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New Plans for an African Regional OR Federation

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Through the efforts of Abdulfatai Lawal (Nigeria) and Charles Malack Oloo (Kenya), enthusiastic OR people from several different countries, and a little help from Michael Trick (IFORS President) and Sue Merchant (Chair of IFORS Developing Countries Committee) , African regional participants came together for two days in Nairobi, Kenya between 3 rd and 4 th November 2016, to deliberate and initiate the formation of a Federation of African Operations Research Societies (see photo below). This will be an umbrella body which will cover and nurture the national Operations Research Societies in countries of Africa. Some countries already have national societies, like Nigeria (IFORN), South Africa (ORSSA) and Tunisia (TORS). In East African countries, there is already a sub-regional body based on the East African Economic market (East African Community): its nameis ORSEA with members from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. There is also an organization that was started in West Africa called ORPA (OR Practice in Africa) which promotes the use of OR in the region, and tries to incorporate individual members where a national operations research society does not exist. The name adopted for the new African regional body is African Federation of Operations Research Societies (AFROS) and the interim President nominated is Charles Malack Oloo of Kenya. Other committee members are proposed from South Africa, Tunisia, ORSEA and ORPA. The office, for administrative convenience will be based in South Africa, as will the organisation’s first secretary, Berndt Lindner. Among the key initiatives that AFROS intends to pursue will be the hosting of Winter/Summer Schools, developing a curriculum for teaching Operations Research at certificate and diploma levels, as is already being initiated by INFORN in Nigeria. To begin with AFROS will work out how best to establish itself and reach out to all stakeholders in Africa. It is also the time that more support is required from all our partners especially IFORS and other regional bodies. OR people in Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal and Tanzania have expressed an interest in the new federation although they were unable to attend the initial meeting, and we would be delighted to hear from others who would like to contribute to the discussion. Do get in touch !

By Charles Malack Oloo

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