Putting Knowledge in Practice to improve Business Performance
through Information & Communications Technologies
in Southern Africa
Dolly Bhasin, Knowledge Entrepreneur
MD, SPH Consultancy & eServices Pvt. Ltd.
The Telecom Infrastructure
The PAN Africa eNetwork
Knowledge Intensive Business Services
Knowledge Exchange for Healthcare and Education
between India and Africa
Book and Book Printing Exports to Africa
In today’s global world, creating knowledge
for turning them into new products and
services is crucial to maintain and enhance
While enough research has been done on
knowledge transfer approaches and impact in
the Manufacturing sector, knowledge
transfer in services sector has not been well
In the developing and the underdeveloped
countries, services constitute a major
constituent to the economy.
In Ghana it accounted for 49.3 per cent of GDP in
In South Africa it is as high as 69%.
India's services sector contributes to about 60%
of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP),
35 per cent of employment, a quarter of the total
trade, and over half of the foreign investment
Sources : Modern Ghana, www.modernghana.com
Examine how to use Knowledge intensive services to aid the
knowledge transfer and facilitate service delivery seamlessly
across continents between India and Africa using ICT.
Examine the Enablers
PAN Africa network
Telecom Infrastructure in Africa
Collaboration between researchers and industry amongst India
and South Africa will be explored through case studies in
Explore mechanisms to create ‘single continuum for knowledge’
through platforms for South African community-Indian
Businesses to work and innovate together & create value
The State of Healthcare in Africa needs World Attention
Widespread incidence of communicable diseases - HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and
In the health sector, Africa compares very poorly with the rest of the world.
▪ In 1997, child and juvenile death rates were 105 and 169 per 1000, as against 6 and 7
per 1000 respectively in developed countries.
▪ Life expectancy is 48.9 years, as against 77.7 years in developed countries.
▪ Only 16 doctors are available per 100 000 inhabitants, as against 253 in industrialized
Nutrition is an important ingredient of good health. The average daily intake
of calories varies from
▪ 2384 in low-income countries
- 2846 in middle-income countries
▪ 3390 in countries of OECD.
Eventually, improvement in health and nutrition directly contributes to
improved well-being as the spread of diseases is controlled, infant mortality
rates are reduced and life expectancy is higher.
▪ The link with poverty reduction is clearly established.
Source: NEPAD) Report, 2001
A 2007 World Bank policy research paper by Eric A. Hanushek and Ludger
Wößmann explored the link between educational quality and economic
According to their analysis, policies that aim to improve education
systems in developing nations have significant economic returns.
The finding indicates that long-term reforms to education will
substantially increase GDP compared to countries that make no changes.
Additionally, the research establishes that quality of education has more
implications on economic growth than merely increasing the quantity of
The report also suggests several broad policy initiatives that help
students acquire cognitive skills and increase teaching quality.
Source: The Effect of Education on Brazil’s Economic Development
Telecom Infrastructure in Africa
Infrastructure in Africa has increased over the past
years, in spite of the challenges of low population
density, low incomes and large rural populations.
The mobile penetration in African countries has
surpassed 600 million subscribers in 2011
Despite Africa lagging in ICT usage with an
estimated 250 million Internet users, between
2000 and 2011 the growth of Internet usage
exceeds a whopping 2,000 per cent
Source: Africa on the Move – Investment in ICT is Catalyzing Economic Growth, Global Services
Providing the adequate educational facilities and
affordable healthcare to citizens are two prominent
concerns of many developing countries.
Technological improvements, in terms of
communication infrastructure for delivering quality
education & healthcare uniformly, across length and
breadth of the country, are a key factor in the
progress of any country.
Efforts in delivering education and healthcare from
resourceful urban areas/developed countries to
inaccessible remote/rural areas have yielded fruitful
results in terms of access to the quality services in
time and cost effective manner.
Inspired by recent advances in the provision of healthcare and medical
education through the use of information and communication
technology, noting India’s long history of assisting in capacity building
programmes and recognizing that Africa-India cooperation can play a
major role in harnessing the benefits of globalization for mutual
The former President of India Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam during the inaugural
session of the Pan-African Parliament held at Johannesburg on 16th
September 2004, proposed in his address to connect all the 53 nations of
the African Union by a satellite and a fiber optic network
This network would provide communication for Tele-education, Tele –
medicine, Internet, Video conferencing and VoIP services and also
support e-Governance, e-Commerce, infotainment, resources mapping,
meteorological services etc.
