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African Leadership in ICT for Knowledge Society Advancement
Description/achievement of initiative

The Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI), is an international non-governmental organization (INGO) founded by the United Nations’ Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Taskforce. GESCI provides leadership capacity building for the advancement of knowledge in society, as well as strategic advice to relevant ministries in developing countries on the effective use of ICTs, education and science technology innovation (STI) for inclusive knowledge society development.In partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and others, GESCI has developed the African Leadership in ICT (ALICT) capacity building programme and is working to implement it across 16 Anglophone and Francophone countries in Africa. So far, almost 500 senior-level government officials have graduated from the course.

Implementation methodologies

The ALICT course is implemented via a blended learning approach. The course is mainly delivered online, but is complemented and reinforced with face-to-face sessions that facilitate knowledge sharing across sectors, countries, and regions. These are strategically staged at the beginning, middle, and end of the course, and prepare the participants to continue engaging in their professional development as ALICT alumni on Africa’s only public sector leadership network.Through the ALICT course learning platforms (English and French) the course’s participants access content customised to African regional and national contexts, designed to the highest standards, and using the latest available data on key sectors of the Knowledge Society via Education, ICT, and STI. Supported by global expert tutors, participants are challenged to revise, analyse and map their countries’ future policy needs, engage in presentation and testing ideas for knowledge society development, and to work cross-sectorally to gain deeper and broader understanding of the policy coherence between sectors of their societies and economies for knowledge society advancement.The orientation for the ALICT course familiarises the participants with course structure, key concepts of leadership, futures thinking and policy development and policy coherence, the e-learning platform and the role of individual and group assignments during the course. Key leadership capacity assessment of each course participant is implemented through the 360-degree leadership appraisal process, Personal Development Plan and Leadership Journal. At the end of the course participants develop national policy coherence road maps for Knowledge Society development in their countries.The course is delivered over 8 months wherein the participants spend 15 hours a week through online learning. Participants study the following 6 modules: Module 1: Leadership in the Knowledge Age, Module 2: New Strategies for STI, Module 3: Telecommunications Infrastructure & Quality Internet Provision, Module 4: ICT Applications and the role of Government, Module 5: Education in the Knowledge Age, Module 6: Knowledge Society for Africa. Customized and shorter versions of the course can also be made available on request to be applied to other sectors, e.g. leadership development for Agriculture, Food Security, and Water ManagementParticipants who successfully complete the course receive a Professional Development Certificate in African Leadership in ICT, jointly awarded by the AUC and GESCI. The ALICT course is accredited by the Dublin City University at the Graduate Diploma level (Level 9) for Leadership Development in ICT and the Knowledge Society.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

GESCI has experienced exceptionally strong demand for this programme and is in the process of building key partnerships with quality academic institutions across Africa to enable wider access to the ALICT course in a sustainable manner. A partnership with GESCI to deliver this AU flagship programme would provide institutions with an opportunity to:* Help meet the demand and need for leadership development to support effective socio-economic policy development and implementation strategies for a knowledge-intensive age* Provide this course to build leadership capacity for policy and implementation in ICT, education and science, technology and innovation as essential contributing factors for knowledge society development, as well as customised and shorter versions for other applications.GESCI shall provide the necessary capacity building for academic partner institutions for delivering the ALICT course according to the set out quality standards and agreements. The content and learning platforms shall be shared by GESCI with the local academic partners and also overall experience of successful delivery of the ALICT course. This would be done through franchising model with the overall quality assurance by GESCI and partners. GESCI has successfully implemented 3 cohorts of the ALICT programme in Anglophone African countries and currently implementing the 3th cohort in Francophone African countries. To date, GESCI has:* Developed and tested a feasible leadership capacity building model comprising of tailor-made content to respond to needs related to inclusive Knowledge Society development, and a knowledge exchange platform that facilitates interactive and peer-to-peer learning * Successfully trained 434 mid and senior level government officials so far and additional 70 participants expected to graduate by end of the year 2015 from 3 Francophone countries* Exceeded the target of 150 trained leaders by training 213 leaders and providing them with university accreditation at post-graduate diploma level* Set up an Alumni Network on LinkedIn providing alumni with opportunities for continued sharing and peer learning* Built up a research knowledge base on Knowledge Society development in Africa* Built strong partnerships with the AUC and the MFA as well as Ministries and other partners

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

The following governance structures are successfully operational for the ALICT programme since its commencement in 2011. The programme governing body consists of the Steering Committee, GESCI as Programme Implementing body as well as Secretariat, the African Union Commission as a continental partner and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland as the programme donor. The roles and responsibilities of each partner are outlined below:Steering Committee: The Steering Committee is the main decision making body and it is responsible for: - Approval of annual Work Plans, budgets and main implementation activities - Approval of guidelines, principles related to programme development, implementation and evaluation - Overall oversight of the progress of the programme.The Steering Committee consists of representatives from the African Union Commission, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and CEO of GESCI. GESCI:GESCI takes care of day-to-day programme management and administrative support for the overall programme covering Anglophone and Francophone regions. In terms of Governance structure within GESCI, the Programme Management team reports to Director of Programmes of GESCI. The Director of Programme reports to the CEO who in turn reports to the Board of Directors. GESCI is implementing the ALICT course in strategic partnership with the AUC and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. This partnership provides leadership capacity building in ICT, Education and STI policy for Knowledge Society development and is aligned with the 8th Africa-EU Partnership in Science, Information Society and Space and with the African Regional Action Plan for Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE). ALICT is under the Information Society partnership. ALICT has created a continent wide Alumni network of experts.AUC:The AUC is the key stakeholder in this programme. The ALICT programme originates from the African Regional Action Plan for Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE) of AUC and directly responds to the Addis Ababa declaration on ICT in Africa to intensify activities to build capacity for Knowledge Society development in Africa. The AUC regards this leadership development programme as one of their flagship initiatives.


* Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) - Implementing agency * African Union Commission (AUC) * Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland * Ministries of Education, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and Science Technology Innovation (STI) * United Nations (UN) * African Development Bank (AfDB) * Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) * Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) * Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) * Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) * Private sector companies, universities, INGOs, and NGOs
Progress reports
Goal 4
Goal 10
Goal 17
17.6 - Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism
17.8 - Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology
17.16 - Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries
December 2016
Appropriate management, leadership, project formulation and project management skills built for the identification and leveraging of different opportunities for African national and regional cooperation in ICT, Education, STI, and knowledge society development
December 2016
A well- functioning, multi-stakeholder knowledge exchange platform that brings together private, public and civil society to create knowledge partnerships, share knowledge and contribute expertise to building the capacity of African leaders
December 2016
Capacities of at least 500 selected African leaders built, and appropriate model(s) for long- term capacity building tested and implemented in selected Anglophone and Francophone countries
December 2016
A sustainable capacity building model for Anglophone and Francophone countries with academic accreditation and sustainable partnerships for building the capacity of African leaders in ICT, Education, STI, and knowledge society development that can be customised and applied in other fields and domains
Financing (in USD)
6,000,000 USD
In-kind contribution
The African Union Commission has been extending their support in-kind

Basic information
Time-frame: 01/2012 - December 2016
* Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) - Implementing agency * African Union Commission (AUC) * Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland * Ministries of Education, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and Science Technology Innovation (STI) * United Nations (UN) * African Development Bank (AfDB) * Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) * Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) * Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) * Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) * Private sector companies, universities, INGOs, and NGOs
Contact information
Jerome Morrissey, Chief Executive Officer, Jerome.morrissey@gesci.org
United Nations