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The eI4Africa project engaged groups that had already implemented, or are in the process of implementing, e-Infrastructures and related applications that could serve as international flagship demonstrations with the potential to:

  • Illustrate important issues in policy and regulation that need to be dealt with to take advantage of the emerging African terrestrial ICT infrastructures;
  • Demonstrate return on investment in research and education infrastructures; and
  • Contribute to progress towards and beyond the Millennium Development Goals

Collaboration opportunities with Europe have also been encouraged by this approach.

The research and higher education communities were involved in many of the African Grand Challenges and their work would benefit immensely from access to e-infrastructures. The scientific research themes were based on findings from FEAST, ERINA4Africa, CHAIN and other studies and projects, including multilaterally and bilaterally supported activities that the eI4Africa partners have been involved in. The most outstanding demonstrator candidates were found in the area of medicine and health research. As an example, fighting counterfeit drugs requires both e-infrastructures supporting international cooperation and national support for secure drug distribution, including to rural areas where the large majority of the African populations live. The challenges met when developing the e-infrastructures include a wide spectrum of aspects, including awareness issues, lack of infrastructures, human resources with adequate competence and mechanisms for linking research breakthroughs to innovation clusters. Implemented solutions have wide-ranging implications to health as well as other e-Infrastructure research areas.

The eI4Africa project therefore aimed at:

  • Stimulating targeted policy and regulatory discussions on regional and national levels by organising flagship demonstrations raising awareness of research activities addressing the priorities in national and regional ICT and poverty alleviation strategies and supporting progress towards and beyond the Millennium Development Goals. Attention was paid to empowering measures that can be taken by policy-makers and regulators to accelerate the development of affordable access to infrastructures, such as cross-border connectivity, authentication and authorisation infrastructures, etc;
  • Demonstrating how local ICT supply chains could be strengthened and how the establishment of commercial markets could be accelerated in under-served areas to improve access to infrastructures for research, education and healthcare outside the major cities by linking local communities with research and higher education institutions.