The Dark Continent: It’s Still Dark

Africa, the Dark Continent. A romantic name for an unknown and underexplored region of the world to the Europeans of the 19th century. Today is different though, we know Africa and have mapped out every last mystery – even that elusive source of the Nile.

Take a look at a night time map of Africa compared to the rest of the world – yes it’s very dark.

Africa and Europe at night by satellite

Even Google is concerned, the number of searches from Africa compared (again) to the rest of the world is miniscule. (I apologize for not being able to get a larger and more up-to-date image, this is from 2003)

Google Search Query Activity

Let’s take a look at a news attention map, highlighting where the big news organizations are focusing (countries in deep red are experiencing the most attention).

News Attention Map

Looking at the above maps, one can see that Africa is still dark infrastructurally, technologically and on top of that, the world just doesn’t care. What does that mean for Africa and Africans?

I sit in a strange place, as do many of you who read this blog. We are considered the African first-movers on web technology, the African Digerati if you will. Our insights into technology are not the same as the vast majority of those who live in Africa and our knowledge and perspective of Africa is much different than the rest of the world’s. We, currently, are the people on the bridge – maybe even the bridge – that spans the divide of both knowledge and technology when it comes to Africa.

So, in our unique position, what do we see? This is what I see:

  • I see young Africans gaining access to technology and connecting to the world at a greater pace than ever before. What happens when you get millions of children on $100 computers? How does that change their world view and affect the way communication happens?
  • I see an Africa on the verge of a technical revolution that leapfrogs years of government corruption and of condescension by the world’s developed nations. What happens when the government can’t control information or communication?
  • I see people who want to be recognized as more than just the hand-out junkies that their governments make them look like. Technology is giving them that voice, and will give them more over the coming years. This begs another question: what happens when the highly educated African diaspora return, or invest?

The truth is that the world is changing faster than anyone anticipated. It’s changing so fast that the governments of the West can’t even keep up. If the governments of the West are hopelessly behind the technology curve, where does that put African governments?

Yet change happens without governments. Some would say that great changes happen precisely because governments can’t keep up, they can’t even understand what is happening. Laws are passed, yet those laws mean nothing because the technology has already moved past them.

Those who create, develop and invest in new technologies are the ones who write the rules of tomorrow.

Programmers are working on the platforms and programs that everyone will be using a year or two from now – they are the front line workers. Who are the idea-men behind them? Who recognizes the potential for change and revolution in an industry? Does it matter their nationality?

Those with ideas rule the future (think Niklas Zennstrom, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Richard Barton, etc…). These people have changed industries, some have changed how governments act. All have changed the way we act and view the world.

Africa too will change, is changing. What are the ways new technology can be used to further affect change? Ideas have no nationality, yet implementation of those ideas takes an understanding of a particular region. Again, as the African Digerati we stand in a unique an advantageous position, some as idea-men and others as implementers.

Who among us are the African idea-men? Who will invest? Who will implement?

52 thoughts on “The Dark Continent: It’s Still Dark

  1. Goombas

    Hash-Now that I’m married to a Kenyan and my soon to be son will be 1/2 Kenyan, I’ve taken a deeper interest in the country. This website really provides some great insite. Though I have not been to Kenya (but will be in 2/07), your point on not enough light rings true and hits home. On an a particularly clear night here in the eastern United States, I’ll comment on how many stars I can see. My wife always comes back with the same response “this is nothing, you should see how many stars you can see in Kenya at night”. As we know, the less light around you the more stars you can see….so this article taken literally, is right on.

    I think the issue of African Digreti being idea-men and implementation-men has many road blocks to over come.

    1). Getting an education is not enough: Many Kenyans come to America get a degree and then stay here. The biggest reason is economical. How many of you have families in Kenya that depend on portions of your salaries to make ends meet back home? Can you earn/live the lifestyle you have in the U.S. (or other industrialized/economically advanced countries) than in Kenya? Many (including my wife) are torn between personal financial commitment to relatives at home versus sacrificing using what they’ve learned, going home, and making Kenya a better place.

    2). Corruption-Most governments are corrupt to some degree, but Kenya-how can you better your country when the government itself forces you to pay for every move you make and then asks for more when you reach each level? How do you “build a business” with fear of it being robbed and not having the police do anything unless they are “given a little something”?

