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ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.

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BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme Open to Applicants


Have you got a story to tell? The BBC is looking for 16 enthusiastic self-starters who want to work with the world’s largest news organisation. The corporation is offering six-month paid traineeships in News, Sport and regional teams across the UK. They are looking for people with a passionate curiosity about people and an ability to turn that into compelling stories for broadcast. Applicants are expected to have a keen interest in news and sport with a good general knowledge. No formal journalistic qualification or a degree is required but applicants need to demonstrate good writing skills and some involvement in journalism in some way. The corporation will train applicants in writing, broadcasting and production with the BBC’s College of Journalism and offer an experienced BBC journalist as a mentor. Applications to be received by 22 October 2007. For further information, bbc.co.uk/jobs/jts or call 0870 333 1330.Textphone 020 8008 4300.

London urged to join UK Government to Deliver Low Carbon Energy for Africa

UK Environment minister, Phil Woolas, has issued a challenge to the City of London to work with the UK Government towards more equitable investment in clean development technologies in the developing world – with a major focus on Africa. In a speech to a major City conference on the Clean Development Mechanism and the global emissions market, Mr. Woolas said that London was the undisputed centre of the global carbon market. He said the City needed to play a key role in a critical stage in the market’s development as carbon markets and carbon finance have a fundamental role to play in a future global framework to tackle climate change. Mr. Woolas said the carbon market needed to meet two specific challenges – the need for new instruments for major emitters, and mechanisms to ensure investment in less developed countries.

US Government Report Highlights Lack of Opportunity for Ethnic Minority Firms

Democrats are urging major agencies to increase contracts to advertising firms owned by people of color after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released last week reveals several agencies are failing to fulfill this mandate. The Departments of Defense and Treasury particularly noted for failing to meet Executive Order 13170, which requires federal agencies to "aggressively" reach out to firms owned by people of color. The report was commissioned after people of color who own media outlets and ad firms claimed that federal opportunities were severely limited. GAO reviewed contracting data from these five agencies from 2001 to 2005. The report highlighted that the Department of Defense hired firms owned by people of color for advertising only 1.8 percent of the time and paid them 84 percent less, on average, than firms owned by whites. The department accounts for more than 50 percent of all federal advertising spend, yet spent less with advertising firms owned by people of color than any other agency reviewed. People of color have been underrepresented and misrepresented in the media for years, according to the Democrats' statement, and providing contracts to more people of color will help address the problem. The GAO report comes at a time when the government is coming under scrutiny for lacking representation of people of color in its top-tier work force. Advertising with firms and outlets owned by people of color gives federal agencies access and exposure to a market and talent pool that traditional domains may reach less effectively. It also builds brand reputation among people of color. Source: Diversity Inc.

UK looks overseas for Research Colleagues

UK scientists are teaming up with international colleagues around 50% more than they did ten years ago and collaborating with Chinese researchers more than any other European country, a report for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has found. The report says nearly 40% of all research papers by UK scientists published over the last five years have involved collaborations with international colleagues - a 50% increase since 1996. In contrast, international collaboration has grown by 30% in France and 100% in China over the same time period. Source: Education Guardian

Levelling the Playing Field for Small Business

IBM and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private-sector arm, launched a first-of-its-kind Small Business Toolkit that provides more than 500 free content pages to small businesses around the world. The Toolkit is available to 22 emerging markets such as Belarus and India, and now will expand to women-owned businesses and businesses owned by people of color in the United States. According to the IFC, small businesses are the growth engines of the world's economies; yet their success rate is not as good as it could be simply because of a lack of access to good business-management practices. The Toolkit gives small-business owners free access to high-tech tools, services, best practices and business-management software previously reserved for Fortune 1000 companies and has been launched in 24 countries. The U.S. site will focus on businesses owned by women and people of color, which Census Bureau data indicates is growing at multiple times the national average. In addition to these tools, small businesses can get business training delivered via classroom workshops and partnerships with local providers. Source: Diversity Inc.

