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Reflecting on the IST Africa 2018 Conference, Gaborone, Botswana

Supported by the European Commission (EC) and African Union Commission (AUC), IST-Africa Week 2018 (09 - 11 May, Botswana) is the thirteenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research Conferences.

The IST Africa conference focuses on the Information Society and ICT Policy Dialogues, International Development, Research and Innovation Cooperation and Community Building.

The conference brings together senior representatives of leading public, private, education and research organisations from 50 countries engaging around policy and collaboration opportunities.

The conference included messages by various government ministers, as well as by the newly appointed President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi. The president emphasised that contemporary problems can only be solved by impactful research and multi-disciplinary collaborative efforts, supported by a healthy policy environment. He also emphasised his priority and vision to change Botswana into a knowledge-based economy.

The multiple academic and practitioner tracks were grappling with issues on the continent including Research Capabilities & Priorities; ICT4D; D4D; mHealth; Technology Enhanced Learning and Cyber Security; Next Generation Computing (including various examples of quantum computing projects); Geospatial Sciences, Cyber Research Infrastructure, eInfrastructure, eGovernance; Open Data; Open Innovation; Social Entrepreneurship and Mobile Technology.

The paper that we presented was entitled:

South Africa’s e-Skills Policy. From e-Skills to Media Literacy?

It was authored by: Leo VAN AUDENHOVE, Ilse MARIEN, (iMEC-SMIT-Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Leona CRAFFERT, Wouter GROVE (CoLab for eInclusion and Social Innovation-University of the Western Cape and presented by Wouter Grove.

Abstract: This paper starts from the observation that media literacy is gaining traction on the agenda of policy makers in the EU, in EU Member States, in international organizations such as UNESCO and progressively in countries worldwide. In markets - such as in the EU - where access to media, the Internet, and ICTs is less and less an issue, and where general literacy is high, it is not surprising that media literacy is gaining more prominence in policy. There is however very little research on whether and how critical media literacy is implemented in developing countries and more specifically in Africa. This paper focusses on how components of media literacy are slowly emerging in the South African policy context. Media literacy in a South African context emerges in relation to discussions on e-skills and digital literacy.

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