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AFRO-NETS> African participation in AFRO-NETS (2)

  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> African participation in AFRO-NETS (2)
  • From: Dieter Neuvians MD <neuvians@harare.iafrica.com>
  • Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 14:35:46 -0400

African participation in AFRO-NETS (2)

Dear Dave,

we should not be so pessimistic about the participation of African
colleagues in AFRO-NETS discussions. First of all AFRO-NETS was established
only six months ago. From its 380 direct subscribers only 160 are from the
African continent, one third of these from South Africa alone. So the
subscriber base from other African countries is rather small.

Unfortunately electronic communication is not a self-running ball in Africa
(and was not - until recently in Europe). There are a lot of misconceptions
about the required equipment ("a dedicated computer, a dedicated phone line
is needed"), there are fears from superiors about free communication of
their staff, there is a lot of training necessary - which is fortunately
being tackled by some organisations. Many subscribers are also not used to
air their views in front of an international audience.

Secondly AFRO-NETS was established as a 'network of networks' to serve not
only individuals but also institutions and organisations involved in Health
Research and Development on the African continent to build partnerships, to
share their experience, share resources and avoid duplications. Since the
majority of these networks have a base in overseas it is not surprising
that their contributions often do not origin in Africa.

I fully agree with you that more participation from our African colleagues
in the AFRO-NETS conference is desirable but how to achieve this
'aggressively' needs to be discussed.


Dieter Neuvians
AFRO-NETS Moderator
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