    These comments/points are not meant to criticize or degrade but rather point out and give some “food for thought” to the above article. WHen it comes to making this work, Kenya is in the majority of countries on all continents who also suffer from the same malias…..

  2. HASH

    Goombas, good points. I agree completely with your assessment actually, that is currently the mindset of many Africans living abroad. However, my points were more along this line of thinking.

    1. Think different. New ideas on how you can change your country, leveraging technology to those ends. For instance, why do you have to live in Kenya to affect governmental pressure? Who says that living in Kenya means that you make your money there? It’s a different world than our father’s, borders don’t constrain us.

    2. Technology levels the playing field. The reason borders no longer constrain us is because governments cannot constrain the advances of technology. Case in point, everyone think back to 1995 and how mobile phones changed Kenya. How much more do you think 25% of your youth on wireless $100 computers will change things?

    Technology allows us to bypass corruption and borders. So, with that thought then, where do you go – where can we go? Think to the future and what can be, minus the blinders that we were saddled with by our education and culture.

  3. Catbird

    While I have nothing to truly add to this dialogue, primarily because of my ignorance of its subject, I must say this article is deeply stirring to me.
    Hash, if it’s your intention to have people moved by your writing here (in their hearts, minds, souls), then, my friend, you have succeeded. Regardless of the outcome it brings.
    Makes me want to “invest” in Kenya.
    Best blogging you’ve done.

  4. Pingback: effective web ministry notes » The Dark Continent

  5. HASH

    JKE, great links! I really liked the one about Herman Chinery-Hesse, very interesting. He’s a prime example of why Africans are the ones who can affect change in Africa. He understands “Tropically Tolerant” software is needed.

    There’s a whole world of discussion revolving around that piece on him alone.

  6. HASH

    Kierke, I wasn’t trying to paint myself as some kind of whiz here. I am no Steve Jobs and I only inhabit the lowest rung of what I have termed the “African Digerati”.

    Exhibit (A): I have no product to show for all my talk.

    Thanks for bringing this up though, I’m glad I had a chance to clarify my particular position here. ;)

  7. Ntwiga

    I have actually had a piece in the hopper on this very same subject thanks to some insights on this issues that I got while writing another piece on the Indian Institutes of Technology that I blogged on about on Feb 23rd 2006 centered aroung a 60 minutes segment. The link to the video is up on my blog.

    But I ramble so let me get to the point: the 60 minutes piece on “Indian digerati” gave me a couple of interesting insghts into the nature of people who are in this segment.

    – there are two types of immigrants in the US from “Kenya like” nations (think China, India, SA, Brazil, Nigeria etc), the first consists of the group who are out of status and are now in the rat race just surviving from day to day mostly in non-professional positions. Then ,there is the 2nd group those who are on track to achieving their goals (are still in school, are working professionally on some sort of H1, are in the formal immigration process or have gone through it).

    It seems that an overwhelmingly percentage of the second group plans to return to their nation of origin and many do. The Indian model proves this out.

    The second insight that I got from this piece was the interesting segment was the fact that this second group have realized that they can command the type of salaries that they make in the West back in their nation of origins and buy a much better lifestyle with tihs same income there.

    Case in point is the steady exodus of Indian professionals who are now leaving the US and UK to return to India to make salaries close to but now quite what they can make in organizations where they worked before. In some cases, they even end up working for the same organizations in locations in their countries of origin. Examples include Google which has opened huge facilities in India, China and Ireland and other companies such as Dell and Cisco which have also opened facilities in India.

  8. HASH

    Ntwiga, looking at IIT and India provides an interesting model. That is a country that recongized the value of education, even before the knowledge economy came into being. Knowledge is the currency of our times, and India has it in spades. I only wish that some African nations would realize the value of knowledge.

    However, what Indians have done, and are doing is exactly what I was referring to in my article. Though they at first might head to the West to make their initial capital and begin creating a network, they are open to returning to India if need be. But they’re not tied to living/staying in any one country, knowing that the value of ideas and knowledge has no border.

    The fact that they have built up an infrastructure of technology in their country means that they have foresight. That they were some of the first to realize that they could leverage knowledge to create companies that supported Western corporations was understanding of where the world was going. They had visionaries who moved on their ideas and made change happen.

