Over the last few decades, new technology applications have become very central to the process of socioeconomic development of nations. Successful ones like information and communication technologies have accelerated productivity by integrating people, processes and tools cheaply and efficiently. They continue to revolutionize all aspects of human existence, both in the public and private sectors, by connecting individuals, organizations and countries electronically in mutually dependent global relationships.
Increasingly, the world is experiencing new dimensions in knowledge acquisition, creation, dissemination and usage. Microelectronics, the engine of modern commerce and industry, directly or indirectly, is enabling these revolutionary changes. When this technology advances, a dawn emerges in global economy in speed, efficiency and capacity. Yet, despite its pervasive impacts on daily lives and businesses, it remains to be diffused in Africa. A vision of knowledge workers cannot be achieved in this continent without a creative microelectronics program.
Though software technology has been advancing in the developing countries, the hardware is largely non-existent. Inability of these nations to develop competence in hardware has stalled their institutional capacities to compete in the world.
Around the world, technical education has become a vital instrument for wealth and national prosperity. In any developed nation, this education occupies a key strategic position. It is understood that new (successful) technologies are important to a healthy economy. Consequently, technical education is well funded to drive innovation in the economy. Arguably, it is hard to see any successful economy without a sound educational system. No wonder, some of the most innovative and revolutionary technologies are created in the university dorms: the Google, the Yahoo, the Facebook, the Microsoft, the Dell, and so on and on. University is the epi-center of raw dreams where minds are liberated and prepared to shape the world. It remains an organic system that sustains national policy and vision and no succession plan can survive without those students and professors.
Today, there is a limit to national wealth creation without science and technology. Experiences have shown that natural resources in form of crude oil, diamond, tin and others may not create the needed national growth for stability and prosperity in many African nations. An alternative would be to support technological innovation if the continent must survive the intense competition of the 21st century fueled by globalization. Technology diffuses only when it is developed or acquired. For many years, Africa has been slow to the development of the most pervasive industry of our time- semiconductor. The major challenge has been the human capital to drive the industry.
At AFRIT, we are engineers who major in semiconductor related areas. We understand the concepts which are used to build computer processors and other cutting edge technologies. We are poised to facilitate the diffusion of new technologies in Africa through quality training and consulting. Providing this service bridges the knowledge gap. This is not IT, which in many African nations is synonymous with technology. With all its glory, IT is an offspring of semiconductors. It cannot exist independently of semiconductors. Above all, the IT in Africa is not the creative IT, but the consumptive IT. We need the wealth that comes from IT creation and that is what AFRIT stands. We stand that Africa should have technology policy that would have broad perspectives involving medical, geophysical, agricultural technology, semiconductors and other technologies and not just information technology which has been promoted by the media and governments disproportionally.
Imagine firms outsourcing jobs to Africa in 2020 because we have talented labour force with the advantage of competitive wage structure when compared with India and China. It cannot be wished; someone has to make it happen. Join us; and let’s get our young men and women back to the labs.
This is the mission of AFRIT with this Ten Year Strategic Plan.