In our proposal, we have made the case that without a viable microelectronics industry, the continent of Africa will continue to be a technology consumer. To change that we must develop technology and build the foundations for prosperity. One way of doing this is by establishing an advanced technology center.
So we present the reasons why the continent must establish an institute which we have named a Microelectronics Training and Research Institute (MTRI). African Union in its efforts to help the continent get ready for unification must focus on enabling technology readiness. This center can be built across regions and countries will share them due to cost issues. Again, here are the reasons why we need an MTRI in selected African regions located in universities.
- MTRI program will promote any African university’s stature as a leader in creating and disseminating new knowledge, and in the application of new knowledge
- MTRI program will fulfill the need for cross-disciplinary training of students, and enhance recruitment with a program that will be in increasing demand. This has a major component of attracting not just male students, but female students to S&T.
- MTRI program will drive a vibrant collaboration between African schools and their foreign partners. This will enable any African school shape its program with more market relevance.
- The MTRI program will offer new field of research and application which will create increased opportunities for employment and economic growth in the nation.
- We are optimistic that having MTRI will enable us African schools request funding for researches from HP, Intel, AMD, Motorola and other semiconductor firms presently selling their products in Africa’s market. Our lack of infrastructure has undermined our capacity to obtain these grants.
- MTRI will enable us hire and retain qualified Africans and other global experts to conduct researches and teach in our university. Our present effort of attracting some of our high-achieving alumni will be easier. This has the potential of improving the quality of our students and boosting Africa’s technical competitiveness.
- MTRI will enable any African university to bring world-class scholars in contacts with our students through video teleconferencing like Cisco Telepresense. Telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance that they were present, or to have an effect, at a location other than their true location [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telepresence].
- It will help selected university have a world-class multimedia computing center, which will enable our staff, and students collaborate with other researchers globally through web technologies. The Telepresence technologies will be stationed locally and our students can take lectures/lab works administered by experts separated by distance in this center.
- Though African schools have programs on microelectronics and general semiconductor areas, the lacks of the right mix of people, processes and tools have affected our capacities to develop a world-class program. The necessary Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools, the microcontroller development platforms, test and measurement systems are not available. Also, though not obvious, we have missed opportunities to hire some doctorate graduates that studied in some prestigious US universities simply because we do not have the learning and teaching environment they requested to come on board. Consequently, some emerging areas of engineering have been suspended because of the lack of the right teaching and learning environments.