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close this bookInformation Technology in Selected Countries (UNU, 1994, 148 p.)
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(introduction...)

Edited by Eileen P. Drew and F. Gordon Foster

Reports from Ireland, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania

The United Nations University
Tokyo, Japan

© The United Nations University, 1994

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations University.

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The United Nations University is an organ of the United Nations established by the General Assembly in 1972 to be an international community of scholars engaged in research, advanced training, and the dissemination of knowledge related to the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare. Its activities focus mainly on peace and conflict resolution, development in a changing world, and science and technology in relation to human welfare. The University operates through a worldwide network of research and postgraduate training centres, with its planning and coordinating headquarters in Tokyo.

The United Nations University Press, the publishing division of the UNU, publishes scholarly books and periodicals in the social sciences, humanities, and pure and applied natural sciences related to the University's research.

Note to the Reader from the UNU

This volume is based on the activities of a project carried out cooperatively between the United Nations University and Trinity College, Dublin, with a financial grant from the Government of Ireland. The project was undertaken from 1985 to 1990 as a part of the UNU Programme on Microprocessors and Informatics and was intended to help strengthen institutional capacities in developing countries in the area of information technology through the provision of training fellowships and to undertake research study into the processes of innovation in information technology.

During the life-span of the project, a total of 36 individuals from 9 developing countries received the opportunity under the UNU fellowships programme to undertake postgraduate training and research at Trinity College in various informatics-related areas. The country reports that comprise this volume were intended to form a part of the baseline information required for research into the processes of innovation in information technology. The reports were prepared by three of the former UNU fellows and by Dr Eileen Drew, who was the Research Coordinator of the project.

Introduction

F. G. Foster, Project Director

The country reports constituting this publication were prepared as an integral part of the activities of a third-world informatics research and training project carried out, in cooperation with the United Nations University (UNU), at Trinity College, Dublin (TCD), the participants on which were UNU fellows.

The Project Philosophy

The UNU/TCD project had its origins in the conviction that there was an urgent need for developing countries to build up their capabilities in information technology and self-reliance in informatics development and that the prime requirement was the development of a broad understanding of the significance of informatics. Transfer of technological know-how, as opposed to technological products, was primary. This was the philosophy behind the project, whose aim was to train individuals who would act as multipliers on their return to their countries and promote institutional informatics development.

With this in mind, the emphasis in the project was on issues of policy for informatics development, while at the same time the training was provided to enable academics and administrators to acquire practical skills and to apply them, together with their Irish-based experience, to the needs of their institutions in an innovative way.

A Definition of Informatics

It is useful to make a distinction between the terms information technology and informatics. Information technology (IT) means the group of technologies that is revolutionizing the handling of information. In a report that I prepared for UNIDO on their policy for IT,1 the term informatics was defined as the study, not of IT, but of the consequences of IT, including the variety of ways in which information flows, is processed, is utilized, affects productivity and efficiency, is used for monitoring and control purposes, and, lastly, influences socio-economic development and society itself. This is analogous to the use of the term "economics," which refers to the study, not of the production and distribution processes and procedures themselves, but of how they are deployed to provide goods and services from scarce resources to meet human needs.

The Informatics Project

The project was planned as a pilot investigation that would establish the most effective research and training procedures at a global level and provide a baseline for a further more comprehensive, well-planned and well-structured second-stage informatics project. To this end, in the latter years of the project, a research study was initiated whose aim was to investigate the processes of IT innovation and the mechanisms for development relevant to differing sets of circumstances in different countries.

The Country Reports

The country reports were intended to form a part of the baseline information required. Each was intended to be a survey of the state of IT development at the national level. Of the nine countries represented on the project, seven were African. It was decided therefore to confine the reports to Africa, apart from a report on Ireland, which was written in advance of the others by my colleague Dr. Eileen Drew, Project Research Coordinator, and was intended to provide guidelines for the other reports. Together with the report on Ireland, this publication comprises country reports on Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. (Country reports were also sought from Egypt and Zambia, but these did not materialize.)

Attention is drawn to the fact that the authors who were commissioned to write the African reports are all former UNU fellows on the project. Thus they were all aware of the basic aims of the project, had in common the same basic informatics training, and had participated in the same discussions on policy issues. It was anticipated that this common background, together with the provision of the Irish paradigm, would result in some overall uniformity of presentation.

Mr. Teferi Kebede, Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission, Addis Ababa, joined us at TCD as a UNU fellow in 1985. His work while with us involved an examination of the ways and means of developing a computer-based library and information centre for his organization. He returned again to TCD at a later date to read for the degree of M.Sc.

Dr. Michael Nwachuku, Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Nigeria, was a UNU fellow at TCD during 1987-1988, and worked on a plan for the establishment of a microprocessor application laboratory at his university, with a view to fostering the growth of an indigenous IT industry focusing on the needs of agricultural and industrial enterprises.

Mr. Klodwig Mgaya, Faculty of Commerce and Management, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was also a UNU fellow at TCD during 1987-1988. He worked on the development of certain aspects of the technical expertise required to strengthen the consulting capability of his university in the area of the use of microcomputers in business.

Dr. Eileen Drew, Lecturer in Systems, Department of Statistics, TCD, coordinated the training of all UNU fellows. She also led the team that was later set up to research IT innovation and was responsible for coordinating and writing up the results.

Close study of the four reports, of which two describe market economies and two centrally planned ones, reveals many useful comparisons and contrasts. While these reports were the result of desk research only, taken together they would provide the basis now for asking many questions.

Take, for example, the IT policy sector. Of the four countries, only Ethiopia has evidenced a sustained commitment to IT planning at the national level. (Whether the economy is a market one or centrally planned is not the overriding factor, as is evident also elsewhere if one compares, say, the United States and France.) The withering of national IT planning in the 1970s, after a promising start, did, in my view, delay IT development in Ireland; and the absence of IT policy in Nigeria and the early negative IT policy in Tanzania certainly delayed developments in these two countries.

Again, consider the telecommunications sector. All four reports make it clear that it is now accepted that this is an indispensable infrastructure for industrial development. Ireland, relatively late for a developed country and relatively early for a developing country, modernized rapidly at the national level. The other market economy, Nigeria, has not. It was left to the oil companies to install private systems, a packet switched data network (PSDN) using leased lines and an all-digital network using optical fibre cables, said to be the largest network in Africa. Again, Ethiopia modernized early but Tanzania has only recently begun to install digital exchanges.

To investigate these differences across the IT sectors would be useful, and these reports could form a basis for constructing relevant nationwide surveys of each of the important sectors of IT development.

It was felt that these reports would be of interest to a wider audience and warranted publication on their own account, independently of the overall project report. The type of information provided by them is not otherwise readily available.

These country reports are a start in providing a baseline for the further research and training project referred to above. It is my belief that the production of country-wide reports on individual IT sectors (such as is done by the OECD for industrialized countries) on an ongoing, systematic basis would be of substantial value. Regular updating is also essential. As the author, some 20 years ago, of the first IT report on Ireland,2 I am acutely aware of the speed of change in this area, and indeed of the acceleration in this speed.

The UNU/TCD Project Report

A comprehensive final report on the UNU/TCD project, of which these country reports constituted one part, is available.3 The structure of the project was, we believe, unique; readers may therefore be interested in the following very brief summary of it.

The Training Programme

The project ran at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1985 to 1990. Over this period, there were 36 participants in the training and research activities. These participants were fellows selected by the UNU from scholars and policy makers in research institutions, universities, state bodies, and the private sector. The institutions were invited to propose candidates whose studies would contribute directly and in specifically defined ways to already agreed institutional development objectives. The training project was not discipline oriented or designed to enable participants to read for higher degrees or to further their own personal research interests.

The lengths of the fellowships of the 36 participants on the project varied from a few weeks to 15 months, according to their differing requirements and circumstances. In all, 9 countries were represented: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, Iraq, Tanzania, Egypt, Sudan, China, and Zimbabwe. Most of the fellows were drawn from the university sector, but a number came from other types of institutions and state bodies.

The study areas undertaken by fellows covered:

- informatics education/training/research planning;
- information systems development; library/information systems services;
- applications software development; health care/epidemiology/population applications;
- microprocessor technology research;
- geographical/geological applications;
- horticulture applications.

To accommodate this wide range of studies, a very flexible training programme was arranged. Each fellow was assigned to an adviser (usually an expert in the relevant field) prior to arrival. Some of the advisers were drawn from within TCD while others were based in external Irish institutions. The range of activities of the fellows included:

- "hands-on" computer laboratory sessions;
- optional lecture courses;
- seminars;
- external courses/seminars/conferences;
- study visits to other European institutions.

The aim was to provide sound training in all relevant technologies and to expose fellows to state-of-the-art systems, hardware, and software. In this way, fellows would acquire a full understanding of IT potentialities and develop an innovative approach and a broad vision. The "tailor-made" approach geared to the needs of individual fellows was central, and it also involved an in-depth study on an institutional development project in the fellow's home institution. Study visits to other European institutions were important for some participants in facilitating contact with experts in their field.

Achievements of the Informatics Project

Considerable institution-wide impact, in terms of the multiplier effect, has taken place since fellows returned to their institutions. Developments under the following headings have occurred:

- consultancy assignments;
- production of reports/research papers/teaching manuals;
- organizing training programmes/conferences/seminars;
- implementation of research projects;
- software evaluation studies;
- systems development;
- appointments to key IT decision-making committees.

Lessons Learned and Future Plans

One of the most important lessons from the project is that, to be successful in selecting candidates who will be good multipliers, it is highly desirable for the host institution to have established links with the institutions from which trainees are to be selected. These linkages could involve cooperation on institutional development projects. During the course of the project we eventually reached this position of working with colleagues in their own institutions whom we already knew well through their having been amongst us at TCD, but this was not the case at the start.

The project has demonstrated the very important role of linkages. Our future plans include the development of already established linkages. Assistance with ongoing institutional development projects in these linked institutions will be essential to their success. This implies that we need to build up our consultancy and advisory capability at TCD in order to fulfil this requirement.

Costly mistakes in the selection of trainees should not occur if, from the start, training services are fully integrated with consultancy and advisory services. The strategy in any follow-on training programme should be first to identify appropriate project areas of prime importance in contributing to development in the countries concerned, and, only following on from that, to identify appropriate prospective fellows.

It has also emerged clearly from the project that indigenous consultancy capability hardly exists in developing country universities. We regard the general development of consultancy capabilities as of fundamental importance, and this development will require very careful planning.

As a result of many years' previous experience in third-world development, the TCD team was well aware from the start of the project of the inadequacies and frustrations of communicating in situations where electronic mail (email), telex, fax, and telephone may all be non-existent and where postal services are slow or erratic. Both for routine administration and also for all the information activities routinely carried out by researchers in the industrialized countries, better communications between ourselves and the linked institutions are essential. For this reason, we were motivated during the course of the project to focus on communication itself as a vitally important informatics research problem. As a result, an investigation was set up into the application to communications with and between developing country institutions of small-scale, low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites.

As a result of this investigation, and thanks to close cooperation with the US development agency Volunteers in Technical Assistance, a satellite ground station is now set up and running at TCD. This provides the potential means to communicate swiftly and reliably, by a form of email, with colleagues in any part of the globe. We are currently investigating the modalities and operational development of this new infrastructure and evaluating its impact on institutional development in facilitating an ongoing dialogue by computer, and thus the transfer of information, among the participating institutions and ourselves. It also provides an invaluable infrastructure for our continuing research into the processes of innovation, with special reference to appropriate adaptations of Western technology to third-world conditions.

Conclusion

This publication provides reports on IT developments in four very different countries. It would be desirable to continue the research thus initiated on a wider international, cooperative basis. Valid approaches to such a study have to take into account the particular environment - social organization, economic structure, and other prevailing conditions - of each country, and the research protocol would need careful and detailed consideration. The main focus in IT developments has now shifted completely away from purely technical computer processes to the social and work processes being supported. The deepest informatics problems reside in the complex processes of information flow that to an ever-increasing extent affect society. On valid approaches to these problems depend the control and management of IT developments for the benefit of humanity.

REFERENCES

1. UNIDO. Informatics for Industrial Development. Development and Transfer of Technology Series No. 22 (ID/326).

2. Foster, F. G. Computers in Ireland. Dublin: Economic and Social Research Institute, Paper No. 58, 1971.

3. Foster, F. G., and E. P. Drew (eds.). UNU/TCD Informatics Project 1985-89. Tokyo: United Nations University, 1990.

(introduction...)

Eileen P. Drew

1. Introduction

Background to the Report

This study forms the first of a series of country reports commissioned under the auspices of the United Nations University/Trinity College Dublin informatics research project. It was envisaged that the Irish country report would lead to the production of guidelines that could be used in all the other reports.

The selection of Ireland for study was not in order to provide a model for information technology (IT) development. Rather the objective of the study was to investigate what lessons could be learned about the processes of innovation from recent Irish experiences.

In examining the Irish situation it is important to emphasize that no assumptions are being made on the likely effectiveness of any technology transfer. Ireland's membership of the European Community has brought unique advantages that would not be shared by the vast majority of developing countries. This has allowed companies located in Ireland to avail themselves of a potentially large European market, a particular attraction for North American companies. This positive locational advantage has to be balanced against Ireland's peripheral status within Europe, both geographically and economically.

As a relatively late entrant to the process of industrialization, the Irish economy has many features in common with newly industrializing countries. This makes the study of IT adoption and innovation in Ireland an interesting example of some of the range of problems that all developing countries have experienced or will encounter: a shortage of IT skilled manpower, a non-technocratic culture, relatively scarce resources for IT investment, a low level of awareness among managers and public servants regarding IT applications, and a reliance on bought-in technology transfer through multinationals. However, there is no way that Ireland should be seen as a "model" for developing countries. This report draws together the main features of IT innovation that have occurred over the last two decades, and this may provide some insights for developing countries.

Definition of Terms

Innovation

The term "innovation" is used to indicate both a new object, idea, or practice and the process by which that object, idea, or practice comes to be adopted by an individual, group, or organization. In considering the process of innovation, it is useful to consider it as a continuum:

|----------------------INNOVATION----------------------|

Invention

Development

Diffusion

Adoption

The invention stage would apply to new types of hardware or potential software tools for information processing that have not been "developed" for any specific procedures and applications. The development phase in IT, as in any other manufacturing process, converts the invention into a marketable product or service to potential users. Diffusion is the spread of a new idea from its source of invention to its ultimate users or adopters. The diffusion process can be passively or actively pursued in that it may rely on market forces or a trickle-down effect to reach users, or it can be actively promoted through political intervention (at national, institutional, or local level).

Research into diffusion of innovations indicates that this is a critical stage and that certain patterns can be discerned.1 In summary:

(1) Plotted over time, adoption of an innovation conforms almost always to an S-shaped curve, indicating a lag period before take-off occurs.

(2) Individuals react differently in terms of response to an innovation, ranging from "innovators," "adopters" through to "laggards."

(3) The usual stages are awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, adoption (or rejection), although not all innovation follows these stages.

(4) Certain characteristics of an innovation that make it more likely to be adopted are:

(a) advantage over existing practice;
(b) compatibility with existing values;
(c) low level of complexity as perceived by potential adopters;
(d) degree to which innovation can be tested on a limited basis.

(5) Early adopters are more likely to be younger, perform more specialized functions, respond to impersonal sources of information, and be leaders of opinion.

(6) Personal influence from peers is more important for relatively late adopters.

These patterns are important in considering the probability of adoption of innovation within institutions in Ireland and developing countries. In the context of IT innovation, they are also relevant in relation to decision makers and the formation of IT policy at national and institutional level.

Adoption is defined as the acceptance, over time, of a specific idea or practice, by individuals, groups, or other adopting units, through channels of communication (formal or informal) within a social structure by a system of values or subculture. The importance of values and culture cannot be ignored in considering innovation, in Ireland or in developing countries. The general conclusion is that diffusion and adoption are more likely to occur where there is congruence between the innovation and the dominant values of the social system.

Information Technology

The term "information technology" embodies a convergence of interest between electronics, computing, and communications, all of which are leading to the rapid development of micro-electronics.2 These technologies are being utilized to restructure and reorganize the spheres of production, distribution, and circulation.

According to Wad, it is "the low cost, high-speed and versatile processing and control capacity of the microprocessor and the tremendous information storage capacity of silicon chips that are the significant features of microelectronic technology. "3 Allied to the technological innovations in the semi-conductor and telecommunication industries, there has been a parallel growth in the supply of and demand for information as a major industry in its own right.4 Hence the emphasis on "information technology."

The applications for these technological developments have been grouped into four main areas:

(1) The introduction of computing power into the industrial process, thereby extending the level of automation in sectors such as automobile, chemicals, textiles, and engineering manufacture. New developments in information technology have transformed not only the equipment and machinery of the factory but also the role of human labour in production itself.

(2) The substitution of digital for analogue techniques of message transmission and switching has transformed the telecommunications process. "The speed and capacity of new transmission media (such as satellites at a global, and optical fibres at a local, level) are such that vast amounts of data are capable of being transmitted across the world in seconds." This has given rise to the issue of "transborder data flow," especially in many developing countries.

(3) The development of office automation, to support functions ranging from word processing to highly complex distributed processing systems such as are evident in the banking environment.

(4) Consumer products based on micro-electronics, which relate mainly to the "leisure" industry. These include video games and recorders, videotext services, and personal computer systems.5

These main areas, with a lesser emphasis on those listed in category 4, represent the developments and innovative applications under consideration in this report.

Report Outline

In the next section, innovations in IT are charted for Ireland to establish the milestones and trends in IT development.

Section 3 concentrates on the national and institutional context in which IT policy and developments have occurred. It traces the involvement and responsibilities of key institutions in Ireland.

In sections 4 and 5, major developments in the electronics (hardware) industry and software sector are examined. These will be considered against the expectations and projected growth for the Irish hardware and software industry.

The telecommunications infrastructure is dealt with in section 6, in terms of how it has enhanced developments in IT in Ireland and its potential in promoting the transfer of information.

Applications of IT in manufacturing and services are examined in sections 7 and 8, to trace the degree to which IT has penetrated into these sectors and the future expectations for further applications.

In sections 9 and 10, the human side of IT is reviewed in terms of employment trends in the electronics and IT-related industries and the IT-related education/training programmes and initiatives.

The final section draws some conclusions about Irish experience of innovation in IT to highlight some lessons that could be relevant to developing countries in the 1990s.

2. Historical perspective

The advent of information technology in Ireland coincided with a shift in emphasis in industrial policy. In the post-Independence decades, and most particularly from the 1930s to the 1950s, the emphasis was on promoting import-substituting native industries by the use of tariffs and controls on foreign investment through the Control of Manufacturers Acts (1932, 1934), which were not repealed until 1958.

By the 1960s this policy was altered to (a) actively promoting export growth and (b) attracting direct foreign investment by the availability of capital grants and tax concessions. This significant change in emphasis was due to the lack of sustained growth in Irish industry, a rising balance of payments deficit, and high levels of unemployment and emigration.6 The introduction of grant support (which continues to operate) and tax holidays (which have since been altered to take account of EC regulations on competition) were seen as the main mechanisms for supporting infant export industries. As this report illustrates, industrial policy has been the major tool through which the government has influenced and encouraged IT development in Ireland. It is also important in understanding the environment in which IT innovation has occurred.

Table 1.1. Survey of computer usage in Ireland, 1986/87


Technology users

Industrial sector

CPU in 1986

Plan to in 1987

Plan beyond 1987

Bureau only

None

Total

(Total bureaus)

1. Energy & Water

8

-

-

-

1

9


2. Extraction & Processing of Non-Energy Metals

32

1

2

-

5

40

(6)

3. Metal Manufacturing Mechanical, Electrical & Instrument Engineering









- Data processing Machine Mfg

9

1

-

-

-

10



- Other

54

1

2

1

12

70

(12)

4. Other Manufacturing

81

5

-

1

10

97

(12)

5. Building & Civil Engineering

15

1

2

-

8

26

(-)

6. Distributive Trades, Hotels, Catering & Repairs









- Wholesale

61

6

5

2

34

108

(11)


- Retail

15

1

2

-

9

27

( 3)


- Hotels & Catering

8

-

-

-

8

16

( 1)


- Other

10

-

-


8

18

( 2)

7. Transport & Communication

37

1

3

1

21

63

( 7)

8. Banking & Finance, Insurance, Business Services









- Banking

8

-

_

_

1

9

( 1)


- Insurance

10

-

-

-

4

14

( 1)


- Other

86

8

5

2

20

121

(11)

9. Other Services incl. Government Education & Medical









- Public Admin.

8

1

1

-

-

10

( 1)


- Education

21

-

-

-

5

26

( 2)


- Medical

5

-

1

-

18

24

( 2)


- Other

10

-

-

-

8

18

( 2)

Totals

478

26

23

7

172

706

(74)

Percentage

68%

4%

3%

1%

24%

100%

(10%)

Source: Ref. 8.

Growth of Computer Usage in Ireland

By the end of 1969 it was estimated that there were 59 computers installed in Ireland "of a size likely to have a significant impact on an organization."7

In 1986/87, the National Software Centre (NSC) undertook a survey of computer usage in Ireland, the results of which are shown in table 1.1. Approximately 4,000 business units were sampled, which yielded an 18 per cent response. The results of the survey of 706 respondents indicate that less than one-quarter (24 per cent) of firms had no use for IT. Over two-thirds (68 per cent) had their own computer, whilst a further 7 per cent planned to use a computer after 1986.8 Depending on the representativeness of these responses, the data suggest a fairly significant level of current IT usage in Irish business units. The patterns of use and applications by these companies will be dealt with in later sections of this report.

Milestones in IT. Innovation

Installation of Computer Hardware

Electronic data processing in Ireland originated in the early 1920s with the punch card service operation. A company known as the British Tabulating Machine Company was founded in 1907 and by 1920 it had formed the punch card bureaus registered as Calculating and Statistical Services, based in Pearse Street, Dublin, and in Belfast. It had the agency for both Hollerith and Comptometer equipment for Ireland. In the 1930s another company, Power Samas, entered the market for service bureau operations. Major customers of these companies were the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), Civil Service departments, and the larger state-sponsored bodies.9

The first electronic computer to be used in Ireland was from International Computers and Tabulators (ICT 1201), a company formed by the merger of Hollerith and Power Samas. This punch card machine, with a printer speed of 100 lines a minute, was installed by the Sugar Company in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. According to Donovan, the early introduction of electronic processing in Ireland, only two years after the first commercial installation in the United States, was facilitated by the already established punch card bureau services.

The second ICT installation was by the Revenue Commissioners in June 1963 with an ICT 1301 computer. In the absence of any assembler language, all programmes were written in machine code. The first applications were for income tax, followed by turnover tax and corporation profits tax. In 1960, the ESB installed an IBM 650, and the Post Office introduced an IBM 604 programmed calculator for Savings Bank transactions.9

A substantial rise in the number of installations occurred in 1964 when 13 organizations had computers installed. By 1969 the total number in Ireland was 50. Some of these were replacements of existing computers by more up to-date and/or larger models. In addition to the computer installations, by 1969 a further 250 organizations were using bureau facilities, the most significant growth having occurred in the three-year period 1966-1969.

The reliance on external commercial bureau facilities was an important feature in the early use of electronic data processing. By 1970, only 1 in 6 users of computer services had a computer installed. The remainder used bureau services.7 According to the NSC survey in 1986/87, only 1 in 10 of organizations with electronic data-processing requirements were using bureau services.8

Another significant development in computer installations, which was to have unforeseen consequences, was the introduction of IBM computers in Aer Lingus, during the early 1960s. An IBM 1410 (and subsequently IBM 7070) was installed, supplemented by a second-hand Bunker-Ramo on-line system to store information on reservations and seat sales. The IBM 1440 was introduced to hold records of non-numerical data. It was followed by a second 1440 for accounting purposes. These three early machines were ultimately replaced by the IBM 360, using the IPARS package for reservation applications. The installation went live in 1968/69.9

In 1969, Aer Lingus set up a separate computer department. The objective of this was to generate revenue by utilizing excess capacity on its in-house computers, following the installation of a second mainframe to provide backup to the reservations system. The new department was staffed from the parent company and was subsequently established as Cara Data Processing Ltd. In 1972, Aer Lingus took over another successful computer bureau, Irish Computer Bureau Services Ltd (ICBS), which was merged with Cara. The subsequent company, CARA/ICBS, holds in excess of 60 per cent of the Irish market for computer bureau services.10

Apart from the Revenue Commissioners, the first use of computers in the Irish public service was by the Central Data Processing Services, with an IBM 370, in January 1973. A feature of the installation was the high volume of batch work that was processed over telecommunication lines. Four high-speed terminals were installed within months in the Department of Education, the Central Statistics Office, and the Health Boards. This remote operation was rapidly expanded to provide services to almost 20 sites, including a link to the Department of Social Welfare, which had installed two Honeywell minicomputers.9

At university level, the first computer was installed in Trinity College, Dublin (TCD), in 1962, an IBM 1620, within the Engineering School. It was replaced in 1966/67 by an IBM 1130, and in 1968 by a System 360 model 44. University College, Cork (UCC), installed an IBM 1620 in 1964 to be replaced in 1969 by an IBM 1130. An IBM 1620 was also installed in University College, Dublin (UCD), in 1965, and replaced by an IBM 3650 in 1970. In University College, Galway (UCG), an IBM 1800 series machine was installed in 1967. It was replaced in 1977 by a DEC 2060.

In banking, the introduction of decimalization was a great impetus to conversion from electro-mechanical to electronic computers in Irish banks. The four associated banks were among the first to introduce computers on a large scale, commencing in 1969/70 with the installation of an ICL 1900, subsequently replaced by the ICL 2900. The Bank of Ireland used optical character reading for scanning vouchers from all the branches at the Computer Centre in Dublin. Allied Irish Banks (AIB) commenced computer operations in 1973, using floppy disks to record branch transactions and for transmission of data between branches and its Computer Centre. AIB was the first of the banks to introduce intelligent terminals at each branch.

These milestones in the development of hardware installations indicate how the gradual build-up in electronic data-processing capacity occurred:

- starting with bureau services, followed by
- the purchase of (often rapidly obsolete) large mainframe computers,
- the more widespread adoption of minicomputers (such as the VAX 11/780),
- data transmission across telecommunication links, and
- direct on-line access to data from remote terminals.

As the remainder of the report illustrates, the trend towards miniaturization has continued, with the advent of a growing micro market.

Telecommunication links and the emergence of a demand for networking have been important. A shift in emphasis has also occurred from a preoccupation with hardware to a recognition of the need for development of software applications to meet varied end-user needs. In parallel with a continued reliance on bureau services for some routine functions (such as payroll and transaction processing), most Irish firms are now convinced that the purchase of their own computer hardware is justified.

Software Development

Since 1977 the software industry has undergone rapid expansion. Estimates for that year suggest that employment in the software business was about 300 in about 30 companies. The industry is currently estimated to have some 3,000 employees, with another 1,500 in the software departments of hardware companies.11

According to one commentator, "Ireland had a 'computer services industry' in 1977 rather than a software business and the notion that products could be developed here and sold abroad was radical and new." In terms of how it has evolved in the decade since 1977, he goes on to state: "unlike the hardware industry, foreign-owned ventures have never dominated its evolution.... It has been the native companies that have created this industry, even though their progress has been fitful and erratic over the decade."12

Software development was a logical spin-off development from the preexisting bureau services and data preparation companies in Ireland. In 1977 approximately 200 jobs existed, in addition to those in the limited number of software firms. They concentrated on providing a service that involved coding in advance of batch processing. Most software work was undertaken on a custom contract basis. One major source of projects was in the large data-processing installations, which farmed out programming tasks for peak development requirements or to augment the in-house software specialist skills. Other work was assigned by smaller establishments that lacked their own software staff and wanted customized applications. Cara, already mentioned, and System Dynamics were the leading software companies in 1977. Smaller firms like AMS (now Insight Software) and Memory were emerging in this fast-growing sector.

The employment and development potential from a growing software industry was recognized by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), and meetings began in 1977 to explore the possibility of exporting Irish software. The debates that followed, to try and extend to software companies the entitlements to grant aid and tax incentives, highlighted an important obstacle to the full development of the software industry. Through companies like the Irish Sugar Company, ESB, and Aer Lingus, and government departments, the state sector had taken a lead over manufacturing and finance companies in installing computer hardware. It therefore remained an important market for software expansion and development. Unlike other countries where the industry developed through government contracts, Irish installations were reluctant to farm out software development work to outside organizations. According to Matt Crotty of AMS, trade unions were imposing impossible restrictions on the use of outside staff in the big installations, and he criticized the government for importing foreign consultancy services instead of tapping local computer expertise. Arguably, this may have retarded the growth of individual Irish software companies and their ability to compete for international sales.12

By the end of the 1970s the IDA was operating a policy of attracting foreign software companies to set up projects in Ireland. Altogether, 500 jobs were approved in foreign-owned US, Canadian, British, and Dutch software companies such as Zeus-Hermes, Samson Infocom, Comtech, and Altergo. Few of them got beyond the start-up phase, although some, like Altergo, provided a grounding for indigenous skilled personnel. 12

The emergence of packaged software as a marketable product in the late 1970s heralded a new era for software development in Ireland. This was orchestrated by a different type of company, often headed by former computer users, who believed that they could design better ways of handling specific applications. The new direction and growth in the software sector are covered in section 5.

This review of the milestones in the adoption of IT within Irish institutions illustrates how state institutions (particularly commercially traded companies such as Aer Lingus and ESB) were at the forefront of early adoption. The next section examines government policy and the role of state institutions in IT development.

3. Government policy and the role of key institutions

This section considers the means by which IT innovation has been encouraged or allowed to develop in Ireland, the degree to which the government has actively intervened, and the role of institutions in promoting IT.

The Context of IT Development

The major impetus and vehicle for promoting IT in Ireland has been the government's industrial development policy. As outlined in section 2, industrial promotion to foster economic growth and employment became a priority in the 1960s following the publication of the government's first Programme for Economic Expansion in 1958. The Industrial Grants Act of 1956 empowered the Industrial Development Authority to give grants throughout Ireland to new industrial projects, including foreign enterprises.

Whilst the main framework for attracting industrial development was through the existing sectoral categories (food, drink and tobacco, textiles, chemicals, etc.), there was a realization that science and technology would lead "to greater production capabilities and to new and better products and processes.... Industrial strategy, if it is to be effective, must ... ensure that the resources of science and technology are fully used." In the Programme for National Development 1978-1981, electro-technology is cited as a major example of a specific area of industrial importance "which is expected to burgeon dramatically in the immediate future." The programme went on to state that the National Board for Science and Technology (NBST), the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), and the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards (IIRS) would be promoting concerted programmes in these areas. 13

The Computer Policy Advisory Committee

The Computer Policy Advisory Committee (CPAC) was established by the Minister for the Public Services with the following terms of reference: "To advise the Organisation Division of the Department of the Public Services on national policy issues regarding overall computer development within the country." Membership of the CPAC was drawn from the public services, universities, banking, industry, and one IT-related company, Cara Data Processing Ltd.

