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The Pan African E-Network which is currently being implemented in 48 African countries including Ethiopia by the Indian governmental firm Telecommunications Consultants (TCIL) India Limited, is expected to run for at least two years officials at TCIL disclosed.
The Pan African E-Network project funded by the Indian Government with an approved budget of USD 116 million was started in February 2009 as a follow up to former Indian president A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s proposal at the inaugural session of the Pan-African Parliament held in Johannesburg, South Africa to connect the then 53 African Nations of the African Union by a satellite and fiber optic network that would provide effective communication in various fields.
The fields were in Tele medicine, Tele education, Internet, Video Conferencing and VoIP services as well as resource mapping, with educational programs being in Post-Graduate, under graduate, Certificate and Diploma courses selected by the African Union. The Program’s five year goal foresees 10,000 African students receiving education in India. So far about 6,600 students from more than 30 countries have enrolled in 18 programs of various universities.
VimalWakhlu, Chairman and Managing Director for TCIL, said that the new republic of South Sudan became the 48th country to be under the umbrella of the Pan African E-network although six countries including South Africa and Egypt are yet to be connected to the network.
He said that at one time the program was supposed to finish in the middle of 2012 and be placed under the supervision of the AU but it was extended through the request of the organization and other pertinent bodies.
“The Continued Tele Medical Education (CME), part of the E-network portfolio, has been a runway success in selected Ethiopian Universities,” Vimal said. He pointed to partnerships between Indian Universities and African regional universities which utilize programs such as Tele medicine. In this type of program, teachers tutor students in medicine through televisions across continents to mitigate high costs associated with face to face teaching.
The CME which is given in video conferencing format incorporates 12 Indian super specialty hospitals offering on-line medical consultation for one hour per country per day over a five year period.
Tele medicine is the use of electronic information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to provide and support healthcare irrespective of the distance between doctor and the patient.
TCIL is an engineering and consultancy company. It is owned by the Indian Government under the administrative control of the Department of Telecommunications (DOT), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
It was set up in 1978 for providing Indian telecom expertise to developing countries around the world. The Company’s main capability is in the fields of Switching, Transmission Systems, Cellular services, Rural Telecommunication, Optical fibre based backbone transmission systems, IT & Networking Solutions, Application Software, e-Governence, 3G Network, WIMAX Technology and also Civil construction projects.