By Martin Ekpeke
The 2018 African Ministers of Education and Information Technology Summit, which is scheduled to be hold in Kigali, the Rwandan capital next week will be without a representative from either the Nigerian Ministry of Education or Information Communications Technology.
African countries confirmed for attendance for the annual Ministerial Round Table (MRT) meeting at eLearning Africa, reputed as the continent’s largest conference on technology assisted learning and training are Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea.
Others are Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, and Uganda.
In an email response to ITPulse’s queries why any of the Nigerian Minister of Education or ICT were not invited, a visibly disappointed Rebecca Stromeyer, founder and organiser of eLearning Africa, noted that Nigerian Ministers are invited each year, but unfortunately, so far no Nigerian Minister has accepted the invitation, taken part or in fact sent a representative or a delegation as other countries do.
She said this is rather unfortunate despite the fact that Nigeria as a country is always strongly represented by delegates from leading universities, industry, NGOs and innovative start-ups.
“Nigeria is in fact, usually under the top four of countries most strongly represented at the conference both as attendees and as speakers in the programme, showcasing great initiatives and best practice, but unfortunately this has not been reflected on the part of the government showing commitment,” she added.
The theme of this year’s Ministerial Round ‘Towards a Knowledge-based Economy’ and the ministers are expected to discuss the possible effects of a global ‘fourth industrial revolution’ on Africa, with machines increasingly likely to replace human workers in a number of key industries, the implications for African governments, businesses and citizens are potentially enormous.
However, a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ may offer African economies an opportunity to ‘leapfrog’ their competitors and the ministers will consider what African Governments and businesses need to do to make the most of a new era of rapid technological change.
According to Rebecca Stromeyer, the founder and organiser of eLearning Africa, Many African economies are actually in quite a strong position. Unlike the so-called ‘advanced economies,’ they don’t have to waste huge resources trying to restructure tired, old industries. Many of them can start from scratch and they have a great deal to offer potential investors. They are resource rich and they have the world’s most youthful population, which is bound to attract investors and entrepreneurs.
“The key thing now is to focus on giving young people the modern skills they need and creating a climate which encourages innovation and creativity. If African Governments do that, Africa can lead the world,” she said.
At the eLearning Africa Ministerial Round Table, Ministers will focus on discussing practical measures, which can be implemented quickly to give Africans a chance to take advantage of what is likely to be a new era of opportunity.