Characteristics of Africa’s Technological gap in Project Management

Project management technologies are actually soft technologies codified by standards bodies and professional organizations including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Project Management Institute (PMI), the International Project Management Association (IPMA) and AXELOS Limited. These organizations develop standards of national or international interest including where appropriate, the operational specifications in the form of methodologies and/or implementation guidance and associated tools and techniques such as specialized computer software.

The optimum and efficient use of soft technologies is conditional on the employment or engagement of professionals with expertise and appropriate skills relating thereto. Conformity assessments (Certification Programmes) certify that the professionals have the knowledge and skills required for the proper application of professional standards. It is in this context that several professional organizations offer international certification programmes for professionals and even organizations in reference to project management standards.

It is in this context that the technological gap of Africa in project management can be assessed using four (4) activity indicators in the sector.

  • The participation of African countries in the technical committee ISO/TC 258. The technical Committee ISO/TC 258 is responsible for the development of international standards in the field of project, programme and portfolio management. This Technical Committee currently has 57 members of which 36 are participating members and 21 are observer members. Africa has only 7 members, including only 2 participating members (South Africa and Cameroon) and 5 observer members (Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Mauritania and Uganda). Yet Africa has 39 ISO members including 27 member committees and 12 corresponding members.
  • The number of PMI chapters in Africa. PMI is a professional organization that has 300 chapters in 207 countries and territories. In this professional network, Africa has only 17 chapters (Angola, South Africa, Cameroon, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mauritius, Nigeria, Uganda, DRC, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zimbabwe).
  • The number of member associations of IPMA in Africa. IPMA is a professional organization with 60-member professional associations. In this professional network, Africa has only 6 member associations (South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria).

The number of accredited project management programmes in universities and higher institutes. Established by PMI in 2001, the Global Accreditation Centre for Project Management Education Programs (GAC) has more than 100 universities and higher institutes worldwide that have accredited project management training programmes for mostly Masters and PhD level. Currently, only one African university has obtained since October 2008 the accreditation of two (2) Project Management Masters (Master of Engineering, Project Management and Master of Science, Project Management). It is the University of Pretoria, Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM) in South Africa.