Project Management Institute

Flow of knowledge

The nations that constitute Africa have long struggled to keep their native-born skilled professionals. To counter this, computer giant HP and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) teamed to create an electronic infrastructure that enables faculty and students at African universities to collaborate with peers worldwide via networks. This article discusses how this collaboration is helping African nations retain top-level talent and improve knowledge management practices. In doing so, it explains how the team identified the five schools initially participating in this initiative and describes how they established the technology grid needed to enable knowledge transfer. It overviews the challenges that the project managers faced when they attempted to establish an advanced IT infrastructure in the participating schools, noting how the University of Nigeria is resolving the problems caused by irregular power flow. It then outlines plans for this effort's second phase--to add 15 more universities to the grid before the end of 2010. It also summarizes the team's overall goal: To connect 100 universities--from across Africa and the Middle East--to the grid and add enable cloud computing. Accompanying this article is a sidebar explaining how HP and UNESCO established a technology grid within the Balkan states back in 2002, an effort that has since enabled Balkan universities to retain its intellectual leadership.
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