UK Economy gains from Migrant Workers, says TUC report

The influx of migrant workers is of great benefit to the UK’s economy, The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said. The report titled "The Economics of Migration" shows that contrary to far right accusations that immigrants are a drain on the welfare state, migrant workers are paying more in taxes than the value of the public services they receive. Across the economy the arrival of migrant workers has not depressed jobs or wages, and although there is limited evidence of some local effect on wages and employment for low-skilled workers, so far low-skilled workers have not lost out thanks to the vibrant economy. According to the TUC, migrant workers are making a substantial contribution to Britain’s economy, and some sectors would collapse if they were removed overnight. Source: Africa News

US Workforce will be Transformed over Next Decade

In the next decade or so, the U.S. workplace will be transformed with an explosion of flexible work schedules and a host of technologies that will make work tasks easier. By 2020, there will be more 55-plus workers grinding away than at any other time in our history. As a result, labor experts foresee a rush by the nation’s businesses to accommodate the aging workforce. Generational differences in the workplace are expected to rise; there will be unprecedented shortages in many industries as a large proportion of the work force retires. Tamara Erickson, co-author of the “Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent,” about the impending shortage of workers and the challenges employers will face. In 2005, about 24 million or 17 percent of all adult U.S. workers were over 55, compared with a projected 38 million or 24 percent by the year 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 65-plus work force will almost double to 10 million, or 6.4 percent of the total, in 10 years; and those toiling away at age 75 and over will make up about 1.2 percent of the workforce, or 2 million strong. By 2028, the percentage of workers over the retirement age of 65 is projected to rise to 7.9%. Companies will be forced to widely adopt flexible hours, job sharing, telecommuting, and more vacation time and less overtime because older workers won’t be willing or able to stay on the payroll unless their employers make some concessions.

UK HR Sector Sees Biggest Pay Increases

HR Managers’ earnings have risen above the national UK average for managers and the HR sector has received the highest pay rises, research has revealed. According to the 2007 National Management Salary Survey of more than 42,000 UK workers, the average total earnings of managers in the HR sector are £47,674, compared with a national average of £47,449. Pay rises in the sector have risen to 5.9% for the year to January 2007, with average pay for all managers increased by 5.3%. This figure places HR Managers as the fourth highest in the management sector. The survey conducted by the Chartered Management Institute and salary survey publisher, Remuneration Economics, also revealed that resignations in the HR sector had increased. Source: People Management

Harvard Still Struggling for Faculty Diversity

A recent report on Harvard University’s faculty diversity details the continued shortcomings in percentages of female and minority professors, while also promising to remedy these disparities in the coming months. Data published last month in the second annual report on faculty development and diversity showed little change in percentages of female and minority faculty members from 2005 and 2006 in many of the 13 faculties assessed. The proportion of female ladder faculty members did not rise by more than 3 percent in any faculty over the two-year period measured in the report, and overall minority representation for ladder faculty increased by less than 2 percent during the period. Diversity data in nearly all of Harvard’s faculty populations were statistically comparable to groups of “peer institutions” whose data was made available for comparison. Harvard University Provost Steven E. Hyman said he was “sobered” by the findings, but that the University intends to address the shortcomings identified. Source: Harvard Crimson

92% of UK Recruiters using Psychometrics

Psychometric testing is a ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’ aid in the recruitment process according to 92% or recruiters surveyed by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR). The Graduate Recruitment Survey also revealed that 67% of the 219 respondents surveyed said the results of psychometric tests had ‘some influence’ on recruiting decisions while almost a quarter (24%) said they had a ‘very strong influence’. Some employers indicated that testing was being used because academic qualifications were not a sufficiently reliable measure of workplace skills, especially soft skills such as communication and time management. Source: People Management

More Women Entrepreneurs Needed to Boost UK Economy

A lack of women entrepreneurs is holding the UK economy back, according to a recent report. The white paper Observed Characteristics of Outstanding Women in Business found that while businesses run by women contribute £70bn to the UK economy and employ more than a million, there would be 750,000 more female-led start-ups if rates matched those in the US. The results, published by the National Business Awards, noted that while 42% of the country’s workforce is women, only 15% of that figure is actively economic. According to the report’s author, the poor economic participation rating of women in the UK puts the country almost halfway down the league of top-80 nations. There is huge commercial potential of more women taking up entrepreneurial roles and it is vital that the issue is addressed to enable the UK to complete.

New Jersey is Tops in the USA for Female Corporate Attorneys

A survey of legal departments at 24 New Jersey companies finds that eight—or 33 percent—of the general counsels are women, the highest percentage in the country. New Jersey is second in the nation in the raw number of female lawyers in the top spots, bested only by New York and Texas, each with 10. New Jersey's numbers have been steadily climbing, from four out of 23 in 2004 and two out of 20 in 1999. New Jersey's growth is better than the national trend. According to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association's report in the July/Aug. issue of its magazine, Diversity and the Bar, 90 women head legal departments at Fortune 500 companies, up from 73 in 2004 and 44 in 1999. Nationally, women represent 18% of all Fortune 500 general counsels, up from 17% in 2004 and 10% in 1999.

