> Since Africa, therefore, belongs to us all, I hope that we will see an end to
> the exploitation of Africa by IT professionals from Europe and the USA.
> These professionals come here for a limited time, charge enormous rates,
> fail to do any kind of skills transfer and then leave. The Africans are then
> in no position to maintain the product. Once the product fails, there are
> only two options: pay through the neck to get the USA or European
> experts to do the necessary maintenance or let the product fall into disuse.
> Either way, its big money down the sewer.
I entirely support these views. Unfortunately, we Africans would
require to change the way we view ourselves and especially our local
experts. In most cases, the local experts are maginalized and
preference is given to experts coming from outside the continent. Take
an example of my case:
I was employed to work on a computerization project of a library
in the University where I am now working. A few days before my
assumption of duties, the University arranged with a donor
institution from the Netherlands to send an expert to come and do a
systems analysis of the library and recommend a suitable computerized
system. This study was to take about a month and half and the expert
was to be paid around US$20,000 (My salary per annum is around
US$15,000). On assumption of duties, I objected to this arrangement
and the expert was put on hold. I conducted the system study and
designed a new library system which is to be implemented before the
end of the year. When all the documentation for the project was sent
to the donor institution, my work was given a go ahead and the funds
meant for the expert are now to be used for implementing the system.
The notable point from the above example is that the foreign expert on
an amount of US$20,000 was only going to produce a report of his
findings while on my US$15,000 annual salary, I am going beyond just
reporting the findings but also implementing and managing the new
system. Who was going to implement the system if the foreign expert
had been used? Possibly another foreign expert? How about managing
the system? Another....
We really have to give an opportunity to our local experts and
encourage them to do their best by giving them proper incentives.