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AFNOG, AfriNIC annual seminar underway

May 16, 2012, 1:20 PM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

The African Network Operators’ Group (AfNOG) and the African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC) are holding a two-week joint meeting on network technology in The Gambia at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

The meeting hosted by QCell, brought participants from different African countries in various areas of Commercial Internet Service Providers (ISPs), academic networks, government departments and NGOs.

It aims to offer advanced training in the process of developing and enhancing an Internet-connected network with regional and international connectivity.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nancy Niang, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information, Communication and Infrastructure, described the forum as important, since the overall network of infrastructure in Africa, through various submarine cable developments, are expanding by the day and bringing more opportunities to the African continent.

She said the activities pertain to the continued development and capacity building of ICT personnel in the country in a drive to make The Gambia a hub for ICT.

PS Niang said she was delighted to be associated with the AFNOG for its pioneering role in the organization of workshops and training programs in Africa, that have so far resulted in an all-inclusive collaboration community in the continent.

“The importance of this workshop/meeting to the Gambia government cannot therefore be over-emphasized,” she said, adding that it is along these lines that MoICI decided to sponsor, under the WB-funded West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (WARCIP), 40 local participants to undergo the AFNOG training.

Adiel Akplogan, CEO of AfriNIc, thanked the Gambia government for hosting the meeting and commended the technical committee for making the meeting possible. Their focus is on engineering, he said.

According to him, internet is not only about engineering but also about business, policy, laws and how to integrate them.

He called for commitment to learn more while commending their efforts to adjust the event and bring in more people.

According to him, the Internet summit will be the umbrella body of what they used to do and their meeting will continue to exist to have room for investment and exhibition.  

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Nii Quaynor (AFNOG Convener) challenged his organization and AfriNIC to widen the scope of what they have been doing in the past years.

He mentioned some of their achievements in which they made IT contribute to the socio-economic development of the region.

He alluded that the policy environment in The Gambia was supportive and that open learning has been created. “Internet is for everyone, you must have your own PC, before joining another one, if you don’t your uniqueness will demise,” he said.

According to him, The Gambia has engaged the approach so aggressively. He said the country has opened a new arena for the continent.

For his part, Muhammed Jah, CEO of QCell, commended the Gambia government for creating an enabling environment for business like theirs to thrive.

IT is very crucial for the development of our country, he said. “Hosting this event is not a coincidence, after 13 years.”

According to him, he was a delegate years back, saying AFNOG gave him a boost and the mindset that “we Africans can do it”. 

He was delighted in saying that 60 Gambians and more than hundred Africans from other countries are benefiting from the training.

For his part, Professor Kah of the University of The Gambia (UTG), said the event being hosted in The Gambia is of great significance to the UTG.

He thanked AFNOG, AfriNIC for changing the lives of youths on the continent, while saying the UTG has been invited to host the African Research Education Network (AFRE N), which is also one of the activities of the event.

AFNOG, he said, has helped 16 students of the university to participate in the training, which will highly benefit them as they involve the IT sector at the UTG.

He says President Yaya Jammeh gives high regards to ICT and Science and Technology.

He highlighted the achievements that have taken place at the UTG in ICT, which shows their response to ICT.

Professor Kah said QCell’s intervention in ICT at the UTG is done to ensure that all the students have good access to the internet.

He also said QCell is currently investing over half a million dalasis in infrastructure to put the necessary infrastructure on UTG Campus for the benefits of the students.

Other speakers on the occasion included Professor John Ssebuwufu, Institute of African University, and Lamin Camara, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Technical - MoICI.

Meanwhile, the Africa Internet Summit was also launched as part of the Banjul meeting.