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IST-Africa Conference Proceedings, 2011

Date 11-13 May 2011

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 64
  • [Title page]

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1
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  • [Copyright notice]

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1
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  • Beachcomber: Linking the “Internet of Things” to the “Internet of people”

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 7
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (577 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    As more and more “smart things” get connected to the Internet, the “Internet of Things” grows. It is currently quite common that aircraft have transponders and cars have tracking devices. Even the family pet, FIDO, often has a chip embedded. Many of these “smart things” can also be remotely controlled via their Internet connection. Geysers (hot water heaters) can be turned off by power companies when under peak load. Cars can be immobilised remotely by security companies when they determine that the car has been stolen. Beachcomber is a platform designed to allow easy bearer agnostic communication between “things” and humans. Beachcomber enables “things” to communicate via a number of protocols (such as XMPP, HTTP, QR Code, etc) and enables humans to communicate via a number of other protocols (such as Email, XMPP, Twitter, etc). Beachcomber links “things” with their human owners in a bearer agnostic manner. View full abstract»

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  • Health Information Systems Integration in Tanzania: Tapping the contextual advantages

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 11
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (319 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Fragmentation has for long been a characteristic of Health Information Systems (HIS) in the developing countries with many studies expounding about a variety of drawbacks brought by the same. There have been, so far, many academic fronts through which fragmentation has been addressed and this study addresses fragmentation and eventually integration through the Vertical Health Programmes (VHP) which, more than once, proved difficult in Tanzania. This work argues that most of the initiatives towards integration did not optimally tape the contextual advantages. Empirical data for this study have been extracted from an on-going implementation of the project to strengthen Health Management Information System in Tanzania, in which this qualitative study was involved in the three regions of implementation. Data have been collected through supervision visits, meetings, discussions, structured and unstructured interviews and observations. It was found out that of the advantages is the existence of several shared elements across programmes which only require streamlining to achieve integration. Reproductive and Child Health programme, for example, shares 19 data elements with Malaria and 17 with Expanded Programme of Immunisation. There are also shared procedures and routines and even donors. This work goes further into suggesting an approach towards Integration. View full abstract»

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  • Seven characteristics of a successful virtual volunteering platform

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (154 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    People volunteer their time and energy to projects for many different reasons. For some people, the reason may be that family members are involved in the project such as parents volunteering at their children's schools or parents becoming Scout leaders. For other people, there may be a religious component where people donate their time and energy to bettering humanity by assisting in soup kitchens and hospices. There is another group of potential volunteers, however, who would like to assist in projects but do not have the time or the means to travel and physically donate their time on location. In such cases, virtual volunteering is a possible way for projects to harness the goodwill of prospective volunteers without the overheads of the travel to locations. This paper describes a project where people could become virtual tutors to assist children with their mathematics homework using a combination of Internet technologies and cell phone technologies. From this virtual tutoring project, seven characteristics were found to be necessary for platforms which support virtual tutoring to retain their volunteers. It is believed that these seven characteristics apply in general to virtual volunteering and would assist any virtual volunteer organisation in retaining their volunteers. View full abstract»

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  • The design, implementation and evaluation of computerized clinic patient management and clinician order entry systems in a PMTCT clinic in Uganda

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (199 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    A computerized clinic patient management system (CCPMS) and a portable clinician electronic order entry system were designed for the HIV/AIDS PMTCT research and programme activities at Mulago hospital. Clinicians satisfaction with the CCPMS was evaluated using a quantitative questionnaire and 848 records were collected to evaluate the portable clinician order entry system. Most clinicians thought the CCPMS improved clinic and drug inventory management. 52% thought it slightly impacted on the quality of patient care and 90% preferred using the CCPMS. Hospital tablet PC order entry system data were found to be more complete and significantly more accurate with 0.8% errors daily compared to 4.1% errors daily in paper based registers (p<;0.0001). A lower number of missed infant MTCT prophylaxis dosing was also observed in the tablet PC data (4% compared to 14%). Computerized information systems can enhance HIV/AIDS care and research efforts and clinicians are willing to adopt them. View full abstract»