    A great example.

  9. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Africans not googling

  10. swoosh

    I think there is a reason for the innovation seen in area’s such as the US and Europe.
    First and foremost there is a society that rewards innovations.
    Secondly, the society allows for innovations by virtue of its prosperity.
    Appealling to peoples hearts is well and good, but Africa, or at least the urban areas have to become or conducive to technological advancement in order to reach sustainable development,
    In other words, there is not enough of an economy to allow people to explore the technological infastructure, unless it be from abroad.
    As goombas pointed out, there are too many immediate concerns right now to afford the luxury of making what is dark, light.
    but then again, can we afford not too?

  11. Pingback: White African :: a white african’s view of the world » Blog Archive » A Web Technology Idea for Africa

  12. Pingback: Jangbalajugbu-Homeland Stories » Blog Archive » Africa and Technology, any hope?

  13. John Powers

    I’m an American. It’s funny form this perspective. For one thing when I read your writings the African part not the White is most obvious to me. Not so about comments about your comments left sometimes. Another strange thing from an American perspective is trying to understand some of the interests and feelings of Africans living here. Being a first generation African here is quite complicated, for one thing many parents left Africa in duress. So the younger generation feels a duty to help at home in Africa in ways not altogether shared with their parents. A third funny things is how off the radar the whole continent is to most Americans.

    Africans abroad do care very much and want to be part of making solutions possible. Sometimes it seems the situation of Africans in the USA are really misunderstood and the potential for collaboration too often ignored.

    White Americans, black Americans and Africans in America can play a role in improving life for regular Africans there. There are bound to be misunderstandings and snafus, still communications and real relationships are like that everywhere. The bridges you suggest via the African Digerati are very significant. We need bridge builders on both sides of the divide.

    Your optimism, Hash, is one of your qualities that makes me know you’re African. There are other qualities and I’m having a hard time naming them. There’s something of a quiet when people disappoint, yes Africans seem more forgiving and real. The important thing is there are so many qualities African’s possess which are necessary for creating a good world in which to live. The opportunities are not just for people in Africa to find better ways to live, but for us all.

  14. Pingback: White African :: where africa and technology collide » Blog Archive » “Manifesto Accepted”

  15. Pingback: White African :: where africa and technology collide » Blog Archive » African News for Africans by Africans - Zangu News Beta Signups Begin

  16. Oluniyi David Ajao

    In answer to your question: “Who among us are the African idea-men? Who will invest? Who will implement?”, I am an African idea-man, don’t have the money to invest yet, but will be willing to implement.

  17. CHIKIDII

    am impressed with all of u who participated. thanks for bring that up. I gree, its time for african to rise and shine. it has the resources and manpower. just like any industralized country on earths surface.

  18. Pingback: White African :: where africa and technology collide » Blog Archive » Who is White African Anyway?

  19. Pingback: White African :: where africa and technology collide » Blog Archive » African Digerati Interviews

  20. Ishtar

    I get your point, and I’m also one of those “white Africans” (more than twenty years in North- and West Africa), but where I come from, computers for 100 dollars won’t do much for the kids growing up in a sea of sand, with their whole family living off less than a dollar per day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against technology – after all, I work for a project that’s about as high tech as it gets. But as Arne Victor Garvi wrote in his article “The Lost Treasures of Eden”, electricity and technology isn’t going to make people happier.

    Africa may be dark, but seen from what view? We take so many things for granted in the Western World. I love Africa with all my heart, not because I get to live an “expat dream” and be rich even without a salary, but because I get to learn so much when I’m there, and it humbles my soul. They have other values than us, which they for all the technology and material wealth in the world would not want to give up. When I tell people in Niger that in “my” country (Sweden), you can live in a town with a million people and not know your neighbor, they just stare at me in disbelief.

    I can see that you mean well, but your post is about Africa measured by Western standards, not African standards. Why do we assumed that they would want our media carousel (which isn’t what it seems by the way), our electricity (which unables us to see the stars at night) and our “fantastic” internet that allows us to socialize with people we have never met, when we don’t have time to take care of our own elderly?

    Sorry to say this, but in my book, Africa is not at all that dark. Confused in some areas, yes, but I’m all for helping them with the basics and letting them develop in whatever direction THEY want. Maybe in the end, it’ll be the West coming to Africa looking for the answers and not the other way around.

