), Kampala, Uganda, the main constraint to databases in Africa is access, particularly online.
In his presentation to the joint PADIS/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) workshop held in Addis Ababa from 10-12 October 1994, Mr. Tindimubona stated that African institutions, researchers and their genuine supporters must get more active in compiling and disseminating databases in Africa on areas of importance to Africa's development.
He stated that in order for databases to be effective, they should be dynamic both in the technologies they use, and in the dissemination strategies they adopt. Database builders should realize that the test of a good database is in the service it gives to users, not in its internal programming elegance or sophistication. Databases should be prepared to be pragmatic, e.g. to jump from one platform to another as these themselves keep moving and evolving. Serious capacity building is needed in database construction and dissemination in Africa particularly through innovative ventures in civil society. African governments must continue to be pressured to provide proper infrastructure and policy environment that encourages the compilation and dissemination of information through databases.
South Asian Network The Development Information Network for South Asia (DEVINSA) - a south Asian database and information system for development researchers and policy makers, operated co-operatively by social science institutions in 6 south Asian countries provides a possible model for development information systems in Africa. The network incorporates a documents delivery service, training and consultancy services (including design of bibliographic databases, development of marketing plans for library and information centres and training in computer software), database searches and publication of development abstracts. The Network's journal focusing on socio-economic development in South Asia, DEVINSA Development Abstracts, is published monthly, with each issue concentrating on a key sector or country. More information about DEVINSA is available from the DEVINSA Coordinating Centre, Marga Institut; 61, Isipathana Mawantha, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka.
ECA, Addis Ababa, ET Report on the economic and social situation in Africa, 1995. 62+16p. tables. 30 Mar 1995. Technical Preparatory Committee of the Whole, 16th meeting, Addis Ababa, ET, 24-28 Apr 1995. Conference of ministers, 21st meeting; 30th session of the Commission, Addis Ababa, ET, 1-4 May 1995. DOC.NO. E/ECA/CM.21/3
Points out that the growth of the African economy has continued to fall behind that of the other developing regions, and GDP growth has yet to keep pace with population increase; describes the developments in major production sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing, which between them accounted for most GDP value added in 1990-1994. Deals with the problems of Africa's external trade, debt and resource flows; argues that those three problems are closely linked, that none of the three can be resolved without substantial progress on the other; also addresses the overall social situation which has continued to deteriorate: this is evidenced by the rapid rate of population growth, urbanization, rural-urban migration, the decay in educational and health infrastructure, growing malnutrition, the worsening plight of refugees and widespread unemployment. /Economic conditions*/, /social conditions*/, /economic performance*/, /economic policy/, /economic recovery/, /economic growth/, /agricultural sector/, /mining/, /manufacturing/, /foreign trade/, /balance of payments/, /debts/, /population dynamics/, /health aspects/, /employment/, /refugees/.
ECA, Addis Ababa, ET Human development in Africa, 1995 report. 54+51p. tables. 30 Mar 1995. Technical Preparatory Committee of the Whole, 16th meeting, Addis Ababa, ET , 24-28 Apr 1995. Conference of ministers, 21st meeting; 30th session of the Commission, Addis Ababa, ET, 1-4 May 1995. DOC.NO. E/ECA/CM.21/8 Defines human development as a process of enlarging human choices- that people must be at the centre of development, which includes, access to adequate income to ensure a decent standard of living, healthy life, knowledge, freedom, personal security, etc. Reviews the state of African children, commitments made to African children and the progress made in realizing the commitment; deals with the state of health, the goal of 'health for all by the year 2000' and Africa's record with references to health for all; also reviews the state of education, the low rates of literacy and basic education in the region. /Human resources*/, /manpower*/, /children*/, /health aspects/, /educational aspects/, /Africa/.
Shahid, Akhtar and Nostbakken, David (IDRC, Ottawa CA) Does the highway go South? Southern perspectives on the information highway. 50p. ref. 20 Mar 1995. ECA, Addis Ababa, ET. African Regional Symposium on Telematics for Development, Addis Ababa, ET, 3-7 Apr 1995. International Institute of Communications Pre-Conference Symposium on Southern Country Interests, Tampere, FI, 3-4 Sept 1994. DOC.NO. E/ECA/ARSTM/20 (Includes an executive summary on "the global communications networks and the new television". A French version is available. Symposium sponsored by ECA, UNESCO, ITU and IDRC) Attempts to define the term "information highway". Indicates the role that new information and communication technology plays in reinforcing cultural autonomy, improving economic efficiency, facilitating social interactions within Southern countries and between North and South and in fostering increased collective actions for a sustainable future. Indicates also that southern countries need to commit greater levels of resources and other resources in support of this effort. Provides an overview of the issues and ideas encompassed by the three themes which formed the basis of the Tampere agenda. Summarizes the highlights of the discussion and briefly reviews some of the solutions offered. Presents the conclusion of the Tampere Symposium which is that "Information is people - highways are technology infrastructure". /Information technology*/, /communication networks*/, /information transfer*/, /information networks/, /communication networks/. /telematics/
3-7 April Addis Ababa ECA/UNESCO/International Telecommunication Union Regional Symposium on Access to Telematics Facilities in Africa
9-11 April Addis Ababa Scientific and Technical Information Advisory Committee meeting National Research Council (USA) Office of International Affairs
18-22 April Addis Ababa Intergovernmental Committee of Experts/Gisenyi MULPOC
24-5 May Addis Ababa ECA Technical Preparatory
Committee of the Whole and
ECA Conference of Ministers of Planning and Economic Development
8-12 May Pretoria Africa INFO NOVA Conference
15-22 May Dakar Advisory mission on information systems development, Institut pour le dveloppement conomique et la planification
22-26 May Bogota First International CDS/ISIS Congress
1 June Addis Ababa Seminar on the library profession in Ethiopia
1-2 June Nairobi Global Environment Fund meeting on computer mediated communication
5-14 June Pretoria Advisory services mission to South Africa
12-22 June POPIN Information Technology Working Group and Advisory Committee Meeting
18-30 June Honolulu Internet Society Developing Countries Workshop and annual meeting, INET '95 -----------------------------------
From: SSolbi@padis.gn.apc.org Date: Tue, 23 Jan 96 09:44:26 +0000 Subject: PADIS' newsletter1 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D.
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