In February 2018, the IEEE SA Board of Governors (BOG) held its meeting in Johannesburg, the first time the IEEE SA’s highest governing body met on the African continent. IEEE SA took the opportunity to partner with the IEEE South Africa Section and local organizations to engage with the local technology community through several events:
In Cape Town, the IEEE Open Data Summit brought together stakeholders from technology, start-ups, advocates, and government to discuss open data, and highlight the opportunities it brings. The IEEE SA has an Open Data Industry Connections Activity on Open Data, which is championed by stakeholders from Cape Town.
In Pretoria, IEEE SA partnered with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) on a workshop entitled The New Era of Connected and Intelligent Systems, exploring technology and standards developments in key areas, as well as highlighting the need for thinking about ethical considerations in the development and design stages of technology, and the fact that technologists and standards organizations have an important role to play in this respect.
In Johannesburg, the IEEE SA BoG Forum and Reception featured distinguished experts to discuss broader trends in standardization on the African continent. This dialogue included the NEPAD Agency, the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), and the African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC), in addition to IEEE SA, and there was a vibrant dialogue with amongst the panelists and the audience on how standardization is a powerful tool to support economic and human development.
IEEE SA also held two university lectures, at the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg, to reach students and professors about the importance of standards in the technology field and their future careers, as well as a session at IBM Research Africa to engage with the researchers and local start-ups.
IEEE SA also executed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ARSO which will enable the two organizations to work together on capacity building activities, including identifying IEEE standards with the potential to support Africa’s needs.