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  • Capacity building for HPC Infrastructure setup in Africa: The ICTP experience

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (164 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) is concluding a three-year project Special African Project with a component aimed at building Computational Research Infrastructures for Africa. The component, with funding from the Italian government, will setup a few Computational Physics/ High Performance Computing (HPC) Centres in sub-Saharan Africa. This component will foster the implementation of low cost commodity based Linux clusters of 5-32 nodes with an emphasis on building sustainable/self reliant capacity for implementing and maintaining Linux based commodity clusters, providing end-user support for HPC applications, porting applications to HPC environment and researching new HPC technologies. ICTP has a longstanding tradition in building scientific capacity in the developing world and champions the use of HPC and ICT tools in a supporting role to scientific development: even in the young area of HPC several capacity building activities have been organized in partnership with the DEMOCRITOS National Simulation Center/SISSA Joint Laboratory for e-Science. In this paper we will focus on the successful approach to capacity building used for the above subproject that has lead to the creation of an active team of HPC training instructors and computational scientists in the sub-Saharan region who are already making an impact on scientific development on the continent. We describe our methodology, the approach employed during the different training events and the lessons learnt from our training experiences that improved the capacity building aspect of the sub-project. View full abstract»

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  • Lessons from monitoring and assessing EC-funded eParticipation projects: Citizen engagement and participation impact

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (298 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Declining electoral turnout and diminishing citizen interest in democracy have resulted in considerable activity in terms of pan-European eParticipation preparedness over the last five years. The European Commission (EC) has co-financed 21 eParticipation pilot projects within the eParticipation Preparatory Action since 2006. To assess and co-ordinate this activity, the EC also initiated a support action, namely `MOMENTUM'. The support action was also tasked with determining if projects were successful in achieving their anticipated impact and whether the individual projects contributed to more enhanced European decision making. This paper reports on the findings of MOMENTUM and its project evaluation, synthesizing on programme performance as a component of the individually funded projects. A comparative analysis was conducted that leverages a systematic method for collecting, analyzing and using information for accurately and continuously monitoring and evaluating diverse eParticipation projects according to engagement methods they applied and their impact on citizen participation. View full abstract»

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  • The potential of ICTs to empower rural women

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 9
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (178 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The purpose of the study is to investigate the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to empower rural women. A variety of ICTs are used by the rural women to develop their ICT skills. Participation in decision-making that affect their lives and the use of ICTs are crucial for the socio-economic empowerment of rural women. Mere availability and access to ICTs will not empower women. The paper highlights the need for rural women's active involvement in ICT policy making and capacity building to give them `the strength and confidence to' use ICTs. The telecentres can provide government services to the rural women, business opportunities and other income generation opportunities. ICTs should be provided at a reasonable cost to help rural women maintain the `networks' with other community members and to develop ICT skills. Engendered ICT policies, gender sensitive and innovative programmes that target rural women are crucial for women to overcome the social barriers in accessing information and to improve their capabilities. ICTs have the potential to improve the quality of lives of rural women and can give them more control over their lives. View full abstract»

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  • Federated EHR: How to improve data quality maintaining privacy

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (407 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Designing information integration solutions for healthcare in development countries is particularly complex due both to technical and organizational constraints. Classical data integration solutions based on a central database or data warehouse are not easily adaptable to this sparse environment with high number of autonomous data sources and no central controller. In such a distributed and loosely connected environment, privacy and data quality become particularly challenging as it is neither possible to control how data is used nor to measure its level of quality. In this paper we provide a lightweight solution to share healthcare data in a distributed and poorly connected environment to better coordinate healthcare services, minimize human errors, accelerate operative procedures and improve visibility of distributed healthcare processes to the governing bodies. This paper presents the architectural and theoretical framework to deal with privacy and data quality in an EHR (Electronic Health Records). The proposed solution derives from the lessons learned from e-health projects developed in Mozambique and in Italy. View full abstract»

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  • Automating remote monitoring and information therapy: An opportunity to practice telemedicine in developing countries

