Wednesday, May 05, 2010

New Media and the Knowledge Economy in Africa

School of Media and Communication, Pan-African University

August 11-13, 2010 Conference

 The concept of the knowledge economy is more than that of an economy based on knowledge. It even goes beyond the notion of the (economic) management of knowledge and knowledge production in culture and society.  The conceptual shift resides in the re-evaluation of production value away from the traditional combination of raw materials-machinery-capital, and towards greater emphasis on human capital, its development and its contribution to the value chain.

For us in the cultural industries, the commanding role that ICT plays in the value chain demands that we focus on new media as the platform of the knowledge economy. In real terms, media are not merely channels of communication, not mere tools, but prime assets in the (re)production of knowledge. Thus they raise questions of skill-sets, competence even of skilled producers and the future direction of African economies and polities.

Against this background, this conference will address the place of new media and ICT in general in the production and reproduction of knowledge in Africa. How well are the universities and training institutions in Africa leveraging on the new media in knowledge production? What is the state of library and information systems in our institutions in this regard?  What are the policy options being pursued or implementation strategies adopted by national governments to push forward the empowerment of citizens through the new media platforms? How do the new media advance democracy in Africa? What impacts do the new media have on industrial production, service delivery and workflow practices?

It is expected that at the 2010 conference, the publication of select papers from the 2009 conference (Journalism and New Media Technologies in Africa) will be launched. In 2010 the sub-themes have been organized along the lines below. The themes are provided only as suggestions. Scholars, industry experts and practitioners, policy makers and others may organize themes other than those listed. However, extra topics must be hinged on the central theme of the conference.

Conference Sub-themes:                                                                                    

a)     Theoretical and conceptual issues on new media and knowledge economy

·        Definitions

·        Theories

·        Methodologies

·        Research paradigms and traditions


b)    Culture and the (re)production of knowledge in Africa

·        Endogenous/indigenous knowledge systems

·        New media and archiving of cultural knowledge

·        Cultural interfaces and dissonances in knowledge production

·        Knowledge production in central and peripheral societies


      c)  Citizen empowerment and new media

·        E-Governance and democracy: framework for social and economic empowerment

·        Political and public communications and the new media

·        New media and public policy in Africa

·        Social media, social enterprises  and social critiques in the new media

·        ICT  and professionalism in public service delivery


     d) Business and economic practices

·        Market economies and moral economies in the  new media age

·        Marketing communications and the new media

·        Business and financial intelligence in new media contexts

·        Research and development in the ICT age

·        Intellectual property issues in the new media

·        Virtual business communities


(e) Tools and technologies in the knowledge economy: Educational networks, virtual universities

·        Infrastructure of knowledge production: Research and the new media

·        Education and e-competence: Preparing employable youths

·        Library and information services in Africa today

·        On virtual universities in Africa


Conference convener: Prof. E. A. Biakolo


                                  School of Media and Communication            

                                  Pan-African University


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