The committee recognized the already rapid growth in capital investment in computers, from IR£8 million in January 1970 to IR£40 million in January 1975. Anticipating future growth in the usage and importance of computers in the public and private sectors, the CPAC considered that the formulation of a national computer policy was desirable. This was justified on the grounds that it would then be possible "to influence computer development and usage so as to maximize the considerable potential benefits which would otherwise not be achieved or to minimize the adverse effects which would arise."14

In its report, the CPAC pointed to the absence of any national computer policy in any coordinated sense. Individual organizations such as government departments, banks, and universities were acting for their own needs. At the twelfth meeting of the CPAC a document was drawn up setting out details of national informatics institutions, covering countries such as Japan, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Spain, and Brazil. The document outlined the objectives and activities of these institutions.15 In its report Towards a National Computer Policy the CPAC stated why a national computer policy was desirable:

(a) to develop the computer industry's potential;

(b) to encourage the use of computers by incorporating them in education and training at all levels and in all sectors;

(c) to ensure adequate communication/information-processing facilities to facilitate existing and prospective users;

(d) to safeguard the legal and social rights of individuals;

(e) to encourage the application of computers in all sectors of the economy;

(f) to ensure a coordinated approach on issues of centralization or decentralization of computer facilities and resources;

(g) to provide a basis for assessing the impacts of policies by countries and organizations, monitoring environmental and technological change, and measuring the results of decisions;

(h) to encourage an acceptance of recognized qualifications for computer personnel;

(i) to encourage industrial development by industrialists attracted only to countries with communication/computer infrastructure plans;

(j) to promote coordination between development in the public and private sectors as well as cooperation between Ireland, North and South, and between Ireland and other countries.

The document also contained long-term and short-term recommendations that would assist the formulation of a national computer policy.

Proposal for a Central Computing Council

The case for coordinating the overall development of computing in the economy was also made in the report undertaken for the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).7

It was envisaged that a central computing council would develop a nation al strategy to be responsible for

- planning and forecasting;
- training and education;
- promoting development in individual sectors;
- information dissemination;
- research;
- liaison with international bodies;
- standards and standard documentation;
- maintaining an index of application programmes;
- privacy/security/ethics issues.

The National Computer Centre (NCC) had been established in Britain in 1966 to promote an increased and more effective use of computers in Britain. It was envisaged that Ireland would not require such an extensive organization, which employed 200 people in 1970, but would benefit from access to the expertise and knowledge that the NCC, and similar bodies, possessed.

None of the recommendations in the ESRI and CPAC reports were implemented. Instead the government proceeded on a more ad hoc basis to encourage the individual semi-state organizations, notably the Industrial Development Authority, the National Board for Science and Technology, the Irish Export Board, and the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards, to take a leading role in promoting IT development and nurturing innovation.

The Manpower Consultative Committee

The Manpower Consultative Committee (MCC) was set up in November 1978 to advise the Minister for Labour on the role of manpower policy in economic and social development. The MCC is a tripartite body representative of government departments, employer organizations, and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

In recognition of the complexity and potential growth of computer-related occupations, the MCC undertook a report on computer-related manpower. Noting that, according to a National Manpower Service survey, there were approximately 5,400 people employed in automated data-processing occupations in early 1980, the committee felt that further surveys should be carried out in 1982 and 1985. The report confirmed that there were specific shortages of both systems analysts and computer programmers. It also estimated that there were vacancies for about 250 software staff. Chapter 2 of the report contained projections for future demand. A forecast of 30,000 employees in the electronics manufacturing sector by 1985 is mentioned.45

The Manpower Consultative Committee also investigated other IT-related topics concerning employment and education/training and these will be covered in sections 8 and 9. It is important to note that key committees, such as the MCC, and state-sponsored bodies like the IDA report back to specific ministers and departments. There is no central coordinating agency with overall responsibility for IT-related issues, which span industrial investment, product development, exports, training, and education.

The Role of State-Sponsored Bodies

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA)

The IDA became an autonomous state-sponsored organization in April 1970 with responsibility for the furtherance of industrial development in Ireland. It carries out promotional programmes at home and abroad; provides grants and other financial facilities to new and existing manufacturing and technical service industries; provides training grants towards the costs of training workers; constructs and administers industrial estates; acquires industrial sites and constructs advance factories; promotes joint ventures and licensing agreements; undertakes national and regional planning; evaluates the implications of EC proposals and policies.

The IDA has been instrumental in promoting the electronics sector in Ireland. However, it was not until the latter years of the 1970s that electronics was noted as a target industrial growth sector. The IDA's Regional Industrial Plans 1973-1977 were concerned more with creating 55,000 new jobs "in accordance with the regional patterns specified in the plans." This represented a target of 11,000 jobs per year between 1973 and 1977. Hence, locational rather than sectoral projections were emphasized.16

This changed with the publication of the IDA Industrial Plan 1977-80 and the IDA Industrial Plan 1978-82, after which no further plans were published. According to the IDA sectoral strategy for 1977-1980, "electronics and computer industries" were "targeted" as a key development subsector, along with mechanical engineering, textiles, consumer, healthcare, and chemical products.17 It was recognized that the IDA should support electronics, which would require highly skilled personnel, including graduates and technicians. The IDA plan for 19781982 identified electronics as a growth sector. Its strategy was to encourage investment in:

- minicomputers,
- computer peripherals,
- medical electronics,
- integrated circuits, including microprocessors and memory devices,
- electronic scientific instruments.

The IDA made direct approaches to key firms in these sectors and between 1976 and 1977 had agreement for 19 new electronics industries with employment potential of 6,000 and anticipated fixed asset investment of over IR£50 million. According to the IDA, "Ireland is now emerging as one of the major locations in Europe for the fast growing electronics industry.''18

The achievements of the IDA in the electronics sector and the promotion of international services are reviewed in sections 4 and 5.

The Irish Science and Technology Agency (EOLAS)

The NBST (now merged with the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards as EOLAS) was established in 1977 as a state-sponsored agency to undertake a wide range of planning, promotional, advisory, and review activities. From the outset it identified IT as a key sector. In 1981, with equal funding from the European Communities and the Irish government, the NBST produced an extensive report on Microelectronics: The Implications for Ireland. The objective was to examine IT and its applications, to assess employment opportunities and potential impact on existing industry, and to report on conclusions and recommendations. Some of the recommendations related to:

- the need to create awareness of IT among Irish industrialists and for expertise and facilities to be made available;

- funding at tertiary level of computer-related education and the extension of information technology appreciation into all secondary schools;

- pilot projects of IT applications in the public service.19

The report was followed, in 1985, by the issue of a brochure aimed at industrialists and potential investors called Innovation. A Guide.20 This outlined the stages in innovative projects from idea (for product or process) through to marketing the result, with actual examples of how state agencies could assist (e.g. IDA for grants information, Revenue Commissioners about tax relief, IIRS for design/development assistance). The brochure referred interested potential clients to a "Walk-In Information Centre" run by the IDA.

The NBST has also been involved in (European) Community research programmes such as ESPRIT (Research into Information Technology), STAR (Special Telecommunications Action for Regional Development), and, most recently, STRIDE (Science and Technology for Regional Innovation and Development in Europe).21

The Institute for Industrial Research and Standards (now merged with NBST as EOLAS) had been set up in 1946 to provide:

(a) technical advisory services to support the continued efficient operation of industry;

(b) services designed to assist the growth and development of industry by the identification and provision of new technological investment opportunities.

Services are provided under contract to clients.

Coras Trachtala (CTT)

The Irish Export Board, CTT, was established as a statutory corporation in 1959. It provides a variety of assistance, services, and incentives for merchandise exporters and exporters of certain services, including IT-related services.

Foras Aisleanna Saothair (FAS)

The Training and Employment Authority (FAS) was formed in 1988 by the merger of the Industrial Training Authority (AnCO), the National Manpower Service, and the Youth Employment Agency. Since its inception in 1967, FAS (formerly AnCO) has aimed to provide training to help meet national objectives. It is responsible for apprenticeship, non-apprenticeship skills training, and in-company industrial training. The role of FAS in IT-related training will be considered in some detail in section 10.

This section has provided an overview of the state's involvement in IT in Ireland. It has shown how attempts to produce an integrated national IT policy were unsuccessful. The roles of important state-sponsored institutions such as the IDA, EOLAS, and FAS in promoting IT were also considered.

4. Development of the electronics industry

Sections 1-3 of this report have emphasized the importance that was attached to promoting the electronics industry in Ireland through the 1970s as a target sector for economic and employment growth. In 1982, a National Economic and Social Council (NESC) report, produced by the Telesis Consultancy Group, identified Irish electrical engineering industries as being a most significant growth area in the late 1970s. Those industries include:

- electrical equipment and components,
- discrete and integrated electronic components,
- computers and computer peripherals,
- telecommunications equipment,
- consumer products such as televisions and calculators,
- testing and control instruments.

Emergence of the Electronics Industry

According to the IDA's listing of overseas-sponsored companies, there were over 20 foreign-owned electronic manufacturing companies in Ireland in 1974 (table 1.2). Nine of these companies had located in Ireland prior to 1970, while the remaining 13 had set up in the years 1970-1974. This represents a considerable achievement in terms of attracting such firms to locate plants in Ireland. Apart from the small number of European companies, about 14 of the Irish plants had associated companies in the United States.22 The importance attached to attracting multinational investment in electronics, particularly in the 1970s, cannot be underestimated. It was part of a global pattern of industrial location and was regarded by the IDA as the only means of building up an electronics industry in Ireland.

Commenting on the emergence of an electronics industry, Ballance and Sinclair have stated that there are several reasons why many governments (including the Irish government) regard advanced electronics as a high priority:

(a) industrial applications of advanced electronics can improve the reliability and quality of products;

(b) costs of the manufactured product are lower than for human-assembled goods;

(c) there are productivity gains at a time of decline in productivity in many manufacturing fields;

(d) there are close links between advanced electronics and a country's defence and military interests.23

In Ireland, the government did not actively intervene to promote the electronics sector, since the IDA was all too well aware that Ireland could not match the levels of investment in countries such as India and Brazil. Rather, as an industrial development agency, the IDA actively promoted Ireland as the European location for mobile electronics companies, through grants/tax concessions.

Table 1.2. Overseas-sponsored companies in the electronics sector, 1974

Irish company name

Year established

Nationality of parent company

Products

Gross Cash Registers

1973

United Kingdom

Electronic calculators

Beckman Instruments

1972

United States

Electro medical instruments

Digital Equipment

1971

United States

Mini computers and peripherals

Ecco Ltd

1966

United States

Electronic components

E.I. Company

1963

United States

Electronic components and equipment

IBM

1960

United States

Business machine cards

Infotronics

1967

United States

Digital electronics systems

Molex

1972

United States

Electronic terminals

Neodata Services(5 plants)

1969

United States

Data-processing services

Pulse Engineering

1974

United States

Electronic components

Reliability

1974

United States

Electronic components

Square D

1972

United States

Electrical and control equipment

University Computing Co.

1964

United States

Data-processing services

Welch Allyn

1974

United States

Diagnostic instruments

Kraus & Naimer

1973

United States

Switchgear equipment

Northern Electric

1973

Canada

PAXB and telephone sets

Electronic Components

1967

French

Electronic components

Figaro

1972

Japanese

Conductor elements

Ericsson

1974

Swedish

Telecommunications

Electronic Components and Equipment

1974

Swiss

Transistorised parts for electronics industry

Oelikon Electrodes

1966

Swiss

Welding electrodes

Irish Metals & Chemicals

1967

Swiss

Welding electrodes

Source: Ref. 22.

According to the IDA, there are almost 500 electronics-related manufacturing companies in Ireland (table 1.3). Of the total, approximately 70 per cent are Irish companies, foreign-based companies accounting for only 30 per cent. However, this pattern is reversed if the larger companies are examined (those employing more than 200 people). Almost three-quarters of the 34 larger companies are foreign owned. These would include companies making computers and peripherals, like Digital Equipment Corporation (USA), telecommunications companies like L. M. Ericsson (Sweden) and AT & T (USA), and electronic component manufacturers like NEC (Japan). Amongst medium-sized firms, foreign-owned companies account

Table 1.3. Electronics-based manufacturing companies


Irish owned

Foreign owned

Total

Size category

No.

%

No.

%

No.

Large (>199 employees)

9

26.5

25

73.5

34

Medium (50-199 employees)

16

34.8

30

65.2

46

Small (<50 employees)

322

76.9

97

23.1

419

Total

347

70

152

30

499

Source: Unpublished IDA data, July 1988.

for slightly less than two-thirds of the total (65 per cent). Irish companies predominate among the firms employing fewer than 50 (77 per cent).

Location of Electronics-Related Companies

In line with regional development priorities, there has been some success in spreading the locational impact of electronics-related manufacturing companies. Less than half of the companies are located in the East Region (44 per cent). However, there has been a tendency for companies to be attracted to other larger centres of population, namely Limerick/Shannon in the Mid-West Region (which attracted 17 per cent of companies), Cork in the South West (with 15 per cent of companies), and to a lesser extent Galway in the West Region (which accounted for 7 per cent of companies). The remaining five regions - Donegal, Midlands, North East, North West, and South East - accounted for a total of only 16 per cent of all electronics-related companies (table 1.4).

Taking each size category independently, among large companies (employing at least 200 people) the Mid-West and South West regions were almost equally as successful as the East region in attracting electronics-related companies. These three regions also accounted for 87 per cent of all the medium-sized companies and all of the Irish companies in that size category. This pattern of concentration in the three regions is also evident, although less pronounced, among the smaller companies, three-quarters of which are located in the East, Mid-West, and South West regions.

This clustering of electronics companies is a reflection of:

(a) an attempt to disperse industrial investment (to promote a trickle-down effect) to the less advantaged or more peripheral regions;

(b) the need for a physical infrastructural support (e.g. adequate access to ports/airports, telecommunications, site and services) and an adequate supply of managerial, technical, skilled, and other potential employees.

All of the regions that are well represented as electronics industry locations have reasonable proximity to universities and tertiary-level institutions and Regional Technical Colleges. In contrast, regions such as the Midlands, North West, and South East would have only a Regional Technical College

Table 1.4. Regional location of electronics-related manufacturing companies, according to size


Size of company


Large (>200)

Medium (50-199)

Small (<50)

Total

Region

Foreign No.

Irish No.

%of large companies

Foreign No.

Irish No.

%of medium companies

Foreign No.

Irish No.

%of small companies

No.

%

Donegal

1

-

2.9

-

-

0

-

7

1.7

8

1.6

East (inc. Dublin)

6

3

26.5

9

9

39.1

32

159

45.6

218

43 7

Midlands

1

-

2.9

-

-

0

2

20

5.3

23

4.6

Mid-West (inc. Shannon & Limerick)

7

3

29.4

9

4

28.3

20

44

15.3

87

17.4

North East

2

-

5.9

2

-

4.4

4

17

5

25

5.0

North West

-

-

0

-

-

0

2

5

1.7

7

1.4

South East

1

-

2.9

1

-

2.2

4

12

3.8

18

3.6

South West (inc. Cork)

5

3

23.5

6

3

19.6

23

36

14.1

76

15.2

West (inc. Galway)

2

-

5.9

3

-

6.5

10

22

7.6

37

7.4

Total

25

9

30

16

97

322

499





Source: Unpublished IDA data, July 1988. and a smaller population base. This suggests that companies may have considered that a certain threshold (in terms of population, service provision, skilled manpower) was necessary to locate successfully in Ireland.

Overseas investment in the Irish Electronics Industry

According to the Telesis report, by 1982 Ireland had not attracted the largest electronics companies in the world, but rather it had received investment from smaller, fast-growing companies, e.g. Mostek and Fujitsu. Digital Equipment Corporation was cited as the only larger company. The report went on to comment that small fast-growing electronics companies were attracted to Ireland and Puerto Rico as tax havens. Few of the 60 companies that it surveyed had truly stand-alone operations in Ireland. With the exception of three companies, all others were "currently manufacturing satellites, performing partial steps in the manufacturing process.... Very few of the electronics companies in Ireland do significant marketing, research and development, or integrated manufacturing."24 The Telesis view confirmed the emphasis of the IDA in attracting overseas electronics companies to Ireland primarily for tax concessions and other subsidies, and to enter the EC market.

Profile of Some Current Electronics Manufacturing Companies

Table 1.5 presents a summary of the major IT companies (worldwide) that have a manufacturing presence in Ireland. The remainder of the section profiles some of these companies.

Without a detailed survey of the companies listed in table 1.5 it is impossible to substantiate, or otherwise, the claim in the Telesis report that these companies support only a limited range of functions that tend to exclude important phases (such as marketing, design, and development). All of the listed companies were contacted for information on product, manufacturing process, size of company, etc. to help provide some insight into electronic manufacturing activities. The following represents the information received from some of those companies.

IBM

IBM is not directly involved in hardware manufacture in Ireland. It claims that, in 1987, IBM manufacturing plants in Europe and the United States purchased some IR£50 million worth of components from Irish manufacturers, thus supporting an estimated 620 jobs in Irish industry. IBM's activities in software development and systems design will be covered in section 5.

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)

Table 1.5. Major electronics companies located in Ireland

International IT ranking

Company name

Nationality

Total global revenue (US$m.)

13

Apple

USA

3,041.2

29

Amdahl

USA

1,505.2

79

Xidex

USA

455.7

96

Data Products

USA

334.2

46

Zenith

USA

1,040.0

60

Motorola

USA

299.3

1

IBMa

USA

50,485.7

2

DEC

USA

10,391.3

12

Wang

USA

3,045.7

23

AT&T

USA

2,000.0

18

Philips

Netherlands

2,601.6

22

Alcatel

Belgium

2,052.1

45

Memorex

Netherlands

2,821.5

28

Ericsson

Sweden

1,511.6

83

Norsk

Norway

422.6

4

Fujitsu

Japan

8,740.0

5

NEC

Japan

8,230.5

Source: Adapted from Datamation 100, 15 June 1977.
a. No manufacturing plant in Ireland.

DEC is the largest employer in the IT sector in Ireland. It has two major manufacturing plants in Galway (West Region) and Clonmel (South East Region). Total employment reached 1,887 in 1987 from 1,325 in 1981. Of these, 1,110 were employed in Ballybrit, 270 in Clonmel, 225 in the European Software Distribution Centre (Galway), and a further 282 in the Dublin and Belfast sales and service offices. Total operating revenues for Ireland increased by 7.5 per cent to IR£35.7 million in 1987.

The major DEC products have been the VAX machines, now developed as a VAX 8000 range, which makes them contenders for the traditional mainframe computer market, along with that for minicomputers. They offer a single networking environment - DECnet. The company also emphasizes its marketing and research and development activities in Ireland; the latter to concentrate on product design and value engineering. The European Software Distribution Centre, which opened in 1976, manufactures a wide range of software products to run on VAX and PDP-11 computers.

Wang

Wang employs more than 1,100 people in Ireland. The bulk of these are employed in its automatic production plant in Limerick. The remainder are in nonmanufacturing sales and customer support centres and the European Leasing Centre and distribution offices. It claims to spend more than IR£50 million annually in Ireland. The Wang factory in Limerick produces all the Wang workstations, many major assemblies for the entire US range, and essential equipment for office systems. It also operates an automated warehouse.

The manufacturing plant has a major sourcing centre, providing a centralized European purchasing facility to buy, test, and monitor components and materials. Wang operates an international leasing facility, from which equipment refurbishing is supported in Shannon.

AT&T

The US company AT & T bought out Electron Ltd in 1982 and currently operates from four locations in Ireland: Bray (manufacturing and design) and Santry (manufacturing and distribution), both of which are close to Dublin, Bunbeg in Donegal, and the Aran Islands (West Region). It currently employs about 400 people in transmission systems manufacturing and production of electronic equipment, including products relating to telecommunications equipment, such as rack, shelving, and office products. Most of the output (over 95 per cent) is exported worldwide, to markets that include African countries.

Since locating in Ireland, the trend in AT & T has been towards more development of software and products, higher tech, and more quality value added. Estimated turnover is US$38 billion.

The Irish plants operate their own market activities and also have product development and systems engineering functions.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu first located in Ireland in 1980. It manufactures integrated circuits, all of which are exported to a sister sales company in West Germany that distributes the Irish products to European customers. It currently employs about 250 people in Tallaght, Dublin.

Apple Computer Ltd.

Apple has its manufacturing plant in Hollyhill, Cork (South West Region). Since it located in Ireland in 1980, the workforce has increased to about 400 people, 15 of whom are employed in the Dublin sales/marketing/finance/ service office.

The Cork plant produces the full range of Macintosh products. It is responsible for the assembly of hard disk drive units and laser writers and the manufacture of printed circuit boards for computer assembly. Apple's European Service Centre is also located in Cork, to provide repair back-up to six European countries. A New Products Group exists to focus on the introduction of Apple's new products to the international market.

These profiles illustrate the extent to which some electronics-related companies operate in Ireland. The greatest emphasis is generally on product assembly for the European market, with some evidence of extension into product and process research and development functions in Ireland.

5. Development of the software industry

Having reviewed the growth and development of "hardware" - the electronics related manufacturing sector in Ireland - it is necessary to examine the way the software industry has developed. The term "software" refers to both the instructions that direct the operation of computer equipment and the information, or data, that the computer manipulates. It is generally classified into two general types:

1. systems software, including operating systems, which control input and output operations;

2. applications software, designed to apply computer power to the performance of specific tasks (e.g. invoicing, computer-aided design, materials requirement planning).25

Early Software Use in Ireland

During the 1960s and early 1970s the major requirements for computer use in Ireland were in marketing (sales, distribution) and finance (costing, management accounting, etc.). Within the university sector, there was also a requirement for scientific and research information processing.

According to the survey conducted in 1969, few of the commercial in-house or bureau computer users made use of software applications packages. This was interpreted as reflecting the poorly developed state of applications software at the time. Available software packages had a technical rather than commercial orientation, lacked adaptation to Irish conditions, and required excessive storage capacity. It was recognized that the main factors holding back developments among in-house commercial users were the lack of computer capacity, the unsuitability of existing hardware, and the lack of trained computer personnel. Among bureau service users, the main drawbacks were the difficulty in using an outside computer for processing and the geographical remoteness of the bureau. The university sector was curbed by lack of funds and to a lesser extent by the unsuitability of hardware and the lack of applications software.7

The survey also identified the following areas in which packages were sought by potential users: payroll, shore registration, stock recording/order analysis, truck scheduling and routeing, critical path analysis, computerized typesetting, and economic modelling.

The initial difficulties experienced by the early computer users were essentially overcome by several developments:

(a) transfer from bureau to in-house computer use (since the early 1970s); (b) miniaturization of hardware alongside increased capacity;

(c) a reduction in the cost of computer purchase;

(d) growth of data-processing staff and departments to develop and adapt applications software;

(e) development of systems software that allowed more extensive "prototyping" and involvement of computer users alongside computer specialists.

Current Software Industry

According to a survey undertaken by the Irish Computer Services Association (ICSA), employment in the information and computing services sector doubled between 1982 and 1987. Based on the results of a survey of 128 companies in the computing services business, it was estimated that over half of the output from the sector was exported. Indigenous companies accounted for 75 per cent of sales, two-thirds of employment, and half the exports (fig. 1.1). Most of the exports of foreign-owned companies were in the form of software products. One further trend was discerned - towards increasing size of companies, which indicates greater stability and maturity in the industry.26


Fig. 1.1. Irish computing industry: turnover, local and export, 1986 (Source: ref. 26)


Fig. 1.2. Irish computing industry: growth of employment, 1982-1988 (Source: ref. 26)

In 1986, the total turnover of the Irish computing industry was IR£160 million (or US$225 million). The sector employed an estimated 2,800 staff, and achieved a growth rate in 1986 of 13 per cent (fig. 1.2). This was lower than the rate in the rest of Europe, and a number of companies experienced difficulties. The rapid decline in bureau services continued, but at a slower rate than in previous years, suggesting a transfer of information-processing functions to in-house computers. Other developments that were highlighted by the Seventh Annual Survey of Computing Services in Europe (1987) were that Irish computing service exports were increasing at an extremely fast rate of 70 per cent in 1986, compared with 20 per cent per annum worldwide. Employment in the industry was increasing at a rate of 12 per cent per annum. Demand for software and marketing specialists increased by 17 per cent and 16 per cent per annum respectively in 1986. However, a word of caution was included in the reference to growth "being impeded by the brain drain of some of Ireland's qualified and experienced computing services personnel."26 The employment area will be covered further in section 10.

Within the computing services sector, software production was the major contributor to turnover in 1986, accounting for over IR£83 million, of which IR£32 million was generated by Irish companies (fig. 1.3). Computer bureau services accounted for a turnover of IR£23 million, much of which was in non-Irish companies. Approximately half of the computing services consultancy work, amounting to about IR£10 million, was done by Irish companies, which also contributed to the bulk of turnover in education/training and maintenance. The "other" category consists of activities that are value-added, relating to hardware. This was a significant category in terms of turnover.


Fig. 1.3. Irish computing industry: division of turnover, 1986 (Source: ref. 26)

Irish Software Companies

A total of 305 software companies are currently listed by the IDA. Of these, only 9 employ more than 50 employees, and none has more than 200 (table 1.6).

Of the nine medium-sized companies, only five are foreign owned. This contrasts with the ownership of medium (and large) electronics-related manufacturing companies. Almost three-quarters of the IDA listed small software companies are Irish owned. Medium-sized companies are concentrated in the East Region, with seven companies, and Mid-West, with two firms (table 1.7). This represents an even greater concentration than with hardware companies, probably reflecting the need for medium-sized software companies to be located beside a large potential market. Just over 70 per cent of the small companies are also in the East Region. Foreign companies are located only in the East, Mid-West, South West, and West regions whereas Irish software companies are represented, albeit tokenly, in all regions.

Table 1.6. Irish software companies


Irish companies

Foreign companies

Total

Size category

No.

%

No.

%

No.

Medium (50-199 employees)

4

44.4

5

55.6

9

Small (<50 employees)

218

73.7

78

26.3

296

Total

222


83


305

Source: Unpublished IDA data, July 1988.

Table 1.7. Location of Irish software companies


Medium companies


Small companies


Region

Irish No.

Foreign No.

% of medium firms

Irish No.

Foreign No.

%of small firms

Donegal




4


1.4

East

4

3

77.8

149

59

70.3

Midlands




9


3.0

Mid-West


2

22.2

12

5

5.7

North East




2


0.7

North West




2


0.7

South East




5


1.7

South West




24

11

11.8

West




11

3

4.7

Total (305)

4

5

100

218

78

100

Source: Unpublished IDA data, July 1988

Promotion of the Computer Services industry in Ireland

As with the need to attract overseas investment for the creation of a hardware industry, the IDA actively promotes Ireland as an "ideal location" for international services. The switch to non-manufacturing production investment represents a significant change in emphasis from the traditional industrial policy followed by the IDA in the 1960s l970)s, and early 1980s. Prior to the mid-1980s, investment incentives concentrated on grants towards plant, machinery, and equipment, along with training grants and tax concessions. This tended to attract capital-intensive rather than labor-intensive industries.

The International Services Programme currently operated by the IDA seeks to attract investment in computer services, R&D services, healthcare, training services, and international financial services. To be eligible for aid, companies must provide an internationally traded service and be able to export. Whilst grants towards capital costs (e.g. computers, furniture, buildings) are still available, the emphasis is on feasibility grants (up to 50 per cent of research costs up to a maximum of IR£15,000), employment grants (in two instalments), training grants, as well as tax and other concessions.

As a result of this new policy, and a realization of the growing market for computer services, there has been a rapid increase in the number of startups among software companies. Of the 305 companies listed by the IDA, 158 (52 per cent) were established since the beginning of 1980. Of these, 100 (approximately one-third of existing companies) came into existence only since the beginning of 1985. This suggests a considerable achievement, particularly in the small company category.

The financial systems area has been well represented in the new inter national services sector and includes companies such as:

- Insight (Irish owned), with financial packages sold in 30 companies for IBM and ICL users,
- Kindle Group (Irish owned), with specialized banking systems for main frames,
- GC McKeown (Irish owned), which specializes in financial, accounting, and personnel packages,
- IBM (US owned), which develops applications software for export to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East,
- ICL (UK owned), which has a UNIX-based R&D centre for applications software.

The IDA also claims that hardware manufacturers based in Ireland (DEC, Nixdorf, Westinghouse, Wang, Measurex, and Philips) have been taking advantage of the abundant supply of computer science graduates to develop software in Ireland.

Another specific segment of the computer services market that has been targeted for growth potential is that of "courseware." It encompasses a whole range of computer-based educational or training material that enables a student or trainee to acquire knowledge or skills. Conscious of its potential, a committee was set up to report to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in February 1986.27 The committee recommended that the state and its agencies should encourage the sector through:

(a) industrial promotion for both indigenous and overseas projects to assist courseware firms,
(b) venture capital funding to assist start-ups,
(c) marketing assistance from CTT in liaison with the National Software Centre,
(d) skills training by FAS to meet market demand for "conventional" and interactive video-based skills,
(e) demand stimulation through public sector "priming" in the educational field and other areas of activity,
(f) awareness stimulation to be created in the Irish Management Institute and the Confederation of Irish Industry and, with the public service, to publicize the advantages of computer-assisted training and to encourage identification of applications,
(g) video production/editing using Radio Telefis Eireann's pool of skills on commercial production,
(h) coordination by the Department of Industry and Commerce of various state agencies' activities.

The total value of Irish software exports is estimated to be around IR£100 million and this is expected to double within five years. The prevailing mood in the Irish software industry is one of optimism, despite some closures of software houses. It is predicted that a greater emphasis will have to be placed on marketing, rather than solely on product development.28

6. The telecommunications infrastructure for it

As emphasized in section 1 of this report, information technology adoption has been enhanced and promoted by developments not only in the electronic semiconductor industry but also in telecommunications.

The Need for a Digital-Based Telecommunications System

Within Ireland it was recognized that the demand for data transmission facilities was directly bound up with future developments in the computer area.7 Telecommunications developments have been important (1) in providing links between sites within Ireland, and between Irish and overseas locations, for data transmission, and (2) in supporting demand for telecommunication products. These include products now developed in Ireland by companies such as Ericsson and Alcatel, which have helped to generate employment and economic growth in Ireland. Exports alone of telecommunications and sound recordings or reproduction equipment amounted to over IR£152 million in 1987, an increase of 7 per cent over exports of these products in 1986. However, emphasis in this section is placed on how telecommunications have and are being used to support computer applications and data transmission.

The importance attached to good telecommunications to support industry and the development of the economy was recognized in an NESC report in 1981: "the IDA is increasingly trying to attract firms which are more sophisticated technologically and which are more likely to engage in marketing and other headquarters activities here which require high standards of communications. They are more likely to be put off, particularly by the shortcomings of the [existing] infrastructure in the more remote regions." The report referred to the lower level of telephone exchange lines in Ireland, and lengthy waiting lists for new subscribers. By 1977, 11 per cent of phones were still not connected to automatic exchanges. This adverse situation was particularly acute in the Donegal and Western regions of Ireland.29

Reporting in 1981, the NBST recommended that plans for developing the telecommunications services be carried out and new advanced services be introduced. Recognizing that, without such developments, the software sector would be retarded in Ireland, the NBST called for liberal policies and practices in relation to connecting terminal equipment to the telecommunications network. 19

Following these recommendations, a decision was made to invest IR£800 million in the telecommunications system in order to bring it up to the standard achieved in the European Community by 1984. This development was based on digital switching and transmission to permit the integration of voice, data, text, and pictures for transmission through the system. The government also decided to build a satellite earth station in the south of the country.30

The expansion of many informatics and telematics services and "integrated services digital networks" depends on the installation of digital switching.31

Telecommunications Services Currently Available

In the early stages of computer use in Ireland, only a small number of companies availed themselves of data transmission services (approximately eight in 1969). Some used the facility for off-line (delayed) processing. Aer Lingus was one of the first companies to use on-line (interactive) transmission for airline seat reservations. The Irish Sugar Company, gathering data from decentralized locations, used off-line transmission. Two state-sponsored institutions, An Foras Taluntais and FAS (formerly AnCO), were linked to terminals in London.7

Use of telecommunications facilities grew considerably in the 1980s. In 1984, Telecom Eireann was established as a state-owned monopoly with responsibility for the Irish telecommunications system. It operates the three key communications networks: telephone, telex, and the more recent data network, EIRPAC, first introduced in 1985. These in effect represent the network options available to computer users.