    Greetings from Niger

  21. Yislie

    I’m with Ishtar. I’m African, I’ve lived in the States for fifteen years, and I’ve learned a lot about how the differences between people are not always superficial. Africa, in my opinion, is different.

    For one thing, Hash, there is no lack of appreciation for knowledge. I grew up in Kenya and people there see knowledge as the key to the future — and there is none of the anti-intellectualism like you see in certain Americans. India simply had the same trait as other Eurasian cultures — a centralized culture with a a privileged class (the Brahmins). It’s a good mechanism for creating an achievement-oriented society, because the reward for social prestige is so high. It also tends to create cruel serfdoms.

    Africans have never been good at centralization. In pre-colonial times they lived in small communities and stayed loyal to kin groups. It has its costs, but it is the most rational and humane way for people to live — you cannot have homogeneity in a group beyond a certain size without subjugating somebody. It can’t be done. These small groups lived in a way that made perfect sense — like the animals around them, they went where the water was, and hung out there for a while. This is what Africa requires. The most egregious crime against the continent was the consolidation of large amounts of land into commercial cash-generating plantations that had no value to the locals, blocked migration corridors and created turf disputes. Errors which modern governments have continued to exploit for their own ends.

    No one thinks to be proud of the fact that Africa had no feudal classes, but I am immensely proud of it. I’m proud of the fact that they don’t think of their environment as something to subdue. People here in the States are gradually figuring out what a loss of freedom a centralized, homogeneous state is, even in a theoretically diverse country like the US. There are interesting little pockets of neo-primitivism popping up everywhere, mud huts and all. I see Africa as a place with the potential to escape the soullessness of the corporate slavery paradigm. It’s not the ONLY way to live, despite what the American investor class would have you believe. As much as Africa looks like nothing but a heap of bad news, I remain optimistic and quietly glad because they refuse to play by the rules. I’m not suggesting a return to complete primitivism here, but if we get corrupt governments and self-serving psychopathic bankers out of the picture, I can see it as a continent of homesteaders, with centers of business and education widely dispersed. What Africa needs, more than anything, is to be left the *(&) alone.

  22. Goat herd

    I strongly disagree with most of Ishtar’s and Yishlie’s views. I grew up in rural Kenya. I went to school barefoot. After classes, I’d till the land, herd the goats, then walk miles to fetch water and find firewood. There was no electricity, No TV, No phones … just an old transistor radio that had VOK (Voice of Kenya). The nearest hospital was miles away and was poorly manned and stocked. If it rained … the roads were impassible… If it did not… starvation was imminent. … Yes, we did not try to subdue the environment, … The Environment subdued us. We were at its mercy.

    Although by local standards were not that poor … by global standards we were very poor. Our lives were uncluttered by modern technological advances… but, like our forefathers we spent alot of our time just providing for our subsistence. It was a hard life with no rest in sight.

    Later I moved to the city and then on to America which exposed me to very different experiences. Some bad, many good. I witnessed systems that work (or atleast work better than any that I had known in the past). I realised that some of the problems we face today had long been solved by others. All that was needed was for us to adopt (and customise) those solutions to suit our particular circumstances. And here’s my big disagreement with Ishtar and Yishlie. …

    There is nothing romantic or idealic about being poor. Only a person who has never been poor can entertain such a notion. Ishtar also seems to suggest that human warmth and material prosperity (or technological advancement) are mutually exclusive. I think the people that Ishtar talked to in Niger, would be just as warm even after rising out of poverty.

    It is true that the West (and the rest of the world) can learn valuable lessons from Africa. But it is also true that Africa NEEDS to learn a whole lot from the rest of the world (Not just the west). In Africa, there are still too many systems that don’t work, too too many children dying of curable and preventable diseases, too many “involuntarily” iliterate people and too many people living hand to mouth their entire lives. Other societies have faced these same problems and overcome them. We need to borrow a leaf from them.

    I am not saying that we should adopt everyhing western… No. We shouldn’t “copy” from them, we should “learn” from their experiences.
    There’s no shame in adopting solutions from others. This is not a contest to see who is “better” or who is more “original” between the west and Africa. This is about adapting to a changing world. … And we must adapt or perish.

