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HOT OFF THE PRESS: iMENTORS working towards sustainable development in Africa- article on HumanIPO

Described as a “one-stop-shop data warehouse,” iMentors is a web-based platform serving as a knowledge repository for sharing and aggregating data on e-infrastructure projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking to HumanIPO, Louis Papaemmanuel, project director based at the Stockholm University, said iMentors is a project co-foundered by the seventh framework program of the European Commission. It began in April 2012 and will run until October 2014.

“The objective of iMentors is to aggregate and display information about every e-infrastructure project plus related initiatives such as e-government, e-learning [and] e-health applications over the past five years,” Papaemmanuel said.

Papaemmanuel believes while Africa is one of the fastest growing regions, the continent still lags far behind other regions such as Europe, in terms of developing stable deployment “at least with broadband infrastructures”.

Papaemmanuel said the difference between Europe and Africa in terms of broadband implementation is the fact that broadband capacity in Africa was developed by commercial internet service providers (ISPs).

 

“So basically the low density of terrestrial communication lines combined with the fact that these (broadband capacity) are privately owned has made access pretty much prohibitively expensive,” said Papaemmanuel.

“Whilst the pace...of current investments are actually an encouraging development for interconnecting Africa with the rest of the world, the fact that there is little knowledge about who funds what and for what purpose is actually quite inhibiting and remains quite a major impediment to any increased impact and effectiveness of investments,” said Papaemmanuel.

Essentially iMentors seeks to rectify the above through its online platform by mapping various organisations and stakeholders involved with all relevant projects.

It also seeks to eradicate fund wasting by improving “cross-donor” communication. This will eliminate duplicate investments by assisting investors to work together on a mutual project.

Papemmanuel said one of the reasons poor coordination occurs among investors is because different entities have different agendas, especially with regards to the different aspects of, for example, e-government and e-health.

Papaemmanuel said the added value of iMentors includes impact assessment, which will assist stakeholders to assess how well a project has been implemented and what impact it had. “It also serves as an evaluation of the different initiatives.”

“The platform will also serve as a tool to identify synergies, so you will be able to, for instance, find projects with similar objectives and so on,” said Papaemmanuel.

“The third major aspect of iMentors is that we will actually also implement [a] networking tool so it will be very tailored to what, for instance, LinkedIn offers in terms of exchanging information about different stakeholder groups,” said Papaemmanuel.

iMentors is accessible through a simple registration and login process with no costs involved.

“iMentors will basically act as a huge knowledge repository for sharing and aggregating data on e-infrastructure projects across the entire sub-Saharan region. It’s a lot of countries and is a big effort, but we’re halfway through it and we’re quite happy with how it has developed.”

Furthermore, Papaemmanuel said iMentors was tailored to support the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

 

Originally posted byBrandon Gregory on April 4, 2013

For more news like this visit HumanIPO

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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