U.S. Agency Is Swamped by Requests for Visas

US immigration authorities have received about 300,000 applications for high-skilled-employment visas since July 1, according to federal officials, following an initial announcement by the federal government that it would not accept any applications for such visas during July which was subsequently reversed. The agency admitted it was swamped by the applications it had already received, which was more than double the annual limit of 140,000 employment visas. According to official figures, in the three months before July the agency received an average of 54,700 applications a month for all green cards, including employment visas and those based on family ties. Applications were already surging then as foreigners sought to file papers before higher processing fees took effect on July 30. Immigrants eligible for employment visas include doctors, nurses and people with advanced degrees and technology skills. Before they can apply, they must obtain certification from the federal government that no American workers are available for their jobs. But because of annual limits, new green card applications will vastly increase backlogs and most new applicants will still face waits as long as five years before they receive their green cards. Source: The New York Times Online

Spain Offers Legal Route for African Migration

A Spanish labour plan that offers legal passage and a one-year work permit has been launched to counter high-risk illegal entry into the country by young Africans. The program, promoted by the Spanish and Senegalese governments, aims to bring hundreds of workers to Spain this year with renewable one-year visas and jobs. Workers on one-year permits may have their contracts extended, at which point they have the right to bring over their immediate family. Ultimately, officials here say, the plan is to bring in thousands of immigrants through the program. Several companies are in the process of hiring people in Dakar to come to work in Spain for a year and potentially more. A surge in sub-Saharan migration last year to the Canary Islands as a gateway to Europe prompted Spain to toughen its stance on immigration. Spanish Labor Minister Jesús Caldera signed an agreement with Gambia on Wednesday to invest $1.3 million to train Gambians who could be recruited to work in Spain. In July, Spain signed similar agreements with Mali and Mauritania.

New Study Shows Wealth Gap Increasing in USA

A new research study conducted by the University of Michigan discovered that the wealth gap in America is increasing steadily. Rich families are becoming wealthier and the poor are getting poorer. Based on data provided by from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the study found that over the last 20 years, the net worth of the top two percentiles of American families has nearly doubled, from $1,071,000 in 1984 to $2,100,500 in 2005. The poorest quarter of American families lost ground over the same period, with their 2005 net worth below their 1984 net worth. Other findings compare blacks and whites, including the rate at which they buy stock. Approximately 6 percent of black families owned stock in 2003, compared with 5.3 percent in 2005—an 18 percent decline. Among white families, the percent owning stock fell from 32 percent to 28 percent during the same period, a 12 percent drop. Source: Diversity Inc.

Maintaining Diversity Is an Issue in US Accounting Firms

US Accounting firms face high turnover rates among men and women of colour, who complain they have yet to be accepted on equal terms, according to a new survey by the workplace diversity advocate Catalyst from interviews New York-based Catalyst conducted for the report, "Retaining People of Color: What Accounting Firms Need to Know”. The report said 50% of people of colour at accounting firms feel no obligation to stay with their current firm, and nearly a third of women of colour are at risk of leaving within the year. The big accounting firms have diversity programs, but these are not having enough impact on the people they're supposed to help, said Deepali Bagati, who authored the study. Source: The Star-Ledger

South African Business Women Launch Women in Corporate Leadership Census

The Business Women’s Association has recently launched the Women in Corporate Leadership Census 2007. This research, funded by Nedbank, seeks to understand and track the role that women play in business. Women constitute 51% of the South African population and 42% of the employed population. Yet, only 19.5% of executive managers are women. Out of the 19.5% female executive managers, 13.6% are directors and 6.6% are CEOs and chairmen of boards. In fact, there are only 8 women CEOs out of the 318 companies that formed part of this research.