    Yes, I beleve we can be prosperous and technologicaly advanced while still retaining our human warmth.

    Ishtar suggested that we should get rid of corrupt governments and psychopathic bankers… I agree that we should … but …How do you do that ?

    1. You can have a bloody revolution … or

    2. You can find ways to circumvent the corrupt government and psychopathic bankers.

    …. I believe that “White African’s” main point was that … The “African Digerati” is in a position to cause change by finding ways to circumvent corrupt governments, unnecessary red tape, bad banks and other barriers …

    I will enumerate afew of the “projects” that i am currently aware of that a section of the African digerati is trying to implement.

    1. Promoting the use of “Open Source software” in Kenya.
    A group of Kenyans here in the US are currently recording video lessons on how to obtain and use various open source softwares. They intends to distribute the DVDs for free (or almost free) to high schools, colleges and cybercafes. The goal is to expand the awareness and expertise in such software to a level where most business would be comfortable ditching their expensive softares for the cheaper open source.

    2. Another group of Africans fron Ghana has set up a money transfer system that allows them to send money back to Ghana for way less than they would using regular banks… The results… the local banks have had to lower their charges.

    3. There’s a Kenyan selling organic food in Kansas. The food is grown by his fellow villagers in Kenya. Due to the ease of communication and funds transfer made possible by modern technology, he’s managed to start a mini-industry all alone without involving the government.

    … and many others

    … White African’s point … We can no-longer continue blaming corrupt african government and “evil ” multinationals for Africa’s woes without doing anything about it.

    Now, at an individual level, we have the very real potential to cause significant positive social- economic changes . The beautiful part is that we can achieve this without having to make monumental personal sacrifices.

  23. Pingback: Why the African Digerati Can Make a Difference | White African

  24. cole martin

    we just spent 11 days in Kenya on Safari. i am sure we got some what of a narrow view. The people are so very nice and polite and if they have jobs they are very hard working. Everyone spoke to us and most had big smiles. we only got a glimpse of the slums in Nairobi – very heart breaking.
    I know that we were in the best areas and well protected from the criminal element but we were never ever concerned about our safety. The people in the villages were most cordial and very polite.
    we saw very little of the government but did notice that their roads are in shambles.
    we visited a remote village and it was amazing at the way the people lived. a verhy hard life indeed. we saw people that were walking miles for schooling when we have to kick our kids out of bed to go. we saw unwed mothers working for a Dollar a day and lunch and medical care for their self and their children. The Kenyan people seem to be a proud people with a love of the land and its animals and family. we wanted to be able to contribute to their well being. such a short time and where to start. we did contribute some money to a school and some to the remote village for medicine etc. we only hope it got to the right place.
    we seemed to agree that education is very important to the Kenyan people. food clothing and medical care are immediate needs that we saw along with the need for running water and sanitary facilities. the country is beautiful and the animals are majestic.
    we do want to go back.

  25. Ishtar

    I have lived in Niger since 1986 and I know what it’s like to live in the least developed country in the world.

    Goatherd, you seem to think that I don’t know people in my country and that I have no clue what it’s like to be poor. Oh believe me, I know what it’s like. I know I’m fortunate because I am white and I have a different citizenship and I know that should things ever go crazy like they did in Rwanda, there will be a chopper or and airplane coming to bring me “home” just because of the color of my skin. I know that.

    We talks about the same continent, but we are worlds apart. Goatherd in all honor, but like you put it himself, you do not even live in Africa anymore. So you likes Western society. Good for you! You’ll probably make a better Westerner than I ever made.

    Speaking of what you write that I, “Ishtar suggested that we should get rid of corrupt governments and psychopathic bankers… ”

    I never said anything of the sort! Did you even read my post??? If you’d know anything about me, you’d know that I’m not very interested in politics. I have a job to do. I do not care for promises made in order to achieve power – regardless of the scene.

    Now, you also write (referring to me): “There is nothing romantic or idealic about being poor. Only a person who has never been poor can entertain such a notion. Ishtar also seems to suggest that human warmth and material prosperity (or technological advancement) are mutually exclusive.”