Public Switched Telephone Network

The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is primarily designed for speech transmission. For data it entails relatively long call set-up times and limited data transmission speeds. However it is available to all telephone subscribers who have the necessary modem and computer terminal equipment. The modem changes the computer output into signals for transmission, instead of carrying a conversation.

Leased Lines

Some companies want a higher degree of security or the ability to speed up the rate of transfer of information. They can opt for leased lines, which are fully private, for use by the individual subscribers. The leased line lacks flexibility since it links only two fixed points (e.g. two plants, one in Cork and the head office in Dublin). It is also costly for low traffic users. Sometimes the volume to be sent cannot be accommodated. Hence, frequent or more specialized users have opted for the third network, EIRPAC.32

EIRPAC

EIRPAC is a public packet switching data network, designed as a dedicated network for data users in Ireland, for both national and international traffic. The network is based on packet switching exchanges (PSEs), which facilitate high speed transmission. Access may be by direct connection or by dial-up over the PSTN. The network has many advantages, for example: terminals operating at different speeds and using different protocols can communicate together; it has an inbuilt error-checking system to ensure the accuracy of the data; it has fast call set-up times; and it is considered cost effective for many data applications.

The following represent typical uses of EIRPAC:

- information retrieval,
- bureau services,
- intra-company data transfer,
- inter-company data transfer,
- electronic funds transfer,
- reservations,
- videotext.

The telex network can also be linked to computers through a device known as a data telex interface (DTI). This means that companies can save the expense of having a dedicated telex terminal. EIRPAC also links with the telex network and offers an electronic mail serviced via EIRMAIL.

Use of Telecommunications (TC) Facilities

According to the National Software Centre's report on Irish computer usage in 1986/87, "although more respondents communicate through the public network, potential communications over EIRPAC-like data networks exhibits a proportionately larger 'plan to install' response."8 Telecom Eireann estimates that, since its inception in 1985, there are now 1,300 subscribers and demand is rapidly growing (table 1.8).

The results of a survey of TC facilities users in Ireland are shown in table 1.9. Among the 534 computer user or intended user respondents, the most used facility was that of telex messaging, used by 63 per cent of respondents. Facsimile (fax) services were also commonly used (43 per cent). For data transmission, the ordinary telephone line was preferred to either leased lines or the EIRPAC service. Electronic mailing was not extensively used (although it would be more common for communications within some larger organizations), accounting for only 5 per cent of respondents. Of EIRPAC users, 30 per cent were from the banking and financial industrial sector, and 20 per cent respectively were in the business of metal manufacture and other

Table 1.8. Use of Telecom Eireann telecommunications services, 1988


EIRPAC working lines


X.25

X.28 Direct

X.28 Dial-up

Data working lines

PSTN modema

April 1985

16

3

160

3,750

4,967

1986

63

10

435

4,252

5,464

1987

98

11

789

4,887

6,010

1988

143

27

1,270

7,016

6,610

Source: Unpublished data from Telecom Eireann, September 1988. a. These figures are estimates of how we would see the trend for PSTN usage going. They also exclude the EIRPAC customers. and others manufacturing items. This suggests that certain types of business activity may be more inclined to use such facilities than others.

Table 1.9. Use of telecommunications facilities, 1986/87


No. of companies

Form of transmission

Currently used

Intended use

Data transmission



PSTN (telephone line)

150

60

EIRPAC

46

46

Leased line

97

23

Hard copy transmission



Telex

335

17

Teletext

0

34

Fax

229

54

Visual transmission



EIRMAIL

29

25

Videotext

53

20

Video conferencing

0

3

Source: Ref. 8.

Ireland's experience of late, but eventually decisive, government intervention to restructure the telecommunications sector has important implications for industrial, service, and general economic growth. According to the OECD, one factor stands out in reviewing changes in TC structures. This is "the reluctance of many countries to take decisive action to enhance the efficiency of their economic structure and open new opportunities to industries by adjusting telecommunications structures."33 With the advent of further developments in satellite and optic fibres TC technology, positive government policies to make the necessary adjustments are an essential stage on the path towards taking fuller advantage of the IT revolution.34

7. Manufacturing applications of information technology

The general assumption in discussions relating to the tapping of IT in the manufacturing process is that the technology is sought as a massive labour-saving device. In reality, this is rarely the prime motivation. Other factors are among the reasons cited for using information technology. such as:

(1) to increase the volume of output;
(2) to increase the quality or consistency of output;
(3) to improve safety by the elimination of hazardous or physically strenuous operations;
(4) to improve the working environment;
(5) to economize on stocks of intermediate products by improving the flow of production;
(6) to save on materials; (7) to improve control;
(8) to increase information flow.35

lT Use In Manufacturing

As the industrialization process has progressed, three distinct spheres of production have emerged, requiring different forms of specialization. These spheres are design (usually within research and development facilities), manufacture (the shop-floor production), and coordination (in the office). Each has been subject to some degree of gradual automation, but it is the manufacturing sphere that has been most fully mechanized.36

Internationally, the diffusion of computer-based technology has occurred in all three spheres, often independently and at quite different rates and creating different impacts. The first impact of micro-electronics was made in the coordination sphere. In the United Kingdom the first mainframe was used by the British baking firm J. Lyons and Company in the early 1950s to assist in providing an information base for coordinating activities. In 1958, the Irish Sugar Company introduced Ireland's first computer for the sugar beet accounting stores and to perform a variety of trial field analyses. Such applications did not immediately create a huge demand amongst other companies in the United Kingdom or Ireland. It was not until the 1970s, and the advent of falling computer prices, reduced size, and increased reliability and backup support, that adoption of computers became commercially viable.

Initially, computers began to diffuse through each sphere in an isolated manner. In manufacture, numerically controlled (NC) machine tools became widespread in the 1970s, despite a slow rate of development over the previous two decades. These were followed by other types of NC equipment, including automatic testing equipment, robots, machining centres, and transfer lines. Within the design sphere, the early mainframe batch-processing computers rapidly gave way to more flexible computers with interactive graphics systems, used in design and drafting. A similar pattern emerged in the coordination sphere as remote mainframe-based batch-processing procedures were replaced by flexible interactive mini and micro-based systems. The rate of innovative diffusion of computers was rapid in the 1970s, particularly in manufacture with a shift towards computer integrated manufacturing (CIM). This involved a linking of individual machines, which were each controlled by micro-electronic devices, to form a common digital logic. From this emerged flexible manufacturing systems, in which NC machine tools, NC tool changers, NC testing equipment, and NC transfer lines were combined.36

Also in the 1970s, computers began to take on a more important role in the design and coordination spheres. Computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting technologies (CADD) became widespread. A similar trend is emerging in the office arena with attempts to integrate office procedures and link together multi-purpose workstations with personal computers for input, storage, processing, presentation, and transmission of information. The aim now in manufacturing is to integrate production across each of the three spheres - towards computer-aided design/manufacturing and computer integrated manufacturing.

Applications in Irish Manufacturing Industry

The Design Sphere

Specialized manufacturing CAD equipment diffused most rapidly in the electronics industry during the 1960s and early 1970s, after which it became important in the engineering industries. In most OECD countries the market grew at a rate of 50 per cent per annum. In the mid-1980s, business graphics and architecture and civil engineering applications of CAD experienced most growth. In a plant-level study undertaken in the United Kingdom in 1984, it was estimated that 10 per cent of manufacturing establishments were using CAD. By the early 1980s it was expected that more than half of all electronics sector firms in the United States and Western Europe were using CAD systems.36

In Ireland, a total of 45 companies or 8 per cent of respondents to the Survey of Computer Usage in Ireland 1986/87 had adopted CAD applications. A further 7 per cent expected to install them by the end of 1987. Of the CAD users, almost 50 per cent were in the banking and finance industrial category, which includes business services such as software houses, architectural firms, and engineering consultancies.8

Computer-aided engineering (CAE) applications were installed in just 4 per cent of respondent companies.

The Coordination Sphere in Office Automation

The need for coordination was created by the division of labour within industrial plants and has become more and more complex. At the onset of the Industrial Revolution, coordination involved coordinating tasks, often highly specialized, within one factory. As the division of labour has become more international, the scope for coordination has widened. It involves the manipulation of information, which has to be gathered, processed, presented, and transmitted. Prior to the micro-electronics age this was performed using more basic technology: typewriters, paper-based filing systems, adding machines, and dictaphones. Although slow to spread initially, the growing cost-effectiveness and extensive range of applications are causing a transformation of the coordination sphere.

In Ireland in 1986/87, among information technology users the most commonly installed applications were word processing (61 per cent) and spreadsheets (55 per cent). Market penetration was expected to rise to over 80 per cent in the next five years. The next most prevalent systems were database and graphics applications, each with 22 per cent market penetration, which was predicted to rise to 33 per cent over the next five years. Desktop publishing was used by 4 per cent, which was likely to double within five years, while local area networks reported a 9 per cent market penetration. For electronic mail, in-house use was confined to only 11 per cent of technology users, and public EIRPAC users were only 5 per cent of the total.8 The banking and finance sector and "other manufacturing," which includes the public sector, were more likely than other sectors to use electronic mail systems.

Business Management Applications

A parallel development in Ireland, as in other countries, has been the rapid growth in business management applications, particularly in the accounting, sales, inventory, payroll, and personnel areas. According to the 1986/87 survey, almost two-thirds of computer users had installed applications covering accounts receivable, accounts payable, and general ledger. An average annual projected growth rate of 15 per cent was anticipated over the next five years. Payroll and invoicing applications were used by over 50 per cent, with an average annual growth rate of 13 per cent expected. The highest projected growth rate, of 18 per cent, was expected for fixed asset accounting applications.8

Personnel management systems were used in only 13 per cent of the companies, although a further 13 per cent anticipated their use. Almost 44 per cent of respondent firms were using inventory control applications and 35 per cent had purchasing applications. Sales analysis/forecasting applications were installed by 46 per cent of companies.8

The Manufacturing Sphere

Within manufacturing, the data for computer applications indicate that the manufacturing sector in Ireland continues to be active in adopting computer applications.

The most commonly installed application was that for bill of material processing, used by 13 per cent of respondents and planned for adoption by a funkier 9 per cent. Like several other applications, it was most likely to be used and sought by manufacturing companies in the mechanical, electronic, and instrument engineering category and in other manufacturing (which in eludes food, drink, textiles, footwear and clothing, printing, rubber, and plastics).

Material requirements planning applications were in use by 8 per cent of firms, with anticipated use by an additional 12 per cent of companies. Other applications that were used by at least S per cent of respondents were: master production/scheduling applications (7 per cent), capacity planning (S per cent), works order processing (8 per cent), and process control (5 per cent). With the exception of bill of materials, process control, and numerical control, all applications were experiencing growth rates in excess of 100 per cent, but on a relatively low installed base.

Numerical control applications were installed in very few plants, representing less than 2 per cent of respondents. Only 1 per cent had computer integrated manufacturing systems. Less than 1 per cent of respondents had made use of robot control applications. In 1986, these were installed in only three companies, one in the "other manufacturing" category, one in the distribution trades, and one in banking and finance.

As yet, computer-based manufacturing applications are relatively underutilized in Irish companies compared with the higher adoption of automated office procedures and other coordination applications.

A summary of the use of computer-based applications in Ireland in 1986 is set out in figures 1.4 and 1.5. These emphasize the number of Irish employees, across all sectors of the economy, who have exposure to computer applications. These data confirm that the pattern of innovative IT applications in Ireland is occurring in three phases:

(1) early adoption of accounting-based and other coordination applications relating to payroll, ordering, stock control, and invoicing;
(2) later adoption of office procedure coordination applications, particularly for word-processing and spreadsheet applications;
(3) slower adoption of manufacture applications, particularly of design and engineering-related functions.

8. IT applications in the service sector

Service Sector Employment Growth

The relative importance of the service and manufacturing sectors of the economy has altered considerably during this century. Table 1.10 sets out the changes since 1926. After Independence more than half of Irish employment was in the extractive industries: agriculture, forestry, fishing, and mining. By the 1980s this had been reduced to less than 20 per cent and the sector continues to show a decline. The transformative industries - manufacturing, construction, and utilities - increased from a relatively unimportant sector of employment in 1926, accounting for only 13 per cent of jobs, to nearly 32 per cent of employment in 1981. The service sector also experienced significant growth in employment. In 1926 almost 33 per cent of working people were employed in the service sector, which now employs more than half the workforce.


Fig. 1.4. Present and planned usage of office information applications, 1986 (Source: FAS, New Technology and Office Skills in Ireland, Dublin, 1988)


Fig. 1.5. Present and planned usage of financial and other applications, 1986 (Source: FAS, New Technology and Office Skills in Ireland, Dublin, 1988)

Table 1.10. Percentage employment in extractive, transformative, and service sectors, 1926-1981

Sector

1926

1951

1981

Extractive

54.2

41.8

17.8

Transformative

13.0

22.3

31.6

Services

32.8

35.9

50.6

Source: Adapted from Ref. 38.

Within the service sector there are four distinct groups:

- distribution services,
- producer services,
- social services,
- personal services.

In common with experience in many other OECD countries, service sector growth occurred only slowly in the 1950s and 1960s, and accelerated in the 1970s. Distributive and personal services have remained fairly constant, with virtually all growth over the last three decades coming from social services and producer services.

Within the producer services sector, it has been the financial (including banking) and other business, accounting, engineering, and architectural services that have grown most rapidly. The increase in social services has been due to increased investment by the Irish government in the health, education, and public administration areas.

The services sector share of total employment is somewhat lower in Ireland than in many industrialized countries, though higher than that prevailing in most developing countries. As in manufacturing, the service sector could benefit from productivity gains accruing from the application of information technology by reducing the cost and increasing demand for services.

The Sectoral Development Committee's review of IT applications in the services sector highlighted some priority areas and provided some useful indications of future developments within the service sector:

(1) For some services, information technology is a marginal issue and these are unlikely to be affected by future development. Many "personal services" fall into this category (e.g. cleaning and catering).

(2) There are subsectors that can be thought of as "creators" of an IT environment and that set the conditions within which the sector must operate. This group includes communications (the subject of section 6), banking and finance, and "miscellaneous business services," which include computer services and electronic information systems.

(3) The remaining subsectors can be considered as the "clients" of the IT-oriented services. The technology has the potential to alter their structures and the nature of their services in very different ways.37

The Sectoral Development Committee (SDC) recommended that the following were top priority subsectors for IT initiatives: retail trade, education, and government. A second level of priority was assigned to wholesale trade, insurance, training, information services, particularly in relation to tourism, medical and health services. Some of these are covered in the remainder of section 8.

IT in Banking

In 1981 the NBST (now EOLAS) identified banking as one of the areas of white-collar work in which IT would have an adverse effect on employment levels. It was recognized that during the 1960s and 1970s the major Irish banks had been investing in computers. Their adoption brought about the automation of basic accounting functions whilst leaving the more labor-intensive "front-office" operations untouched.38 It was only in the 1980s that the banks started to introduce the Automated Telling Machines (ATMs). Initially, these were located on bank premises but it is predicted that their use will extend to other locations - shopping centres, garages, factories, and office blocks. Irish banks have been somewhat slower than their counterparts in other countries to adopt IT. This may be a result of:

(a) the state of the Irish communications infrastructure;
(b) industrial relations within banking;
(c) the size of IT investment relative to the size of the branch network.

The SDC concluded that, with the current rate of investment, IT is starting to transform the banking environment into an "IT environment."37

Future Trends

In order to facilitate branch transaction processing, Irish banks have developed leased-line systems for their own specific use. For security and other reasons they are reluctant to transfer to the public data network. However, with the advent of electronic funds transfer it may be necessary for banks to utilize EIRPAC in order to support client access to accounts. In the longer term, consumer access through cable networks to banks must be considered, and trials abroad of home banking suggest that it will be increasingly acceptable to the public. In order to link with other national and international banking networks, it will be necessary to establish and conform to international standards.

Banking and financial consultancy services are expected to be target areas for the early implementation of expert systems. On the consumer side there are other possible developments. One is towards the concept of the "money shop" wherein all financial services could be available (banking, building society, insurance, and advisory services).38

IT in Retailing

The retail trade was deemed by the SDC to be a top priority for accelerated IT applications, owing to the far slower adoption of point-of-sale (POS) systems. This in turn is holding back the orderly introduction of electronic funds transfer (EFT).37

Apart from EFT and EFT/POS, Irish retailers have been slow to adopt other IT applications, many of which are both feasible and desirable. One such example is that of basic stock control, progress in which has been very gradual. Computers are being used for administrative functions in some of the large multiple and department stores. As yet few smaller outlets and chain stores are moving towards branch computing. The only significant mail order application in Ireland is by Shannon Mail Order, where automated stock control reduced order processing time from seven days to one day.

Inter-company networking would be of enormous benefit to small retailers (e.g. Spar, Mace, Centra outlets), many of which are waiting for their wholesale suppliers to initiate systems. Larger supermarkets would probably require leased lines.

Future Trends

Point-of-sale systems have been available for many years but are evolving through the use of electronic cash registers rather than through the computer initiatives of large retailers. The scanning of bar-coded goods has also been introduced by Superquinn and Quinnsworth supermarket outlets in two of their Dublin branches. This has resulted in considerable reductions in queuing time and errors in transaction processing. Roches Stores has introduced POS scanning systems in Cork and Limerick, to improve customer service and speed, stock control, cash reconciliation, and level of profitability.39 Overall, Ireland has been slow in introducing scanning compared with the United States, Japan, and Europe.

The next stage is for the replacement of cheques and credit cards by electronic funds transfer through the use of "smart cards," but these can come about only when point-of-sale systems are installed and understood.

Another range of services to be launched shortly is a computer-based videotext service for banking and shopping from home. It is being developed by a consortium that involves Telecom Eireann, Quinnsworth Supermarket, Independent Newspapers, and other financial institutions. Modelled on the French "Minter" network, which is now used by 3.4 million consumers in France, the pilot project, involving 10,000 computer terminals in Irish homes, will commence soon.40

Information Services and Libraries

The Steering Group/NBST report to the Sectoral Development Committee was rather dismissive of the current state of IT penetration into this subsector. However, the report did state that consequently there were clear opportunities for its introduction. Furthermore the "information services" have the potential to contribute to an IT infrastructure for other subsectors (e.g. welfare information provision in libraries).38

The level of IT application is highest in the education and special library sectors. With the exception of Dublin Public Libraries, there is virtually no application in the public library sector. Up to 1986, only 27 of the total of 150 libraries made use of computer-generated catalogue records. Twentytwo libraries possess or have access to library housekeeping systems (12 education libraries, 7 specialized libraries, and 3 public libraries). As yet, the two nationally generated databases- Serial Holdings in Irish Libraries (SHIRL) and the ISBN Region K (Ireland) - are accessible in microfiche form only. External on-line information services (excluding videotext) are used in 29 libraries.41

The most important factor inhibiting the application of IT in Irish libraries is the lack of resources for hardware and software. More rapid development is occurring in smaller specialized libraries that can tap a range of microbased and relatively cheap systems. However, in the absence of any coordinated library development, which could ensure economies of scale, there are a number of different micro-based systems in operation (INMAGIC, D-BASE II, SUPERCALC).

Future Trends

The level of application of information technology in Irish libraries is likely to increase. It is anticipated that the SHIRL and ISBN Region K (Ireland) list will expand and eventually be made available on-line. Future development in public libraries is uncertain but is likely to be influenced by the outcome of a proposed library automation project and the availability of financial resources. Recent developments in telecommunication facilities could lead to improved cooperation between libraries. The establishment of a centralized public library community information database is suggested as a means of involving public libraries in providing computer-based user-related services.41

IT in Government

Generally, applications for government departments have evolved through the bureau services provided by Central Data Processing Services (CDPS). Individual sections would suggest an application, after which it would be filtered through various mechanisms to the CDPS. With the availability of inexpensive hardware and software, this approach is increasingly inappropriately Since July 1956 the Information Management Advisory Service has issued Information Technology Planning Guidelines to assist departments in availing themselves of IT as a resource for management. This document sets out the need for IT planning, the potential benefits of IT, and organization of planning projects. It also contains detailed planning procedures to be followed in considering the current situation, specification of requirements, and completion of strategy and plans.42

Traditionally, government departments have invested in large-scale mainframe computers for extensive processing needs - social welfare, revenue, taxes, payroll, and personnel records. It is only very recently that the potential of personal computers has been recognized.

Future Trends

Considerable scope exists for the introduction of "electronic office" applications and for "vertical" applications to be made available across the public service, e.g. personnel and accounting operations.38 As yet, very little data communication actively exists in the public service. Individual departments, e.g. Social Welfare and the Revenue Commissioners, have operated independent and incompatible systems, even where a merging of such systems would be highly desirable. One highly innovative alternative approach has been successfully adopted in the Department of Industry and Commerce. It is a networked system using 3 micro or personal computer local area networks, 64 microcomputers, personal computers linked to a file server, and a file server.

The network operating system runs on the Novell Netware and applications can be selected from a menu - financial modelling, word processing, electronic mail, text retrieval, host communications to IDA computer, EIRPAC and external databases, network printing, tutorials, database, and statistics. The system was very quickly installed and provides a large number of employees with access to a considerable range of information.

As with manufacturing applications, the service sector has been relatively slow in adopting IT even where highly marketable software/hardware is available. This may reflect a lag period, coinciding with economic recession, which will lead to more rapid diffusion and adoption over the next decade.

9. The impact of IT on employment

An awareness of the potential for IT development was evident in Ireland in the 1970s. Influenced by the rapid growth of the electronics industry in the United States, there were expectations of Ireland participating in this global industrial expansion. Hence the targeting of electronics by the IDA in its industrial plans. IT was regarded as being "characterized by high technology, high skill, labour intensity, propensity to expand, good working conditions, environmental acceptability, low transport costs and low energy use."43

Employment Projections

Electronics Industry

The earliest projections for employment were based on the initial successes by the IDA in attracting overseas investment in that sector during the 1970s. As of December 1980, it was claimed that about 700 multinational companies had begun operations in Ireland, employing over 10,000 people.24 This provided the overly optimistic forecast of 25,000-30,000 employees in the industry by 1985, of whom 11,500 were expected to hold university degrees or be skilled personnel. The precise composition of that projection is set out in table 1. 11.

Table 1.11. Projected employment composition of the electronics industry in Ireland by 1985

Managerial staff

2,000

Electronics engineers

2,500

Electronics technicians

3,500

Computer programmers/analysts

2,500

Skilled craftsmen

1,000

Semi-skilled and unskilled workers

15,000-20,500

Total

25,000-30,000

Source: Ref. 24.

Some concern was expressed by the Telesis Consultancy Group in 1982 concerning the prevailing levels of skill development and the sub-assembly and assembly nature of plants in the Irish electronics industry. It was recognized that few electronics companies in Ireland at that time undertook any significant marketing, product or process research, and development or integrated manufacture.24 The report went on to comment that, by 1980, "only about 1% of the employees are currently engaged in engineering activities, only 1% are skilled craftsmen, and only 5% are technicians. Managerial personnel constitute only about 4-5% of total employees."24

It is argued that the projection of 25,000-30,000 employees in electronics-based firms, of whom at least 10 per cent would be engineers, was based on false assumptions. These were that:

(1) aggregate employment in electronics would rise at a rate similar to that already experienced in the United States, and
(2) the skill structure of the workforce would be similar to that of the US industry.

As this report has stressed, the range of products/processes in the Irish electronics industry, and hence appropriate skill requirements, has not replicated the "Silicon Valley" example.

Subsequent forecasts by the Manpower Consultative Committee (MCC) have continued to emphasize the importance of the electronics industry to the manufacturing sector, in terms of contributing to higher output, productivity, and employment. Within the electronics industry, the percentage of engineers employed in 1985 was estimated at 5.6 per cent, and for electronics technicians the equivalent figure was 10 per cent. These were expected to rise significantly by 1990 to 9 per cent for engineers and to 15 per cent for technicians.44

Data Processing

Table 1.12. Forecasts of data-processing staff up to the end of 1981


Analysts

Programmers

Trainees

Total DP

Estimated demand 1979a

640

900

380

5,800

Survey forecast end-1981

830

1,300

340

6,600

Revised forecast end-1981b

960

1,600

440

7,800

Source: Ref. 45.
a. 1979 figures equal sum of estimated employment from survey and current vacancies.
b. 1981 forecast includes estimates of demand related to IDA programmes.

In 1980, the Manpower Consultative Committee noted from its survey that approximately 5,400 people were employed in automated data-processing occupations. A shortage of systems analysts and computer programming staff was identified and it was estimated that there were vacancies for about 250 software staff. According to the respondents' projections, demand from existing users for systems analysts and programmers was expected to grow by 14 per cent per annum in 1980/81. When the MCC took account of the likely spread of computer utilization and the impact of the IDA Services Industries Programme, these estimates were revised to 22 per cent p.a. increase in demand for systems analysts and 26 per cent p.a. for programmers.45

According to an estimate by the MCC, 390 organizations in Ireland were employers of computer staff in late 1979. Based on this information and the anticipated increase in demand by newly computerized firms and IDA-sponsored service industries, the MCC drew up forecasts for data-processing (DP) staff. These are set out in table 1.12. These projections were more cautious and are more likely to have been realized than those for the electronics sector. Tentative estimates of the percentage of managers and supervisors with engineering qualifications were 40 per cent and 25 per cent respectively in 1984, rising to 50 per cent and 35 per cent in 1990. The number of managers/supervisors with engineering degrees in the electronics industry was estimated at 496 in 1985. An anticipated figure for 1990 was 689. This figure is still well below those projected in table 1.11.44

The Growth in IT-related Employment

Computer Users

The earliest data for IT-related employment in Ireland cover only data-processing staff. The survey in 1969 identified 1,231 DP employees among commercial in-house organizations, 62 staff in universities and research institutes, 765 in organizations using bureau services, and 196 employees in commercial bureaus.7 Table 1.13 indicates the DP occupations in these organizations.

Table 1.13. The number of people employed on computer work at the end of 1969

Category

Commercial in-house

Universities/ research institutes

Bureau users

Commercial bureaus

Total

EDP manager

41

4

20

-

65

Operations manager/supervisor

40

4

-

-

44

Systems analysts

77

2

53

18

150

Programmer/ analysts

58

8

40

-

106

Programmers

162

15

26

34

237

Operators

147

9

-

28

184

Data control staff

159

5

119

-

283

Data preparation staff

547

15

507

94

1,163

Other

-

-

-

22

22

Total

1,231

62

765

196

2,254

Source: Ref. 7.

By 1980, it was estimated that the number of employees directly engaged in computer-related employment was 5,427. The breakdown by occupation of these employees is given in table 1.14. Relating the data in this table to overall employment in these sectors, the most computer manpower intensive sectors in 1979 were finance/business/computer services, the public service, and manufacturing industry. Within the occupational categories, the most significant group was that of "other data-processing staff." While this includes some highly skilled workers (such as sales engineers), it is mainly composed of people in routine clerical work - data control and data preparation.

Comparing tables 1.13 and 1.14, it is worth noting some changes over the decade:

(a) managers (data-processing managers, systems managers, operations managers, etc.) accounted for 1.2 per cent in 1979 as compared with 4.8 per cent in 1969/70;

(b) operations staff had more than doubled from 8.2 per cent to 21.9 per cent;

(c) the proportion of analysts and programmers increased from 6.6 per cent and 4.7 per cent in 1969 to 10.6 per cent and 15.3 per cent in 1979;

(d) the category of "other data-processing staff" had been reduced from 54.2 per cent to 35.9 per cent, which would have reflected the reduction in data preparation staff.

In terms of skill shortages, the MCC identified software occupations as accounting for almost 63 per cent of data-processing vacancies in the companies surveyed. No more recent data are available for data-processing employment in Ireland.

Table 1.14. Estimate of data-processing employment, 1980 (all 390 organizations)


Occupation

Industry

DP managers

Systems analysts

Programmers

Junior trainee programmers

Operations staff

Other DP

Total

Manufacturing, mining

176

93

169

54

295

447

1,234

Building, utilities

33

84

72

7

55

173

424

Computer services

94

121

231

60

71

226

803

Finance + business services

106

112

165

83

335

230

1,031

Distribution

64

19

17

4

146

207

457

Public administration

64

94

72

44

111

181

566

Other services

73

51

106

24

174

484

912

Total

610

574

832

276

1,187

1,948

5,427

Source: Ref. 45.

Table 1.15. Employment in electronics, 1973-1981

Year

Number employed

Increase (%per annum)

1973

7,757

-

1974

7,598

-2.0

1975

6,405

- 15.7

1976

6,919

-8.0

1977

7,706

8.8

1979

9,184

9.5

1980

11,326

23.3

1981

13,393

18.2

Source: Ref. 47.

Electronics Industry Employment

Whereas the electronics industry in 1973 consisted of about 26 firms, by 1984 the number had increased to almost 160 firms. Total employment in the industry is believed to have grown from 12,000 in 1981 to about 15,000 people in 1984.46 Table 1.15 sets out the employment trends from 1973 up to 1981.

This fairly consistent growth since 1973 masks some changes within the industry. According to Cogan and O'Brien, there was virtually no increase in aggregate employment between 1973 and 1981 in the firms that had existed in 1973. The vigorous growth in employment was attributable to new startups, a development that was examined in section 4 of this report. Most of the employment growth in the Irish electronics sector came from multinational corporations. Only about 500 sustained jobs had been created by indigenous companies since 1973.47

Commenting on the relative levels of productivity within three key industrial groups, the Department of Industry and Commerce referred to only a small net employment growth in electronics, despite high productivity growth in the 1980s. The report expressed concern about concentration on a few subsectors (food, electronics, and chemicals) since "industrial output [is] increasingly vulnerable to cyclical downturns in international demand in the case of Electronics (particularly where the Irish operation is one of a number of production units of a multinational)."48

Table 1.16. Employment in electronics companies,a by region and sex of employees, 1988

Region

No. of companies

Male

Female

Total

Leinster

127

4,051

2,735

6,786

Munster

72

3,021

2,852

5,873

Connaught

16

1,342

1,109

2,451

Ulster

5

131

218

349

Total

220

8,545

6,914

15,459

Source: Unpublished data from FAS, 1988.
a. Designated manufacturing and service firms identified as being engaged in a variety of activities from telecommunications and computers to process control. The one thing they have in common is that they wholly or substantially share a common technology which is largely semi-conductor or microprocessor based.

The level of employment in the electronics industry in 1988 is set out in table 1.16. Of the 15, 459 persons employed, over 95 per cent were in FAS-levied companies in which the annual wage/salary bill was in excess of IR£100,000. The significant regions for electronics employment were Leinster (which includes Dublin) and Munster (with Cork, Limerick, and Shannon). Employment in Connaught would have been mainly in the Galway area. Few electronics companies had been attracted to the Ulster region (counties Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal).

Women workers comprise 45 per cent of the electronics workforce in Ireland. The majority of the approximately 7,000 women employees are semiskilled assembly workers. The proportion in professional occupations remains very low.46

Table 1.17. Occupational structure of the electronics industry in the USA, UK, and Ireland, and of Irish manufacturing industry, 1980/81


Electronics industry



USA (1980) %

UK (1981) %

Ireland (1981) %

Irish manufacturing (1981)%

Managers

11

6.0

6.4

8.2

Scientists & technologists

n.a.