Cuba and South Africa Agree on Training for Unemployed Youth

South Africa and Cuba have signed a co-operation agreement to benefit unemployed young people by training them in the field of social development. South African Minister of Social Development Zola Skweyiya and Cuban Minister of Labour and Social Security, Alfredo Morales Cartaya, have signed an agreement of co-operation in the areas of poverty alleviation and training of social service professionals. As part of the agreements, the Department of Social Development in South Africa will collaborate with the Cuban Ministry to train unemployed youth as auxiliary social workers. It is intended that the department of Social Development will train and absorb 9360 auxiliary social workers by 2010. The department has announced that Cuba has developed a two-pronged work training programme consisting of a formal university level program and a rapid 12 months social work training program. As part of the implementation of the agreement, the Cuban programme will be replicated in South Africa to alleviate the shortage of social workers and create jobs. Cooperation with Cuba will also include study tours and exchanges of technical expertise on policy development. Source: BuaNews

Financial Progress falters for Second Generation of US Immigrants

For hundreds of thousands of immigrants to the US, the American dream lives. Their families prosper, with their children becoming more affluent than they were, according to a new report. Yet the gains of second-generation immigrants have shrunk in recent years – in part because first-generation immigrants now are poorer than at any time since World War II. The United States is now experiencing a wave of immigration comparable to the largest in its history. More than 1 million immigrants enter the United States legally every year, up from about 300,000 in the 1960s. Yet immigrant economic mobility – or lack of it – could affect the US economy as a whole profoundly in coming years. Second-generation immigrants make 6.3 percent more than non-immigrant workers, according to data compiled by Pew. Overall, however, second-generation immigrants are not doing quite as well as they used to. Their income lead over non-immigrant workers has shrunk, from 14.6 percent in 1970 to 6.3 percent today. If low wages persist into the second and subsequent generations for substantial numbers of immigrants, economic hardship may persist beyond the first generation and assimilation into American society may become more difficult," says the Pew report on immigrants and economic mobility. Source: Christian Science Monitor

Rwanda to Train Ugandan Teachers in ICT

The Government of Rwanda is mobilising funds to send primary and secondary school teachers to Rwanda for training in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). According to Uganda’s Education Minister, Rwanda has made significant strides in the development of ICT to achieve its development goals and offers Uganda a good example. The government plans to send a technical team to the country to learn more about Rwanda’s ICT policy, especially in the education sector. In Rwanda’s vision 2020, the government has identified ICT as one of the strategic pillars for socio-economic and industrial development. Uganda’s ICT is much more developed in institutions of higher learning than primary schools and the plan will include designing a policy to ensure increased ICT applications in primary schools.

South African Trade and Investment Conference to Showcase Country

The Department of Trade and Industry, along with Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) are to host a conference in Durban from 29-31 October showcasing South Africa as the deal destination for trade and investment. The theme for this year’s conference is, “Develop, Facilitate, Grow.” embodies and includes the work of South African investment promotion agencies, which develop and facilitate investment growth in the economy. The conference aims to market South Africa as a business destination and to increase competitiveness and innovation in key sectors of the economy. Presentations will not only cover opportunities, but will also look at other areas of interest to investors such as lifestyle issues, facilities, infrastructure and other investor support services offered.

UK Shows First Signs of Recruitment Slowdown

The latest quarterly survey of employers’ recruitment plans undertaken by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and KPMG shows that employers may be becoming more pessimistic about taking on more staff following several interest rate raises. The survey of 750 employers finds that the medium-term outlook looks more insecure. The balance of employers saying they expected to take on more workers over those expecting to cut staffing was the weakest in any summer quarter since the survey began in 2004. However, according to John Philpot, the CIPD’s Chief Economist, most employers are likely to respond to slower demand by cutting back on recruitment rather than increasing redundancies.

In Search of Scientific Excellence: L'Oreal USA Announces Call for Applications for 2008 Fellowships for Women in Science Program

L'Oreal USA has announced the start of the application period for its L'Oreal USA Fellowships for Women in Science program. Now in its fifth year, this national program aims to annually recognize, reward and support five women postdoctoral researchers in the U.S. who are pursuing careers in the life and physical/material sciences, as well as mathematics, engineering and computer science. As part of its commitment to further help women scientists achieve their goals, L'Oreal USA awards each recipient $40,000 to apply toward their postdoctoral research. The five beneficiaries of the 2008 L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science will be invited to attend a week of events in New York City that include an awards ceremony, professional development workshops, media training and networking opportunities. In 2008 these workshops, which are facilitated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will encompass job search techniques, interviewing skills, budget development for grant requests and strategies for peer reviewed publication. The L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science program is open to women postdoctoral researchers only. Candidates interested in applying may visit http://www.lorealusa.com/forwomeninscience to obtain more information about program eligibility and requirements. All applications must be post marked by October 31, 2007.

