Role of universities in influencing policies for access
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Role of Universities in Influencing Policies for Access. Frontiers of Knowledge in Science And Technology for Africa. Lishan Adam. Agenda - Three Areas of Policy Influence Building Blocks). Universities role 1. Influencing policies on access at all levels Campus Networks

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Role of universities in influencing policies for access

Role of Universities in Influencing Policies for Access

Frontiers of Knowledge in Science

And Technology for Africa

Lishan Adam

Agenda three areas of policy influence building blocks

Agenda - Three Areas of Policy Influence Building Blocks)

  • Universities role

    • 1. Influencing policies on access at all levels

      • Campus Networks

      • National Research and Education Networks

      • Regional consortium (Research and Education Networks)

      • Advanced infrastructure for scientists and researchers

    • 2. Research and Development in policies and regulation

      • Policy studies

      • Informing policy

      • Influencing policy

    • 3. Training and education in policies and regulation

      • Policy education

      • Policy training

Influencing policy universities roles and experiences overlap and focus

Influencing Policy – Universities Roles and experiences – Overlap and Focus






Policy and





Policy &


Advanced Networks

Campus networks

Policy Issues and Challenges

Development and redesign of network for high availability using different technologies

Maintenance of secure and reliable, and optimised network

ICT support and governance framework to promote smooth functioning of campus network

Enhancing value to users by launching diverse applications (e-learning platforms, e-lab applications and specific content

Development of technical capacities

Seamless integration and interconnection to national and regional network and constituencies

Universities’ role

Campus ICT strategy or plan signed by VC and other stakeholders

Campus Network Acceptable use Policy and best practice in design

Participation in national and regional efforts to promote academic connectivity and campus networks

Campus Networks

Campus network - foundation

National education and research networks


Aggregating demand for connectivity at national levels – equipment, bandwidth

Extending Internet connectivity to unconnected research institutions (equity, content)

Sharing network resources (expertise, strategies, IP Numbers, open academic content)

Participation in regional and international Network Organizations

Policy issues

Resource allocation for educational connectivity (budget line)

National ICT strategies and broadband strategies that integrate educational needs

Reduction of costs to academic network (differential fees)

Governance framework for NREN put in place

National Education and Research Networks

Government must see NREN as an important public infrastructure

Cost of bandwidth high fiber access low

Cost of Bandwidth high Fiber Access low

  • Less than 20 of the 54 countries with fiber links

  • Monopoly pricing

  • Lack of backbones

  • African Fiber access cost $2500 to $7500 per mbps/month (average of $5000 Mbps/month)

  • US 2.5 Mbps/month, Asia $16-30 Mbps/month

Satellite the main mode of connectivity and cost of bandwidth a major barrier to research network

Satellite the main mode of connectivity and Cost of Bandwidth a major barrier to Research Network -


Role of universities in influencing policies for access

A few countries (Tanzania and recently Uganda) initiated broadband strategies to integrate local capabilities

National Backbone is needed

Other challenges to satellite connectivity

Other challenges to Satellite connectivity

  • High licensing charges

  • Requirements for use of incumbent’s hub

  • Prohibition of voice traffic over VSAT

  • High landing fee for operators

  • Outright rejection of applications for VSAT license

Overall regulatory quality world bank african development report 2006

Overall Regulatory Quality ( World Bank African Development Report, 2006)

  • High ( Botswana, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa)

  • Medium (Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Madagascar,Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, Tunisia,Uganda)

  • Low (Benin, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe)

  • Very low - Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Dem. Rep., Congo, Rep., Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea- Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan)

Telecommunications regulatory quality

Telecommunications Regulatory Quality

Advanced Reform

Mauritius, Morocco, Tanzania, Botswana

South Africa Uganda Kenya

In the Process

Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria,

Rwanda, Seychelles, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Early Stage

Benin, Burundi, Chad, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, DRC,

Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia

Niger, Sao Tome & Principe, Sierra Leone Swaziland, Togo

Opportunities for nren

Opportunities for NREN

  • Phasing out of exclusivity period (Senegal, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Mali, Ghana)

  • Introduction of converged licensing regime (post-exclusivity) – Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, South Africa Senegal, Tanzania, these announced broad competition

  • IP driven market dynamics

    • Depriving incumbents of lucrative revenue

    • low volume/high margin  High volume low margin

  • Digital divide/ information society initiatives


  • Fastest growing communications economy

Summary of policy issues at national levels and role of universities

Excessive cost of bandwidth

No backbone networks

Network concentration in urban area

Limited diffusion of wireless and innovative technologies, tools for using existing resources