10.2


0.9

Professionals

17

9.2

5.5

1.0c

Administrators

n.a.

9.2

4.1

5.7c

Technicians

11

13.6

7.9

2.6

Supervisors

n.a.

5.0

5.2

4.9

Sales

1

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Clerical

12

13.4

7.4

9.0c

Craft workers

10

7.9

3.1

11.7

Apprentices

n.a.

-

-

3.7

Operatives, etc.a

32

31.1

57.0

41.4

Labourers, etc.b

4

3.3


3.4

Service workers

2

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Total

100

99.7

100

100.1

Source: Ref. 46.
a. "Operatives" (USA, UK, all Irish industry); "Non-craft production workers" (Irish electronics).
b. "Labourers" (USA); "Others" (UK, Irish electronics, Irish industry).
c. Within the AnCO category "Professional, administrative and clerical", each occupation listed has been allocated into one of the three categories used here. The number comprising the "All others" occupation has been allocated to each of the three categories in the proportion that they make up of the overall category.

Skill Patterns in the Electronics Industry

The skill component of the electronics industry in Ireland is important for several reasons:

(a) it has a relatively high proportion of professional and technically trained workers, which implies that it is not as vulnerable as other industries to low-wage competition;

(b) a greater value-added per work-hour would be expected from a skill-intensive sector, such as electronics, than from capital-intensive industries;

(c) Ireland has a young and well-educated population and spends a high proportion of its national income on education;

(d) international comparisons can be made and used to monitor the industry and Ireland's progress.

The occupational structure of the electronics industry in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States is set out in table 1.17, along with the structure within the Irish manufacturing industry as a whole.

In international terms, employment in Irish electronics factories is qualitatively intermediate between the United States and newly industrializing countries. According to table 1.17, proportionately more assembly workers and fewer technicians and professionals are employed in the Irish than in the US electronics industry. In purely Irish terms, the industry is highly skilled. There is a higher proportion of technicians and professional employees than in the rest of manufacturing industry. Instead of "blue-collar" craft workers, there is a "white-collar" tier of technicians.46

Within subsectors of the electronics industry there are different occupational and skill patterns. In table 1.18 the percentage of engineers/ technicians is broken down by product group. This table shows that the complex electronics products such as instruments and industrial control and telecommunications products require more technical manpower than standard products and components.47

In total, employment of about 16,000 in the electronics industry in 1987 reflected a less than spectacular growth in the sector since 1973. The level was well below that projected by Killeen in 1979. In fact it represents a figure that was less than half the number employed in that sector in Scotland and only a little more than half as many as in Berkshire in the United Kingdom. It is also calculated that total employment in Irish electronics was probably less than the annual increase in electronics jobs in Bavaria, Germany, during the 1980s.49

Table 1.18. Density of technologists in the Irish electronics sector according to product group

Product group

% of engineers

% of technicians

Components

4.4

4.4

Computers

3.8

12.6

Consumer products

2.2

5.3

Instruments and industrial control

11.6

13.3

Telecommunications

5.8

9.7

Total electronics

5.1

9.0

Source: Ref. 47.

10. Education and training in information technology

In the report Computers in Ireland published in 1971, it was proposed that a Central Computing Council should be set up to develop a national IT strategy. Among the areas identified for attention by such a council was "training and education." The report elaborated on the need for training for management and computer specialists, to take account of changes in the needs of personnel, in information technology, and in our understanding of the potential of the computer.7 At that time, computer education had not been introduced in primary or secondary schools. Tertiary level was the first opportunity for students to receive an introduction to computing. It was recognized that the training of teachers would be a necessary initial step towards the introduction of computing in schools. This section reviews progress in the training and education sectors in information technology.

Tertiary-Level Education Institutions

By 1980 some form of computer-related courses had commenced or was due to be available at almost all tertiary-level institutions. Table 1.19 sets out the degree, diploma, certificate, and other courses run in universities and Regional Technical Colleges (RTCs).45

Table 1.19. Computer-related courses at tertiary level, 1980

Institution

Course

Year of first graduates (if later than 1978)

Full-time



1. Degree level:



University College Dublin

B.Sc. with Computer Science


University College Cork

B.Sc. with Computer Science


National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick

B.B.S. (Management Services)


National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick

Computer Systems

1983

National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin


1984

Trinity College Dublin

B.Sc. Computer Science

1983

2. Diploma level:



University College Dublin

One-year postgraduate

1980

RTC Waterford

One-year postgraduate

1980

NIHE, Limerick

One-year postgraduate

1980

RTC Athlone

One-year postgraduate

1980

University College Cork

One-year postgraduate

1980

Kevin Street

Three-year technician course

1980

3. Certificate level (two-year):



RTC Dundalk

Data processing

1979

RTC Galway

Data processing

1981

RTC Carlow

Data processing

1981

RTC Cork

Data processing

1980

RTC Sligo

Data processing

1981

RTC Letterkenny

Data processing

1982

RTC Tralee

Data processing

1983

RTC Waterford

Industrial/commercial computing

1982

NIHE, Limerick

Data processing

1980

College of Commerce, Rathmines

Programming

1980

4. Certificate level (one-year):



RTC Waterford

Micro-computer processing


RTC Waterford

Computer programming


RTC Dundalk

Computer programming


RTC Galway

Computer programming


RTC Carlow

Computer applications

1980

5. Other:



AnCO

Computer programming courses


Part-time



6. Degree level:



Trinity College Dublin

B.Sc. Computer Science


7. Diploma level:



Trinity College Dublin

Advanced computer programming

1980

Trinity College Dublin

Systems analysis


University College Galway

One-year postgraduate, systems analysis

1980

8. Certificate level:



Bolton Street

Computer programming

1980

Source: Ref. 45.

Note: The majority of the courses under heading 2 are one-year conversion courses introduced in 1979/80. Three of these are being continued in 1980/81. RTC courses under heading 4 are generally being phased out in favour of two-year courses leading to the National Certificate. Finally, some degree-level courses may be introduced at RTC level over the next few years; the first graduations will not be before the mid-1980s.

During the 1980s there was considerable pressure to produce more graduates and diploma and certificate holders in computer-related courses. The estimated increase in graduates was from 30 in 1978 (in UCD, UCC, and National Institute for Higher Education (NIHE), Limerick) to a projected 240 graduates in 1983. In 1980, the estimated number of diploma holders was 128. Within the Regional Technical Colleges there were only 68 certificate-level students in 1980, which was due to rise to 232 students for computer-related courses in 1983.

This information has been updated for tertiary-level educational institutions in 1988 and the detailed list of IT-related courses is set out in Appendix A. From this it is clear that computer science/studies, electronics, and IT-related engineering courses were well established in virtually all tertiary-level colleges. This means that school leavers can pursue IT studies from National Certificate level, through degree and diploma programmes to postgraduate research.

The ready availability of graduates and technicians was seen as a key factor in attracting prospective overseas investment in Ireland, particularly within the electronics industry. The MCC emphasized the need to build upon this advantage of a skilled labour pool.44

According to a survey in 1985, there were 734 engineers employed in the electronics industry. One of the major findings of the research was that, while projections for total employment of engineers had been inflated, actual recruitment, owing to high turnover, had exceeded expectations: "engineers in the industry are moving out of engineering posts into other positions [e.g. management] and/or leaving the country altogether."50 This suggests that Ireland may be experiencing an "over-supply" of engineers, who may need to emigrate and whose skills could be lost to the country that has borne the cost of their education.

Computer Education in Schools

Post-Primary

According to the Department of Education, all secondary-level schools have some computer facilities. Since 1981 resources have been made available (about IR£2.1 million) to provide computers through an 80 per cent grant towards the costs of hardware and software. Schools have made up the remaining 20 per cent of costs. All vocational, community, and comprehensive schools availed themselves of the scheme, as did most other post-primary schools. At junior cycle within secondary schools, there is a syllabus for computer studies that can be taken as an optional subject. At senior cycle, computer studies can be taken as part of the mathematics syllabus. It is not yet possible to take an exam in computer studies. Instead, as an interim measure, schools may nominate pupils, whose performance in the subject has been satisfactory, for a statement from the Department of Education. This document states that they have satisfactorily undertaken the subject. Approximately 400, or half of post-primary schools, have availed themselves of this, and 8,000 statements have been issued.

Primary

According to the Department of Education, there are about 550,000 primary school pupils in some 3,300 schools for whom there are 22,000 teachers. The department estimates that there is a computer, or more than one computer, in 25 per cent of schools (about 800). Virtually none of these were bought through governmental funds, except in about 50 schools with special educational needs or in disadvantaged areas. Instead the computers were funded locally from money raised by individual schools.

Whilst there is no policy for IT in primary schools, a pilot project was implemented between 1982 and 1986 to investigate the best ways of using computers at primary level. The conclusion from the project was that information technology should be fully integrated into the curriculum, into the teaching of English, Irish, mathematics, and other subjects. It was found that computers were most successful when used in projects, for word-processing and simple database applications, and for teaching LOGO programming, mainly for mathematical applications. The most-favoured hardware in current use is the BBC Acorn, mainly because of the software available for educational purposes.

Three problems were identified by the Department of Education that will hamper IT diffusion in schools:

(1) the lack of a policy for IT in primary schools;
(2) the lack of hardware/software;
(3) the lack of guidance/advice available to teachers on hardware/software.

According to the International Labour Office, "the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for operating and maintaining new technology and participating in the innovation process will vary for different categories of workers. The underlying broad tendency is for firms and institutions to demand more advanced skills than hitherto. Low-skilled employment will decrease absolutely."51 Information technology has therefore placed new demands on both educational and training institutions in Ireland. "Computer literacy and familiarity with new technology will be indispensable social skills in the future."51 These needs are being addressed at tertiary level for students taking specific options (e.g. engineering, computer science, and some other courses). At secondary level, the rate of diffusion remains slow. Until computer studies becomes an essential part of the examined curriculum, resources are made available for teacher-training, and sufficient computer teaching time is allotted for all pupils to participate, computer literacy will not be achieved.

Training in Information Technology

Along with education, training must also change to meet new demands. "Innovative firms urgently need skilled workers who are able to operate and maintain the new equipment."51 The need for creativity and flexibility is also emphasized.

Table 1.20. Registered apprentice population by trade, trade group, and year of apprenticeship, 31 December 1986


Year of apprenticeship


Trade and trade group

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

Total registered

Furniture






Cabinetmaker

47

75

93

78

293

Woodmachinist


33

26

22

101

Upholsterer

2

8

8

9

27

Woodfinisher

3

4

6

7

20

Total furniture

72

120

133

116

441

Printing






Compositor

10

17

12

9

48

Letterpress printer

1

0

0

1

2

Lithographic printer

26

32

16

20

94

Platemaker






Carton maker

5

1

4

3

13

Bookbinder

4

7

6

3

20

Graphic reproducer

3

10

3

1

17

Total printing

49

67

41

37

194

Dental






Dental craft

3

15

11

10

39

Total dental

3

15

11

10

39

Electrical






Installation

54

90

109

202

455

Industrial maintenance

331

368

386

391

1,476

Instrumentation

18

21

23

20

82

Power supply

13

63

59

57

192

Rewinding

-

2

-

4

6

Neon sign

-

-

-

-

-

Lift installation

-

-

2

1

3

Refrigeration electrical

-

-

6

2

8

Aircraft installation

-

-

-

-

-

Total electrical

416

544

585

677

2,222

Motor






Motor mechanic

358

437

409

517

1,721

Agricultural mechanic

28

40

33

28

129

Heavy vehicle mechanic

40

57

50

34

181

Light vehicle body repair

13

21

44

20

98

Total motor

439

555

536

599

2,129

Engineering






Fitter

311

464

392

481

1,648

Turner

1

1

3

3

8

Toolmaker

123

77

97

116

413

Sheet metal worker

41

42

53

45

181

Coppersmith

-

1

-

3

4

Metal fabricator

79

136

127

111

453

Pipe fitter

-

-

-

2

2

Shipbuilding

4

1

7

3

15

Welder

7

6

8

10

31

Patternmaker

3

-

I

-

4

Foundry craft

-

-

1

-

1

Refrigeration craft

17

36

35

28

116

Aircraft mechanic

10

28

10

69

117

Instrument mechanic






Total engineering

596

792

734

871

2,993

Construction






Carpenter/joiner

402

509

530

559

2,000

Slater/tiler

-

3

2

3

8

Brick/stonelayer

148

151

134

106

539

Glazier

-

4

4

4

12

Painter/decorator

120

136

145

139

540

Plasterer

133

79

96

100

408

Stonecutter

7

13

16

11

47

Plumbing

175

238

193

228

334

Woodmachinist

4

10

15

14

43

Construction plant fitter

65

60

58

39

222

Total construction

1,054

1,203

1,193

1,203

4,653

Grand total

2,629

3,296

3,233

3,513

12,671

Source: AnCO, Apprenticeship Statistics 1976-86, Dublin, AnCO: 1987.

Apprenticeship Training

Apprenticeship is the system of skill and knowledge development where a long-term training (three to four years) is completed in an industrial/ commercial company and combined with compulsory classroom instruction. In recent years, apprenticeship has been maintained, and even increased, in some countries such as Germany and Switzerland. This contrasts with experience in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Overall, there were 15,599 registered apprentices in 1976 in Ireland. By 1986 the level was closer to 13,000, down from a peak of 21,498 apprentices in 1980. If apprenticeship courses are examined it is difficult to identify any IT-related trades for apprenticeship (table 1.20). All conform to the "traditional" craft skills within the furniture, printing, electrical, motor, engineering, and construction industries.

Table 1.21. Numbers trained on FAS electronics-related courses, 1983-1986



Year



Course

1983

1984

1985

1986

Training Centres Division





Electronic Assembly

426

504

530

604

Basic Electrolucs

91

147

120

62

Digital Electronics

16

39

51

70

AnCO Electronics

63

54

97

54

AnCO Microelectronics



18

21

Electronic Servicing


14

48

33

Introduction to Electronics

65

45

26

57

Electronic Assessment

78

111

103

54

Total

739

914

993

955

Total female

350

438

464

408

External Training Division





PCB Design and Layout




21

Advanced Manufacturing Technology



18

22

Computer Hardware Engineering




23

Component Research Technician



20

46

Micro Maintenance



102

89

Microprocessor System Design



21

78

Data Communications



64

46

Computerized POS Technician




23

Microprocessor/Electronics



20


Total



245

348

Total female



9

38

Source: Unpublished FAS data, 1988.

Non-Apprenticeship Training

Responsibility for training in Ireland lies with Foras Aisleanna Saothair (FAS), the Training and Employment Authority. In 1988, FAS provided training programmes for 48,000 people. Within the FAS-run training centres, eight computer-related training courses were run in 1987. The data for throughput on these courses are contained in table 1.21.

According to these data, almost 1,000 people received IT-related training in 1986 within FAS centres, and an additional 348 underwent training in other institutions. This means that IT-trained people represented 3.2 per cent of persons trained in 1985 (the last year for which comparable data are available). Despite the fact that female trainees comprised almost half of all trainees on IT training centre courses, they were concentrated in the electronic assembly courses. In 1983, female trainees comprised 78 per cent of those taking electronic assembly, although this fell to 60 per cent in 1986. Women were poorly represented on non-assembly type electronics courses, with the exception of "Introduction to Electronics" in 1986. This pattern is further accentuated in external training IT courses. In 1985, female trainees comprised less than 4 per cent of the total. By 1987 this had risen to 17 per cent. However, if individual courses are examined, it is clear that in most years there were fewer than 10 women on any individual IT course.

Innovative Developments in IT Education and Training

The important role of education and training initiatives in promoting IT and other kinds of innovation is clearly recognized. Closer links must be developed between education/training and industry if technology transfer and economic development are to take place. This subsection examines some of the initiatives that have occurred in the education and training sectors in Ireland.

Tertiary-Level Education and Industry Linkages

According to the Manpower Consultative Committee, Irish industry is in a phase of transition, from its traditional (post-1960s) reliance on mobile foreign investment to the need to look to new forms and sources of investment to achieve continuing growth. The tertiary-level education sector could assist industry in making this transition in two ways, through education and training activities and through research and development (R&D).44 A summary of the current forms of cooperation between industry and tertiary-level institutions is contained in tables 1.22 and 1.23. Government support has also been allocated to infrastructural developments within specific universities.

In Trinity College, Dublin, a research and consultancy unit was established as the Software Engineering Laboratory to promote consultancy services to industry. The areas covered include database, text compression algorithms, computer networks, and image processing. Trinity College was also the first university to introduce the "campus-based company" to Ireland in the Environmental Resources Analysis Company, which provides an international consultancy service in the field of remote sensing.

At NIHE, Limerick, the Plassey Technological Park was located to provide a national technological focus, which has helped to attract international IT investment and R&D activities to the Mid-West Region. There are currently over 50 organizations within the Park, ranging from financial institutions and software companies to an Innovation Centre, National Microelectronics Application Centre, and smaller IT-related industrial companies.

A National Microelectronics Research Centre has been established at Cork University. It is involved in contract research for the European Space Agency and European Community, as well as in partnership with firms such as General Electric, Honeywell, Philips, and Siemens. Among the specialist fields of interest are silicon IC design and fabrication, gallium arsenide technology, computer-aided design, and solar energy research.

In a report by the Confederation of Irish Industry,26 three themes were identified for introducing technological innovation into Irish industry:

Table 1.22. Types of formal cooperation taking place in the universities, the NIHEs, and colleges of technology


Bolton St

Maynooth

NIHE Dublin

NIHE Limerick

TCD

UCC

UCD

UCG

Representation of industry/commerce on governing body

x


x

x


x


x

Representation of industry/commerce on other formal structures

x


x

x

x

x

x

x

Industrial liaison offices

x


x

x


x


x

Careers and appointments offices


x

x


x

x

x

x

Undergraduate sponsorships

x


x

x

x

x

x


Postgraduate sponsorships



x

x

x


x

x

Undergraduate prizes

x


x

x

x

x

x

x

Postgraduate prizes



x

x

x

x

x


Chairs/teaching posts




x


x

x

x

R&D, other research

x


x

x

x

x

x

x

Equipment & facilities

x


x

x

x

x

x


Other sponsorship



x





x

Job placement schemes



x

x




x

Staff exchanges









Outside part-time lecturers



x






Sharing of equipment

x


x

x

x

x



Drafting of curricula

x


x

x

x

x



Other cooperation





x




Source: Manpower Consultative Committee, Review of Links between Industry and Third-Level Education, Dublin: MCC, January 1985.

Table 1.23. Types of cooperation taking place in the Regional Technical Colleges


Waterford

Tralee

Sligo

Limerick

Galway

Dundalk

Cork

Carlow

Athlone

Representation of industry/commerce

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

on board of management










Representation of industry/commerce


x


x


x


x


on other formal structures










Industrial liaison offices



x







Careers and appointments offices





x





Undergraduate sponsorships


x







x

Postgraduate sponsorships




x

x





Undergraduate prizes

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Postgraduate prizes










Chairs/teaching posts






x




R&D, other research


x

x


x

x



x

Equipment & facilities


x

x


x





Other sponsorship









x

Job placement schemes

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Staff exchanges










Outside part-time lecturers


x



x

x

x


x

Sharing of equipment

x

x

x






x

Drafting of curricula

x

x



x


x

x

x

Other cooperation










Source: Manpower Consultative Committee, Review of Links between Industry and Third-Level Education, Dublin: MCC, January 1985.

(1) The government must generate a climate conducive to research and innovation through the provision of proper funding and opportunity.

(2) There must be a parallel willingness by academics to breach institutional and attitudinal barriers to cooperation and by industry to invest in R&D, particularly in information technology.

(3) Well-trained and motivated manpower should be encouraged to undertake research into the future needs of industry.

Some of these requirements are being addressed but, in the present climate of economic cut-backs, the process may be held up and conducted in a piecemeal manner.

Innovative IT Training Initiatives

A limited number of IT-related training initiatives have been taken by FAS. According to a report prepared for the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), two courses were initiated at the Innovation Centre and Microelectronics Application Centre at Plassey Limerick.

The training activities at the Innovation Centre commenced in 1980 and concentrated on developing new products by adapting technological advances to the industrial conditions of Ireland's Mid-West Region. The centre's team of experts assist an entrepreneur through the various steps of product development from generating and screening ideas through market research, product design prototype development, product engineering, and securing finance to market launch.52

The second IT-related innovative course is within the Microelectronics Centre and is designed to introduce micro-electronic technology to new products and processes.52

Since the 1970s there has been a notable swing away from the early dependence on industrial policy and financial incentives to overseas investors to promote IT innovation and development within Ireland. Increasingly the emphasis is on skill development to promote the indigenous use and innovative development of IT. Hence there is the acknowledged need to utilize the education and training resources of the universities, Regional Technical Colleges, and training institutions. Programmes such as the recent EOLAS innovation support programmes (Appendix B) emphasize the role of linking colleges and industry into partnerships - encouraging graduate employment in industry, R&D in colleges, and EC-wide cooperative research for European industry.

11. Summary and implications for developing countries

Summary

(1) The main instrument that has been used in Ireland to promote IT innovation and development has been industrial policy.

(2) There has been no coordinating body established to oversee employment creation, research into IT products and processes, education and training needs for the IT sector, and other aspects of IT development in Ireland. Responsibility for these functions has rested with individual state-sponsored institutions, e.g. the IDA, EOLAS, and FAS.

(3) The IDA has been relatively successful to date in attracting overseas investment, within the electronics sector, to Ireland. The main attraction for overseas companies (such as GEC, DEC, Wang) has been the package of incentives available, including grant aid and tax concessions, access to the European market (for non-EC countries like the United States and Canada), and a well-educated and skilled labour force. It is unlikely that these successes in attracting mobile investment could be replicated in most developing countries. (The estimated average cost of creating one new job in new industry was IR£21,080 over the period 1979-1985.)

(4) Irish experience with the electronics industry has been mainly positive. Exports of computers and related equipment accounted for 19 per cent of total Irish exports in 1987/88. Apart from the 16,000 jobs created, the sector has made a significant contribution to economic growth and development in Ireland. However, industrial performance in the industry has been vulnerable to international market fluctuations.

(5) Criticisms have been levelled about the limited range of manufacturing activities performed in Irish electronics plants. Internationally, it is recognized that "off-shore" IT assembly industries contribute much less in terms of value-added, skill development, and employment growth potential than more advanced processes. Conscious of these criticisms, the IDA has focused on attracting "international services," including computer-based services, with export potential to locate in Ireland. This resulted in the very rapid growth in the establishment of foreign and Irish-owned software and computer service companies during the 1980s.

(6) The computer services industry employed some 2,800 people in 1987 in software development, bureau services, consultancy, and training activities. The sector experienced a turnover of IR£160 million. It is growing at an annual rate of 13 per cent. Irish software exports were IR£100 million, and this figure was expected to double within five years.

(7) The restructuring of the Irish telecommunications system has been critical to IT development in Ireland. An investment of IR£800 million was required to provide digital switching and transmission. This has produced an infrastructure, through EIRPAC, to support access to international packet switching networks and many services such as data transfer, electronic funds transfer, electronic mailing, and videotext services.

(8) To date, computer-based manufacturing applications are relatively underutilized in Irish companies. More extensive use is being made of business management (e.g. accounting-based) and office procedure (e.g. word-processing) applications compared with design-based (CAD) and manufacture sphere applications. It is anticipated that the use of manufacturing applications, such as bill of material processing, process control, and numerical control, will continue to grow in Irish manufacturing companies.

(9) The service sector has also been slow to adopt IT even in subsectors such as banking where there are clear international trends in IT use. Government departments have been amongst the earliest adopters of IT, and the manner in which individual departments are adopting IT is changing. The trend is away from an early centralized approach through the Central Data Processing Services to decentralized decisions concerning IT, in accordance with IT Planning Guidelines.

(10) Other services in which IT has been slow to diffuse are retailing and libraries. Only educational and research libraries have automated their holdings and virtually no computers are used in public libraries. This situation can be altered only if adequate resources are made available for hardware/software. In retailing there is a reluctance to adopt point-of-sale equipment and links with the banking system. This is likely to change as scanning, electronic funds transfer, and shopping from home terminals become features of Irish retailing.

(11) Skill levels in the Irish electronics sector are lower than those prevailing in plants in the United States. However, compared with the levels within Irish manufacturing industry, the electronics sector employs a higher percentage of professional and technical staff. Women workers comprise 45 per cent of the Irish electronics workforce. Very few of them are engaged in professional or technical occupations.

(12) IT-related courses in computer studies/science and electronics are widely available within tertiary-level colleges in Ireland. They can be studied at National Certificate, National Diploma, and degree levels. The number of certificate, diploma, and degree students grew considerably in the 1980s, particularly with the introduction of IT courses in Regional Technical Colleges. Hence the education of engineers, computer scientists, and IT technicians is well provided for in Irish institutions.

(13) Virtually all secondary schools have computer facilities in Ireland and students can take computer studies as an option. However, it is not yet an examination subject at secondary level. Only 25 per cent of primary schools have a computer, and there is no policy for the use of computers in the primary curriculum.

(14) IT-related training forms only a small percentage of training places in FAS centres and external training courses. No IT apprenticeships are available. Women trainees have been poorly represented on courses other than electronic assembly, particularly in those run by external agencies.

(15) More attention and resources are being devoted to the promotion of education/industry linkages as a means of promoting IT innovation. It is increasingly recognized that tertiary-level educational institutions have a key role to play in conducting research and providing consultancy services and other forms of cooperation with industry in the application of information technology.

Implications for Developing Countries

Networking

Ireland has experienced a major shift, in terms of hardware, from a reliance on large expensive mainframe computers in the 1960s and early 1970s to the mini and microcomputers. In common with many other countries, mainframes have been maintained by bureaus and many large state and private organizations for use in processing large volumes of data, e.g. payroll, personnel records, invoicing, reservations.

With the advent of cheaper and more powerful microcomputers, individuals, rather than departments, have availed themselves of computing power, often for use in a stand-alone capacity. The next anticipated trend, which has already commenced, is towards "networking" of existing hardware. Within universities and larger state institutions this will enable micros to be used as dumb terminals linked to the organization's mainframe or minicomputer. Thus users will have the capacity to tap the more powerful resources of the mainframe in addition to their own micro-based software applications.

It is clearly recognized that in many developing countries there has been a near proliferation of micros. Often these have been purchased out of aid funds for one-off projects. The potential to utilize such hardware, linked into Local Area Networks (LANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs), is therefore very important, particularly where resources for additional software and hardware are scarce.

Telecommunications Infrastructure to Support IT

Irish experience also reinforces the OECD emphasis on the importance attached to the telecommunications infrastructure for IT innovation. Allied to the networking concept, an underlying trend is emerging towards the use of packet switching networks and leased lines for data transfer. This is already an established facet of banking in Ireland, and will be increasingly used in linking banking (and other financial services) with retailing. The importance of good communications is also critical to obtaining access to international data banks, particularly for developing countries. Such access has been sought and used by the Irish Department of Industry and Commerce and other state agencies.

"End-User" Computing

Allied to the dual developments of miniaturization and networking, the range of personnel in Irish organizations who have been involved in IT has been extended considerably. As in many developing countries, the initial adoption of computers tended to occur with the use of "turnkey" operations, followed, in larger organizations, by the creation and/or extension of a data-processing (DP) department. This had two negative effects in the early stages of organizational adoption:

(1) IT was identified as being the exclusive property of the DP experts;
(2) IT created an additional and costly tier of personnel.

This underwent a complete change in Ireland during the 1980s so that IT has permeated organizations through the use of accounting, spreadsheet, and word-processing software. The current emphasis is on involving the end-user and in minimizing the "exclusive" role of computer specialists. The manner in which IT was adopted in the Department of Industry and Commerce was novel and illustrates the advantages of an end-user-driven IT initiative, based on a networked microcomputer-based system.

Rate of IT Innovation in Ireland

The level of IT usage in Irish manufacturing and service industries is relatively low, representing the lag period prior to full adoption, as represented on the innovation continuum on page 9. The relatively early and enthusiastic take-up of IT in Irish organizations occurred in the coordination sphere. This includes office automation and business management applications.

Viewed in the context of the benefit/beneficiary matrix (fig. 1.6), the commonly used applications of word processing, spreadsheets, accounts receivable/payable, and general ledger represent the achievement of efficiency and effectiveness at the level of the functional unit and by individuals. The full potential for IT use as a strategic resource encompassing the whole organization is not yet evident in most Irish institutions. Recent and proposed developments in banking and retailing, and design applications currently used by some professional companies, are examples of the potential shift towards service enhancement (e.g. ATMs in banking) and product innovation (e.g. shopping from home terminals) that could transform the nature of IT use in innovative organizations. It appears that these stages of early, middle, and later adoption represent IT adoption within the three benefit/beneficiary matrix domains (Fig. 1.6). Irish organizations have tended to follow the predicted pattern, and this may provide an insight for many developing countries into the likely tasks, units, and levels of impact that IT can be expected to influence.

Barriers to IT Innovation

In terms of developing the IT sector within a country, Guy and Arnold have identified three major barriers to participation:

- economic entry barriers;
- technological experience barriers;
- market characteristic barriers.53

To some degree Ireland has been faced with each of these. The economic entry barriers are those that determine the cost of entering the IT race in the international market. Government policy in Ireland has operated to provide financial inducements, in the form of direct grant aid, tax incentives, and training/infrastructural support, to potential electronics and software companies. Even ignoring the tax revenues forgone, the cost of creating IT-related jobs has been high. In the light of growing criticism, the IDA's grant structure has been altered to relate to actual jobs created rather than those projected. Such costs could not be borne by most developing countries.

BENEFIT/BENEFICIARY MATRIX


Beneficiary

Benefit

Individual

Functional Unit

Organization

Efficiency

Task Mechanization

Process Automation

Boundary Extension

Effectiveness

Work Improvement

Functional Enhancement

Service Enhancement

Transformation

Role Expansion

Functional Redefinition

Product Innovation

Fig. 1.6. Benefit/beneficiary matrix (Source: Index Indicators, vol. 2, no. 5, Index Systems Inc., July 1985)

In terms of technological barriers, Ireland has faced a similar situation to that confronting most developing countries today. Added to that is the problem that it is now harder to identify, segregate, and capture single-product niches than had been the case in the 1970s and early 1980s. The trend is towards a concentration of production in larger firms, usually multinationals, which possess the necessary range of technological experience. Developing countries face a dual conflict:

(1) economic entry barriers that support the need for specialization;

(2) technological barriers that indicate that the development of a broad technological base, similar to Ireland's approach, may be advantageous.

There is evidence that firms in lead nations (e.g. the United States and Japan) are becoming less willing to facilitate outward technology transfer to firms in less advantaged nations. Many US companies are retracting even from "offshore" assembly operations owing to the reduction in the percentage of total factor costs accounted for by labour. Such retrenchment may be temporized through government intervention by adjusting tariff barriers as a compensation for information technology transfer.53

Ireland has also experienced the influence of market barriers and used its position as a member of the European Community to attract IT investment from outside Europe. Stability and size are important. For many individual developing countries, the indigenous market would be too small and susceptible to import penetration.

All of these barriers point to the need for appropriate government intervention in developing countries to support R&D activities, to encourage indigenous firms, and to initiate collaboration across industries and between industries and the university sector. The value of the tertiary-level sector to the IT industry is well established in the United States and is a model that is currently being adopted in Ireland. In terms of markets, there may also be a need for government intervention to support home markets and to work towards some form of protected South-South trading relationships and market unity. It is unlikely that Ireland could have succeeded in its current level of IT innovation in the absence of:

- a wider, though protected, market in the European Community,
- state support for the promotion of the IT sector, and
- provision of the necessary infrastructure.