MBAs and Professionals Aim to Build a Sustainable Future

In November, graduate business students, faculty and administrators from around the globe will join with corporate and nonprofit professionals for the 2007 Net Impact Conference, the largest such gathering focused on corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, international development, and nonprofit and environmental management. Entitled "Building a Sustainable Future: What Will You Do Next?" the event will be hosted by the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management on November 1-3, 2007. The 2007 conference will include more than 300 speakers and 90 panels, all geared to challenge participants to think about how to make the world more sustainable through business practice. Other highlights of the conference include the inaugural Project Pyramid Case Competition, organized by students and faculty from Vanderbilt University's Project Pyramid initiative with the goal of alleviating poverty through the application of business principles and a Career Expo featuring leading companies and nonprofits. www.netimpact.org/conference.

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business Students Raise R70,000 for MBA Bursary fund for Women

The annual Women in Business Conference organised by MBA students at the Cape Town Graduate School of Business raised a record R70,000 for a bursary fund for women students. This was the eighth annual conference hosted by the GSB and the largest total amount ever raised through the event. According to the event’s organisers, this year’s total is thanks to the generous donations received from Metropolitan and Commuter Transport Engineering (CTE), each of whom contributed R30 000 to the pot. The R70,000 total will be divided in two and will next year be awarded to two women from Africa who are embarking on the GSB MBA. Dr Vash Mungal, Director of the AIM, PGDMP and MBA programmes at the GSB, said the funds raised would go a long way to creating opportunities for women to take on the MBA, and that the GSB was encouraging more student initiatives that give opportunities to individuals and communities.

Construction a Lucrative Route for Women in South Africa

South Africa's once male-dominated construction industry has become attractive and lucrative for women, according to Ingrid Verwey, a specialist in contractor development at the Development Bank of Southern Africa and founder of the South African Women in Construction Association. The Association's database of women contractors has grown from 60 at its inception in 1999 to over 2,000. A 2005 survey commissioned by the body revealed that, in Gauteng province alone, the association boasted seven member companies involved with in million-rand deals, 13 medium-sized construction companies owned and managed by women and 43 smaller companies that were gender-compliant. Verwey established the SA Women in Construction Association (Sawic) in 1999 to build capacity and management skills for women in the industry. The Association works closely with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the Industrial Development Trust (IDT) and government departments to build up skills, create career opportunities, and provide networking platforms for women in construction.

Enrolment by Foreign Students is up in the U.S.A.

Enrollment of international students in U.S. universities could be showing the first signs of recovery after years of weakness following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as the government have refined the visa application process and more schools try to get ahead in the global competition for foreign talent. In the 2005-2006 school year, 564,766 international students attended accredited U.S. higher education institutions, according to the most recent report by the Institute of International Education, a nonprofit partly funded by the federal government to track student mobility in and out of U.S. borders. The number was flat compared to the year before, but it marked the end of a two-year decline first seen in 2003. A more recent IIE online survey shows the recovery holding up. In the 2006-2007 school year, 52 percent of U.S. campuses reported increases in new international enrollments, and only 20 percent reported declines. International students, especially at the graduate level, are considered an important brainpower infusion to the United States. In certain fields like engineering and physical sciences, foreign students account for more than 40 % of total students at the graduate level, according to CGS. In total, the more than half a million international students spent $13.5 billion in tuition and living expenses in 2005-2006, and about 70 percent of funding comes from sources outside the United States. The U.S. is still expected to face intensified global competition. Although international graduate school applications began to rise again in 2005, the total number for 2007 was still 27 % lower than 2003, according to CGS. Source: MSNBC

First Woman Appointed to Lead Duke Medical School

Duke University has named a Harvard researcher as the first woman to lead its medical school, which also makes her the only female permanently at the helm of one of the nation's Top 10 medical schools. Dr. Nancy C. Andrews will officially take over at Duke on 1 October, succeeding Dr. R. Sanders Williams, who has been promoted to senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. Andrews joined the Harvard faculty as an instructor in paediatrics in 1991 and rose through the academic ranks, most recently serving as dean for Basic Sciences and Graduate Studies at Harvard Medical School. She will be the only woman permanently leading a medical school listed among the Top 10 by the annual survey of U.S. News & World Report, school officials said. The Harvard Medical School, which also appears on that list, has a woman as an acting dean, Dr. Barbara J. McNeil.

