GeoInformation and communications technologies (GICT) are changing the way companies do business, transforming public service delivery and democratizing innovation. Decision making at the national level in both developing and developed countries requires the integrated use of information from a multitude of sources. Both local and national governments in many developed countries have found geographic information systems (GIS) to be a critical tool in research and development for resource management, regional planning, and economic development.

Esri is an industry leader that specializes in geographic information system (GIS) software for the management, analysis, and visualization of spatial data. Esri develops GIS solutions that can function as an integral component in nearly every type of organization. These solutions are built on the philosophy that a geographic approach to problem solving ensures better communication and collaboration and stronger global ties.

ESRI

However, in most developing countries, the use of this software is a challenge because of its high license cost. In order to assist the academics and research activities at higher education, ESRI provides the licensed ArcGIS products for free. As part of this endeavor, the licensed ArcGIS Server and Desktop product are provided for Mekelle University for Free. As a result all under and post graduate students will have access to the licensed software that will facilitate the academics and the research through several aspects. This includes, but not limited to: the University could obtain official technical support from ESRI and official updates can be obtained, scientific researches that utilizes ArcGIS products can be published in peer reviewed journals, in using pirated version chances are high that pirated software will have malwares and there are no guarantees that the stolen software does not contain malicious code that can send all of your personal data to the people who pirated the software.

In a parallel note, the Mekelle University signed memorandum of understanding with ESRI East Africa on improving the quality of education so as to support the University in its endeavors to provide quality GIS education; propagate the use of geospatial technologies for socio-economic development and prosperity towards the realization of national goals; develop a skilled and competent GIS workforce that is able to develop working GIS  solutions; expose students in ICT and other relevant disciplines to the power of GIS; advance geospatial science and the use of GIS for interdisciplinary research in Ethiopia and beyond.