Appendix A: IT-related courses in tertiary-level institutions in 1987/88

Institution

Course

Degree level


Universities:


Trinity College Dublin

Computer Science Engineering (Electronics) Computer Science, Linguistics and a Language

University College Dublin

Computer Science Electronic Engineering

University College Cork

Computer Science Microelectronics Engineering

University College Galway

Electronic Engineering Manufacturing Engineering

National Institute for Higher Education Dublin

Computer Applications Electronic Engineering Information Technology

National Institute for Higher Education Limerick

Computer Systems Electronic Engineering Computer Engineering Electronic Production Manufacturing Technology

Regional Technical Colleges:


RTC Cork

Computer Studies Electronic Engineering

RTC Galway

Technology (Manufacturing)

RTC Waterford

Applied Computing

Diploma level


Universities:


Trinity College Dublin

Computer Modelling and Simulation

Postgraduate

Computers in Education Computers for Engineering Specialized Technology

University College Cork Postgraduate

Computer Science

NIHE Dublin

Information Technology

NIHE Limerick Postgraduate

Computer Systems

Regional Technical Colleges:


RTC Athlone Postgraduate

Computing

RTC Dundalk National Diploma

Computing Electronics (Manufacturing Service) Electronics (Product Development)

RTC Galway ND

Electronics Engineering

RTC Letterkenny ND

Electronics

RTC Tralee ND

Computing

RTC Waterford Postgraduate ND

Commercial Computing Computer Studies Electronics Engineering Technology (Manufacturing)

Certificate level


Universities:


Trinity College Dublin

Computer Science

Regional Technical Colleges:


RTC Athlone National Certificate

Electronics Engineering

RTC Carlow NC

Computing and Information Technology Electronic Engineering

RTC Cork NC

Electronic Engineering Telecommunications Electronic and Radio Communications Computer Studies

RTC Dundalk NC

Computing Electronics (Manufacturing and Service) Electronics (Product Development)

RTC Galway NC

Computer Programming and Data Processing Electronics

RTC Letterkenny NC

Electronics Computing

RTC Sligo NC

Computer Programming and Data Processing Electronics

RTC Tralee NC

Computing Engineering (Mechtronics)

RTC Waterford NC

Commercial Computing Industrial Computing Electronics Engineering

Plus professional course in

Electronics

Rathmines College of Commerce

Computer Programming and Data Processing

Other Vocational/Technician Courses


College of Technology Kevin Street

Telecommunications and Electronics Electronic Engineering Electronics Computer Science

Limerick College of Art, Commerce and Technology

Engineering (Electronics) Electronics Technician

Source: Adapted from Manpower Consultative Committee, A Guide to Third Level Education Output 1983, Dublin: MCC, 1984, and data sought from educational institutions.

Appendix B: EOLAS innovation support programmes

As part of its new national role EOLAS operates a number of programmes which aim to develop industry by the cost effective application of science and technology. These are:

* LINKING COLLEGES AND INDUSTRY
* PUTTING SKILLS INTO COMPANIES
* BUILDING ON COMPETENCE IN COLLEGES* HELPING RESEARCHERS COMPETE IN EUROPE

1. LINKING COLLEGES AND INDUSTRY

Joint Industry/Higher Education R&D

Support is available for projects of an immediate or medium term commercial nature, where the bulk of the work is to be carried out using college expertise or resources. Grants are negotiable up to 50% of eligible costs, which include salaries, materials and equipment.

EOLAS can provide a link between college staff and companies.

Further details: DR MARTIN LYES

RTC - Industry Partnership Programme

This programme is restricted to the Regional Technical Colleges. These colleges have not traditionally been involved in interaction with companies, although they undoubtedly have a major role to play in regional development. The programme supports joint R & D between the college and one or more companies in the region.

Further details: DR ANN SAUNDERS

2. PUTTING SKILLS INTO COMPANIES

Scientists and Engineers Employment Programme (STEP)

Support is available for the placement of graduates in small and medium sized companies to provide work experience for the graduate and to help upgrade the level of technology in the company.

Such graduates can be placed individually or as part of a technology transfer arrangement between the college and the company. Grant support covers mainly salary costs.

Further details: MS JOAN NOONAN

Teaching Company Scheme

The purpose of this scheme is to help companies to make a significant development in their use of technology. To do this support is given towards the employment by the company of an experienced graduate. The contract is usually for a three year period. Support is also given to allow the graduate and the company to maintain a link with a college or research institute.

Further details: DR MARTIN LYES

3. BUILDING ON COMPETENCE IN COLLEGES

National Strategic Research Programme

This programme is aimed at developing and sustaining a viable national competence in technologies which are vital to Irish industrial development in the medium term. Support is available for strategic R&D projects in the areas of:

Information Technology Biotechnologies Engineering/Materials Technologies

Grants are negotiable up to 100% of eligible costs. Industrial involvement is desirable and in cases may be mandatory.

Further details DR MARTlN LYES

Facility Usage Scheme

This is a small scheme to promote the cost effective use of major national research facilities e.g. the National Microelectronics Research Centre and the Telecom Eireann network, by researchers in the Higher Education sector.

Further details: DR BRIAN O'DONNELL.

4. HELPING RESEARCHERS COMPETE IN EUROPE

Co-operative Research Visits

Support is available to fund the travel costs of the Irish researchers who wish to either (i) develop their contacts with European researchers with a view to submitting proposals for EEC Research programmes or (ii) acquire or use skills, techniques, equipment which are of relevance to the needs of Irish industry.

Such visits are usually of short duration and support is only partial.

Further details: DR ANN SAUNDERS

E.E.C. Research Programmes

The European Commission operates a range of R & D Programmes which are open to Irish researchers, and are aimed at developing a technological base for European industry. There are many benefits for Irish researchers including access to European industry, very large research budgets, and the opportunity to make links across Europe. Eolas executives represent Ireland on many of the committees which formulate and administer these programmes and they are prepared to advise and assist researchers who wish to submit proposals.

Further details: MS GRAlNNE Nl UID

4 Major Programmes to Support Innovation

THE IRISH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AGENCY

Glasnevin. Dublin 9. Ireland. Tel :- 01-370101
Fax 01-379020 Telex 32501

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41. Casey, M. Applications of New Information Technologies in Libraries. An Overview of the Republic of Ireland. Dublin: National Board for Science and Technology, 1987.

42. Information Management Advisory Service. Information Technology Planning Guidelines, Issue No. 1. Dublin: Department of the Public Service, July 1986.

43. Killeen, M. J. "The Electronics Revolution - Impact on Ireland." Trinity College Dublin, 4 December 1979.

44. Manpower Consultative Committee. Manpower Projections for Graduate Engineers and Electronic Technicians 1984-90. Dublin: MCC, July 1985.

45. Manpower Consultative Committee. Report on Computer-Related Manpower. Dublin: MCC, February 1981.

46. Wickham, J. and P. Murray. Women in the Irish Electronics Industry. Dublin: Employment Equality Agency, August 1987.

47. Cogan, D. and R. O'Brien. "The Irish Electronics Sector: Technical Manpower as an Indicator of Structure and Sophistication." IBAR - Journal of Irish Business and Administrative Research 5 (April 1983), no. 1: 3-11.

48. Department of Industry and Commerce. Review of Industrial Performance. Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987.

49. Wickham, J. "Trends in Employment and Skill in the Irish Electronics Industry." Paper presented at Conference on Organisation and Control of the Labour Process, Birmingham, March 1988.

50. Wickham, J. "The Over Educated Engineer? The Work, Education and Careers of Irish Electronics Engineers." Presented to the Industrial Studies Association, 21 April 1988.

51. International Labour Office. Training and Retraining- Implications of Technological Change. Geneva: ILO, 1987.

52. Hastings, C. and M. Barry. Innovation in Continuing Education and Training. Dublin: AnCO, 1983.

53. Guy, K. and E. Arnold. Global Trends in Microelectronic Components and Computers. Vienna: UNIDO, Technology Trends Series No. 3, 19 June 1987.

(introduction...)

Teferi Kebede

1. Introduction

This report presents some highlights of the application of information technology (IT) in Ethiopia and attempts to show the overall situation. However, it may be worth noting that, on the basis of the present activities and the 10-year perspective plan, it is very likely that the situation will change dramatically in the next two to five years.

Background

Ethiopia has a total land area of 1,251,282 km2, comprising a central highland mass surrounded by low land. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa. The country extends from latitude 3°N to 18°N and longitude 33°E to 48°E, with approximately equal east-west and north-south dimensions.

With a population of 46 million, Ethiopia is one of the most populous of the least developed countries in Africa. The age distribution shows that the country's population is predominantly young, with 46.6 per cent of the population under 15 years of age and 69 per cent under 30 years of age.

Early Ethiopian civilization indicates a number of achievements in the application of science and technology. The remnants of impressive architectural works of pre-Christian and Christian times are evidence of the progress made in civil engineering and architectural works.

A detailed historical overview of science and technology in Ethiopia has been given in the document entitled "Assessment of the current situation and problems of S&T in Ethiopia" presented to the conference on the National Science and Technology Policy of Ethiopia.1

Mention should also be made that Ethiopia has its own script, "Amharic," which is an official language of communication in government organizations and schools. Innovative development of IT in the country takes this fact into consideration.

Report Outline

In section 2 the historical development of IT is reviewed and data on suppliers presented. Section 3 deals with the role of key institutions in the promotion of IT in Ethiopia. Section 4 concentrates on the telecommunications infrastructure. The application of IT in some of the major organizations in the service sector is discussed in section 5. Finally, the current situation with regard to education training in IT is presented in section 6.

2. Historical perspective

The application of computers, and thereby the development and awareness of mechanization, is closely related to the introduction of computers into Ethiopia by foreign suppliers. In this report an attempt is therefore made to show how computer usage started in Ethiopia in relation to the major suppliers, namely IBM, NCR, SERIC Ethiopia, and Burroughs.

IBM in Ethiopia

The introduction of IBM products dates back to 1962. The first IBM numerical accounting machine introduced in that year was model 1421/814. A very slow printer was attached to it. Programming was done using wiring panel, which needed a qualified engineer.

In 1963 IBM introduced a semi-mechanical accounting machine, model 407, at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Progress was made by introducing an IBM computer, model 1440, which was an auto code. One of the institutions that installed this computer was the Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority.

Although the exact date is not known, it was between 1965 and 1970 that an electronic data-processing system, an IBM model 360/20, a punched card system, was installed in Ethiopia. It had a memory capacity of 8-16 KB.

A transition from card to tape-disk system was made in the 1970s with the introduction of system 3/10. This system involved a monolithic capacity ranging from 32 KB to 64 KB, the magnetic tape reading speed was equivalent to 1,000 cards per minute as compared with 250 cards per minute of system 360/20. The major software language was Report Program Generator. It was the longest-used computer in Ethiopia and was in operation in some organizations until 1986.

As a result of competition between suppliers in Ethiopia, changes in the technology were brought to the attention of users. Demand for more efficient systems began to be felt. To this end, IBM introduced system 34,36 model 4361 between 1981 and 1986, a transition from a card system to a fully magnetic system.

NCR in Ethiopia

As with IBM, the history of NCR began with the introduction of cash registers and, later, mechanical accounting machines (NCR models 2000 and 3000), with major applications such as payroll and building. NCR introduced electronic systems, like the 399 and 499, for the same purpose. The first NCR Model 8200 minicomputer was installed in 1976. It had 64 KB of main memory and 9.6 MB of hard disk. NCR also installed its 850 minicomputer between 1977 and 1984. Since then a number of installations have been made.

SERIC in Ethiopia

Soci d'des risation, information et de conseil (SERIC) is a representative of Hewlett-Packard Computers in Ethiopia.

The introduction of HP computers in Ethiopia is a recent phenomenon, starting from 1980. However, SERIC has shown a rapid growth in the number of computer installations in a short period as compared with the other suppliers. HP systems are now widespread, and include those in international and regional organizations located in Addis Ababa. The HP 3000 series used to be very common but now personal computers (PCs) have been installed in many organizations.

Burroughs in Ethiopia

Burroughs introduced its products with desktop calculators and Model 1500 accounting machines in 1968. Its first computer was installed in Ethiopian Airlines. Late in the 1970s it introduced the Model B80 minicomputer in a few government organizations. Although Burroughs closed its office in 1981, a number of its installations have been made in government organizations by BURCO Systems.

Electronic Usage in Ethiopia

As an industrial activity, electronics has yet to start in Ethiopia, though some efforts have been initiated towards assembling radio receiver sets.

Sophisticated systems are in operation in the fields of mass media, radio communication, telecommunication, and communication and navigational aids for civil aviation. The data-processing sector, which was practically nonexistent about 30 years ago, is now within reach of many operational areas.

The earliest use of electronics in Ethiopia was in the mass communication subsector, followed by telecommunication and radio communication. Table 2.1 shows imports of electronic products other than computers in 1980. Total value amounts to US$13.54 million. As from 1980 imports began to increase. It was reported in 1983 that 63 per cent of such imports were of telecommunication and broadcasting equipment. In 1988, some 280 computers were imported, mostly PCs, and in 1989 the figure rose to 345.

Table 2.1. Imports of electronics products, 1980

Product and other details

Quantity No.

Value Birr

Calculating machine




BTN :84.52

3,508

542,377


SITC :751.210




Duty: 30%



Cash register




BTN: 84.52

6

17,110


SITC: 751.230




Duty: 30%



Accounting machine




BTN: 84.52

657

110,516


SITC: 751.220




Duty: 30%



Automatic data processing




BTN :84.53

219

468,119


SITC: 752.00




Duty: Free



TV broadcast receiver




BTN : 85.15

2,422

927,028


SITC: 761.110




Duty: 50%



Radio receiver




BTN :85.15

77,256

2,090,588


SITC: 762.110




Duty: 25%



Other radio receiver including radiograms and cassette recorders




BTN: 85.15

5,668

686,641


SITC: 762.111




Duty: 50%



Gramophones




BTN: 92.11

222

52,009


SITC: 763.110




Duty: 50%



Record player, tape or wire recorder and deck




BTN: 92.11

1,096

469,227


SITC: 763.180




Duty: 50%



Other sound recorders and reproducers




BTN :92.11

5,114

59,716


SITC: 763.800




Duty: 50%



Electronic line telephone and telegraphic apparatus




BTN: 85.13

1,045

1,874,176


SITC: 764.110




Duty: Free



Microphones and loudspeakers




BTN: 85.14

4,705

340,154


SITC :764.210




Duty: 25%



Other radio broadcasting apparatus




BTN : 85.25

641

277,616


SITC :764.310




Duty: Free/15%



Other television transmission apparatus




BTN: 85.15

1,524

70,166


SITC :764.311




Duty: Free



Other television video cameras




BTN: 85.15

12

6,475


SITC: 764.820




Duty: 50%



Radio navigational aid apparatus




BTN: 85.15

10,021

206,576


SITC: 764.331




Duty: Free



Other radio navigational apparatus, radar, etc.




BTN :85.15

2

9,120


SITC :764.832




Duty: Free (when imported by government)



Parts n.e.s. of the apparatus falling within heading 764.110




BTN :85.13

360,821

6,959,640


SITC: 764.910




Duty: Free



Parts n.e.s. of the apparatus falling within heading 764.210




BTN :85.14

3,156

148,036


SITC: 764.920




Duty: 25%



Radio spare parts




BTN :85.10

43,172

3,319,127


SITC: 764.931




Duty: 25%



Parts n.e.s. of the apparatus and equipment falling within 763




BTN: 92.11

3,593

204,384


SITC: 764.900




Duty: 50%



Radio valves, tubes and transistors




BTN :85.21

1,492

52,582


SITC: 776.000




Duty: 35%



Source: Ref. 2.

3. Government policy and the role of key institutions

This section deals with the main means by which IT innovation has been encouraged since 1975; the degree to which the government has been involved in the promotion of IT innovation; and the role of institutions in implementing the IT innovation.

The Context of IT Development

In general the major commitment of the government to provide the requisite political will and authority for the coordination and promotion of science and technology, its application to development, and overall evaluation of results achieved in the field has been manifested by the establishment of a national commission, the Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission (ESTC), in 1975 by proclamation No. 62/1975.

The commission is the apex decision-making and coordinating body for science and technology (S&T) in the nation. Its aim is to create conditions conducive to the development of the organic growth of a viable scientific and technological system.

One of the policy statements relevant to the theme of this report is the following: "Establishment of a system for the evaluation and monitoring of imported technologies and identification of areas where indigenous technologies can be developed." Among the actions taken by the commission to make such systems viable is the creation of institutions for S&T services to support the development of key sectors in the economy.

The programmes designed by the commission for the promotion of IT innovative development are included in the Emerging Technology area, which has been given due attention.

The National Computer Committee

The National Computer Committee was established under the Central Statistics Authority, and was then transferred to ESTC in 1987. The members of the committee were drawn from seven organizations that represented key sectors in the national development plan.

The terms of reference of the committee are:

(1) to evaluate projects that are related to computers;

(2) to approve the importation of IT products on the basis of the reasonableness of the cost and saving of foreign currency, availability of local maintenance services, software availability and compatibility, upgradability and expansion potential and training of personnel;

(3) to keep records of imported IT products;

(4) to prepare a policy draft on computerization.

From the above one might think that the committee was set up as a mechanism to control the type and number of computers. However, it is rather to encourage individuals and organizations to develop interest, mostly in the application of PCs, and thereby promote IT innovation in Ethiopia.

The National Computer Centre

Having studied the overall situation with regard to the use of computers in Ethiopia, it was decided to establish a coordinating body for the overall development of computing in the country. As a result, a National Computer Centre (NCC) was established in 1987 under the Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission.

The computer centre was established with the following major objectives:

(1) to conduct R&D activities in computer S&T and to disseminate the results;

(2) to promote the development of computer knowledge and services in Ethiopia;

(3) to provide consultancy and maintenance services;

(4) to provide training courses.

Activities

In order to meet its objectives the centre focuses on the following major activities:

(1) Find permanent solutions that will help to utilize computer technology economically and effectively for the country's socio-economic development, recognizing the fact that the computers imported into Ethiopia are from different vendors and are of different makes and hence have different maintenance needs.

(2) Search for a reliable means fully to exploit usage of computer capability in the national language and thereby enhance its wider application in all sectors of the economy.

(3) Design and provide appropriate training courses to alleviate manpower problems in the area. In addition, act as a national focal point for consultancy in curricula development in infotechnology and research activities in the field.

(4) Assist government organizations in designing projects, preparing terms of reference for consultants when required, and monitoring project implementation.

(5) Conduct R&D activities in infotechnology and ensure that its applications are in line with the country's development objectives. (Hardware & software research and development.)

(6) Provide a full-fledged maintenance service.

Since its establishment, the NCC has been involved in a number of IT innovation development efforts. These had enabled the centre to develop application software packages in Amharic and usage of PCs in the local language for word processing, databases, desktop publishing, statistical analysis, spreadsheets, etc.

Achievements of the NCC

Software

The NCC has developed a range of Amharic software for distribution. At present these run on IBM PC, XT and AT, PS/2 and compatibles and range from Amharic operating system "AGAFARI" to Amharic Publishing "MAHTEME."

Hardware

To make the IBM PCs and compatibles operational in the Amharic language, an add-on device has been developed at the NCC. In addition, such items as printer chips for Amharic are also available. It should be noted that some of these services and outcomes are the result of its R&D activities during just one and a half years, i.e. up to July 1988.

4. Telecommunication infrastructure

The Ethiopian Telecommunication Authority (ETA) came into being in January 1953 with the responsibility of catering for national as well as international telecommunication services, excluding military telecommunication.

The ETA is managed by a General Manager who is the chief executive under the direction of a board of directors whose ex officio chairman is the Minister of Transport and Communication. ETA, a state-owned agency, has administrative and financial autonomy.

The telecommunication services offered by ETA include telephony, telegraphy, and telex. Broadcasting was also handled by ETA until it was transferred to the Ministry of Information and Guidance in 1977.

Existing Facilities

Existing facilities for domestic communication include long lines, microwave, UHF, and RRC transmission systems. For international telecommunication traffic, the ETA depends mainly on its INTELSAT standard A earth station SOT-1A. Some international traffic is also handled by the PANTEL microwave system.

An important feature of the development programme of ETA is the commencement of digitalization in 1989, which has led to the development of an integrated services digital network. Along with the digitalization of networks, telex, facsimile, data transmission, international subscriber dialling, and a national data-processing service have been introduced. ETA is also implementing a computerized management information system.

Future Plans

To consolidate the sixth Development Programme (1984-1988) and to extend telecommunication services to remote areas, the next plan premised on the National Development Programme is under preparation. This plan, which is scheduled for 1989-1994, envisages digitalization of the older microwave routes and opening up of some 320 remote stations using terrestrial radio systems and small satellite earth stations. As for switching, 20 more digital exchanges with a capacity of about 60,000 will be connected to the network, bringing the total capacity to 268,000 lines. The ETA development programmes and targets are shown in table 2.2.

5. IT applications in the service sector

In this section, application of IT in the sectors most affected by IT is briefly reviewed through some government organizations that represent some of the priority sectors.

It should be noted that although the agriculture sector has not been directly affected by IT it still remains and is expected to remain the largest sector of the economy in the foreseeable future: 15 per cent of the working population are in the transformative and services sectors, while 85 per cent are engaged in the agricultural sector, with a negligible number in the other extractive sectors forestry, fishing, and mining.

Central Statistics Office

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) started using data-processing equipment in 1964. Its first rented brand was an IBM 421 model 14. This was a mechanical machine with a reproducer, collator, sorter, and printer. The CSO used the equipment for processing statistical and research-oriented applications. The B14 was in use until 1968 when the magnitude of data-processing activity outgrew the capability of the system. The B14 was a first step up from manual processing.

In 1969, the CSO's activities justified migration to equipment that was another step forward in technological advancement. The CSO rented an IBM system 360 model 20, which was a typical card-oriented computer with a monthly cost of US$1,269. The 360/20 electronic computer had a card reader of 250 cards per minute and a printer with a speed of 200 lines per minute (LPM), and had 15 KB of memory of which the operating system used only 2 KB. The computer was limited to the Report Program Generator (RPG) compiler. The major activity of the CSO was statistical tabulation based on data collected from sample surveys conducted from time to time.

Table 2.2. Ethiopian Telecommunication Authority Development Programme target objectives


6th Development Programme 1984-88

7th Development Programme 1989-94


At start

At end

Growth %

At start

At end

Growth %

No. of automatic exchanges

25

46

84

46

78

70

Capacity of automatic exchanges

100,400

169,700

69

169,700

335,100

98

No. of manual exchanges

392

545

38

545

945

73

Capacity of manual exchanges

23,500

31,500

34

31,500

37,500

19

No. of telephone service stations

435

675

42

675

1,080

60

No. of PBX

972

1,267

30

1,267

1,867

47

No. of coin boxes

845

1,015

20

1,015

2,215

118

No. of direct exchange lines

89,544

139,400

56

139,400

245,700

76

No. of telephones

115,833

174,000

55

174,000

374,000

115

No. of telex subscriptions

585

911

53

911

1,535

68

Fixed assets(US$'000)

129,159

281,982

107

281,982

661,141

134

No. of employees

5,036

5,839

16

5,839

6,570

13

Source: Ref. 3.

The memory was too small to contain a complete compiler plus a program to be run, and several passes, each involving the reading of the program, must be made through the system in order to compile a program. Naturally these operations of reloading the input deck or tape took quite a long time.4

As the bulk of incoming transactions increased and timely information from the CSO's electronic data-processing (EDP) centre was requested, the centre failed to respond adequately owing to the small size and slow processing power of the computer. It would take 150,000 cards on 5 columns about 15 hours to generate a single tabulation report, and operators had to attend to the sorting routine throughout since there were no media to store cumulated information for further processing.

In 1973, the CSO rented an IBM system 3 model 10 computer at a cost of US$1,990 per month. System 3 was a transition from a card-based system to a magnetic tape system. The physical size of the equipment was very much reduced and the processing power and performance were increased.

Additional statistical applications were introduced since the facility provided RPG 11 and FORTRAN IV for array processing and closed subroutines. The CSO computer centre performed its major task of processing the first census made in 1968 with the system 3 computer.

The CSO rented out excess computer time outside normal working hours. Users who had their own programs, punched data, and continuous paper were charged for the central processing unit (CPU) time at 100 Birr per hour plus 10 Birr per hour for the computer operator. The average charge for data capturing was 3-7 cents per record depending on the magnitude of the record length. Program preparation was negotiated according to the complexity of the application. In most cases the average charge amounted to Birr 75,000.

System 3 was used for seven years in an environment that was next door to sawmill dust. The malfunctioning was intolerable and frequent jamming of cards delayed normal work processing. In addition, the maintenance and rental charges, which were payable in US dollars, had increased excessively owing to the vendor's policy and world inflation.

In 1980, the CSO installed the NCR 8455 model. The 8455 was a multiprogramming and multi-tasking system with a virtual storage capacity. It had 512 KB of memory and 200 MB high-capacity disk storage. The computer centre supervisor reported that the NCR 8455 had never been operational during its period of two years at the CSO centre.

At the beginning of 1983, the CSO purchased the HP 3000 series 44 computer system. The system initially had 1 MB of memory and 800 MB of mass storage with 12 block mode terminals. The computer was set up to deal with the first nationwide census ever held in the country. It was then upgraded to series 48 with 2 MB of memory and 42 terminals, with an additional 24 micros used for data capture; total disk space available is 2 GB. At this period the computer centre was highly organized with additional staff and expatriate consultants. It is said that the generation of timely reports of the census was credited to both the capacity of the computer and the organized effort of the EDP staff.

The software library has FORTRAN, COBOL, RPG 11, SPL, BASIC, and PASCAL. The CSO uses packages like SPSS, CONCOR (used for editing), CONCENTS (COBOL census tabulation system)? and X TALLY and CO X TALLY for report generation.

EDP Personnel and Organization

The CSO established its data-processing centre with a staff of one supervisor, one machine operator, and five key punch operators. Two program trainees who joined the centre were assigned different levels of work as operators or control clerks.

The giant data-processing centre of CSO does not have qualified systems analysts and this level of work is covered by the EDP supervisor. The current number of staff is 25, of whom 19 are data entry operators and coding clerks. Contract employees are used for large volumes of data entry.

The Ministry of Finance

The Ministry of Finance was first introduced to mechanization in 1968. The primary factor in the introduction of automation was that large volumes of transactions of the government accounts had to be consolidated and presented annually to the then parliament.

In 1968 it was decided to rent an IBM system 360 model 20 computer. The computer had 16 KB of memory, three tape units, a card reader, and a 200 LPM printer. The monthly rental charge was US$5,000.

Government accounts were the first to be computerized. Once the computer power and the capability of staff had been appreciated, subsequent applications like budget authorization, capital authorization, foreign loans, and payroll were installed in the period 1969-1976.

Excess computer time was rented to the Addis Ababa University and the Ministry of Education, with a charge of 100 Birr per unit CPU time. Applications were accounts and student registration.

The programming language used by the 360/20 was RPG 1 and most applications were developed in-house. Nevertheless, problems used to arise between the computer centre and user sections in cases where incoming data were not in accord with given system specifications. Frequent coding errors, negligence, and inconsistency in data transmission were causes of irregular outputs. Most of the computer time was engaged in data certification and this hindered the overall process and sometimes caused delay in generating final outputs and timely reports.

At the end of 1976 the ministry acquired Burroughs B3700 model with 200 KB and 256 MB of storage and a 700 LPM printer. This was a change from a tape-oriented to a disk-based computer. It was on a rental basis with a monthly charge of Birr 14,000. The power of the processor and the speed of the peripherals gave rise to timely presentation of reports. However, since no additional applications were introduced, the ministry was left with excess computer time.

Higher officials of the ministry decided that an overall systems review must be done and that future applications and growth must also be studied in a more comprehensive manner. Foreign systems experts were invited to conduct the operation. On their recommendation, in 1987 a Burroughs A3 model replaced the Burroughs B3700. The A3 has 6 MB of main memory and a disk storage capacity of 750 MB. There are 13 on-line terminals for data capturing and program development.

The major application of the A3 is the Inland Revenue system, and systems development and programming are under way to use modems and telephone lines for the network system to utilize the immense power of the A3 computer.

The centre is oriented predominantly towards financial operations. It is headed by a manager with substantial computing experience.

Ethiopian Air Lines

Ethiopian Air Lines (EAL) was one of the first organizations to introduce modern management information systems and mechanization for work simplification and efficiency. Data-processing (DP) activity started in EAL in 1961 with IBM class 421. The DP centre was mainly organized for financial operations and most of the early accounting routines were processed using the unit recorder.

In 1964, EAL replaced its ageing and outdated 421 with an IBM 1440. This early computer had 8 KB of memory capacity with a card reader and sorter. It was then a step forward and EAL utilized the system to develop more applications such as asset control and inventory control systems. At the time the inventory files were reloaded onto 15 removable disk packs with a capacity of 2 MB each. As the need for a more efficient system arose, a Burroughs B3500 was installed in 1970. The computer had 120 KB of memory and all of the applications that were running on the 1440 were remodified for the B3500. There were then 20 staff in the data-processing centre, of whom 8 were analysts and programmers. The EDP staff of EAL are highly trained and even senior staff are given computer appreciation courses locally and abroad.

The involvement of EAL and its reputation among international airlines required a highly advanced system, and in 1981 two HP computers were bought. The HP 3000/40 and HP 3000/44 each had 2 MB of memory. The HP 40 was exclusively used for data capturing and verification, while the HP 44 was for data processing.

The data-processing centre was reorganized as a decentralized system. Every department has a terminal for data entry and is directly responsible for its major activity. The data entered are processed in a batch mode at regular time intervals. All major areas of activity are currently computerized, and decentralization has helped user departments to participate and engage fully in their day-to-day activity using mechanization.

Ethiopian Air Lines, being a member of SITA, an international airlines body that uses its own communication network, uses the facility for a reservation system for its ticket offices throughout the world.

In 1984, EAL purchased the IBM 4361 as an additional computer. It had 4 MB of main memory and data storage capabilities used for applications such as ARACS (Airlines Revenue and Accounts System), EMPACS (Engineering and Maintenance Planning), and IPOCS (Integrated Flight Operation System).

EDP Personnel and Organization

EAL's data-processing centre is organized under the Corporate Planning Department. Every department of EAL is directly affected by the data-processing centre. They are linked to various applications on the mainframe.

EAL has taken care to organize qualified personnel for the operation. After rigorous training schedules, it now has 42 staff members, of whom 24 are programmers. This is the highest number of programmers in an EDP centre recorded by this survey.

EAL's plan for the future is to develop a real-time processing environment for some of the applications that are now running in a batch mode, and to utilize communication facilities for networking systems.

Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority

The Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority (EELPA) was one of the earliest users of mechanical and electrical accounting machines.

It started with an NCR class 299 and IBM 421 for head office bookkeeping in 1962. Later, in 1964, the data-processing centre was organized under the Finance Department. The first computer to process payroll and billing systems was an IBM 1440. Organizing the DP centre and setting up the system was done by a British data-processing expert. The expatriate also managed the centre until the end of 1967.

