University students taking a course at the Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in ICT
Thursday morning, I got to start my day by taking a private tour of the Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in ICT, a state-of-the-art technology training centre initiated by the governments of India and Ghana. The centre, in an Accra neighborhood reminiscent of New Delhi's Lodi Road, was surrounded by greenery in every direction, with numerous embassies and NGO headquarters nearby.
Inside, I met with several staff, who were kind enough to lead me around the facility for about an hour. Opened two years ago, the Kofi Annan Centre is home to a variety of high-tech training facilities, including a Cisco Networking Academy. By sheer coincidence, the Cisco Academy was full of young Liberians from the Buduburam refugee camp, which I visited the previous day.
We walked from classroom to classroom, most of which were engaged with groups of students working in small groups, huddling around laptops and workstations. I managed to hover in the background in a couple of classes, snapping pictures and getting completely over my head in the technical discussions on networks, routers and switches.
Upstairs, we entered a room that needed to be unlocked with a smart card. Inside we found a Padma supercomputer from India. The most powerful computer in Ghana, it runs on an open source operating system; access to it is made available to any Ghanaian researcher starving for hard-core processing power.
I'd wanted to check out the centre's main conference room, but it was busy with some official event; someone told me that several government ministers were participating. Only later in the day did I discover that it was a high-level meeting on Ghana's new national ICT policy. Boy, I'd wish I'd been able to get through the door for a few minutes…. -andy