Despite remarkable growth in GDPs (6%) of Eastern and Southern African (ESA) low-income countries during the last decade, the region significantly lags behind developed economies in Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) capacity. Without a quantum leap in STI capacity, this region’s development challenges cannot be addressed effectively.
Hence, we propose an African Center of Excellence in Internet of Things (ACEIoT) to educate and train African researchers in the field of IoT, who will develop and deploy innovative IoT-enabled services, to address development challenges across all ESA high-priority domains. For example, (i) remote monitoring and diagnosis technology to provide rural populations with access to quality healthcare; (ii) wide-area networked sensors could be used for precision agriculture to improve yield; (iii) smart metering in African households, could regulate the power usage and increase energy efficiency.
ACEIoT’s objectives are to (i) build a critical mass of African scientists and engineers in IoT through higher education and research, and (ii) set up an IoT living lab in Rwanda for open innovation and co-creation of IoT4D. More specifically, ACEIoT’s aims to, develop curricula to promote cutting-edge research in the field of IoT; train high-level professionals and academics in the field of IoT through Master’s and PhD programmes in Wireless Intelligent Sensor Networks and Embedded Computing Systems; increase IoT applied research output with relevance to the ESA priority domains, focusing on innovative, low-cost, open and sustainable solutions, and excel as a focal point for regional and international research collaborations, by providing a forum for researchers to share ideas and results on IoT applications.
ACEIoT will build on UR-CST’s existing collaborations with the local and international partners, including Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda, and the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Italy. The 2015 Global Information Technology Report by World Economic Forum ranked Rwanda first globally in government success in ICT promotion. Rwanda’s strong fiber backbone and its national broadband strategy of increasing access to innovative IT-enabled services to her citizens, with the target of achieving national broadband network coverage of 95% by 2018, via 4G-LTE, positions her to host the ACEIoT.