    I never said that. But I do maintain that Hash’s article is written about Africa through a Western perspective. I don’t think electricity makes people happy. Seriously, I don’t! I think food on the table, which you have grown yourself (in contrast to aid that has been handed out) is something way more important. And when our families in Tanout for the first time in their lives start to have a surplus of fruits, they take it to the market, and sell it. For the money, they buy whatever they want. A radio (with batteries), clothes, things for the kitchen etc etc. And I am thrilled. I am not the least against development nor technology, I just like to see it coming from their own heart’s desires; not ours. And I don’t want to push them into a society that after all comes at a very heavy cost.

    I don’t romanticize about being poor. My mother is dying of cancer right now and I know that is a rare price to pay in Western society. For my friends in Niger, its part of every day life. My colleague lost his little daughter after two weeks because she was born in the middle of the harmattan. Do I romanticize about poverty? If I have made it seem that way, then my fault. I don’t. I wouldn’t be in Niger working my ass off in 45 degrees of heat in a country that stands still and computers melt, if I thought there was anything glamorous to it. No, if I believed that poverty was glamorous and cool, I would be studying elephants in Southern Africa or work to save cheetahs or something which would give me more of an immediate kick than working with a longterm sustainable solution with drought tolerant fruit bearing trees. As it is, I chose to work with people – FOR people, and according to their own values.

    The funny thing is that the more “developed” our world becomes, the more complicated solutions do we look for. All over the blog world, I see people striving to make Africa a more Western place. “Let’s bring development to Africa!” “Let’s bring education and technology!”

    To me, it’s not my job to change the habit of culture. That is for Africa to do on its own. If it wants our Western lives with lonely patterns, then fine, by all means, go ahead. But I won’t push for it. In fact, it would only make me very, very sad. My job however is to allow for people to lead a sustainable life. To have food on the table and the freedom to develop in whatever way they want.

    Somehow, the Western world got confused about aid; thinking it was about directing people in whatever manner that would suit their politics. You hold an enormous power when it is your hand that distributes the bread – perhaps it is a human fault to never be able to withstand the temptation of commandeering over others. Perhaps we have so low values that we only measure ourselves in our ability to control others. I don’t know.

    What really saddens me however is when I see the intellectuals of Africa striving for Africa to make a name for itself on the global scene. As if Africa would even want to compare with the Western World.

    People may say that I am romanticizing, but my take on the issue is very simple. When people no longer go hungry, they flourish. They rise and they start to act. Let them develop in their own way according to their own heart’s desires and do not meddle for the sake of your own recognition.

    Greetings,
    Ishtar

  26. benin mwangi

    Ishtar:

    I did not want to make this a long comment. But you have touched on something interesting, which is the notion or identity of Africa. I believe that the idea of an African identity exists more outside of the continent than within. Interestingly, it seems that most times the identity or image that many from other parts of the world have of Africa is that technological advance is foreign to the continent. Is this what you think, that trade or economic development or technology are being imposed upon Africa or even are new to the continent?

    If your answer is yes, please let me remind you that for several millenniums the continent has partaken in world trade in various commodities and services. Salt, ivory, and gold have been traded heavily in the westernmost and eastern region of the continent creating various national alliances and trade routes traversing the continent. Additionally, technological advances are not knew to the continent either-please read Dutch accounts of my ancient namesake-the Ancient Benin city-state. The Dutch were astounded by what they found in ancient Benin. But, Benin wasn’t the only region of the continent to achieve economic self sufficiency in the past.

    Many things have happened since those times, too many to name and we now get the picture of the continent that we see today. But now, the continent appears to be experiencing a period of renaissance-which again is not new. So, this notion of business, development, or innovation being foreign to Africa seems to be based upon an incomplete picture of African history.

    Now don’t get me wrong, please. The situation or environment that you observe in Niger is very real to those in that region, I am not denying that. Also, I am not denying that some peoples of the continent are content to live off of the land and not participate in the continent’s formal economies. But they don’t necessarily reflect all 900 million plus living on the continent. So I am only asking that we keep in mind that the continent has 54 nations, plus within those nations you have different towns, states, cities, villages, ethnic groups, resources, and histories. This causes each to vary in their level of economic development/aspirations. Meaning that the reality for one town in Niger might not be the same as the reality for one in Gaborone, Botswana-which is also in Africa.