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 9
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (224 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In industrialized countries telemedicine has proven to be a valuable tool for enabling access to knowledge and allowing information exchange, and showing that it is possible to provide good quality of healthcare to isolated communities. The modern information and communication technology provide tremendous potential for improving healthcare also in developing countries. However there are many barriers to the widespread implementation of telemedicine in rural areas of developing countries. These include deficient Internet connectivity and sophisticated peripheral medical devices. Further, to make things worse, developing countries have very high patients-per-doctor ratios. In this paper, we report our work on developing an appropriate software tool, called Health Agent, for automating telemedicine in rural areas of developing countries. It automates ordinary remote monitoring and information therapy. In the automation of remote monitoring we exploit the functionalities of SQL-triggers provided by active relational database management systems, and in automating information therapy we exploit our developed health ontology, which is specified by the modelling primitives provided by Semantic Web technologies RDF and OWL. View full abstract»

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  • Stop words for “Dr Math”

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 9
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (155 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    “Dr Math” is a facility where primary and secondary school pupils can use MXit on their cell phones to get help with their mathematics homework. Pupils use an abbreviated “MXit lingo” leaving out most vowels and substituting various numerals and symbols for common sounds. Topic spotting in these conversations is required for two reasons. From a pedagogical point of view, it would be beneficial to determine if high numbers of pupils were needing help with similar topics. This could indicate a lack or gap in the educational materials. Another important use would be to attempt to pick up any inappropriate conversations between pupil and tutor which may not adhere to the code of conduct signed by the tutors or to the ethical clearance of the original “Dr Math” project. This paper describes work in spotting topics in conversations between pupils and tutors. This work is to first determine which words can be safely ignored by the future topic spotters. These words which can be ignored are known as “stop words”. View full abstract»

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  • Challenges and proposed solutions towards telecentre sustainability: A Southern Africa case study

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (283 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Access to information through telecentres is essential for social and economical growth in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. While many governments have established telecentres as means of bridging the increasingly wide digital divide in rural or unserved areas, their corresponding sustainability or continual operation is in doubt due to various challenges. These challenges to information and communications technology (ICT) access has resulted in many of the rural population being unable to exploit the potential of promoting social economic development through innovative business solutions and education. In this study we evaluate the sustainability of telecentres in Zambia and South Africa and propose possible solutions to the problems that telecentres face. Strictly speaking, we focus on two telecentres; Comsol telecentre in KZN, South Africa and Kanyonyo Resource Centre in Mongu, Zambia. View full abstract»

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  • Instrumenting and monitoring the LarKC reasearch infrastructure

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (358 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Reasoning is central to the idea of the Semantic Web and ontologies, however, the fundamental principles of reasoning - soundness and completeness - do not match the reality of the (Semantic) Web that is ruled by contradicting and incomplete data and claims. Furthermore, logical reasoning is strong for rather small numbers of axioms and facts, while the Web is growing at an impressive speed and hence offering tremendous amounts of data. `Reasearch' is a novel idea of combining reasoning with information retrieval methods (search) in order to respond to the requirements and constraints implied by reasoning on the Semantic Web. The Large Knowledge Collider is a modular reasoning platform that allows for reasearching with Web-scale data, and instrumenting and monitoring the platform is essential for verifying and assuring high performance, adaptability and well-functioning. These aspects are vital for experiments running on the platform. View full abstract»

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  • The Analogy of data within eGovernment Interoperable Ecosystem (AD-eGIE): Utilising sectorial information

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 10
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (475 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Ministries tend to establish and remain with its island of systems and information, creating an inoperable data sharing environment. This situation constrains the establishing of online eGovernment services and end-to-end workflow systems. In view of this, the paper introduces the Analogy eGoverment Interoperable Ecosystem (AD-eGIE). The AD-eGIE establishes interoperability between systems which is a key issue in unlocking data that is required to enable eGovernment solutions. This work deals particularly with sectorial data which is classified into primary and secondary information domains. To achieve the workable eGovernament operational services, the ideal situation would be to substitute the secondary sectorial data with that of primary sectorial data. View full abstract»

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  • Evaluating ICT potential for improving health information quality in Africa

