It came to my attention that during the IEEE Future Innovations Summit in Tunisia, the 1st  IEEE Africa Council meeting was held. It is a very fortunate and interesting event, so I asked Africa Council’s chair, Gloria Chukwudebe, for more information about it.

She gladly responded and here is her response:

“The inaugural IEEE Africa Council meeting held successfully in Tunis at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on 29th June 2018. The IEEE Region 8 Director, Margaretha Eriksson chaired the Council meeting which had in attendance Jim Jefferies, the IEEE President and CEO, the Africa Section/Sub-Section Chairs and some invited speakers.

The foundation members of the Council who signed the petition were Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia. The primary purpose of the Council is to provide a centralized coordinating front for promotion of IEEE activities in Africa. Some of such activities include:   joint meetings of Sections/Subsections, conferences and symposia within the Council, coordination of student activities within the Council and development of new Sections, Sub-Sections, Chapters and Affinity Groups in Africa.

During the Council Meeting, the following pro-tem officers were nominated and approved: Gloria Chukwudebe – Pro-tem Chair; Habib Kammoun – Pro-tem Secretary and Shaun Kaplan – Pro-tem Treasurer.  For the election of substantive Council officers, Raphael Onoshakpor was appointed as the Nominating Committee Chair, with all constituent Sections having a representative on the Nominating Committee.  The next Africa Council meeting is scheduled to hold during Region 8 meeting in Serbia in October, 2018.

Margaretha in her opening address expressed happiness that the request for IEEE Africa Council was approved.  She said that this would be an opportunity for African Sections/Sub-Sections to work together and leverage the many IEEE opportunities to advance technology in Africa.  She thanked Habib Kammoun, the Tunisia Section Chair for making all the arrangements for the Africa Council meeting and  organising a very successful Innovation Summit/Ccelebration of the 10th anniversary of IEEE Tunisia which held a day before the Council Meeting.

The IEEE President, Jim Jefferies affirmed his support for the Council and presented the IEEE Strategy for Africa 2017-2019 which had Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia in the present scope. The three Strategy goals to support engineering education, build a sustainable community of IEEE members and support Government policy development were explained and some of the achievements enumerated.

Gloria Chukwudebe, the IEEE Africa Area Chair presented an overview of the Area activities and accomplishments.  She thanked the Section Chairs who signed the petition for the Council for their commitment and also expressed her appreciation to Vincent Kaabunga the Chair of Ad hoc Committee on Activities in Africa, Kathleen Weeks and all IEEE staff who assisted in documentation for the establishment of IEEE Africa Council.

The Section and Sub-Section Chairs all made very informative presentations on their activities and challenges. They were Abdelouahab Mekhaldi – Algeria; Eric Kuada – Ghana;  Charles Onyango – Kenya; Nasser Assem – Morocco Vice Chair; Raphael Onoshakpor – Nigeria; Darryn Cornish – South Africa Vice Chair; Habib   Kammoun – Tunisia and Simon Muwowo – Zambia.  While Sub-Section Chairs were Shedden Masupe – Botswana and Lwanga Herbert – Uganda.

Two IEEE volunteers, Guinko Ferdinand and Yacouba Ouattara from Burkina Faso attended the meeting and shared ideas of how to increase IEEE activities in French speaking African countries.

The invited guest speakers were Sohaib Sheikh – IEEE EAB Committee member, Jamil Dimassi – IBM University Relations Leader in North-West Africa, Prof Jelel Ezzine – UNESCO Chair on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and the ITU-T Study Groups Department Chief, Bilel Jamoussi. Their presentations were on various ways Africa Sections can leverage on available opportunities in their organizations. The other important personalities who attended the Council meeting were Jean Gabriel Remy, a former IEEE R8 Director; Cherif Amirat –  IEEE Chief Information Officer; Shaun Kaplan – Africa Area Committee Member;  Adel M. Alimi – Tunisia Section Chair-Elect and Maciej Borówka – Poland Section Student Activities Chair.”