    Finally, I would like to point out that if economic stability doesn’t matter to those in Niger, then why the exodus of Niger nationals- south, into Nigeria (like Kano) or even further out of Africa and into Europe? This migration is fueled precisely by economic conditions and underscores the notion that economic stability is solely a Western concern. That Goat Herd has done the same doesn’t make him less African (I am sure that he carries a piece of Kenya with him, wherever he goes). He is doing what has been done on the continent and throughout the world for centuries seeking financial security and doing it through migration to feed his family back home. What we are talking about now is a way for people to have more choices and empowerment with out necessarily having to leave their respective nation’s to do it. Also, what Hash writes about (often he writes about mobile technology which does matter even in the most remote villages i.e. small farmers getting crop prices so that they aren’t taken advantage of by the agricultural boards of their respective countries)are items that he sees when going back to East Africa or what others who’ve never left tell him about the technological events taking place in their respective lands-so, I disagree that this post is done from a Western perspective.

  27. Pingback: The Status Quo and Radical Ideas | White African

  28. Teboho

    I see that you guys focus only onthe development side of Africa, developments in terms of politics and economics in Africa are outsted as they are not given that conisideration, We all know that Africa is still far away from being a developed continent but we still act as if we have progressed to a new level by only focusing on technonological developments, leaving behind the most basic and important indicators of develpments for either our poor states or our continent. I suggest that we should give our readers something of value for future thus we will know what are we dealing with. Political studies student in the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

  29. George N. Mtonga

    Technology and information are what runs the world. I like the fact that at the least somebody understands the fact that ideas have no nationality!! Those maps are very disappointing on so many levels!!! Teboho, I think the focus on technological innovation is accentuated by the fact that many of areas in the world have seen their development from having taken advantage of technology. Moreover, in terms of expediency it is somewhat easier to inject technological innovations in countries than providing than arguing about the need to to change their political or economic system, though the latter entity should yield to the reality of Capitalism and not the command economies which have proven to be rather difficult to “command” and lead to inefficiency rivaling that of the post office… of Thailand…

  30. Benin Mwangi

    Mtonga:

    Great comment. Though, I might like to expound on your opening statment by saying that technology and information make it easier for people to manage and control the environments around us.

    I agree whole heartedly with you that it is much easier to inject technological innovations into countries, as opposed to changing the political process in those countries.-that is a profound statement. I’d like to add that the parallel to this concept exists on the entrepreneurial platform. The only difference being for that nothing really needs to be injected, but rather the process should be supported through publicity and other resources.

  31. Laviyah

    When I look at the difference in Africa from Europe as far as lights, I am happy. I guess I don’t really see Africa as being behind I see Africa on the brink of having an opportunity to do things differently from European nations. We can learn from the mistakes of the past as far as industrializing a nation and doing things sustainably. As far as being educated and informed many of us are misinformed about the continent. We are talking about the cradle of civilization here, allow Africa to evolve into what it is supposed to be, which I really do not believe is or should be a copy of current so-called developed nations.

  32. Jan Kisseih

    A couple of people have expounded the virtues of Mr Herman Chinery-Hesse. Hoever I have reported him to the police in the UK because he fraudulently used our address to set up a business without our knowledge or authorisation and despite us contacting him several times he chose to ignore us- hence our report to the UK police. He is dishonest and definitely NO Bill Gates!!

  33. Uncle B

    Watch China rape, occupy then take over Africa as the Africans die off from aids, good natures and innocence!

  34. cssProdigy

    100%. The African renaissance is coming, it starts with technology, it starts in places like this

  35. Shetu

    Regarding the picture of African Continent as ‘dark’ who took it and who is the witness? How long will you be DISHONEST and Manipulating things? Till when will you go on with your prejudices even on nature which God has made?

  36. Pingback: The Dark Continent: A new meaning « Screening Africa 3

  37. Udoh Cyril Mase

    They say Africa is in the dark right… but before the Europeans came to the African coast, we were highly developed, we had structured systems of government/authority, communities have been formed, and most Africans have been specializing in different aspects of life. When they came, the took away our able bodied men and woman to the West indies and other parts of Europe, we were heavily exploited and this was the begining of the problem we face today in Africa. Even today, due to the fact that government is in the hands of wrong people who claim to be good leaders, Africans leave their countries in search for greener pastures to other parts of the world, and lets be sincere, they contribute a big quota to the development of these countries. Take America for example, outsiders, mostly Africans have made her and are making her what she is today. African has never been in the dark, due to her contact with the Europeans all in the name of Civilization, she degenerated in every aspect. IF YOU ARE A REAL AFRICAN, LETS PUT OUR HANDS TOGETHER AND BUILD AFRICA AGAIN.