The capacity of the 1440 was unable to meet the increasing volume of customers' billing and a decision was reached to rent a more powerful computer system, an IBM system 3/20. In 1973, the EELPA rented the system at a monthly cost of US$15,000. It has 32 KB of memory and model 5445 removable disks with a total capacity of 20 MB each. A high-speed printer of 1100 LPM and two tape drives were also part of the peripherals. Previously installed applications of payroll and billing were redesigned and applied. General accounting and inventory systems were the major achievements of the data-processing division on the system 3/20 computer.

In addition to the EELPA's applications, excess computer time was leased to different organizations. The first customers to use EELPA's system were the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority and Nazareth Water Supply Office. The application developed by EELPA for the customers was billing, a customer being charged 10 cents per bill.

EELPA also developed a payroll system for the Ethiopian Navy, which paid 120 Birr per unit CPU time. Another customer was Rental Housing Administration, which had a statistical application to generate household inventory and reports of lessee and rental charges of government houses.

In 1982, EELPA rented an NCR V8455 for a period of five years at a monthly charge of 30,000 Birr. The V8455 had 2 MB of memory, 600 MB of disk storage capacity, and 12 on-line data capturing terminals. According to the DP manager, Mr. Assefa Shifa, conversion from IBM RFGll to NCR RPG was a painful job. It was delayed because the NCR system, which is COBOL oriented, had to be equipped with additional software facilities. As a result, the memory was upgraded to 6 MB and the disk storage to 1 GB. The manager said that, on account of the available staff, most of the work done on the NCR was conversion and modification of existing systems. No additional application was installed despite the computer's unexplored facilities. However, spare computer time was rented to the Transport Construction Authority at 300 Birr per hour. The NCR computer was also engaged to process engineering designs for Gilgel Gibe Project. At the end of the lease period it was decided to return the computer to the supplier.

In May 1987, EELPA purchased an IBM system 36 model D21 with a capacity of 4 MB and 1 GB of disk storage. The system configuration consists of two high-speed tape drives and two printers with a capacity of 1200 LPM and 400 LPM. For program development and data capture, the system 36 has 15 terminals stationed in the DP centre. EELPA was predominantly RPG oriented for 15 years but has now caught up with micro developments. Currently each department of EELPA has one IBM PC used for staff computer appreciation courses and small desktop applications. Mr. Assefa further stated that the user relationship is now satisfactory. However, this has been achieved gradually as management's confidence in the DP centre increased. The billing system in particular, which is the major source of income for the EELPA, was closely scrutinized by management. Mr. Assefa recalled that there were times when the computer centre was blamed by customers for any mistakes in meter reading.

In order to increase the level of awareness of users, the data-processing division has organized an information support section. Its main objectives are to arrange computer appreciation and advanced training for users and EDP staff, to plan capacity, and to develop standards and procedures.

EDP Personnel and Organization

The EELPA data-processing division is organized under the Special Services Department. The division is further subdivided into the sections of operations, systems and programming, and information support. The number of staff in the DP department grew from 4 persons in 1967 to 60 in 1988, of whom 1 is a systems analyst, 2 are analysts/programmers, and 14 are programmers.

The manager stated that, apart from the EDP head, all other staff were trained locally by IBM. The courses given were predominantly at the level of the operating system only and it was left to the programmers to catch up on the techniques and facilities in the course of their normal work. Since EELPA applications mostly use RPG compilers, programmers do not have the motivation to learn other high-level languages.

The future plans of the EDP division are to mechanize all technical areas using IBM PC, and to create networking facilities and lines. To expedite the plan, an overall pilot survey is under way, and EELPA is expecting an expert group in data communications from Canada in the near future.

Maintenance and Supplies

Problems of computer down-time were experienced by EELPA as far back as the 421 period. It was reported that local engineers were few in number and did not have the necessary training and experience. Software support was lacking in all areas. Mr. Assefa said vendors did not keep spare parts locally and it took months to repair major breakdowns. The El LPA keeps its own supplies and has never experienced shortages.

Ethio-Djibouti Railways

The Franco Ethiopian Railways (later renamed Ethio-Djibouti Railways) was one of the earliest "organized" business establishments in the country. Along with its management system it brought some level of mechanization in office activities. Early mechanical machines and desktop calculators were employed for processing routine accounting procedures.

In 1969, an IBM system 360/20, along with its peripherals of verification machines and sorters, was rented. The only application that was running smoothly on the computer was payroll. The staff used the machine to acquaint themselves with it and to explore its facilities. No apparent reason was given and information could not be obtained why there was eventually a need to change to an IBM system 3.

However, the installation of system 3 in 1972 gave rise to more applications, such as inventory control, general accounts, and the movement of trains and locomotives. Computer time was rented to Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority, Humbergen Vendergen Amsterdam (sugar manufacturers), and the Tourist Organization. Computer time was charged at the hourly rate of the computer monthly rental in Birr.

Four years later, the card-based system 3 was replaced by a tape (cassette) oriented NCR 8200 at a monthly rental charge of 7,404 Birr. It has 64 KB memory and 9.6 MB of fixed and removable disk space. The data capturing mode is by off-line cassette encoders, model 7200. This system is still in operation, using IMOS operating system and COBOL software, unlike the previous IBM machines. Mr. Tsigie, the head of the data-processing centre, said that they had big problems with the conversion from one mode of operation to the other. This was mainly due to lack of qualified manpower, and also system conversion procedures were not discussed with the vendor in advance. File handling was completely reorganized. It took a very long time to normalize operations.

The additional application installed on the 8200 is a ticketing system, which provides a receipt from one destination to another along the railway lines. The system is integrated with the accounting system and run frequently.

EDP Personnel and Organization

The EDP centre is organized under the direct supervision of the General Manager. The centre has a head of data processing, a supervisor for all operations, a programmer, three encoders, and three operators.

The head said that initially the qualifications of the staff recruited did not meet the minimum required level for the profession. Intake was from 10th graders and below and as a result any attempt to upgrade the level was futile. Staff from the EDP centre were sent to local training centres, but they did not gain from the training or develop their level of understanding of computers.

The other major factor affecting the growth of consciousness was past work methods. All programming and operation activities were done by a single person. Other staff were allowed to do clerical jobs only. Currently the system has only one console/terminal, which is always occupied by the operator. Even the programmer does not have the opportunity to develop programs, let alone other staff. Mr. Tsigie's concluding remarks were about the future plans of the EDP. The railway will in the near future acquire an NCR 9020 with five on-line terminals on a rental basis.

Library and Information Services

Present Situation

Automation of library and information services in Ethiopia is a recent phenomenon. Although several government bodies such as Addis Ababa University, Ethiopian Air Lines, the National Bank of Ethiopia, the Central Statistics Authority, and the Ministry of Industry have introduced computers to their systems for efficient operation, their application for information and documentation work remains at only a conceptual level.

A survey conducted in 1987 by the Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission to assess library and information services and resources in the country indicates that, among a total of 63 libraries and information centres covered by the survey, apart from documentation centres of international organizations such as ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa) and ECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) and government organizations such as the Central Statistics Authority, the National Meteorological Services Agency, Ethiopian Airlines, and the Development Project Study Consultancy Agency, none of them had automated their services.5

Although the automation of library and information services in Ethiopia is at an early stage, the efforts being made by some government bodies could be cited as an example of a good practical step forward towards the provision of accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information to the scientific community in general and to researchers in particular. In line with this, it is worth mentioning the effort that is being made by the National Scientific and Technological Information and Documentation Centre (NASTIDC), which was established in 1987 under the auspices of the Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission.

Computer applications for NASTIDC bibliographical and non-bibliographical services activity were developed in two stages. The first started immediately after its establishment in 1987 with an NCR IBM-compatible microcomputer with Unesco's software package CDS/ISIS. The second stage started in January 1988 when NASTIDC acquired an HP3000XE minicomputer and terminals. All the records on CDS/ISIS were then down-loaded to the minicomputer, where the International Development Research Centre's MINISIS software is used. The application of MINISIS has enabled the centre to develop different in-house databases based on users' requirements. In addition, external databases from ILCA and the ECA's Pan African Documentation and Information System have been acquired on magnetic tapes, thus giving access to data sources beyond the centre itself as required.

A further development in NASTIDC's services and its effort to utilize modern information technologies is the acquisition and application of CD-ROM technology for retrospective literature search service. Some of the CD-ROM databases include AGRICOLA and MEDLINE. Reference materials such as Groiler Electronic Encyclopedia and Science and Technology Reference Index are also considered.

In support of these and other developments with respect to IT application and automation activities, NASTIDC had given prior consideration to manpower development. To this effect, in 1988, five of NASTIDC's core staff were trained at Masters level in information science and technology.

Furthermore, the visit made by the core staff to various similar centres in the country and abroad, and the experiences developed from NASTIDC's automation activities, have been used to assist other government organizations in computerizing their own libraries and documentation centres.

In addition to government bodies such as NASTIDC, the libraries and documentation centres of international organizations such as ILCA and ECA play an important role in creating an environment conducive to the promotion of IT innovation in libraries and information services in Ethiopia.

The ILCA's documentation centre has its own computerized information storage and retrieval operation, using an HP 3000/111 minicomputer and 25 terminals with MINISIS software. Furthermore, the centre owns three HP125 microcomputers and a computerized typesetting machine.

The ECA's Pan African Documentation and Information System had installed an HP3000XE minicomputer and 60 terminals with MINISIS software for its information storage and retrieval system, and it offers an on-line search service on its bibliographical databases such as PADDEV, which covers economic, technological, and social development information on Africa.

Future Trends

Progress is being made in the area of on-line networking, on-line ordering, and electronic document backup services, which have been seen as major functions of NASTIDC since 1989.

The network is envisaged to include nine sectoral systems in the first instance. This trend is expected to help professionals involved in information processing, storage, and dissemination to exploit the potential of IT and thereby encourage and promote innovative development of IT in the country.

In addition, NASTIDC's plan to create a remote on-line link for literature search services is one of the measures that would contribute to the high degree of the involvement of this sector in the application and utilization of IT products, including telecommunication facilities.

The existing modern telecommunication network, which is digital, will inevitably facilitate and ease the networking project. The Ethiopian Telecommunication Authority attested to the fact that there would not be any technical problem in implementing the proposed networking plan. Besides the national network, linkage with regional and international data banks seems possible since Ethiopia owns a communications satellite earth station.

Automation of library and information services should be backed by rigorous training of the required personnel. Therefore, it is NASTIDC's future plan to arrange regular training schedules for library/information professionals at different levels. In this programme, automation of library and information services will be given major emphasis.

6. Education and training in IT

Computer training was started by companies such as NCR and BURCO, and most of the training was provided at their customers' installations. However, recently NCR and BURCO have conducted training courses at their offices. The computer courses provided by the NCR Corporation, BURCO Systems, and the Bureau for Electronic Computer Services are listed in the Appendix.

The National Computer Centre

The NCC started providing training courses in 1988. The training programme was designed and given by practicing engineers and their assistants, who form the core of NCC's R&D staff.

The courses are offered to three categories of trainees. The first category comprises those interested in word processing, database management, and the preparation and use of spreadsheets. The second category comprises those with an in-depth knowledge of either computer software or hardware. Courses in programming, digital techniques, etc., are offered to this group. Lastly, there are courses for professionals such as engineers, architects, and economists, who use computers to facilitate and improve their work. For these there are courses on packages relevant to their field of specialization like CAD, MICROSTAT, SYSTAT, and SPSS.

Training on the Amharic disk operating system and other Amharic application software is also given. NCC also organizes tailor-made training programmes to institutions by special arrangement.

Addis Ababa University

Minor and diploma programmes in computer science are among the regular programmes offered by the Department of Mathematics of Addis Ababa University since 1986. The department has now revised the previous programmes so that it helps satisfy the present requirements as seen by the department.

Appendix: Computer courses



Fee/person

Course subject

Duration

(Birr)

NCR Corporation



TIME: Monday through Friday, 5.00 to 8.00 p.m.



1. Introduction to data processing

7 days

500

2. COBOL 74

14 days

700

3. IMOS III Operating Systems

7 days

500

4. BASIC

14 days

700

5. FORTRAN

14 days

700

6. Basic systems analysis skills

14 days

700

7. PASCAL

14 days

700

8. Personal computer operation

14 days

500

Bureau for Electronic Computer Services



TIME: Monday through Friday, 5.00 to 8.00 p.m.



1. Electronic data processing concept

14 days

350

2. Basic COBOL programming

30 days

645

3. Intermediate COBOL programming

30 days

710

4. BASIC programming

21 days

645

5. FORTRAN IV programming

21 days

645

6. Systems analysis and design

14 days

475

BURCO Systems



TIME: Monday through Friday, half-days



1. Introduction to computers & programming

5 days

300

2. BASIC programming

12 days

550

3. ANSI '74 COBOL programming

30 days

950

4. FORTRAN programming

12 days

550

Source: Information is based on 1988 catalogues.

References

1. Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission. "Assessment of the Current Situation and Problems of S&T in Ethiopia." Conference on National Science and Technology Policy of Ethiopia, ESTC, 1988.

2. Development Project Study Agency. Technology and Development Perspective Studies, No. 3, 1983.

3. ETA Bulletin. August 1988.

4. Statement by Mr. Behabtu Degu, Central Statistics Office supervisor, 1969.

5. Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission. "A Survey on Library, Information and Documentation Activities in Ethiopia." ESTC, 1987.

(introduction...)

Michael A. Nwachuku

1. Introduction

Nigeria, like most developing countries, is an "information-poor" country. The sparsity of published current information is particularly acute in the informatics area, which is still in its infancy. Ideally, this report should have been based on a recent nationwide survey, but such a survey could not be undertaken for lack of time and other resources. Consequently the author has had to rely on readily available material and on his personal observations and general impression of the informatics scene in Nigeria. It is hoped nevertheless that the picture drawn here is a balanced and reasonably accurate one.

This section supplies essential background information on Nigeria, gives an overview of IT activity in the country, and outlines the structure of the report.

Background Data on Nigeria

Geography

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is situated on the West African coast between latitudes 5°N and 14°N, and between longitudes 2°E and 14°E. Covering an area of some 924,000 km2, the country is bounded in the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and shares common borders with the Benin Republic in the west, with Niger to the north, with the Chad Republic to the north-east, and with the Cameroon Republic to the east. Nigeria is the most populous state in Africa, with a mid-1985 population of 95,198,000 (one out of every six Africans is a Nigerian), and the tenth largest in the world.

The climate is wholly tropical. There are basically two seasons: a wet season lasting from April to September, and a dry season lasting from October to March. All the rainfall occurs in the hot and humid wet season. In the dry season, the harmattan wind blows from the Sahara desert, bringing a cloud of very fine dust to most areas.

Politics

Nigeria emerged from British colonial rule in 196O, and for 19 of its 29 years of existence as an independent state has been under military rule - a legacy of no fewer than six coups d't. The present military regime headed by a president, General Ibrahim Babangida, came to power in 1985 after toppling a military predecessor. The government has embarked on a transition programme to return the nation to civilian rule in 1992.

Economy

The major economic indicators are summarized in table 3.1. The most significant economic event in the country is arguably the discovery, in 1956, of crude oil in commercial quantity in the area of the Niger delta. Thereafter, exploration and mining operations, carried out initially by international oil companies such as Shell and BP, were intensified, and the first consignment of crude oil was exported in 1958. In 1976, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) was incorporated to engage in exploration, production, and processing activities side by side with the multinationals. Soon, oil became the nation's principal dollar earner, contributing, since the 1970s, to more than 80 per cent of total export revenue (95.1 per cent in 1984).

Table 3.1. Economic indicators

Area: 924,000 km2
Population (mid-1985): 95,198,000
Average annual growth rate of population: 3%
Labour force (1981): 38,240,000
Scientific & technical manpower (1980): 133,750
GDP (1984): US$61.4 billion
Total export earnings (1983): US$11.654 billion of which, Petroleum: US$9.24 billion

Average annual growth rate of GDP (%):

1965-73

1973-79

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

9.7

3.9

-2.9

-2.9

-1.9

-6.4

-0.6

Currency exchange rate (1US$ = XN):

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

X

0.55

0.61

0.67

0.67

0.79

0.89

3.3

3.3

7.2

Average annual wage (1989):

Minimum

Senior civil servant

University professor

Managing director, private sector

N1,500

N12,000

N20,000

N40,000

Source: Europa Yearbook, vol. II (1987); UNIDO, Nigeria, Industrial Development Review Series, 1985.

However, with the collapse of the international oil market starting about 1982, the economy entered a period of rapid decline. For example, GDP per capita declined in real terms by more than 27 per cent in the five years 19801985, and export earnings fell to less than half in the same period. The nation is overburdened with a huge international debt, interest payments on which account for as much as 50 per cent of the country's total foreign exchange earnings. The national currency, the Naira, has been devalued by more than 90 per cent since 1980, and inflation is running at the rate of more than 50 per cent per annum. (The value of the Naira is subject to considerable fluctuation; in July 1989, its value in relation to the US dollar was $1.00 = N7.22.)

In 1986, the Babangida administration, in a bid to address the ever-worsening economic situation, introduced a package of austerity measures, which have come to be called the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). Whatever the theoretical merits of SAP, it has brought about a severe lowering of the living standards of the Nigerian wage or salary earner, a fact that triggered the anti-SAP riots that swept the whole country early in June 1989.

Education

During the period of the oil boom, Nigeria experienced a tremendous boost in the provision of educational institutions, though this was not actually matched by the provision of relevant physical facilities. Thus, between 1975 and 1983, primary school enrolment more than doubled while the enrolment in both secondary and tertiary institutions increased nearly five-fold (see table 3.2). Today there are more than 25 universities, most of which are federally supported. There are also scores of polytechnics, technical colleges, and colleges of education.

Education has been badly affected by SAP. Institutions at all levels are today too ill equipped in terms of physical facilities and recurrent funds to serve their educational purpose with any degree of credibility.

Table 3.2. Growth in enrolment in educational institutions, 1975-1983

Year

Primary

Secondary

Tertiary

1975

6,165,547

745,717

44,964

1980

13,760,030

2,345,604

150,072

1981

14,111,608

2,880,280

176,904

1982

14,654,789

3,393,186

193,731

1983

14,383,477

3,561,207

208,051

Source: Europa Yearbook, vol. II (1987).

Industry

The prosperity brought about by the oil boom stimulated a high level of demand among the Nigerian populace for modern consumer goods. This in turn led to the setting up of a large number of manufacturing industries operating on an import-substitution basis. By 1980 there were well over 3,000 industrial establishments engaged in a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from the extraction and refining of minerals, through food processing and brewing, to the manufacture of a variety of intermediate goods.1 The impressive list of goods manufactured in Nigeria includes: dairy products; canned fruit, fruit juices, and preserves; refined vegetable oil; processed foods; beers and stout; sugar and confectionery; tobacco products; drugs and medicines; textiles and leather goods; paper products; industrial chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides; paints and cosmetics; rubber and plastic products including tubes and tyres; cement; structural steels and other metal products; motor vehicle assembly and spare parts; electrical appliances, electrical cables, radio and television sets.

In the prevailing climate of economic recession, marked by scarcity of foreign exchange and a rapidly depreciating value of the Naira, many industries have had to either close down, or operate well below capacity, for want of raw materials or spare parts. A recent survey carried out by the Manufacturers' Association of Nigeria showed that the average industrial capacity utilization in the second half of 1988 was 40 per cent, compared with 35 per cent in the first half of the same year.2

Agriculture

Agriculture, which in the 1960s used to be the mainstay of the economy, suffered a considerable decline in the 1970s and early 1980s as a result of the expansion in the oil sector. In 1982, agriculture contributed only 1 per cent to total export earnings. The decline in agriculture was accompanied by a massive growth in the food import bill. Ironically, the vast majority of Nigerians still live in rural areas and are dependent on peasant farming. Successive governments have, since the 1980s, sought to restore agriculture to its former role and make the nation once again self-sufficient in the production of the staple foods. The importation of grains such as rice and wheat has been banned, without viable alternatives in some cases, e.g. wheat.

IT Overview

For the purposes of this report we shall adopt Drew's definition in chapter 1 of this volume (p. 10) of the term information technology (IT) to include all those computer-based activities that derive from the convergent disciplines of micro-electronics, computing, and telecommunications, and that have led to the reorganization of the processes of production, distribution, and circulation in society. Implicit in this definition is the notion of information as an important resource that may be generated, shared, and utilized in decision-making. Drew further groups the application of IT into four categories summarized as follows:

(1) applications that introduce computing power to the industrial process;
(2) use of digital techniques in communications;
(3) office automation including banking;
(4) micro-electronics in consumer products.

In Nigeria hitherto, the first category has not occurred in any innovative, self-reliant way. Advanced factory installations built in Nigeria, usually on a turnkey basis, frequently involve process computers as an integral part of the plant. Examples are found in the oil industry and in the iron and steel plants. Their influence on indigenous technology had until recently been fairly limited. There are signs however that, pressed by SAP, industries are beginning to show more interest in this area.

Public data communication services have not yet arrived in Nigeria. Private companies are meeting their needs for data transmission on a "do-it-yourself" basis using the analogue facilities of the Nigeria Telecommunications Co. (NITEL), the nation's postal, telegraph, and telephone administration.

As for the fourth category, namely consumer electronics, there is as yet no autonomous electronics industry in Nigeria. Consequently, in the context of innovative and self-reliant uses of IT in Nigeria, this report will, in the main, be concerned with the first and the third categories.

Outline of the Report

Section 2 of the report discusses the growth of information technology (really, the growth of computer usage) in Nigeria. Information is given on the diffusion of computers in various sectors of the economy, the number of installations, and the types and brands of computers in common use.

Section 3 discusses the issue of a national IT policy. It is shown that, while the use of computers has been growing steadily in the public sector and government has from time to time made pronouncements on computers and related subjects, there is no IT policy in Nigeria that can be properly so called.

Section 4 is devoted to a discussion of the status and prospects of the computer services industry in Nigeria. Ideas being floated on the manufacture of computers or related hardware components and the setting up of a software industry in Nigeria are also discussed.

Section 5 is devoted to the telecommunications infrastructure. Data on the current state of the telephone network are given, as are current developments in the area of data networks in the banking and the oil industries.

Section 6 focuses on the pattern of application of IT in the various sectors of the economy with special emphasis on industry and the service sector, and section 7 deals with the important issue of IT education and training in Nigeria.

Section 8 contains the summary and the main conclusions of the report.

2. Growth of information technology

Historical Perspective

It is on record that the electronic digital computer made its first appearance in Nigeria in 1963, in connection with the analysis of the 1962/63 national census data.3 In the 10 years between 1963 and 1973, the total computer population in the country stood at 20-25, with 6 or so of these being associated with the multinational companies. By 1977 the total number of installations had grown to around 70. It was by this time that many universities, government departments, and parastatal organizations, including the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the Federal Office of Statistics, as well as many banks and commercial firms, began to show interest in computers.

Up to 1977 there were only three computer vendors in Nigeria. They were JCL, IBM, and NCR, and all three were the local subsidiaries of overseas computer manufacturers dealing almost entirely with mainframes and minicomputers. In 1977, the government promulgated the indigenization decree, which set apart some categories of industrial activity exclusively for participation by Nigerian nationals, while stipulating a minimum of Nigerian interest in others. One of the three original vendors, IBM, did not want to comply with the decree, choosing instead to pull out of the country.

The decree produced two other important effects. First, there was an influx of indigenous vendors in the computer business. Secondly, the keener competition in the industry led to more aggressive marketing policies. As a result, the number of computer installations in the country rose sharply. Whereas 39 computers were installed in 1975-1977, 1978-1980 witnessed the addition of 197 new installations. There were 149 new installations in 1981-1983, and a further 99 in 1984-1986.4 Already by the end of 1982, the price of crude oil was beginning to drop sharply in the spot market; and this marked the beginning of the foreign exchange debacle and the attendant import restrictions.

Table 3.3 lists some important milestones in computer usage in Nigeria.

Computer diffusion

The Federal Office of Statistics (FOS) has conducted periodic but unpublished censuses of computer installations in Nigeria; the latest of these gives the position at the end of 1984.5 Published computer statistics began to appear in 1983 when the first edition of the Nigerian Computer Users' Directory (NCUD)6 was published. The second edition of the NCUD appeared in 1985 and the third edition in 1988. The availability of this directory permits more accurate statements to be made regarding computer diffusion in the various sectors of the economy. The data contained in the directory must, however, be treated with caution.

Table 3.3. Milestones in IT usage in Nigeria

Year

Event

1948

Visible record computer sold to Nigerian Ports Authority by ICL

1949

NCR incorporated

1961

IBM incorporated

1963

Computer hired to assist in the processing of the national census data (operated by expatriates)

1963

IBM African Education Centre set up at University College, Ibadan (renamed U1 Computing Centre, 1966)

1972

Computer science courses instituted at University of Lagos, University of Ife, and University of Ibadan

1973

Computers used in 1973 national census

1975

Computer science courses instituted at more universities, including the University of Nigeria, Nsukka

1977

Indigenization decree promulgated

1978

Computer Association of Nigeria (CAN) inaugurated

1978

Computer vendors Data Science, JKK, Datamatics, and Debis established

1981

Many more computer vendors established

1982

Banks begin to computerize

1982

Import licensing started

1983

First microcomputer exhibition at Lagos by Ogis & Ododo- 33 vendors exhibited

1984

Anambra State Government Ministry of Finance places order for locally manufactured microcomputers

1985

Committee of Directors of Nigerian Universities Computing Centres (CDNUCC) inaugurated

1987

NNPC optical fibre computer communication network

Table 3.4. Growth of industrial computer installations since 1977



Industrial installations

Year

Total no. of installations

No.

As % of total

1977

115

20

17.4

1980

235

45

19.1

1983

390

80

20.5

1985

496

110

22.2

1988

754

177

23.5

Source: Ref. 6.

Fig. 3.1 shows the growth of computer installations from 1974 to 1988, broken down into three categories, namely:

(1) government installations, including parastatals and educational institutions;
(2) the service sector, including commerce and banking;
(3) industry (manufacturing and production).


Fig. 3.1. Growth of computer installations in Nigeria, 1974-1988 (Source: ref. 7 and ref. 9)

As can be seen in table 3.4, the proportion of total installations going to the industrial sector rose steadily from about 17 per cent in 1977 to 23.5 per cent in 1988. It seems that this showing has been won at the expense of government installations, which from fig. 3.1 appear to be levelling out. (The government share of installations is probably set to rise with the present computer sales drive targeted at the local government administrations, which are now beginning to function effectively as the third tier of government.7)

Geographical Spread

The state-by-state distribution of computer installations in Nigeria, using data from the NCUD (1988), is shown in table 3.5. Lagos State leads the field with 72 per cent of all installations, followed by Oyo State (5.0 per cent), Kaduna (including Katsina State) (3.9 per cent), Bendel State (3.1 per cent), Anambra (2.9 per cent), and Kano State (2.2 per cent). The other 14 states share less than 11 per cent.

Table 3.5. Distribution of computer installations by state, 1988

State

No. of installations

Percentage

Anambra

22

2.9

Bauchi

5

0.7

Bendel

24

3.1

Benue

3

0.4

Borno

2

0.3

Cross Rivera

7

0.9

Gongola

4

0.5

Imo

13

1.7

Kadunab

30

3.9

Kano

17

2.2

Kwara

8

1.0

Lagos

550

71.7

Niger

1

0.1

Ogun

10

1.3

Ondo

12

1.6

Oyo

38

5.0

Plateau

5

0 7

Rivers

13

1.7

Sokoto

3

0 4

Source: Ref. 6, 3rd edn.
a. Includes Akwa Ibom State.
b. Includes Katsina State.

The position of the Lagos metropolis as the political, commercial, and industrial capital of Nigeria, as well as being the base of practically all computer vendors in Nigeria, easily explains its dominance in computer usage. Oyo, Kano, Kaduna, and Bendel states, each with more than 2 per cent of the installed computer capacity, are also known to have a significant concentration of industries.

Computer Types

Table 3.6 shows the percentage distribution of types of computers used in Nigeria (all sectors) from 1979 to 1988. The growing population of microcomputers is hard to estimate, as has already been noted. It is however certain that the trend is towards the increasing use of microcomputers: "the trend in computer sales in Nigeria indicates that older computerized companies and institutions with mainframes, as well as those newly computerizing (with or without mainframes or minis), are all investing substantially in desktop micros."8

Table 3.6. Types of computer installation, 1979-1988

Year

Microcomputers % of total

Minicomputers % of total

Mainframes % of total

1979


50

50

1983

10

57

33

1985

24

58

18

1986

24

41

35

1988

41.5

44.6

13.9

Sources: 1979 - ref. 10; 1983 - ref. 5; 1985 - ref. 6, 2nd edn; 1986 - ref. 4; 1988 - ref. 6, 3rd edn.

Computer Brands

Using figures compiled by the NCUD, the distribution of installed computers among the leading brands (1988) is shown in tables 3.7-3.9. With the mainframes, the most popular computers are NCR (22 per cent), IBM, and ICL (each with 21 per cent of the total). Others are Wang (18 per cent) and Cyber CDC (13 per cent).

With minicomputers, the leading brand is NCR (24 per cent), closely followed by ICL (23 per cent). Monroe (LC) (15 per cent) and Digital (PDP and VAX) (12 per cent) are also well represented.

In the area of microcomputers, the IBM personal computer (PC) is the clear leader (43 per cent); Apple (20 per cent) and Tiger (16 per cent) are also well represented. The figures need to be adjusted to take account of undeclared micros. The journal Computers in Africa estimated that there were 350,000 microcomputers in Nigeria in 1988.9 This figure, which includes home computers as well as microcomputers used in institutions and commerce, is probably an overestimate.

Source of Imports

Table 3.10 shows the importation of digital computers by country of origin in the first six months of 1988; table 3.11 gives the importation of off-line data-processing (DP) equipment for the same period.

The total value of computer-related imports for the first six months of 1988 is N90,616,100, made up as follows:

Digital computers

N

71,357,300

Analog and hybrid computers

N

15,393,300

Off-line DP equipment

N

2,064,200

Peripheral units

N

1,393,400

Central storage units

N

407,900

Total

N

90,616,100

Table 3.7. Brands of mainframe computers in use, 1988

Make

No. installed

% share

NCR

32

21.6

IBM

31

20.9

ICL

31

20.9

Wang

26

17.6

Cyber CDC

20

13.5

Eclipse

6

4.1

Prime

2

1.4

Total

148

100.0

Source: Ref. 6, 3rd edn.

Table 3.8. Brands of minicomputers in use, 1988

Make

No. installed

% share

NCR

99

24.0

ICL

96

23.2

Monroe

60

14.5

Digital

49

11.9

Microdata

31

7.5

Hewlett-Packard

24

5.8

IBC Super Cadet

14

3.4

Nova/Olivetti

12

2.9

Wang

12

2.9

IBM

11

2.7

Texas Instruments

5

1.2

Total

413

100.0

Source: Ref. 6, 3rd edn.

Table 3.9. Brands of microcomputers in use, 1988

Make

No. installed

% share

IBM

206

43.3

Apple

94

19.7

Tiger AT

76

16.0

Tandy

36

7.6

ICL PC

21

4.4

Wang

16

3.4

Commodore

9

1.9

Amstrad

2

0.4

Atari

1

0.2

Sanyo PC

1

0.2

Total

476

100.0

Source: Ref. 6, 3rd edn.

Table 3.10. Imports of digital computers complete by country, January-June 1988

Country

Value kg

No.

