The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) is now offering an electronic membership option to new and renewing members who reside in countries where the three-year average of the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is US$15,000 or less.

This is a paperless option through which members will receive an electronic copy of their membership card and membership materials.

All publications, including IEEE Spectrum magazine, The Institute and Potentials, will also be delivered digitally.

The annual base dues for the e-Membership option are just US$50. After browsing the list of eligible countries, I noted that Equatorial Guinea, which has the highest GDP per capita on the continent, is the only African country missing on the list.

In 2007, I explained that if many African scientists, researchers and academicians can start to actively participate in the activities of world-class professional organizations such as the IEEE, the fight against chronic poverty would be easier.

For many Africa based lecturers, it is not easy to pay for membership of IEEE and related organizations from their meagre pay. At some point, I even encouraged universities in Africa to emulate other universities on the continent which pay IEEE membership fees for their members of staff.

With the availability of the e-Membership option, I hope that many colleagues in Africa will now join IEEE and actively take part in its activities.

Institutions such as the University of Malawi, which already pay IEEE membership fees for their staff, can also save some $$$ by switching to this cheaper option.