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (175 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Nowadays, ICT development in Africa is making rapid progress offering huge economic and social benefits for the continent. Yet the lack of quality and sustainable information in a number of development areas - especially health care - remains a real issue. Assessing the impact of ICT at the country macro and micro levels using suitable evaluation tools is thus necessary to aptly address the question of information quality improvement, and to reinforce positive impact of ICT on economic and social development in Africa. While a number of composite indices have been designed to estimate the ICT readiness at country level, they fail to reflect direct impact of ICT on the development of a nation. This paper employs Kauffman and Kumar's input-output model to measure the impacts of ICT on health care in Uganda using the data from a local health clinic and the related World Bank Indicators. ICT is found to have a positive effect on health care development in Uganda on macro level. Yet, its impact largely depends on the level of political stability, regulatory quality, and government effectiveness. Community level analysis offers a `snap-shot' picture of health management in rural Uganda, where the issues of accessibility, utility and quality of information are still present. The study concludes with an outline of the opportunities for greater research collaboration between Europe and Africa around the identified by this study issues. View full abstract»

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  • AAL for supporting elderly

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (353 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In this paper we analyse demographic problems and propose a solution for taking care of elderly in Europe. We present the nearly completed system for posture and movement recognition in the European FP7 project CONFIDENCE - Ubiquitous Care System to Support Independent Living. CONFIDENCE aims at providing care for the elderly using radio tags attached to the body providing positions and acceleration. The central part of the system deals with the reconstruction and interpretation of the user's behaviour in order to raise an alarm or issue a warning if a fall or an unusual mid- or long-term behaviour is detected. In this paper, the two systems are presented from the user. The first results and demonstrations show supreme performance; however, the costs of the research prototype surpass acceptability for a normal end-user. Cheaper commercial versions will be developed to help elderly live better. View full abstract»

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  • MERLINGO - the adaptation and accessible distribution of study materials on the basis of rich-media for the support of the learning process in students with special needs

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 7
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (194 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    MERLINGO (MEdia-rich Repository of LearnING Objects) project based on the rich-media technologies application in the eLearning environment is aimed at the building of the central repository of multimedia learning objects in the distributed environment containing teachers' presentations accessible on-line and on-demand within the national academic computer network CESNET2. The article presents integration of its services with the chosen Accordent Media Management System programming system and the possibilities of this new technology. The support of integration of students with special needs into a learning system is a brand new aspect of MERLINGO project activities being currently aimed at the area of the methodology development enabling the adaptation of study materials developed by rich-media technologies, their accessible distribution for students with specials needs and pilot implementation of those adapted study materials, expansion of services of the central repository MERLINGO by a possibility of the indexation and browsing in audio records, the introduction of accessible multi-channel audio-visual communication service and finally, the expansion and improvement of services provided by support centers for students with special needs across participating universities. View full abstract»

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  • Earth Observation and Environmental Modelling for the Mitigation of Health Risks such as cholera, cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (599 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Despite many national and international initiatives and research projects that started in the past, the complex relationships between environmental factors and their impact on human health still bear numerous unsolved challenges and unknown links. In addition, natural as well as human introduced changes to the environment lead to continuously changing framework conditions, which itself cause new obstacles and challenges for the earth observation and health research communities. Key to a resource-efficient and cost effective research of cross-community correlations is the easy access to data sets and processing capacities, which are ideally based on common modelling approaches and representation models. This paper illustrates the recent results of the African-European integrated research project called EO2HEAVEN that tackles the questions of integrated research using state-of-the art internet technologies, applications, and architectural principles to shed more light on the complex correlations of environmental factors and health aspects such as cholera and cardio-vascular diseases. View full abstract»

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  • OpenSensors: A community platform to enable the Sensor Web and foster earth observation research

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 10
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1924 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Earth observation data obtained from ground based sensors often plays an essential role in the research of societal benefit issues such as climate change, health, or ecosystems. The integration of earth observation data usually starts with the discovery of appropriate sensors and corresponding data sets, which we analyzed, remains a tedious task. Observing that complex global initiatives, such as the global earth observation system of systems (GEOSS) only ponderously get off the ground, this paper describes a lightweight mash-up based solution that is driven by the research and earth observation community. This paper describes the architectural framework and the used technologies of our OpenSensors platform, which simplifies the digitalization and eventual discovery processes of sensors for research purposes. View full abstract»