N'000

Japan

310,337

46,381

46,525.3

United States

35,895

699

15,057.6

United Kingdom

18,444

468

4,395.2

Germany (West)


2,022.8


Netherlands


1,052.0


France

2,089

202

891.6

Switzerland


636.3


Korea (South)

2,134

210

461.0

Ireland

1,772

191.9


Italy

302

19

85.6

Australia

268

12

22.8

Hong Kong

106

2

11.4

Free Zone

38

1

3.8

Total



N71,357.3

Source: Federal Office of Statistics.

Table 3.11. Imports of off-line data-processing equipment by country, January-June 1988

Country

Value kg

No.

N'000

United Kingdom

3,635

43

786.3

United States

9,383

202

609.2

Israel

2,000

70

158.7

Germany (West)

455

13

132.6

Belgium

2,953

48

103.4

France

33

6

85.8

Hong Kong

3,320

6

66.4

Italy


61.3


Japan

1,654

40.8


Switzerland

33

1

11.7

Austria



8.0

Total



N2,064.2

Source: Federal Office of Statistics.

3. IT policy

Nigeria does not as yet have an IT policy, although at almost every gathering of computer people in Nigeria there is a call for a national computer policy and a high-powered executive authority to give effect to the policy.

Government has however from time to time taken a stand on some specific IT issues and these are discussed in this section.

Central Computer Committee

In the late 1970s the federal government set up a committee known as the Central Computer Committee, charged with the task of assembling available national data on computing. The committee was expected to develop standards for users, vendors, and consultants on computer projects as well as to develop inputs for a national policy on computing. As this was a period of import restrictions, the committee had the additional function of reviewing all applications for the importation of computers and making recommendations to the Ministry of Finance for the grant of import licences. The latter function tended to dominate the activities of the committee. But, with the advent of import deregulation (one of the gains of SAP), the committee can now be fairly said to be moribund. One of the former members of the committee has stated that the committee succeeded in making recommendations for a computer policy;'10 if so, the recommendations do not seem to have seen the light of day, nor is there any apparent policy action stemming therefrom.

Committee on Micro-electronics

In 1986, an advisory panel set up by the minister to discuss micro-electronics development in Nigeria made a number of far-reaching recommendations, which included:

- a programme of short-term activity directed towards the development, design, and fabrication of prototypes of microprocessor-based systems;
- the creation of activity centres for the implementation of the short-term plan;
- the foundation of a Technology Development Centre;
- the formation of a national committee on high-technology microelectronics.

The recommendations came at a time when a National Science Fund was being set up, and so funding seemed to have been assured. Although the plans are still at the gestation stage, there is evidence that they are being vigorously pursued.

Overall there are signs that the federal military government and state governments are taking the computer question very seriously. For example, the Anambra State Government has been at the forefront of giving moral and financial support to the initiatives at the state's University of Science and Technology to develop a computer manufacturing capability.

Research Institutes

Of the nation's 22 or more federally funded research institutes, two are being designated centres of excellence for high technology. These are the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO) at Lagos and the Projects Development Institute (PRODA) at Enugu. These two centres are expected to play an important role in IT developments, especially in manufacture.

Assessment

However encouraging these government initiatives may be, they are not a substitute for a coordinated national strategy for computer development in the country. The case for government intervention is all the stronger because, in a developing nation, government, by tradition and sheer resource base, plays a preeminent role in all aspects of national development. This issue is discussed in Foster et al.11

4. The computer service industry

Nigeria imports virtually 100 per cent of all its IT equipment, and a diversity of firms exist to supply, service, and maintain the imported equipment. There are however problems associated with poor vendor performance and the high cost of computing equipment. Local manufacturing is under discussion.

Computer Companies

There are over 200 registered companies in Nigeria offering a broad range of computer-related services. Most of them were set up between 1977 and 1982 to take advantage of the indigenization decree and the then prevailing economic boom. Table 3.12 lists some of the more notable ones.

A partial survey conducted in 1986, involving 47 computer companies, showed that 88 per cent of these were vendors; 79 per cent were consultants; 70 per cent offered training services; 68 per cent had maintenance facilities; while 45 per cent offered bureau services.4 There is a lot of overlapping as many firms offered three or more services.

As is to be expected, the companies vary widely with respect to available capital, experience, and technical expertise, and the quality of maintenance and after-sales service provided. The weakest link in the chain is in the area of a reliable maintenance service to reduce the incidence of down-time in installations. Even where service facilities exist, replacement parts may not be readily available. The quantity and range of spares carried are not enough, and waiting times for imported spare parts are usually very long. The problem is aggravated by a proliferation in the different makes of imported computers - especially micros - available in the market. User complaints about vendors are more often than not associated with the great difference between claimed and actual maintenance capability. But, as one speaker at a recent symposium and workshop said, "the area of operation of fraudulent vendors is becoming narrower than before"; the speaker went on to predict that in time these vendors would disappear. 12

Table 3.12. Some major computer firms in Nigeria

Name of firm

Year

Head office

Remarks

Advance Micro Technology


Lagos

Hardware sales & service

Arit of Africa


Ibadan

Hardware sales, CAD

Avant Garde Holdings Ltd.

1977

Lagos

Power supplies & equipment

Baico Computer Ltd.

1987

Lagos

Data processing & training

Computer Link


Lagos

CAI software & training

Data Processing & Maintenance Service Ltd.


Lagos

Represents IBM interests

Data Sciences (Nigeria) Ltd.

1974

Lagos

Hardware sales & service

Data Systems (Nigeria) Ltd.


Lagos

Systems analysis, software design, sales & service

Debis (Nigeria) Ltd.


Lagos

Systems analysis, software design, sales & service

GICEN Technical Services

1978

Lagos

IBM PCs sales & service

Haven Nigeria Computer Ltd.

1976

Lagos

Hardware sales & service

Inlaks Ltd.


Lagos

Sales, service & training

International Computer Ltd.


Lagos

Manufacturer's reps, sales & service

IPBC Nigeria Ltd.


Lagos

Peripheral equipment & supplies

Joint Komputer Kompany


Lagos

Hardware sales & service

Kittel International Systems Ltd.


Lagos

Hardware, sales & service

Leventis Technical Ltd.

1972

Lagos

Hardware sales & service

Louisson Data Systems Ltd.


Lagos

Hardware sales & service

Management Information

1981

Lagos

Hardware sales & service

McPAT Ltd.

1980

Lagos

Hardware sales & service

Micro Products International Ltd.


Lagos

Micro sales & service

Modellor Design Aids Ltd.

1978

Lagos

Micro assembly & service

National Cash Register Ltd.


Lagos

Manufacturer's reps, sales & service

Ogis & Ododo Assoc. Ltd.

1980

Lagos

Sales, training & service

Peat, Marwick & Ogunde


Lagos

Software consultants

Resmund Nigeria Ltd.


Lagos

Hardware/software sales, training & recruitment

Rimax Computer Services

1976

Lagos

Education & training

Rinsa


Lagos

Maintenance specialists

Technology & Systems

1983

Lagos

Hardware/software sales, consulting, data processing

Universal Computer Ltd.

1978

Lagos

Hardware sales & service

Source: Ref. 4.

On the whole the companies are doing a creditable job, in spite of their numerous handicaps, in supplying the growing need for computer equipment and services in Nigeria. The next few years will see a vast improvement, as suppliers take advantage of the liberalization of foreign exchange and the increased volume of business expected from growing computer usage. Already a new development has started with the setting up by NCR of a Rework Centre at Lagos for the refurbishing of ageing equipment.

The Cost of Computers

Without doubt, the single most important factor contributing positively to the growing popularity of computerization in Nigerian industry is the availability of the microcomputer, which has greatly reduced the cost of owning and operating a computing facility. At prevailing prices, anyone wishing to install a minicomputer in Nigeria will have to be looking for a sum of about N1 million, with perhaps a similar outlay in the cost of supporting facilities including software. On the other hand, a network of micros that can handle the data-processing needs of most medium-sized companies will be available at about one-tenth of this amount. Sources in the trade suggest that total mainframe and mini sales in Nigeria are running at about 30 units or less per annum.

Unfortunately, micros are still highly priced in Nigeria relative to their international prices. Although one frequently reads about falling prices in the international press, the prices of the same goods in Nigeria seem to be always on the increase. This discouraging situation is explained partly by the low and ever-falling dollar parity of the Naira, and partly by the high mark-ups that have always been a feature of the Nigerian hardware market.

One approach to finding a solution to the problem of the high cost of the micro is the development of computer manufacturing in Nigeria. This issue is dealt with below.

A Home Computer Industry

Nigeria is developing a local computer manufacturing capability for several reasons. These include the high cost of imported equipment, the need to standardize on hardware (and software), and the question of maintenance.13 Assessing these arguments, Pryce expressed the view that "the evidence points overwhelmingly to the local production of a clone of the IBM PC - a machine-type (rather than an individual machine) with a vast store of cheap software, with ample power for 95% of Nigerian computing applications for the next 5 to 10 years, and capable of being periodically up-graded in memory and speed by exploiting US and Japanese advances in chip technology. " 13

One computer firm claims to be assembling the Modellor version of the IBM PC. But experience of the motor car assembly industry in Nigeria suggests that the nation should, from the start, look beyond mere assembly of computing equipment. The Nigerian government seems to have taken a stand on the issue. Dr. Chu Okongwu, the Minister of Finance, was quoted as telling a computer workshop at Owerri in Imo State that "the government is looking forward to the day when a 100% indigenous [computer manufacturing] company will be built and maintained in Nigeria.''8

A development that can be expected in the near future is the appearance of software houses producing application software for local needs. Many of the experts at the symposium reported on by Pryce believe that all requirements for indigenous production of quality software are already met.13 A commercial software venture can only be viable in Nigeria if it is preceded by a degree of standardization of microcomputer types, and, possibly, local manufacture. It may also be useful to consider the Iraqi model, where an information processing centre under the Ministry of Industry undertakes the development of software relevant to the needs of Iraq and distributes them at low cost to government-owned industries, all of which use standardized equipment.14

5. Telecommunications

The Telephone Network

An efficient telecommunication service is an important requirement in the development of computer-based technologies in any country. In Nigeria, responsibility for the public telecommunication service is vested in Nigeria Telecommunications Ltd. (NITEL) (a new limited liability company created in 1985, in succession to the now defunct Post and Telegraphs Department, to run the telecommunication service on a commercial basis). The network has several limitations including inadequate trunk facilities, low grade of service, frequent system breakdown, and a long waiting list for new connections.

NITEL is aware of the need to improve the quality and range of its services. As President Babangida himself has said: "today, the telecommunication network is unreliable and inadequate to meet the demands in the country. In order to improve this situation, a programme of expansion and modernization of the network is being planned."15

To date, the Nigerian telephone network uses electro-mechanical equipment. Current estimates are that there are 205,000 connected telephone sets in the country, giving a density of 2 telephones per 1,000 persons, which is among the lowest in the world. (The comparative figure for the United States is 500 per 1,000 persons, and Ghana has 7 telephones per 1,000 persons. )

In an effort to evolve a coherent telecommunications policy, two national symposia have been held.16.17 Despite much debate, a decision has yet to be made on the introduction of digital switching and transmission systems, although a Minister of Communications once said: "the conclusion of the various submissions overwhelmingly pointed to the fact that Nigeria has to go digital."18

Data Communications

The Nigerian corporate computer user is beginning to demand facilities for wide area computer networks as well as data communications. Examples are the banking industry, NITEL, NEPA, WAEC, and the military. At present, the demand is judged insufficient to warrant the establishment by NITEL of a data communication service using the existing voice facilities,19 although availability can also induce greater demand. Dial-up facilities and leased data lines are in use in the Lagos area, but, as pointed out by Denloye,19 an operator of a leased line "is left pretty much on his own to attach whatever equipment he chooses to the line. He can expect no help from NITEL in determining the quality of the line he leases, and has to ensure correct operation himself."

The oil industry has taken a lead in establishing their own data network with or without the involvement of NITEL. Shell has installed an X-25 packet switched data network between Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Warri using trunk lines leased from NITEL. On the other hand, the NNPC has recently completed a private telecommunication network said to be the largest in Africa.20 The all-digital network incorporates 875 km of optical fibre cables, and will come under the Integrated Data Services Company, one of the 12 new subsidiary limited liability companies established by the NNPC in 1988 as part of its new commercialization programme. The NNPC installation is an interesting development since it is a chink in the armour of monopoly invested in NITEL.

6. Applications of IT

This section discusses IT applications in Nigeria under three sectoral categories, namely: manufacturing industry; the service sector, including banking, transport, and commerce; and the public service sector, including government, education, and medicine. This categorization follows that used by Drew in chapter 1 of this volume.

Manufacturing Industry

As Drew has pointed out, there are three distinct spheres of activity in industrial production. These are the design sphere (which includes research and development), the manufacturing sphere, and the coordination or management sphere. These divisions also exist in a developing country such as Nigeria, except that, in a technological environment heavily dependent on imported technology, the design sector is either non-existent or grossly underdeveloped.

NCUD (1988) lists about 200 computer installations in industrial establishments. This is a considerable underestimate however, as there are probably hundreds or even thousands of undeclared micros. Among the manufacturing industries to computerize are: oil sector (35), pharmaceuticals (16), textiles (12), flour milling (7), cement (6), vehicle assembly plants (7), tyre manufacturing (3), and food processing (3).

Table 3.13. Results of an industrial application survey of 12 firms

Computer application

No. of firms using

Percentage

Financial operations

8

67

Inventory & stock control

4

33

Production planning & control

5

42

Design engineering

3

25

Manufacturing engineering

2

17

NC machine tools

-

-

Source: Ref. 21.

Table 3.14. Use of computers in industry in a survey of 60 firms

Computerized function

Percentage

Accounting

100

Administration

57

Production management

49

Word processing

26

Process control

15

Computer-aided design/engineering

6

Source: Ref. 22.

A limited survey of the use of computers in Nigerian industry was carried out by Tulien in 1985.21 The results, which are summarized in table 3.13, confirm the belief that the bulk of all computer installations in Nigeria use the system for financial accounting, including payroll. Nevertheless, the results also indicate that, in the Nigerian environment, examples of computerization in all three spheres may be found. The same conclusion may be drawn from table 3.14, which was obtained from a rather biased sample of 60 firms.22

The use of computers in manufacturing - with the exception of certain high-technology process industries in which the process computer is essentially a part of the process machinery (e.g. petroleum refining and the steel mill) - is only a recent phenomenon. It is in the area of coordination, or management, that the greatest advance has been made.

Design

The design function is not highly developed in Nigeria, no doubt (as has been observed earlier) on account of industry's heavy dependence on imported technology and product licensing. Computer-aided design (CAD) in Nigeria is limited to a few engineering consultancy firms, especially civil engineering, as well as the oil sector, including refineries.

Computer-aided Manufacturing (CAM)

It is estimated that 3.3 per cent of all computer installations in Nigeria are used for the manufacturing function.4 If we allow that only 20 per cent of the installations are for industrial use, we may infer that only about 15 per cent of industrial computer installations are being used for manufacturing. The application area includes stock control, works order processing, production monitoring and control, and process scheduling.

A number of firms that have taken a lead in this area are already working on the computerization of their maintenance set-up. One factory at which the programme is very advanced (a vehicle assembly plant) is placing emphasis on maintenance cost control, and the integrated scheduling of preventive maintenance with regular machine operation.

Numerically controlled (NC) machines and industrial robots are for the most part unknown. Quality control, a much neglected art in Nigerian industry, is not computerized, although, in the case of a steel mill, computers are used off-line for product monitoring and quality control.

Coordination and Management

The management function includes the following tasks:

- financial administration,
- office automation,
- personnel management.

Financial Administration

Computerization has been most widespread in the area of financial management, including payroll, accounts, general ledger, sales, and invoicing. In fact the accounting task is frequently the motivation for installing the computer in the first place. More than 80 per cent of computer installations are used in this way. There are also many instances of companies that have not installed computers but have their accounts and payroll batch-processed on a bureau computer owned by a vendor or an agency. A reasonable estimate is that more than 50 per cent of all Nigerian industry is using computers for accounting, either in-house by their own DP staff, or with the help of external computer agencies. The software used for this purpose is usually a commercial software product. The companies often do not have expert systems analysts; there may be one or two programmers to maintain the software.

Some firms are reluctant to use a computerized invoicing and billing system. The usual reason given for this is the fear of fraud. In this regard, the public perception of the NEPA and NITEL computerized billing systems as being fraught with absurd errors as well as being often hopelessly inaccurate has not helped to win public confidence.

Table 3.15. Use of programming languages in a survey of 60 firms

Language

Percentage

COBOL

68

BASIC

63

FORTRAN

17

RPG 11

11

Source: Ref. 22.

Office Automation

Office automation is not widespread. Microcomputer-based facilities have word-processing software. Table 3.14 shows that only 26 per cent are using word processors, but this usage has not displaced the familiar secretary behind a typewriter. Companies with only mainframes and/or minis are, not surprisingly, still relying on the manual typewriter. Fax machines are found only in the most advanced offices, but the telex is more widespread. Electronic mail and teleconferencing are virtually unknown.

Personnel Management

Once a company has computerized its payroll, it quickly goes in for computerized personnel administration, making use of the same database employed for payroll.

Database and Spreadsheet

Databases and spreadsheets as software genres are used on micros by technical and general managers who may have a microcomputer installed in their private offices as stand-alone systems. One company plans to integrate these micros with a mini that holds the company's parts database.

Programming Languages

COBOL is the most popular language used, closely followed by BASIC. FORTRAN and RPG 11 are also used. Table 3.15 shows the reported usage of these languages among the 60 firms polled by Ezechukwu. The percentages are assumed to be applicable nationwide.

The Service Sector

The term service sector is used to describe an amorphous group of economic activities that vary in size, scope, and financial capability. For convenience, the sector is further subdivided into three subgroups, namely: banking and other financial institutions; the distributive subsector, including wholesale and retail trade, and hotel and catering; and technical services, including engineering consultancy, building and civil engineering contracting. transportation, and communication.

Banking and Financial Institutions

Nigerian banks are under pressure to computerize23 and many are doing so with considerable financial outlay. NCUD (1988) lists 142 banks that have computer installations. These include both head offices as well as branches in major cities. The economic climate engendered by SAP, which has brought about huge profits and increased competition for the banking industry, has encouraged computerization in the industry. The need to computerize has arisen from operational reasons, for example the complex Interbank Foreign Exchange Market procedures, which necessitate good communication on a daily basis between headquarters and branch offices. But there is also an element of image-building to project computerized banks as progressive and forward-looking financial institutions.

In general, computerization in Nigerian banks is still limited to ledgers, communication, and current account management. There are no automated telling machines, nor are multi-branching facilities available. However, the service to the customer is improving in many respects, including "quick service" cash counters, and prompt and regular monthly statements of account. One area in which service seems to have deteriorated on account of computerization is that it is virtually impossible to obtain information related to a specific transaction outside the bank statement.

The thrust in computerization in banks is in the direction of more automation and networking, but the rate of progress is limited by the inability of NITEL to provide reliable telephone facilities.

There are 22 computer installations in other financial institutions such as insurance companies and investment houses. These use computers for management, in much the same manner as described under the manufacturing sphere.

Distribution

In the distributive trades, the highest number of computer installations is found, not surprisingly, among computer vendors (162), with motor vehicle dealers (24) coming a distant second.

Microcomputerized point-of-sale check-out machines so common in the developed world have yet to make their debut in Nigeria. A few department stores, especially those linked with multinational companies, use computers for management. Computers are not in use in the hotel and catering business.

Technical Services

Here we consider such technology-based services as telecommunications, electricity supply, the construction industry, and transportation (including airlines, shipping, railways, and road haulage).

Communications

In the communications field, NITEL, the national carrier, is heavily computerized, with a huge installed capacity including mainframes, minis, and micros. These computers are located in four regional headquarter offices as well as in the national headquarters at Lagos. The machines are used for administrative purposes and for the management of the telephone network. At present they function on a stand-alone basis, but it is known that NITEL is interested in interconnecting these machines in both local and wide area networks for greater efficiency and increased flexibility.

The National Television Authority (NTA) is computerized, as are the leading telecommunication outfits represented in Nigeria such as ITT and TCas. Computer-assisted postal sorting offices are as yet unknown.

Electricity Supply

The National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) has a virtual monopoly of the power supply industry. NEPA was among the earliest public institutions to be computerized, having acquired its first computer in 1976. Today there are more than 18 computer installations owned by NEPA and these are located at its various offices throughout the country. The computers are used for administrative purposes as well as for load despatching and customer billing.

Construction Companies

Construction companies and civil engineering consultants account for more than 30 computer installations in Nigeria. Computers are used for estimating, document preparation, and structural design.

Transportation

Three airlines, including the national carrier, Nigerian Airways, have computers. Major airline booking centres are computerized, some in network with their Lagos head office. Among the shipping lines, 16 installations are listed by NCUD (1988), with several of these belonging to the Nigerian Ports Authority. In road haulage only one private company owns a computer.

Government and Public Corporations

Government departments are rapidly computerizing. As many as 13 federal ministries have computers; the Ministry of Defence alone has 9 installations. The Ministry of Works operates a computerized maintenance system. The Federal Office of Statistics, the national body responsible for the gathering and compilation of statistical data ranging from trade statistics to commodity prices and population data, is fully computerized.

Among the state governments, it is usual to install a central computer facility in the Ministry of Finance. There are 10 such installations, which are used mainly for financial administration.

There are 45 computer installations in the educational sector. In almost all the 25 universities there is a well-staffed computing centre equipped with a timeshared multi-user mainframe computer used for teaching and research. In addition, several departments and faculties have their own computer facilities, consisting mainly of micros.

Many university computing centres provide computer services for the administrative departments, such as the bursary, the registry, and the library.

Computerization is lagging behind in hospitals. Four private hospitals and a WHO Foundation in Nigeria have computers.

Problems and Prospects

We have seen from the discussion in the preceding sections of this report that computerization in Nigerian industry has advanced considerably beyond the stage when it was a monopoly of a few rich, multinational oil companies and business conglomerates. Computers are now being used by middle-sized companies under indigenous management. Establishments in the latter category are turning to the computer in ever-increasing numbers as an answer to the challenges posed by the economic recession in a new, largely deregulated, and more competitive business environment.

The trend will most likely continue, with the computer diffusing in greater numbers to the medium-sized and, perhaps, to the smaller-scale industries. It is also possible to foresee the computer being put to more complex uses. But the rate of progress will be determined by actions taken to remove the constraints to development present in a number of crucial areas. In this section, we look at these issues in turn, and attempt to predict the prospects for the future of informatics development in the country.

Problems of the DP Departments

All companies with mainframes or minis, and those with a sizeable number of microcomputers (whether stand-alone or connected in network), have data-processing (DP) departments under the control of a data-processing manager who reports either to the technical manager or to the general manager. In general, the staffing levels in those departments is far from satisfactory. One finds a handful of supporting staff- a systems analyst, one or two programmers, and some data entry personnel (who have generally been converted from a lower staff cadre) - and an operator. This staffing level is often adequate to handle only routine data-processing tasks using accounting packages that may have been modified and are maintained in-house. In these circumstances, there is little time or encouragement to engage in original software development aimed at extending or intensifying the degree of computerization.

The problem of inadequate staffing is not primarily due to a lack of qualified personnel in the country. Indeed, unemployment among qualified and trained computer practitioners has become a fact of life in Nigeria today; there is however a dearth of experienced high-calibre personnel. The poor staffing levels seem to have been necessitated by management policies that do not accord a high priority to the DP department in a period of economic recession and job insecurity. As one DP manager put it: "How can you ask for more staff when you are lucky to keep your job?"

The issue is compounded by a lack of cooperation from personnel in departments slated for computerization. There is the fear that computerization will, at worst, lead to mass retrenchment, or, at best, to a loss of earnings from institutionalized overtime perquisites.

Management, on its part, sometimes appears only tolerant of the DP departments, and can justify their existence only by saddling them with other responsibilities outside the strictly data-processing function (one DP manager is also in charge of the procurement and maintenance of office equipment and supplies).

The problems faced by the DP departments are thus: low status; lack of management support; poor staffing levels; and lack of cooperation bordering on outright hostility from departments "in danger" of computerization. As a result, there exists a severe underutilization of computing equipment, as well as low productivity among the staff. As one DP manager observed: "It makes you and the computer seem dull."

An improvement in the situation discussed above can come about only with the development of a better attitude to computers among decision makers, managers, and the general workforce. There is no indication at present that the representatives of the labour unions are being confided in by management, when computerization is being planned, to get their support. Efforts by individual industries in this regard must however be accompanied by a national informatics education campaign.

Infrastructural Deficiencies

The problems associated with the inadequacies of the infrastructural factors as they affect computer development in the less developed countries are very well known. A leading member of the computer community in Nigeria has observed: the environmental situation in Nigeria has remained, resulting in considerable additional cost to computer installations. It is true that computers have become more tolerant to adverse conditions as they have be come smaller, but none-the-less, any installation still has to be supported by a generator, or an uninterruptible power supply system, high quality air-conditioning and, above all, a dust-free atmosphere. I fear that this expense will continue to be with us for some years to come.24

These issues can bear further elaboration.

Electric Power Supply

The most acute problem arises from an erratic power supply. PC users are the greatest sufferers as very often they cannot justify spending large sums of money, perhaps greater than the cost of the PC installations, on stabilizers and UPS (uninterruptible power supply). The cost in frustration when, in a session of about two hours, the power supply fails three or four times, or remains down for an hour or more, has to be experienced to be appreciated.

Apart from a general qualitative appreciation of the power supply problem, there has been no attempt to quantify its severity in terms of extra cost to the user, loss of data, personal frustration, and equipment malfunction. NEPA ceased long ago to publish statistical data of faults in the power system; but the sources of its problems are only too well known:25

- power supply to the "grid" from only one main source,
- single transmission lines to the load centres;
- single transformers at the substations;
- system overloading owing to uncontrolled and uncontrollable expansion of consumer connections;
- gross mismatch between the rate of acquisition of new consumers and the rate of capital investments to reinforce the system.

The attitude that these things will always be with us pervades all strata of society, from the user to the supply authorities. And this is probably justified if one thinks merely in terms of the enormous capital investment that would be needed to bring about a change. This is where a national body supervising the problems and progress of computerization can come in. Such an authoritative body would be in a position to quantify the cost to the nation of an erratic power supply as it affects both the computing community and industry generally. It may well be that the annual cost of enduring an erratic power supply is far greater than the annual cost of the capital investment required to bring about an improvement in the reliability of the supply. The issue of reinforcing the national grid to achieve greater reliability must be seen as a national priority.

Summary

In summary it may be observed that the rate of diffusion is fastest in payroll and other accounts-based functions, slower in office-based coordination applications, while manufacturing and design applications come out a poor third.

A similar pattern has been observed in Ireland, and seems to conform to wider international experience. It has been explained in terms of the need for rationality (defined as "the existence of unambiguous and documented procedures by which work is performed") as a precondition for effective computerization.26 In this view, payroll, accounts receivable, general ledger, and other accounting-type tasks are among the most rational processes for all organizations, and are consequently the earliest to be computerized. As a corollary, it may be observed that a general weakness of small-medium-scale industries in Nigeria is that they cannot boast of having the degree of rationality conducive to effective computerization. The diffusion of computers to these areas could be impeded as a result.

7. Education and training in IT

Computer Education in Tertiary Institutions

Computer education in Nigeria has come a long way since the foundation of the IBM African Education Training Centre at the University of Ibadan in 1963 for the training of computer personnel to operate, program, and, to a limited extent, service IBM 1461/1620 machines. Today there are fully fledged computer science departments in Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions teaching a range of subjects including computer organization; software engineering; programming and programming languages; numerical computations; and systems analysis. Studies at these institutions lead to degrees or diplomas in computer science (see table 3.16).

In addition, electrical and electronic engineering departments of Nigerian universities are teaching courses in microprocessors, digital design, and computer interfacing.27

Computer Education in Secondary Schools

Computer literacy camps have been organized for secondary schools in Lagos State. Lately the government has been showing considerable interest in the need for greater computer awareness and literacy in the country. For example, the Federal Ministry of Education in October 1988 announced a programme to spend a sum of N20 million to equip 45 Federal Unity secondary schools with microcomputers. To turn out teachers for the programme, 40 micros will he installed at the National Teachers' Institute, Kaduna.

It is important, however, to place the government's latest initiative in perspective. Assuming that the programme will purchase up to 500 micros, this works out at slightly over 10 micros per school. The Federal Unity schools have no more than 2 per cent of a total secondary school enrolment of about 2 million (on a population base of some 100 million). This effort may be compared in relative scale with a similar programme in Singapore (total population 2.5 million), which as far back as 1981 flooded all secondary schools in that country with 200 mini and micro computers.28

Training

Computer education and training are also offered by a number of private academies (some with government recognition), vendors, and consultants (see table 3.17). These are usually profit oriented and are limited in scope. In many of the major towns there are now computer bureaus, equipped with one or two micros and which offer short-term courses on operating systems (mainly MS DOS) and commercially available application software, e.g. Dbase, spreadsheets, and word processors, in addition to other services.

Table 3.16. Computer education in tertiary institutions

Institution

State

Course title

Award

Ahmadu Bello University

Kaduna

Math with Computer Science

Degree

Anambra State University

Anambra

Electronics/Computer Science

Degree

Bayero University

Kano

Computer Studies

Degree

Federal University of Technology, Abeokuta

Ogun

Computer Science

Degree

Federal University of Technology, Bauchi

Bauchi

Computer Science & Computer Technology

Degree

Federal University of Technology, Owerri

Imo

Communication Computer Engineering Technology

Degree

Obafemi Awolowo University

Oyo

Computer Science

Degree

Rivers State University of Technology

Rivers

Computer Studies

Degree

University of Benin

Bendel

Computer Science/ Data Processing

Diploma/degree

University of Ibadan

Oyo

Computer Science

Degree

University of Lagos

Lagos

Computer Science/ Electronic Data Processing

Degree/certificate

University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Anambra

Computer Science

Degree

University of Port Harcourt

Rivers

Computer Science

Degree

University of Sokoto

Sokoto

Computer Studies

Certificate

College of Science & Technology, Port Harcourt

Rivers

Computer Science

Certificate

College of Technology, Calabar

Cross River

Computer Science

Diploma

Ibadan Polytechnic

Oyo

Computer Science

Diploma

Institute of Management & Technology

Anambra

Computer Studies

Diploma

Kaduna Polytechnic

Kaduna

Computer Studies

Certificate

Source: Ref. 6, 3rd edn.

There is a general consensus that the quality of training, especially in software, is good.13,24 Nevertheless the broad-based educational programmes offered at the universities and polytechnics concentrate on hardware and software issues. There is only a limited exposure to industrial problem-solving. Despite the difficulties in providing training courses in application areas relevant to the needs of a developing country,29 there is a need for greater efforts in this direction. Without doubt, the products of the existing programmes are adequately trained to man routine DP departments and computer centres; and they will always be needed in limited numbers as the base of computerization in the country widens. However, it is emphasized that the country needs a crop of application-oriented computer experts with a firm background in applied science or engineering, and good training in computing and computer-interfacing, to harness the higher capability of the computer to transform a nation's industrial economy.

Table 3.17. Computer training provided by computer vendors and consultants

Course title

No. offering

Percentage

Commercial programming

21

100

General programming

21

100

Scientific programming

21

100

Systems analysis

19

90

Real time programming

16

76

Computer operations

15

71

Data processing

13

62

Systems programming

13

62

Audit of computer systems

11

52

Key punch operation

11

52

Languages for micros

6

29

Software project

6

29

Source: Ref. 6, 3rd edn.

