Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'm speaking at TED in Tanzania

I'm honored to have been chosen to speak at TED Global in Arusha, Tanzania. This conference
is a who's who of African influencers. I'm particularly interested at networking and brainstorming on how we get Africa to become more sustainable, and growth oriented.

Here is more

Friday, January 12, 2007

OLPC - Rwanda is participating!

Forward from Wayan.

The government of Rwanda has now announced it will be participating in the One Laptop Per Child roll out sometime in the next five years with yesterday's press release:

[T]he government of Rwanda has committed to provide one laptop per child to all primary school children within five years. This commitment was confirmed as H.E. President Paul Kagame met with Prof. Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairperson of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) at Urugwiro Village on Tuesday.

OLPC will provide test laptops plus support to fully test the concept at no cost in Rwanda, as well as coordinate knowledge exchange with other participating nations.

Greg Wyler of Terracom
Of all the OLPC countries, Rwanda seems the most technologically advanced and pedagogically prepared for One Laptop Per Rwandan Child. President Paul Kagame has embraced ICT as the key to his country's future and Rwanda has amazing entrepreneurs like Greg Wyler of Terracom who is providing affordable Internet access for all Rwandans.

When I met Greg last year, I was amazed by his energy, vision, and dedication to President Kagame's Vision 2020. As Romain Murenzi, Rwanda's Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Scientific Research says:

"We have almost no natural resources and no seaports in Rwanda, which leaves us only with the knowledge-based society.[...] We intend to quadruple the average income by [2020], and communication networks can help us achieve that goal,"

And from my experience with the Kigali Institute of Science and technology and local Rwandan entrepreneurs, they are taking the government at its word, building the most advanced and aggressive information and communication-based economy south of the Sahara and north of South Africa.

OLPC + Children Worldwide

In other words, a perfect environment for millions of Children's Machine XO's. Granted, there is a serious question of cost. Rwanda is not rich, it cannot afford to buy a OLPC for ever child, even at $100 dollars per laptop, but I for once am cheering on a recipient country.

Which brings us to a pertinent question: Just who is in or out of the OLPC roll out? We have confirmation that Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Uruguay, and maybe Pakistan are in, but Thailand, India and China are out.

Reading CNN we hear that the Palestinian territory is in and reading Yahoo News we find that Egypt and Massachusetts are out. Yet there isn't any independent confirmation about Pakistan, Egypt, Massachusetts, or the Palestinian territory.

Oh, and before you look, who knows what reality the OLPC country map exists in.

Links for 1/12 - Outsourcing links

Here are some links for Outsourcing news and resources.

The best==>

Independent Outsouring research firm

Independent financial outsourcing researcher

Good for getting Outsourcing/bpo contacts

Africa Outsourcing

Over the years I've spoken at conferences and seminars about Outsourcing in Africa and
other developing markets. It's not a question if Africa will grow as an Outsourcing destination, it's a when. Right now outsourcing in Africa is minuscule at best compared to the likes of India, Philippines or Russia.

Here are some key things Africa needs to grow into a outsourcing destination.

1. We need redundant and reliable Internet broadband infrastructure.
ex. Eassy fiber cable and SAT-3 cable are starters, also we need more Internet

2. We need the Diaspora to come back and start building the Infosys, Wipro's and Tata's of

3. We need Governments to earmark or allocate IT parks or Tax free zones only for science, Hi-tech or outsourcing related businesses.

4. We need more IT education, we simply lack this right now. Africa needs more programmers in Java, html, and other related IT fields.

5. Last but not least, we need to change or mind-set or frame of vision. Nations are not built
overnight, nor can we always depend on the government for handouts. Entrepreneurs are the
ones that build markets and nations. America was built by industrialists and business men!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mobile payments coming to Africa

Mobile payments is becoming a reality in Africa, particularly in Kenya. BBC has a video link

Visa International wants to go global with their systems. Although it looks like it will be a closed system for Visa customers.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Chinese are coming to Africa!

The China-Africa summit in 2006 was an indication that China needs resources and Africa is still being used for it's minerals. The Europeans in the past 400 years have been the conquistadors and robbers...Today we have the Chinese. I have to add that the Chinese are in no ways the same as our past European masters.

For the sake of dialogue I would say the Chinese are what I would call the worst of two evils. As Africans what we require is growth! Growth in infrastructure, healthcare, and telecommunications. Unlike the Europeans I think we can learn and adopt some of China's practices(obviously Human Rights isn't included). China is the only nation in our history to shift from being heavily dependent on Agriculture to a impressive Industrial state. This striking shift is what some would call a Paradigm Shift!

I'm going to give what I call my Proud African views on this Chinese investment in Africa.

1. China signed deals for infrastructure projects with low interest loans or grants. China is doing this partially because it requires good infrastructure in place, if it's going to take Africa's mineral resources back to Asia. Plus, the Chinese firms are going to be doing most of the engineering of Africa's infrastructure not the European or the Americans.

2. We can learn from China because it has been poor, and in some ways it is still a poor country in it's interior. If Africa is going to survive in needs partners from developing nations not Developed nations.

3. The Chinese are Hyper-capitalist and go where they see opportunity. They are investing in industries and sectors that our European masters wouldn't.
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