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  • “SignOn”, a model for teaching written language to deaf people

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (392 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper presents multimedia courses for the deaf. Foreign language skills (especially in English) are very important nowadays. This presents a challenge to deaf people; for many of them, the written language of their home country is a first foreign language. While hearing people may choose from among countless language courses, there are few for deaf people who use a national sign language as their first or preferred language. As they cannot access the acoustic channel, they need to receive all the information in visual form. The “SignOn” method uses an online course with written text in the target language and sign language as the language of instruction. Various translation modes are available (sentences, words, phrases), together with signed grammar explanations and interactive exercises. Using this model, two EU-projects have already produced a basic and an intermediate English course for deaf adults (“SignOn!” and “SignOnOne”). They are available free of charge via the respective homepages (www.signonone.eu). These online programs could easily be modified to include new content or be reused for other purposes. View full abstract»

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  • ICT for automated forecasting of electrical power consumption: A case study in Maputo

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (669 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Accurate short term load forecasting is crucial for efficient operations planning of electrical power systems. We present a model for automatic forecasting of the short term (24 hours) electrical power consumption in Maputo, Mozambique. The proposed model is based on analysis of historical records of power consumption combined with information about additional factors that influence the consumption. The data is clustered into segments with the objective of identifying similar consumption patterns. These consumption patterns are then correlated with weather conditions and used to construct an automated prediction model for load forecasting. Today these forecasts are made manually by experts at Electricidade de Moçambique (the local power company) using conventional methods. The automated prediction model that was developed in this project presents an accurate and consistent complement to manual prediction and is currently being evaluated for the possibility of augmenting the manual forecasts with additional information. View full abstract»

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  • Maximising return on investment in I.T. training-an African perspective

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (604 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    For too long, training spend has been seen by many organizations as a necessary evil and as an expense rather than an investment. This is in large measure due to the inability of training and development practitioners to demonstrate the true impact of training to their management. This research demonstrates what ROI (Return On Investment) in Training is being achieved and proposes a model for proactively determining the best `training mix' for particular trainee profiles, with a view to assisting corporate Africa to maximise the returns on their training investment. The research identifies significant linkages between trainer and trainee profile matches (e.g. in terms of ethnicity and home language) and the quality of results achieved (i.e. ROI). The tools produced as part of this research provide useful insights to industry in terms of how training decisions can be made in future with a view to maximising ROI in Training. View full abstract»

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  • Challenges of e-government in African countries: Creating an enabling environment in Nigeria

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (174 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    E-government refers to the government's use of ICT tools particularly web-based internet applications to enhance the access to and delivery of government information and service to citizens, businesses and arms of government. E-governance has emerged as a viable means to address development issues and challenges because citizens find empowerment through access to information. Emerging developing economies such as Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia have embarked upon e-government initiatives so as to provide a just, fair and equitable governance environment to the governed and they have achieved tremendous success also. However, African countries particularly Western African nations namely Nigeria has lagged far behind. In addition to presenting the concept and an outline of e-governance, the paper compares implementation of e-government in top ranking developing countries with that of African countries, particularly Nigeria with the aim of developing a road map for the speedy implementation of e-government in Nigeria. View full abstract»

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  • Semantic-driven e-government: A case study of formal representation of government domain ontology

    Publication Year: 2011 , Page(s): 1 - 9
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (478 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Semantic Web technologies are increasingly being adopted in e-government to describe and specify e-government services, aiming at their semantic integration and interoperability. However, current research does not provide guidelines on how domain ontology describing government's domain knowledge can be formally represented to enable their automatic processing by computers. This paper presents a case study of transforming domain ontology in Sub Saharan Africa and the developing world at large, into its formal version in e-government processes, aiming at (1) providing e-government developers from developing countries as well as Sub Saharan Africa, with simple activities for practicing semantic knowledge representation in e-government projects, (2) promoting the development of e-government systems that can be easily integrated and maintained, as well as (3) strengthening the adoption of Semantic Web technologies in e-government projects in developing countries. View full abstract»

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