New Online Guide and Tool for International Traders

The UK Government small business site, Business Link, is making importing and exporting easier for businesses trading overseas with the launch of a new guide and interactive tool. The services help businesses select the right payment method when trading internationally. They also support traders in assessing the potential risk associated with completing an international trade deal. The tool guides businesses through which payment terms are most appropriate when selling to overseas customers. Taking under ten minutes to complete, the tool produces a short tailored report recommending the most suitable payment method for the transaction and further action points. It considers several factors such as customers’ creditworthiness, the trading conditions of their country and the financial strength of the user’s business. The guide focuses on importing and exporting goods regulated by licensing quotas and major permissions. It also provides users with links to the relevant forms that need to be completed.

Little Evidence of ‘Glass Ceiling’ for Women Executives in South Africa

At the executive level of South Africa’s corporate world there is no noticeable difference between the salaries paid to men or women. According to Madge Gibson, a senior associate at Jack Hammer Executive Head hunters, the country’s current focus on Black Economic Empowerment has added an extra dimension to the recruitment of women, black or white, as active participants in management structures and corporate board rooms. Yet, based on information submitted by companies who responded to a survey conducted in 2006, only 16.8 percent of executive management positions are held by women, compared to 19,8 percent in the previous year, indicating that the country still has some gender balance to attain. There is no discrimination between the sexes when it comes to salaries at this level, although it may be more evident lower down the hierarchy, according to Gibson who notes that clients will pay for skills needed, irrespective of gender. Recent studies conducted in the US reveal that American women working full-time earn approximately 77% less than men in full-time employment. Even taking into account differing professions and educational levels, women in full-time employment who have never taken time off to have children still earn approximately 11% less than men with the equivalent education and experience. Source: Skills Portal

Hewlett Packard Swaps Equity for IT School in South Africa

Hewlett-Packard has become the first foreign company to receive dispensation from the South African Government to implement an equity-equivalent project as its contribution toward empowerment. The company announced that it will invest R150 million in the BEE pillars, a large portion of which would be involved in the HP Business Institute. From February 2008, the Institute will train about 300 small Black IT businesses over a seven-year period, upgrading skills, employing underutilised graduates and providing job placements.

ISCED Computer Room Boosts Modernization of State University

The Higher Institute of Education Sciences (ISCED) recently opened a new computer room, offering 50 computers for students use. This project represents an important step in the modernization of the state-run Agostinho Neto University (UAN). The computer room addition is part of an investment of USD 500,000 by BP and the Block 31 partners, including Sonangol, Total, Exxon and Statoil.ISCED management will use the equipment as a tool for improved education development of the university. The computers will allow for distance education, and the transition of UAN’s central library to an electronic database. The assistance of BP and its Block 31 associates to ISCED includes the computerization of the documentation room, library, and training of users, over a three year period.

Call for Papers for 17th Biennial Conference of the International Telecommunications Society

The International Telecommunications Society has called for papers for its 17th Biennial Conference to be held in Montreal, Canada in June, 2008. The theme of the conference is “The Changing Structure of the Telecommunications Industry and the New Role of Regulation. The submission deadline is October 31st, 2007.

African Scientific Database Will 'Tap Global Knowledge'

African researchers are developing a database of where to find scientific information on the Internet. Preparatory work has begun on the online information source, known as Access to Scientific Knowledge in Africa (ASKIA). The project - run by the Ethiopia-based UN Economic Commission for Africa through their Information and Communication Technology division - aims to support and promote access to scientific knowledge for scientists, university students, lecturers and policymakers. Alex Tindimubona, of the Economic Commission for Africa, says that once fully operational, ASKIA should provide another mechanism by which African scientific institutions can tap into global scientific knowledge. The database - for scientific institutions in Africa - is intended to include searchable collections of material. Source: SciDev.Net

South African Women Lawyers Association Inaugurated

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Brigitte Mabandla has inaugurated the first women lawyers’ body, SAWLA, more than eight decades since women were first appointed as attorneys in South Africa. The inauguration of the South African Women’s Lawyers Association (SAWLA) was attended by close to a thousand delegates from all provinces and at least ten foreign countries. Pointing out that women lawyers still find themselves hampered by ongoing perceptions about their ability, values and even their social and business astuteness, the Minister affirmed her Department’s intention to break the mindsets of the past and to cooperate with the legal profession to address issues of access of justice relating to the cost of litigation, undue delays and excessive formalities within the legal process.

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