Honorable Shri S.M. Krishna, External Affairs Minister, inaugurated the second phase of the Pan-African e-Network Project in respect of twelve countries at TCIL Bhawan, New Delhi on 16th August 2010, amidst the presence of High Commissioners and Ambassadors of African countries and senior officers of the Ministry of External Affairs. The twelve countries include: Botswana, Burundi, Cote d? Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Uganda and Zambia.
The External Affairs Minister had a brief online interaction on bilateral matters with senior ministers and other high-ranking dignitaries in each of the twelve countries individually through the network. During his interaction with the dignitaries online, the External Affairs Minister not only exchanged views on the issues relating to the implementation of the Project and on bilateral relations. He urged all the countries to take full advantage of the complete range of services offered by India in the tele-education and tele-medicine fields.
After the inauguration, the External Affairs Minister, Honorable Shri S.M.Krishna addressed the African diplomats and members of the media, during which he described the Pan-African e-Network Project as one of the finest examples of the growing partnership between India and Africa. He mentioned that this is the biggest project of distance education and tele-medicine ever undertaken in Africa.
The Minister added that the project is also equipped to support e-governance, e-commerce, infotainment, resource mapping and meteorological and other services in the African countries, besides providing VVIP connectivity among the Heads of State of the African countries through a highly secure closed satellite network.
A total of 47-countries have already joined the project. 34-countries have since been implemented and the remaining would be progressively completed towards the end of this year. The first phase of the Pan African e-Network Project was inaugurated in February 2009 in respect of eleven countries by the then External Affairs Minister. (These countries included: Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Seychelles.)
The basic objective of the Pan-African e-Network project is to assist Africa in capacity building by way of imparting quality education to 10,000 students in Africa over a 5-year period in various disciplines from some of the best Indian Universities/Educational Institutions. Besides, this would provide Tele-Medicine services by way of on line medical consultation to the medical practioners at the Patient End Location in Africa by Indian Medical specialists in various disciplines/specialties selected by African Union for its Member States.
The Pan African e-Network Project was conceived by former President
Honorable Dr. A.P.J. Kalam and approved by the Union Cabinet on 5th July, 2007 at a budgeted cost of Rs.542.90 crores (US$ 125 million) which covers the cost of supply, installation, testing and commissioning of hardware and software, end-to-end connectivity, satellite bandwidth, O&M support, and providing the tele-education and tele-medicine services to 53 African countries for 5-years. The Ministry of External Affairs is the nodal ministry for the project while Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) is implementing the project on a turnkey basis.
Regular Tele-Medicine & Tele-Education services have already been started on this network. At present, the Tele-Medicine consultations are regularly being conducted from Super-Specialty Hospitals from India to the African countries on need basis. Moreover, regular Continued Medical Education (CME) sessions have been started with effect from 22nd April, 2009 from 11 Indian Super-Specialty Hospitals. So far 654 CME sessions have been conducted on this network.
Regarding Tele-Education services from India, more than 2000 students from Africa have been enrolled in 5 different top ranking universities in India in various disciplines like MBA, Master in Finance Control, PG Diploma in IT, M.Sc. in IT and Bachelor in Finance & Investment Analysis and many others. Regular Tele-Education live sessions are being conducted from India and students have shown great interest in the courses.
TCIL has established the Network with a Data Center in TCIL Bhawan, New Delhi that acts as a gateway to the Hub Station in Dakar for connectivity of Indian institutions on the African side.