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Republic of Korea donates ICT equipment to 20 pilot schools in Zimbabwe

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Minister Mavima (in navy blue suit) and Ambassador Jaichel (in grey suit) observing school children using ICTs in Bulawayo. photo © UNESCO

As part of a regional cooperation project between the Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cho Jaichel and the UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, Professor Hubert Gijzen handed over Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment worth US$300,000 to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavima to benefit 20 schools in the country.

The handing-over ceremony was hosted by King George VI Memorial School in Bulawayo. The equipment will be used to pilot an e-school model in 20 Zimbabwean schools including two special needs schools.

The conceptualized e-school model is based on four pillars: infrastructure (availability of ICT tools), electronic resources (emphasis on Open Education Resources), capacity building (developing capacities of teachers), and sustainability (monitoring, evaluation accountability and learning for successful implementation of educational technology projects).

440 teachers have since been trained on the pedagogical use of ICT. The equipment was handed over as infrastructure to support teaching and learning at the selected 20 pilot schools.

High-level representatives from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Ministry of ICT and Cyber Security, the Embassy of Republic of Korea in Zimbabwe, UNESCO, and the Zimbabwe National Commission for UNESCO attended the event. Teachers from the beneficiary schools, the community, education partners, the media and students of King George VI Memorial School also graced the occasion.

In his keynote address, Professor Mavima thanked the Republic of Korea for the generous support and noted that the equipment fits seamlessly with the government’s ambitious e-schools programme where all learning institutions in the country will have 100 percent access to computers, internet connectivity and electricity in the next five years.

“In line with the new curriculum, we are doing everything within our power to enhance the deployment of ICTs in our schools. We aim to achieve 100 percent deployment of ICTs to our schools within the next five years,” said Professor Mavima.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cho Jaichel said Korea was committed to assisting Zimbabwe to come up with its own ICT embedded education policy. He added that the project will go a long way in creating a better educational environment in the schools.

Addressing the same gathering, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, Director and Representative, Professor Hubert Gijzen said there is need to develop “a strategy to reach the hard to reach, such as schools in remote areas, especially those that are off-grid, and schools that cater for learners living with disabilities”.

“In cooperation with the Ministry, we need to develop new pilots that will also include the introduction of renewable energy together with ICTs in education,” he added.

UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa is supporting the integration of ICT-based innovative approaches for education in Zimbabwe through the UNESCO-Korean Funds-in-Trust project entitled, “ICT Transforming Education in Africa”. The project is being implemented in Zimbabwe under the theme: “Transforming Zimbabwe into a Knowledge Based Society: Strengthening Quality Education through Integrating ICTs into Teaching, Learning, Research and Innovation”. It seeks to strengthen e-education and ICTs in primary and secondary education; to capacitate higher and tertiary education utilizing diverse methodologies for lifelong learning; and to create an enabling policy environment for the effective use of ICTs in primary, secondary, higher, and tertiary education. This phase of the project in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe started in 2016 and will conclude in 2019.

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Digital Technology Will Help Djibouti Leap into the Future

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Digital technology will have a critical part to play in boosting Djibouti’s socio-economic development and meeting the ambitious goals set out in its national strategy, Vision Djibouti 2035. As a key step toward building a strong, inclusive digital economy, the Government of Djibouti and the World Bank are co-hosting a high-level event that will explore the potential benefits of digital development and propose a concrete roadmap of action.

“Disruptive technologies are creating new business models, opening up new markets, and giving consumers access to more products and services than ever before. It is hard to overstate the economic potential of these transformations,” said Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Djibouti’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. “In a country like ours, developing a high-performing digital ecosystem will provide a unique chance to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The Digital Economy conference starting today will bring us one step closer to this vision.”

“The digital sector will be key to improving the lives of Djiboutian people, expanding our economy, and strengthening our position as a logistics and commercial hub. With eight submarine cable landing on our shores, there is no doubt Djibouti has what it takes to become a digital leader in the region,” noted Abdi Youssouf Sougueh, Minister of Communications. “We are keen to bring in development partners like the World Bank to leverage this infrastructure to the fullest and reinforce all the other fundamentals that are necessary to nurture a vibrant digital economy.”

The conference will bring together a wide range of government representatives, technology pioneers, and development partners. Building on this uniquely diverse combination of knowledge and global perspectives, participants will assess Djibouti’s digital landscape, share international best practices, discuss how technology can help modernize all sectors of the economy, and outline a clear strategy and action plan for digital development in the country.

“Countries around the world are leveraging digital innovation to accelerate economic growth and build a better future for people, and Djibouti is very well positioned to gain from that approach,” said Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Digital Development. “I am confident this event will pave the way for close collaboration on digital development between the Word Bank, Djibouti, and countries across the Middle East and Africa.”

In addition to discussing Djibouti’s opportunities and challenges, the event will also highlight the need for bolder action on digital development engagement across the region.

Sessions will cover all key dimensions of digital development, with a focus on how to strengthen the five pillars of the digital economy: digital infrastructure; innovation and entrepreneurship; digital financial services and identification; digital platforms; and digital literacy and skills.

“Technological innovation holds great promise for Djibouti. By harnessing the full power of the digital economy, the country could see significant GDP growth, create a future-proof labor market, and raise living standards for all segments of the population. We stand ready to work hand in hand with Djibouti on this journey, to help create the right conditions for a thriving digital sector,” said Atou Seck, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti.

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The first shopping tourism project in Mexico

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Municipality of León (Guanajuato, Mexico) have signed an agreement to carry out the country’s first project to develop Shopping Tourism, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism of the State of Guanajuato.

The project is expected to serve as an international reference point and as a showcase at major tourism forums.

The Tourism Observatory of the State of Guanajuato has been a member of the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories since 2014. At the World Tourism Organization’s General Assembly held in Medellín, Colombia, in September 2015, Guanajuato expressed its interest in being one of the destinations to develop a project on shopping tourism, and León was the selected destination in light of the fact that 27% of its tourists visit the city to go shopping.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

The project will help León (Guanajuato, Mexico) to develop innovative shopping tourism offerings that link the public and private sectors and that highlight the destination’s tourism attractions and products as well as tourism’s contribution to socio-economic development, which includes the creation of jobs directly in the tourism sector and in the many activities related to the sector.

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Smart city matchmaking in Barcelona

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This year’s Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), Europe’s biggest Smart City related event, takes place from 13 to 15 November in Barcelona and will, like previous editions,  attract several thousand stakeholders.

During the congress, on November 14, the Smart Cities Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities (EIP-SCC) will organise its next matchmaking event, seeking to bring projects and investors together to stimulate action. It is especially tailored to match individual projects with financing.

To take part, stakeholders must register on the matchmaking platform where they will join other cities, industry and financial players. Registered users need to submit short descriptions of their upcoming projects. A dedicated team will then process and match them with financiers’ interests, leading to one-to-one meetings, organised specifically and individually for them and their projects.

Should participation in above-mentioned event not be possible, the matchmaking platform will remain available also after the Barcelona congress, as the EIP-SCC will organise further matchmaking events in the future.

In addition, there will be an exhibition stand, where interested stakeholders can meet any of the 12 Horizon 2020 Lighthouse projects (representing € 270 million of EU funding), experts from the EIP-SCC, the Smart Cities Information System, as well as the European Commission.

Finally, there will be a number of sessions organised at the mentioned exhibition stand as part of the SCEWC programme covering a wide range of Smart City related topics. The full programme is available at http://www.smartcityexpo.com/en/agenda-2018.

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