Now renamed PAN Africa eNetwork
The Pan –African e-Network project is being funded by the Government
of India with an approved budgetary cost of INR 5429 Million i.e. over
Source: www.telemedicineindia.com and www.panafricaenetwork.com
“Knowledge Transfer involves the processes for
capturing, collecting and sharing explicit and
tacit knowledge, including skills and
competence. It includes both commercial and
non-commercial activities such as research
collaborations, consultancy, licensing, mobility
of researchers, publication of knowledge,
disseminating value added information,
Learning systems, etc.”.
European Union Research
Knowledge transfer is a means by which expertise,
knowledge, skills and capabilities are transferred from
a knowledge-base - a University or college, a Research
Centre or a research technology organization or a
country to those in need of that knowledge, say a
company, an individual, social enterprise or not-forprofit organization or another country.
The purpose of knowledge transfer is to catalyze and
Mostly, these services are facilitated through the
setting up of a technology platform which acts as
medium and intermediary to the knowledge transfer.
Knowledge intensive services can be defined as
“economic activities conducted by private sector organizations
that combine technology, knowledge (such as R&D) and highly
skilled employees to provide a service to the market.“
A common characteristic of KIBS firms is that clients
routinely play a critical role in co-producing the service
solution along with the service provider
By strategically managing client co-production, service
providers can improve operational efficiency, develop more
optimal solutions and generate a sustainable competitive
Knowledge-Intensive Service Activities (KISAs) enables firms
and public sector organizations to better innovate (OECD). .
The Pan African e-network project is by far the biggest project for
telemedicine and distance education in Africa resulting from the growing
partnership between India and Africa.
Under the Pan African e-Network Project, India has set up a fibre-optic
network to provide satellite connectivity, tele-medicine and tele-education
to countries of Africa.
The project aims to create significant linkages for tele-education and
telemedicine, internet, video-conferencing and VoIP services, making
available the facilities and expertise of some of the best universities and
super-specialty hospitals in India to the people of Africa.
The project has been commissioned in 47 countries out of the 48 that have
signed the agreement with TCIL for participating in the project.
Angola, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia have
not signed the agreement for joining the project.
As per existing commitment, GOI will maintain the facilities created in each
country for five years after commissioning them.
Under the Telemedicine component, patient end
locations have already been set up in the 12 Indian
Super Specialty Hospitals, namely:
1 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi
2 Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi
3 Apollo Hospitals, Chennai
4 CARE Hospital The Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad
5 Dr. Balabhai Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai
6 Escort Hearts Institute and Research Centre Limited, New Delhi
7 Fortis Hospital, Noida
8 HealthCare Global, Bangalore
9 Mool Chand Khairati Ram Hospital, New Delhi
10 Narayana Hrudayalaya Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangalore
11 Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science(Lucknow), Lucknow
12 Sri. Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute, Chennai
These 12 Indian Super Specialty Hospitals have been connected to
48 Patient-End Locations/Hospitals in African
Tele-Medicine centres have been set up in four Regional Super
Specialty Hospitals in Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Mauritius and
Egypt and 5th is in the process of being set up in Senegal.
460 Tele-Medicine consultations have taken place under the Project.
Regular CME sessions since 2009 are held from Super Specialty
Hospitals. 2439 CME Sessions in English and 167 CME Sessions in
French have been held.
Telemedicine though still in its infancy stages in Africa is potentially
a very useful conduit of health-care given the fact that the continent
is resource limited and still enduring the effects of scarce human
resource. With the telemedicine support, healthcare can now be
delivered from specialists in India to remote and rural areas of Africa,
at a fraction of the cost.
Knowledge Intensive Services
To create a sustainable mechanism for long term knowledge intensive
service delivery Dr. P. Reddy visualized Apollo Telemedicine Network
Foundation (ATNF) and Apollo Tele Health Services (ATHS).
With the initial investments and early mover
advantage, Apollo Hospitals are now able to offer
affordable healthcare services through telemedicine
in Africa as well as offer Medical Tourism to patients
who could afford treatment in their Indian Hospitals.
Apollo Hospitals has successfully treated over 60000
foreign patients from across the world in last five
years and the numbers are looking up every year.
Apollo group has created a landmark in Indo Africa
knowledge exchange in the area of integrated
healthcare services and capacity building of local
(African) service providers.
Under the Pan Africa eNetwork , Tele-Education
teaching centres have already been set-up in the
five Indian Universities:
Amity University, NOIDA;
IGNOU New Delhi;
University of Delhi;
• Master in Finance Control,
• PG Diploma in IT,
University of Madras.
