According to the Gurdian Education Weekly of June 8, 2005, Africa is the world’s poorest continent, containing 18 of the 20 poorest countries in the world. In a related article, the Gurdian Unlimited further reports that relative to the rest of the world, Africa is getting poorer all the time. In view of this, it is very encouraging to see the likes of former US president Bill Clinton, Bill and Melinda Gates and others helping in order to lift Africa out of the poverty trap.

Currently, more than eight million people around the world die each year because they are too poor to stay alive.”—Jeffrey Sachs. The End of Poverty.New York:Penguin Press, 2005,p.1

As one way of fighting poverty on the African continent, I would like to ask Africa-based Electrical and Electronic engineers, researchers and academicians to take an active role in the activities of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers(IEEE). This might not make sense to someone but hold your breath.Let me do a little bit of explaining. I am sure we will converge to the same line of thinking. Do you know anything about the digital divide?In a nutshell, the term digital divide refers to the gap between countries such as USA which have regular and effective access to digital and information technology and countries such as those in Africa which do not have this access. The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology. Most of the technological advances that we witness today were hatched through relentless research efforts of members of IEEE. By taking an active role in IEEE, African researchers would be on the leading edge of technology.With such experiences, it will be easy for them to customize what they learn from other colleagues in IEEE to the African setup. As a result, the process of bridging the digital divide will be easier and faster. Once this first step is done, continued involvement in IEEE will still be required to avoid losing the gains attained.

“The rate at which technological progress is accelerating is not a constant. The power of information technologies is doubling every year… “—Ray Kurzweil, author,inventor,futurist and winner of 1999 National Medal of Technology.”A Singular Mind,” United Hemispheres Magazine, Dec, 2006, p. 106.

African economies, which traditionally are based on agriculture and natural resources (gold, diamond, oil, diamonds) will be able to blossom in this information driven world. Mind you, most of the countries that are ranking high in the information revolution, do not have the diaomands, oil, uranium, gold etc. that Africa has.Things will turn upside down when Africa fully embraces the information age. The African re-birth will surely be accomplished.Let me sign out this posting with the following words of wisdom:

“But many that are
first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” Matthew 19v30, King James Version of the Bible.