Good regulation, consortium, fibre-based system is a must for lowering cost (work on local policy barriers)

Participate – provide political support for the establishment of NREN, support a governance framework

Promote national backbone networks

Summary of policy issues at national levels and role of universities

Role of universities in influencing policies for access

Implications of Institutional Collaboration and Government Support


Go it Alone

Fully functional



Kenya, South Africa


Ghana, Uganda


Madagascar,Nigeria, Tanzania





Government Support

Regional research and education networks

Regional Research and Education Networks

  • Major objectives of RREN:

    • Develop a state of the art infrastructure to support teaching, learning and research at regional levels (exploit economy of scale)

    • Act as hubs for researching and implementing new and advanced network services

    • Provide centralised skills in networking

Challenges to rren

Smaller traffic, large number of countries

Different markets

that demand policy harmonization

Cross-border connectivity is needed between universities

A few regional initiatives (Ubuntunet, west Africa, Eumed)

Challenges to RREN

Universities role

Universities role

  • Promote aggregations and cross-border networks as building block for regional networks – federated R&E networks like the bandwidth consortium would be useful

  • Organic development start from where it works (SARUA)

  • Regional harmonization through regional regulatory associations Universities work with regional and national regulatory bodies

  • Leverage regional organizations (AAU, East African Universities Association, Association of Francophone universities.)

  • Policy…and commitment of governmentsAU, NEPAD, RECs (ECOWAS, SADC, COMESA) agenda

  • N/RREN and regulatory implications awareness (, e-rates, Dark fiber, cross-border connectivity)

2 university role as communicator of evidence to inform or influence policy

Key challenges

Lack of information and analysis about the ICT sector on the African continent.

Deep policy issues that increasingly require research and analysis, evaluation and ongoing assessment scanning local/international

Research on ICT policy /ICT in general driven either by market or donor agencies– public oriented objective research on ICT is hardly available

The understanding comes from the theory and experiences gained in the developed world. Organic policies that emerge from the realities and constraints are needed


Interest in measuring the information society

Global interest in objective research – sober assessment of failure of policies

Research programmes like the research ICT Africa network (www.

More understanding of the relationships between policies and ICTs for development is needed

2. University role as communicator of evidence to inform or influence policy

3 teaching and training in ict policy


ICT policy and regulation specialised field – much of advice from donors, experts and companies

Training on ICT policy provided by specialised institutions in Europe and north America

Advisory services provided by regional institutions

Most regulatory bodies are relatively new and inexperienced

Policy makers change fast, ongoing training of new appointees is needed


Donor interest in regulatory training

Programmes such as NetTel@Africa that bring universities together with regulators

3. Teaching and Training in ICT policy

Nettel@africa training teaching example

NetTel@Africa - training, teaching example

  • Common curricular frameworks, including internet-based courses,

  • Investigation into appropriate technologies and mechanisms for distance learning

  • Development of common standards for competence evaluation and certification of personnel;

  • Development of a regional directory of specialisation among training centres and personnel;

  • Joint provision of training, sharing of research materials and coordination of training programmes;

  • Regional certification agreements to support reciprocal recognition of qualifications.

Skills for policy makers and regulators

Skills for policy makers and regulators

  • graduate level skills in the disciplines underpinning policies and regulation (economics, accountancy, law, electrical engineering, socio-informatics, information systems, project management, etc.);

  • high-level skills in major regulatory and policy issues relating to ICTs (such as licensing, interconnection, competition policy, telecoms accounting etc.);

  • general understanding (for both senior professionals and junior personnel) in those areas in which they personally are non-specialist (e.g. basic telecommunications technology, basic telecoms finance, ICT for development);

  • and highly-specialist expertise in one-off issues (for example, design and implementation of numbering plans)

Universities role1

Universities Role

  • Help countries to adopt policies that meet development challenges

    • Establish ICT policy research (CoE, Research Group, forum)

    • Participate in global and regional initiatives and knowledge networks in ICT policy (RIA, ICT indicators, evaluation methods)

  • Create space for teaching and learning ICT policy

    • Initiate ICT policy training

    • Introduce into the curriculum

    • Participate in teaching and training by collaborating with institutions such as NetTel@africa

Thank you

Thank you….

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