• M.Sc. in IT
• Bachelor in Finance & Investment
47 Learning Centers (LCs) have already been set up in
Tele-Education learning centers have been set-up in the 5
Regional University Centers in Africa:
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana;
Makerere University, Uganda;
Yaounde University, Cameroon;
Alexandria Faculty of Commerce, Egypt and
Chancellor College, Zomba, Malawi.
9916 students from African countries have already
registered with Indian universities for a variety of PG, UG
and certificate courses. 3503 tele-education sessions have
been held till end September 2012.
Knowledge Intensive Services
Under the Regional Leading University for the Pan-African E-Network
Project, Makerere University was selected by the African Union to be the
ICT Centre of excellence for Eastern Africa region and is mandated to
oversee ICT African Union Initiatives in 13 countries on Tele-Education
As a HUB Uganda is in charge of equipment for use by the 53 countries
for the PAN-African E-Network. It will also use this sophisticated
equipment to broadcast local content all over Uganda and thus
provide education for all at all levels of formal education in addition to
Overall the project is worth 200 million dollars funded by the Indian
Government and African Union.
From geographically dispersed individual-centric learning, it is now time
to move towards collective learning across Africa and the African
countries start taking ownership of project after internalizing the
Repro India Limited
Repro was established in 1984 as a provider of integrated print
solutions to publishers and corporations the world over.
Today, Repro offers significant backward and forward integration
which involves managing customer’s content, printing and
delivering in different formats.
In the financial year 2010-11 REPRO clocked over INR 2.5 billion in
revenue, with over 50% coming from overseas markets.
One stop solution to their needs, right from managing and
repurposing content, to printing and binding to delivery anywhere
across the globe. Serves customers across four continents.
They produce multiple product formats such as books, e-books
and other interactive content.
Repro’s core activities are supported by a infrastructure which
includes IT and two modern book printing plants in India.
Repro India Limited
Repro focusses on two markets- India, which has 1.2 billion
people and where education is growing fast and other is
Africa, with a population of 1.1 billion people.
Almost 60% of the population in both these countries is in the
education segment from the age of 3-22.
Assuming 60% of this 1.2 billion people, you have close to 4 billion
books requirements in each country in that specific segment.
Even at a dollar a book, they address the $4 billion market for the
primary and school education in both countries.
Africa constitutes of 60% of all exports of Repro India. It
supplies pupil books to 14 African countries.
Knowledge Intensive Services
Repro India has acquired the printing setup of Macmillan
Publishers for 4 countries in Africa.
Repro also aims to work with strategic partners who work in
local African markets to further consolidate its position in
From providing just export of books and printing services,
Repro is now establishing local setups in Africa to offer value
added services in the educational segments, including
elearning and interactive educational content.
Rapples is Repro’s tablet based learning solution.
Repro CloudStore, Repro’s digital storefront
A strategic tie-up with a global e-book store has given users of CloudStore a
vast sea of books to choose from.
All 3 Cases demonstrates the objective and are in
support to the argument
To build more effective knowledge transfer
between India and Africa, we need to create
more platforms to enable information exchange
at strategic levels.
An Elearning platform on the cloud, which uses the
An interactive platform to engage with Indian
Diaspora in Africa for knowledge exchange in
Literature, Culture and Education.
Online STEM Publications and Research Journals for Indian-African
Joint development of Ebooks for Children and Educational books
Policy level interaction between India and African countries to have a
standardized educational content and syllabus drawn, so that Indian
Publishers can develop targeted content for Educational system.
Joint Projects on developing Ebooks for Children and Education
Facilitation of Medical Tourism to India from African countries through
the Telemedicine network for pre-screening the patients by the
participating hospitals in India in the PAN African eNetwork.
Knowledge Shared is Knowledge Multiplied, as Dr. Kalam puts it in his
book - "Two Billion Dreams: Celebrating India Africa Friendship”
“The challenge of the next phase of the project is to build bridges between
all African tele-centres to forge a synergy of learning experience, as
knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied” – Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam
I hope that we can see a ‘single continuum for knowledge’ by
developing such platforms, where South African community and
Indian Businesses work and innovate together to create
information exchange in a systematic way to improve the business
performance in the service delivery across continents but bonded
through knowledge networks.
Knowledge Transfer through knowledge intensive services is truly
putting Knowledge in action to improve the business
performance of not just the African but also the Indian businesses.
“If we can dream it, we can build it!”