Other bodies, including the universities and computer consultants, also organize conferences, workshops, and seminars on computing themes. Ogis & Ododo, a computer consultant, has pioneered computer publishing in Nigeria with the Nigerian Computer Users' Directory. Ogis & Ododo also publishes a monthly trade journal called Computing and Computers. Another computer directory, The Nigeria Computer and Telecommunication Buyers' Guide, is also available. A new trade journal, The PC Digest, was launched in March 1989 by a computer vendor.

That avenues for disseminating technical and semi-technical information (through books, and international journals and periodicals) are still limited is a sign of the immaturity of computing in Nigeria.

Professional Activities

The first professional body on computers in Nigeria was the Computer Association of Nigeria (CAN), established in 1980. CAN holds widely publicized annual conferences on computers and computer applications at which papers on relevant topics are presented. Adeniran found that, of the 165 papers presented at conferences from 1965 to 1985, no fewer than 89 were presented at CAN conferences.30 Conference proceedings are not generally available in published form.

In 1975, the Committee of Directors of Nigerian Universities Computing Centres (CDNUCC) was formed as a "forum for the sharing of experiences, exchange of ideas and general cooperation" among Nigerian university computing centres.31 A biennial series of conferences was initiated in 1985 and the proceedings were published; there has been no further publication since.

8. Conclusion

Nigeria has made a good start in the adoption of IT but the pace of computerization has been affected by the economic situation, especially the falling revenue derived from crude oil export. IT development in Nigeria has passed through three distinct phases, namely: the early phase from 1963 to about 1975, a period of rapid growth from 1977 to 1982, which was followed by a period of relative stagnation from 1982 to 1986. Currently, there is a new upsurge in the acquisition and use of computers. With the removal of import restrictions and foreign exchange controls, and given the pressure on the management of industrial and business concerns to adopt more efficient methods of production, the use of computers is expanding rapidly both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The pattern of computerization is shifting from mainframe and minicomputers to systems based on the microcomputer. The area of application is mainly in the management field, with emphasis on payroll and other accounts-based functions. CAD/CAM is practiced mainly in the bigger concerns, such as those in the oil and motor vehicle assembly subsectors.

IT has been adopted in many sectors of the economy, particularly industry, banking and other financial institutions, and business. The most common use of computer installations is for administrative and management functions. Considerable IT activity is also taking place in the universities and other tertiary institutions, and in research institutes. However, growth in the applications of IT is hindered by the shortcomings of the computer supply and service industry, as well as by deficiencies in the infrastructural facilities, particularly in the area of electric power supply and in telecommunications. These deficiencies are not being tackled speedily enough.

There is also a need to ease the cost of owning and maintaining a microcomputer. In this regard, due consideration should now be given to the local manufacture of a standard brand of the micro, and the establishment of software houses, possibly with the backing of the federal government. In the educational field, emphasis should now be placed on the production of graduates with experience in applications-oriented areas.

Progress in dealing with these matters will be faster and better coordinated, and will extend the use of computers to more fundamental areas of application, if developments are mediated by a national informatics policy. A national informatics authority should be set up to plan and regulate the process of informatics development. As suggested by Foster et al.,11 the national informatics authority should, among other functions, promote informatics applications in all sectors of the economy; monitor the progress and trends in informatics development in the nation generally; and set national targets for all sectors.

References

1. Federal Ministry of Industries. Industrial Directory, 8th edition. Lagos, 1980.

2. Business Times (Lagos), Monday 27 February 1989.

3. Longe, O. "Computer Education in Nigeria." Computerscope 1 (March 1980), no. 1: 38.

4. Osuji, F. O. "Survey of Computer Evolution in Nigeria to Date." B.Sc. project report, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1986.

5. Federal Office of Statistics. "Census of Computer Installations" (unpublished), 1984.

6. Ogis & Ododo Assoc. Ltd. The Nigerian Computer Users' Directory 1st edition, 1983; 2nd edition, 1985; 3rd edition, 1988.

7. Jason, Pina. "Nigeria's Parastatals Turn to Computers." Computers in Africa 2 (1988), no. 6: 12-13.

8. Fiofori, Tam. "Owerri Hosts Major Workshop." Computers in Africa 2 (1988), no. 6: 2930.

9. "Zimbabwe Software House Condemns Inflated PC Prices." Computers in Africa 2 (May/June 1988): 5.

10. Onunaku, L. K. J. "Nigeria and Computer Policy." Paper delivered at an international conference on programming, CAN, 1985.

11. Foster, F. G., R. J. Nolan, and M. A. Nwachuku. "Informatics in a Developing World - An Action Checklist for National Self-reliance." Information Technology for Development 5 (1990), no. 1.

12. Chiemeka, E. G. "Computer Installation Problems: The Nigerian Situation." Paper delivered at a computer workshop/exhibition, Owerri, 1988.

13. Pryce, J. D. "Computer Manufacturing in Nigeria." Report on a symposium held as part of the Third International Conference on Computational Mathematics, University of Benin, Benin City, 1988.

14. Dewachi, A. Information Technology Development for the Industrial Sector: A Multiplier Effect Model. United Nations University Fellow's Project Report, Dublin: Trinity College, 1988.

15. Babangida, President 1. B. Opening address at the seminar "Satellite Communication Systems for Nigeria," 21 July 1986.

16. Ministry of Communications. Proceedings of Symposium on Telecommunications Policy for Nigeria. Lagos, 1983.

17. Ministry of Communications. Proceedings of Symposium on Telecommunications Policy for Nigeria. Lagos, 1987.

18. Ayuba, A. T. Keynote address at the seminar "Satellite Communication Systems for Nigeria," 21 July 1986.

19. Denloye, E. N. "Data Communications in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects." Technical Journal of the IBM Users' Association 1 (April 1988), no. 1: 85-92.

20. Fiofori, Tam. "Lagos Computer and Telecommunications Exhibition." Computers in Africa 2 (1988), no. 6: 12.

21. Tulien, L. T. "Computer-aided Engineering (CAE) in Nigeria." In: Proceedings, 1st National Conference on Computer Applications, CDNUCC, 1985, pp. 147161.

22. Ezechukwu, Josephine I. "Survey of Computer and Microcomputer Usage in Nigerian Industries." B.Eng. project report, Dept. of Electronic Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1988.

23. Buche, Ele. "Computers Revolutionise Nigeria's Banks." Computers in Africa 3 (1989), no. 1: 15.

24. Ojora, A. Opening address of the Computer Exhibition. In: Proceedings, 1st National Conference on Computer Applications, CDNUCC, 1985, pp. 9-10.

25. NEPA. "Power System Development Plan." Electricity Headquarters, December 1976.

26. Cotterman, W. W. and R. W. Zmud. "Strategies for Developing Computer-based Systems in Less-Developed Countries." In: H. L. W. Jackson (ed.), Teaching Informatics Courses. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1982, pp. 87-100.

27. Nwachuku, M. A. "Microprocessors in Electrical/Electronic Engineering Education in Nigeria: A Survey." Unpublished report, 1983.

28. "Africa's Largest Private Telecoms Network." Computers in Africa (July/August 1988): 9.

29. Deodher, S. V. "Guidelines to Developing Countries Considering Large-Scale Introduction of Computers." In: J. M. Bennett and R. E. Kalman (eds.), Computers in Developing Nations. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1981.

30. Adeniran, O. R. "Bibliometrics of Computer Science Literature in Nigeria." International Library Review 20 (1988): 347-359.

31. Longe, O. Opening Address. In: Proceedings, 1st National Conference on Computer Applications, CDNUCC, 1985, pp. 1-2.

(introduction...)

Klodwig Mgaya

1. History of informatics in Tanzania

Early Problems

The first computer in Tanzania, an ICT 1500, was installed in the Ministry of Finance in 1965. By 1974 there were seven computers in the country and the Ministry of Finance had already acquired a new computer, an ICL 1900. The introduction of computers was beset by problems in almost all installations. These can be analysed under the following headings.

Lack of Qualified Indigenous Personnel

Installations were totally dependent on foreign experts. In some cases these experts were not adequately qualified or experienced. Applications tended not to be properly documented and thus could run only if these foreign experts were around; when they left the country the applications stopped functioning.

Uncoordinated Planning

Uncoordinated planning was most evident with the computer installed at the Ministry of Finance. In the early 1970s the ministry had wanted to computerize the whole government accounting system using an ICL 1900 that was located at the ministry headquarters in Dar es Salaam. The project completely failed and was scrapped after a heavy loss. For two consecutive years the government could not tell how much money it had spent or collected as revenue.

This project failed for two main reasons. First, it was unrealistic to use a centralized card-based computer to process all government accounts. Tanzania covers a vast area with very rudimentary communications. It would therefore be very difficult to get data inputs from all over the country by post or otherwise within a given time. The second cause for the failure of the project was that, while the project was in progress, the government, advised by McKinsey, decided to decentralize its operations and accounting system.

Uncoordinated planning also affected the computer that was installed at the State Trading Corporation (STC). STC was a big parastatal company charged with the task of carrying out import, wholesale, and retail trade for the whole country. The company dealt with over 50,000 different items of stock for the whole country. STC had to know the economic order quantities and costs to avoid stock shortages and to be in sound financial liquidity by avoiding overstocking. STC had also contracted McKinsey to carry out a study of its operations. Later, STC management, after installation of a computer, invited other foreign experts to implement the applications. The two studies were not coordinated and to some extent contradicted each other. The computerization project failed; STC fell into financial and managerial crisis, and finally the government dissolved the company.

Government Intervention

After the failure to computerize the government accounting system and the consequent heavy financial loss, the government came under great criticism from members of parliament and the general public. They pointed out other failures, including that at STC. In 1974 through the Government Gazette, the government banned the importation of computers and all related equipment into Tanzania.

The Ministry of Finance later appointed two teams to carry out a study of the viability and utilization of computers in the country.1 The first team was made up of members from the National Institute of Productivity and the International Labour Organization of the United Nations. This team advised the government to formulate a national policy on computer technology (acquisition and utilization), and a national training programme in computer science.

The second team was called the Government Computer Task Force. Most of its members came from the Government Computer Service Centre at the Ministry of Finance. The team was to report on computer utilization in existing installations; applications running on the computers; the manpower base in the country; and those computers that should be surrendered to suppliers. The team recommended that a computer advisory committee be formed to advise the Minister for Finance on computer matters, and that the government should lay down detailed guidelines on computer acquisition in Tanzania. The team advised against returning any computers to suppliers. The government adopted all the recommendations from the second team and implemented them. It adopted some of the recommendations of the first team but did not implement them.

2. Current situation: Computer hardware

All computer hardware in Tanzania is imported. Currently there are no plans to assemble within the country, and this situation seems likely to continue. Importation of computers into Tanzania was greatly affected by the ban of 1974. There was insignificant growth in the number of units installed in the country between 1974 and 1980. In the early 1980s several factors combined to open the doors for the importation of computers. These were the coming of microcomputers, the obsolescence of existing computers, and the collapse of the East African Community.

The Coming of Microcomputers

As in many parts of the world, microcomputers can easily be afforded by small firms and individuals. Microcomputers are also very small in size compared with second-generation computers, which were still in use up to the early 1980s. In Tanzania, many private companies and some individuals started to import computers using their own funds. Although the government continued to monitor the importation, it was soon overwhelmed as the number of units being imported into the country grew, importers of computers being required to obtain a permit before importation.

However, applications for import licences for microcomputers began to be submitted after the computer had already been installed. The government became even laxer than before because, in the case of microcomputers imported by private organizations and individuals, it was not financially involved.

Obsolescence of Existing Computers

The 1974 ban was so effective that practically no public organization managed to import a computer until the end of the decade. In the late 1970s organizations were still using computers bought in the 1960s. These were already obsolete and frequently broke down. Users were also being told by vendors that it was very difficult to get spares for the old computers. One of the users of these old computers was the Ministry of Finance. The ministry had to give in and buy a new computer. It also gave permits to several other organizations to replace their old computers with new ones.

Collapse of the East African Community

Up to 1977 Tanzania, along with Kenya and Uganda, was a member of the East African Community (EAC). The EAC ran all railways, posts and telecommunications, civil aviation directorates, harbours, and an airline for all the member states. Several of these organizations had computerized their operations. When the EAC broke up in 1977, each country had to set up its own organizations to take over the services that had been carried out by the EAC. For most organizations formed in Tanzania there was a problem because they were taking over systems that had been computerized during the EAC and were now reverting to manual operation. The government was therefore under pressure to buy computers for these new organizations. These organizations had the necessary Tanzanian experts who had worked with the EAC. The government therefore allowed the Tanzania Harbours Authority, Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications, Air Tanzania, and Tanzania Railways to install computers.

The above three factors changed the pace of importation of computers into Tanzania. Currently several public organizations continue to buy computers using foreign exchange allocations from the government. Other organizations acquire computers through donations.

3. Trend in growth of hardware acquisition since the 1960s

Numbers

Information on numbers and makes of computers imported is not readily available. Some investigations have been made.1,2 These authors note that the figures provided are based on inaccurate official statistics. The real number of computers is undoubtedly much higher than those figures. Nevertheless, figures 4.1 and 4.2 show the exponential growth rate of computer acquisition in Tanzania in the 1980s. Table 4.1 shows the number of computers by sector in 1986. As in other countries, what is important is not the number of units but how they are used. This is even more important for computers acquired using public funds.

Computer Vendors in Tanzania

Up to the end of the 1970s, ICL and NCR were the only computer companies with an office in Tanzania. ICL was more dominant, as NCR was more involved in selling business machines than computers. Almost all of the early computers installed in Tanzania were of ICL make.

Currently there are many agents selling computers in Tanzania. Most of these vendors deal with only one make of computer. The following are the main vendors of computers in Tanzania:

- Computer Corporation of Tanzania Limited (CCTL) - Agent for Wang Computers. Currently sells all ranges of Wang computers.
- Computers and Telecoms Systems Limited (CATS) - Agent for ICL Computers. Sells all ranges of ICL computers.
- Business Machines Limited (BML) - Agent for Apple, Olivetti, and recently Digital Equipment Company computers. Currently sells microcomputers and Micro-Vax Computers.


Fig. 4.1. Number of large computer systems in Tanzania, 1968-1986 (Source: ref. 2)


Fig. 4.2. Number of microcomputers in Tanzania, 1980-1986 (Source: ref. 2)

Table 4.1. Distribution of computers by sector, 1986

Sector

Micros

Minis

Mainframes

Other

Total

Percentage

Public








Government

223

7

3

4

237

30.5


Parastatal

223

23

15

17

278

35.7

Private

235

16

4

8

263

33.8

Total

681

46

22

29

778


Percentage

87.6

5.9

2.8

3.7


100.0

Source: Ref. 1.

- NCR Corporation (Tanzania) Limited
Representative of NCR Corporation. Sells all ranges of NCR computers.

- MEECO International Limited (MEECO)
Agent for Unisys Computers. Sells all ranges of Unisys computers.

- International Communications Systems Limited
Agent for IBM computers. Currently deals in microcomputers only.

- IMS Computer Limited
Agent for Amstrad and Tandon computers.

Computer Hardware Market Shares

The computer hardware market shares are still very volatile. Leadership keeps on changing. It is however fair to say that in the minicomputer and mainframe market the most successful vendors so far are JCL, CCTL, and NCR. In the microcomputer market, BML and CCTL may be leading.

Computer Consumables

Apart from the usual computer hardware units, in the case of microcomputers comprised of system unit, monitor, and keyboard, there are consumables that are vital for computer use, including ribbons for printers and floppy disks. These are in short supply within the country and whenever they are available they are sold at exorbitant prices. The price of one high-density floppy disk, for example, is more than US$15.00 in the open market. The same floppy disk sells at around US$1.5 in the Western world.

Servicing of Computer Hardware in Tanzania

Hardware maintenance in Tanzania is a big problem, especially for microcomputers. According to Sheya and Koda,2 about 80 per cent of mainframe computers, 50 per cent of minicomputers, and 60 per cent of microcomputers are owned by institutions, and only 25 per cent of microcomputers owned by individuals have got local support service. This has resulted in some computers standing idle after purchase, as is the case with the IBM system 36 computer at General Tyre (EA) in Arusha. This situation has also resulted in some computer vendors, such as Business Machines Ltd., opting to service a variety of computers in addition to those that they officially support. The Science Workshop at the University of Dar es Salaam is also equipped with personnel who can service a variety of microcomputers and other electronic machines. Lack of spare parts is a major problem for the Science Workshop.

Scarcity of spare parts for computers is a major problem for the whole country. Many vendors concentrate on importing computer units but not spare parts or other accessories. Some vendors, such as CCTL, which is an agent for Wang Computers, completely refuse to service computers that are not imported into the country through them.

4. Current situation: Computer software

Systems and Applications Software

There are no software houses in Tanzania. Most of the software in Tanzania is either imported or developed in-house. All systems software is imported. The discussion below therefore refers only to applications software. For convenience of discussion we can divide software into two groups:

(1) microcomputer software; and
(2) mini and mainframe software.

Microcomputer Software

Most of the applications that run on microcomputers use imported packages, such as Wordstar, WordPerfect, Lotus, Symphony, Dbase, and so on.

Most of the microcomputers are currently used for word processing and spreadsheets. They could be used in more advanced applications such as processing of accounting records. If this is to happen, the software to be used must either be developed internally or be customized to fit the local needs.

Mini and Mainframe Software

Most of the applications that run on minis and mainframes are developed internally. Some have been developed by foreign experts. The main feature in this area is that there are no integrated systems. Most systems are standalones. Plans totally to computerize the operations of the Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications Corporation started in early 1987, but so far there has been no success. The National Bank of Commerce wanted to computerize its operations. It bought an ICL ME 29, a machine that is clearly not configured for such a task. The efforts started back in 1987 and, again, there has been no progress; the machine was already obsolete at the time of purchase. These were two major projects in which foreign experts were involved.

5. Informatics education and training

Central Planning

Tanzania offers free education to all its citizens, from the primary school to university level. All education matters in Tanzania are handled by the Ministry of Education. The ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower Planning, plans all educational matters from the primary school to university level. This is a huge task; it is very easy to lack flexibility and to overlook issues. Informatics education and training in Tanzania may have been adversely affected by this arrangement.

History of Informatics Education and Training in Tanzania

The first informatics training in Tanzania was started by the University College Dar es Salaam in 1965 at the Institute of Adult Education. The university later offered an optional course of programming in FORTRAN to university students who were studying a degree in mathematics; this is still running.

Later, computer courses were offered to students in the faculties of Engineering, Science, Commerce, and Arts (Statistics Department only). These are normally one-subject courses, which in some faculties may be optional.

None of the above courses trains people to be specialists in computing. The courses provide either computer appreciation or how to use computers to solve problems in a specialized area, such as surveying in civil engineering or forecasting in commerce.

In 1974, the University of Dar es Salaam started a Master of Science course in computer science. To many people this was a wrong strategy. There was no reason to start a Masters-level course when no other institution in Tanzania was offering a first degree or even a diploma in the same area. The course had problems and ceased in 1984 after training only 12 Tanzanians, 6 of whom are no longer practising.1 Currently there are plans to start a diploma course in computer science.

Apart from the University of Dar es Salaam, several other government-owned institutions offer courses in computing:

- Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI) This regional management training centre offers short courses and seminars in systems analysis and design, computer operations management, and computer appreciation. It is well staffed and has adequate computing facilities.

- The Institute of Development Management (IDM) Basically conducts courses that complement accountancy and other courses. The institute is not well equipped with computing facilities.

- Institute of Finance Management (IFM) Like IDM, this institute offers computer courses that complement accountancy and other courses. The institute is also not well equipped with computing facilities.

- College of Business Education This college offers computer appreciation courses to students taking diploma courses. The college also conducts short courses in computing. The college is equipped with several PCs.

Problems of Informatics Education and Training in Tanzania

Several factors affect informatics training in Tanzania. These factors apply to all institutes in the country. We can classify these factors as follows:

- apathy,
- lack of instructors,
- lack of books,
- lack of hardware.

Apathy

As already discussed earlier in this report, computers initially earned a bad reputation in Tanzania. After the first failures there was a general opinion that using computers was a wrong strategy and that computers were unreliable. Stories that computers might cause unemployment made them generally unwelcome in a country that was trying to achieve full employment.

Naturally, the government affected the development of computing in Tanzania through its misguided publicity, the banning of computers, and its unwillingness to invest in computer training. This is an area that the government needs to tackle now. In March 1989, the Minister for Finance proclaimed that computers are essential for the future development of the country. This is a major change in Tanzania.

Lack of Instructors

Because there has been little effort specifically to train specialists in computing, there is a critical shortage of computer professionals, let alone instructors. If any meaningful training is to start immediately in the country, then expatriates will be needed.

Lack of Books and Journals

Lack of foreign exchange has seriously affected importation of books and journals for many years. Devaluation has also made books and journals expensive and unaffordable by students and instructors.

Lack of Hardware

Owing to the lack of computer hardware, most of the training institutes teach computing as a theoretical subject. Microcomputers are not very expensive and would be adequate for most of the training institutes. The Faculty of Commerce, for example, has only three microcomputers, while it has a yearly intake of 150 students.

Informatics Education and Training in Private Institutions

Many private institutes and even individuals offer courses in computing. Essentially these have arisen to fill the vacuum left by the government and are playing an important role. The following are some of the private institutes that offer training in informatics:

- International Computers Limited (ICL) This is the oldest computer training institute in the country. In terms of hardware, it is well equipped. It offers short and full-time courses in computer studies. In March 1989, it announced a one-year full-time diploma programme.

- Dar es Salaam Institute of Computer Science and Management (ICSM) This institute offers computer appreciation courses, BASIC programming, and word processing using microcomputers.

- IMS Computers Ltd. Offers courses in word processing.

- Advanced Commercial Institute Offers a course in word processing.

Several other private training institutes have been announced but they have not started operating. As can be seen from the above discussion, all institutes except for ICL offer very elementary courses. Most of these institutes offer very short courses, which raises doubts about the benefits derived from them.

It is difficult to monitor the course content and quality of the courses offered by these private institutes. Each institute gives a certificate, but it is difficult to compare certificates of any two institutions. This suggests the need for centrally controlling and monitoring the certification.

Although private training institutes are doing a good job, it must be emphasized that, given the educational structure of the country, only the government itself in cooperation with training institutes can plan a meaningful informatics training programme. The government should first of all train trainers, and then buy computer equipment to be used by the training institutes.

Training should be geared towards production of the following types of professionals in informatics:

- systems analysts,
- systems programmers,
- application programmers,
- computer operators,
- auditors for computerized systems,
- electronics technicians.

Tanzania has a critical shortage of systems analysts. Many computer systems that have been installed in various organizations in the country are not realizing their full potential because of the lack of systems analysts and good programmers. Some parastatal organizations computerize their applications using experts from abroad. Some of these expatriates do not train indigenous Tanzanians to use the computers when their contracts expire. Several parastatal organizations have been affected by this. A recent example was at Kilimanjaro Tools Limited, where an expatriate decided to uninstall all the programs when he was leaving the country.

Lack of trained Tanzanian personnel in the area of informatics is further underlined by the complete failure of some firms to make use of computers that they have bought. The National Insurance Corporation of Tanzania is failing to use its computer because of lack of personnel. The General Tyre (EA) in Arusha bought an IBM system 36 in 1982 but it has never been installed because of lack of expertise. These are sad stories and they may be only the tip of the iceberg.

6. Computer usage

Computers are put to a variety of uses in Tanzania, depending on the type of computer and the organization owning it. For example, while many firms that own mainframe computers use them for processing accounting data, the main use of these computers at the university is for teaching and the processing of research data. Again, although many firms that own microcomputers use them for word processing, some use them for planning and forecasting, for example using spreadsheets, while a similar type of microcomputer may be used for simulation in the Physics Department at the University of Dar es Salaam.

We can, however, say that the following sections describe the major uses of computers in Tanzania.

Processing of Accounting Data

The processing of accounting data is by far the major use to which computers are put in Tanzania. Many computers are used in payroll processing, billing, and processing of other types of accounting data. Some organizations have sophisticated applications, while many run simple ones. All of the computers currently used in processing accounting data are of the minicomputer and mainframe types.

Processing Research and Survey Data

Processing research means that computers are used not in hardware or software research but as a research tool in a number of fields. The type of research in which computers are used ranges from the very simple, where the computer is used as a calculator to analyse research data, to where a computer is hooked to a high-performance liquid chromatography machine in the Physics Department of the University of Dar es Salaam. Most of the computers, however, are used in processing simple research data.

The types of organizations that use computers to process research and survey data and the types of computers they use vary considerably. The Ministry of Finance's ICL ME 29 computer, for example, is used in processing labour statistics, statistical and other survey data from various ministries, census data, etc. Although some of the research or survey data processed may be routine or predictable, some are ad hoc.

Most of the microcomputers at the University of Dar es Salaam are used in processing research data.

Teaching

Although all computer installations are frequently used for training users or operators, those installed in training institutions are mainly used for teaching. In Tanzania such computers are found at the University of Dar es Salaam Computer Centre and other training institutes, such as the ICL training centre. The number of computers used for teaching in Tanzania is very small.

Specialized Applications

A few computers in Tanzania are used for specialized applications. Such computers are used directly in aiding other electronic or electro-mechanical processes and include those installed at the Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications Corporation for real-time switching of telephone calls. The Meteorological Department also uses a computer for weather forecasting.

7. Informatics infrastructure

Infrastructure in the area of informatics covers such things as the existence of software houses, hardware maintenance services, and network facilities. The first and second items have been discussed in the software and hardware sections respectively. Network facilities will be discussed in this section.

Tanzania does not have a packet switched data network (PSDN). Data are transmitted using the long-established public switched telephone network (PSTN). The Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (TPTC) monopolizes all telecommunication matters in the country.

At present the organization has no intention of setting up a public data network. It is more concerned with the expansion and modernization of the existing facilities, especially the telephone system. In Dar es Salaam alone, for example, about 30,000 people are waiting for telephone facilities.

The TPTC, however, provides leased circuits to customers who do not wish to use the PSTN facilities. Several international companies and foreign embassies use leased circuits for data transmission. Leased circuits may soon be used by the National Bank of Commerce and other financial institutions.

The TPTC has started to install digital telephone exchanges. So far two of them have been installed, one in Morogoro with 2,000 lines and the other in

Zanzibar with 3,000 lines. Digital exchanges could be used to set up an integrated services data network (ISDN), which is capable of transmitting data directly. With this development it seems that Tanzania will jump from PSTN to ISDN, skipping the PSDN.

Also related to data transmission is the installation of facsimile machines. Demand for telefax services has risen very rapidly. Several private organizations have established telefax bureaus. The TPTC is in the process of establishing its own telefax bureau.

8. Informatics policy

Background

There is no informatics policy in Tanzania. As discussed earlier in this report, recommendations to formulate such a policy were made in 1974 by a consulting team from the National Institute of Productivity (NIP) in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) of the United Nations. NIP had been commissioned by the government to look into the future of computers in Tanzania after the disaster that hit computer projects at the State Trading Corporation and the Treasury. A second recommendation of the NIP/ILO team was that there should be a computer training programme in the country. Neither of these suggestions was adopted. The government was even contemplating making some of the public institutions with leased computers cancel the contracts and return the computers to the suppliers. Following advice from another team drawn from the government, this was not done, but the government banned the importation of any computer equipment into mainland Tanzania.

To soften the ban, it was later announced that computers could still be imported by the Minister for Finance. An ad hoc Computer Advisory Committee was formed after the ban to scrutinize all applications for computer importation and to advise the minister accordingly. An applicant was supposed to seek approval, but for all practical purposes the ban was very effective until the early 1980s.

The ad hoc Computer Advisory Committee has not been dissolved but it is no longer effective. It does not meet regularly as it is supposed to do, and computers are entering the country at an exponential rate.

Towards a National Informatics Policy

In 1985 the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs announced the formulation of the National Science and Technology Policy for Tanzania and the establishment of the Tanzania National Commission for Science and Technology. These steps are important as far as informatics in Tanzania is concerned, although this area was not specifically highlighted in the document. Informatics can still conveniently find its place in the policy and, given the tempo that Informatics has already gained in the country, it seems that its place is well assured.

In August 1987 an international seminar on the contribution of informatics to economic development was organized by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning in cooperation with the University of Dar es Salaam, the Intergovernmental Bureau for Informatics, and the UNESCO Regional Office for Science and Technology in Africa. This seminar was attended by top government officials in Tanzania (Principal Secretaries) and the heads of all large parastatal organizations. One of the recommendations that came through clearly from this seminar was the need to have a comprehensive Informatics policy.

As a follow-up to the conference, in December 1987 the Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning announced the formation of a Task Force for Informatics Development. The team consists of eight members drawn from the following organizations:

- the Planning Division of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning,
- the University of Dar es Salaam,
- the Ministry of Communication,
- the Ministry of Works,
- the Ministry of Agriculture,
- the Ministry of Education.

The task force is supposed to recommend to government those actions that are needed to ensure progress in Informatics development in Tanzania.

References

1. Ndamagi, C. "National Informatics Policies in Tanzania: A Practitioner's Point of View., Regional Seminar on National Information and Informatics Policies in Africa, UN Economic Commission, 28 November-December 1988.

2. Sheya, M. and G. Koda. "The State of Informatics in Tanzania: Policy Issues and Strategies." Seminar on the Contribution of Informatics to Economic Development, 10-12 August 1987.

Other titles of interest

United Nations University Press
53-70, Jingumae 5-chome, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150, Japan

Human Rights and Scientific and Technological Development
Edited by C.G.Weeramantry

The present work represents an effort to develop a conceptual framework for the study of the interactions between human rights and scientific and technological development and review the current state of research in the area.

ISBN 92-808-0731-5
US$35, airmail US$40
Developing country price: US$17.50, airmail US$22.50

New Technologies across the Atlantic
US Leadership or European Autonomy?
By Mario Pianta

The book examines the comparative performances and strategies of the US, Japanese, and European economies and new technology development.

ISBN 0-7450-0442-3
Published with Harvester Wheatsheaf, 16 Ship Street, Brighton, Sussex BN1 1AD UK. In England, the Commonwealth, and Continental Europe, order from Harvester Wheatsheaf; elsewhere order from UNU Press (US$55, airmail US$60).

Technological Independence
The Asian Experience
Edited by Saneh Chamarik and Susantha Goonatilake

Focusing on the importance of technology as a key to development, this volume examines the experiences, efforts, and perspectives of technological development in six Asian countries: China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand.

ISBN 92-808-0758-7
US$40, airmail US$45
Developing country price: US$20, airmail US$25

Technological Innovation and the Development of Transportation in Japan
Edited by Hirofumi Yamamoto

Covering roughly 120 years from 1867 to 1980, this comprehensive work describes and analyses the history of the modern development of transportation in Japan.

ISBN 92-808-0551-7
US$50, airmail US$57
Developing country price: US$25, airmail US$32

There is an urgent need for developing countries to build up their capabilities in information technology and self-reliance in informatics development. The transfer of technological know-how, rather than technological products, is primary. Based on these convictions, the UNU initiated an informatics project aimed at providing training in informatics for scientists and administrators from developing countries.

The present study of innovative information technology development in Ireland, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania is the first of a series of country reports coming out of the project.

Taking recent experiences in Ireland with processes of innovation as a point of departure, the three African studies here explore the main features of IT innovation during the 1970s and 1980s. They offer a useful history and overview of the introduction of IT in these countries and thus shed light on both the question of technology transfer as a process in development and that of the introduction of technology policy in these countries.

Eileen P. Drew is a Lecturer in Systems at the School of Systems and Data Studies in the Department of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. F. Gordon Foster is Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin.

UNUP 831
ISBN 92 808 0831-1
02700 P