African ICT stars are set to shine tonight, where finalists of the African ICT Achievers awards, key ICT decision-makers and ICT ministers from across Africa come together to honour the continent's best ICT organisations.
This year's awards are doubly special as they reach their tenth year.
The African ICT Achievers awards were conceptualised by ForgeAhead, initially to stimulate the entrance of black ICT professionals to enter into, and take up, their rightful roles within the market; and to recognize and reward role models.
Among the catergories being contested this evening is the Workplace award.
It is common knowledge that a happy employee is a productive one, and in today's fast paced business world, work plays such a big part of our lives, that a good working environment is integral to employee wellbeing.
Apart from the necessary physical infrastructure, clearly defined policies, procedures and processes for a business to operate, company culture is an imperative. All of these factors equates to employee satisfaction and drives them towards service excellence.
The three finalists in this category are:
* Accenture – Accenture is a global service provider which aims to attract, retain and develop the best staff in order to help clients become high performing businesses.
* IBM – IBM SA strives to lead in the creation, development and manufacture of the industry's most advanced information technologies.
* Integr8it – Integr8 IT is a people centric organization that has successfully managed to keep its team members fully motivated and passionate about the company and the creditable brand that the company represents.
Also up for grabs is the important Education award.
The importance of education in the ICT sector has become a focal point for all sphere in the industry. The public sector is putting a lot more emphasis on training and education across all age groups, through initiatives such as the ISETT SETA learnership programme in South Africa, the IT in Banking Learnership Programme, the NEPAD e-Schools initiative, etc.
Education not only forms the backbone of the industry in getting new experts involved in the sector – it is only through education that ICT will reach its full potential as an enabler, especially when it comes to more remote areas of the continent.
"We know from our recent research into South African Local, Provincial and National Governments, that one of the biggest challenges facing our ICT professionals in the public sector is a lack of training," says Jane Mosebi, MD of ForgeAhead. "People are being put into positions that they do not have the required skills for, and that is preventing them from giving the public the levels of service delivery they require."
The Top ICT Educator / Academic of the year award honours an educator or academic who has shown the most initiative in applying ICTs in education. Participants can only be nominated by their students, pupils or peers – this ensures that the finalists must have made tremendous contributions to ICT education to be considered.
The finalists for the 2008 Top ICT Educator / Academic of the year award are:
* January Timanywa, Tanzania Institute of Education – January Timanya, an ICT & business studies curriculum developer of Tanzania Institute Of Education authored five textbooks, the books have been approved by Educational Materials Approval Committee, which is under the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT).
* Professor Johannes Cronje, Cape Peninsula University of Technology – Professor Johannes Cronje has been actively involved in promoting the use of Computers in Education for the past 15 years.
* Professor Venansius Baryamureeba Makerere University, Faculty of Computing and IT – Professor Venasius has been a team leader that transformed the Institute of Computer Science with about 90 square metres of space, 30 students, seven members of staff, one academic programme and an annual budget of $15 000 in July 2001
to a Faculty of Computing and Information Technology with over 20 academic programmes, over 5 000 students undertaking degree programmes and an annual budget of over $7-million by September 2005.