  38. Glenn Snead

    Hash, I stumbled on your website via Make’s RSS feed and AfriGadget. I agree that the world knows little about Africa, and a tiny bit more about itself. Most people live on what they think they know, bouncing it off of those that surround them who believe the same foolish things.

    On the tech front, it’s amazing to see how the OLPC project has pushed down costs. Netbooks succeed where UMPCs failed. TechCrunch’s web-only tablet may cost even less. As early adopters snatch these products up, who knows where component prices will end up? It will be a facinating time in which to live. From what I’ve read on your blog, Africa will be the next miracle challenging China’s and India’s growth.

    Just think, the only remaining dark place on Earth could be North Korea.

  39. King Evans

    These are interesting lines of thought from great guys who realise the need for Africa and Afrians to wake up. Its a pitty we’ve been sleeping for a long time and it seems there is no waking up for us; is that a peaceful transition to death or just a coma situation which might just leave us one day? Africans are great people but its only unfortunate that the people who have the opportunity to lead has turned every other person into (1) Perpetual Slaves (2) Perpetual Criminals (3) Morons , who are confused and dont know which step to take next.
    This is the Africa many leaders have helped shape. I am writing from the perspective of a Nigerian who is now resident in a far-away country to make ends meet. I am quite sure many Africans feel this way too. How often do we travel and tender our passports and the lady behind the counter frowns and ask if you are the person in that passport or takes measures to scrutinise you or even search you beyond what her duty entails.
    Many people in Zimbabwe today have become slaves in their own country, not to a white man, but to their own leaders who takes joy in seeing his people suffer.
    What do we have to say of a great country like Nigeria that has all the great resources that could make the entire world stand still, yet 2/3 of its population go hungry for the greater part of each day; those who are lucky to have somethings loose as a result of a certain leaders selfishness who wakes up one morning and realizes that he has not banned the importation of power generating set and goes on to ban it with out due consultation with the house of assembly or even the minister for pwer and steel; even when he has failed or chosen not to give the country electricity supply for good 2 hours.
    How about removing a state administrator just because he has refused to share/loot the state money with him and decided rather to use it and better the peoples life with good roads?
    The most of African youths wander the streets of foriegn lands without having a sense of where they are going; what they will do; how to survive, its really pathetic.
    I am hopeful that African youths of today will take advantage of the technology made available to advance themselves and their cause too.
    I also hope the youths will make positive moves politically to change the trend we were born into; the lifestyle of corruption and greed that has made us miserable in the sight of others.
    I hope things will surely get better if we believe.

  40. Africa

    I have a Dream that one day,
    All Europeans leave Africa and its natural resources TO AFRICAN PEOPLE.
    Of course this will mean the down fall of Europe as we know it, because we all know that the CAUSE is Europe and the AFFECT is poverty and economic trauma for African people especially Sub Saharan Africa.

    I can’t believe your blog did NOT MENTION this; don’t try to be nice or sympathetic, because I know and everyone else knows you are not (its business; we know)

    I simply wish EUROPE accept that they are not welcome, NOT AFTER WHAT HAS BEEN DOING, AND IS STILL DOING TO AFRICA.

    PS: I HOPE EUROPE DOES GO BANKRUPT. AN EYE FOR AN EYE

  41. Pingback: New Media + Journalism = National Development? « Efi's thoughts

  42. Pingback: Africa, Inequities, and Casualties of Climate Change « worldbliss

  43. Pingback: Design firms and more news from the dark continent* | Upperlab Blogs

  44. Pingback: New Media + Journalism = National Development? | Simple observations on technology & innovations

  45. ochuko

    wow….so great thinkers here, with people like you devoting time to African study, we Africans can boast of having a feature not the dark Europeans presumed

  46. Pingback: April 15-19, 2013: Africa, week 3 (history) - WORLD STUDIES - Ms. Sibbett's World Studies - Issaquah Connect

Comments are closed.