Where Africa and Technology Collide!

What is an African Mash-up?

African RadioI want to note that the meat of this article is from a gentleman named John who sent me an email about the Africa Network. Some amazing thoughts have come from the readers here, those who comment and those who send me emails. Thank you for taking the time to share them.

John’s comments were under the assumption that something like the Africa Network was created, and the remark that got me thinking the most was:

Mostly in the rich world mash-ups are thought of as joining one really high-tech thing with another. But in the developing world it seems that mash-up may join high-tech stuff with low-tech.

Basically, if the Africa Network is created as intended, it would be a platform. One which would allow numerous ways of making money depending upon the situation, economics and geographic region of those it reaches. It is language-, political-, class-, and status-agnostic. The platform doesn’t care how it is used. It is just that, a platform.

John goes on to blow out a whole business idea for Africans in a poor rural area that combines the use of cell phone, radio, strips of paper, and possibly an iPod could be used to create something that I as the person who thought of the Africa Network could never dream of. The truth here is that as ingenious of an idea as John has had, it will pale in comparison with the ingenuity of “the Africa” once they get their hands on it.

Low-tech to high-tech as a mash-up platform. Simply a brilliant way of putting it. Thanks John!

(image link from UAACR)


  1. This is an important fact, thank you for sharing. [especially noted is your classification under Strategy.] Will be sure to note this in some other ideas i have.

  2. My point exactly AfroM, this is a very important thing to remember when developing technology for Africa. If you keep this in mind, you realize that you need to build in tools to make this secondary market flourish.

    If I’m developing something technology related, I want the jua kali guys to embrace my ideas. I want web-fundis to be all over the place figuring out how to use it and make money from that knowledge.

  3. Hi Hash

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Good stuff you’ve got here. The cell phone will definitely revolutionalise the way people interact, trade and live.

    Let me download the pdf and have a squizz through it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. The truth here is that as ingenious of an idea as John has had, it will pale in comparison with the ingenuity of “the Africa” once they get their hands on it.

    Yes! I so agree with you Hash.

    As an American it’s about time we appreciated that while the challenges people on the African continent face, their ingenuity is great too.

    My local paper finally got around to covering the drought: in a caption to a photograph. One of the editors is a former State Department diplomat in various African countries and when he writes about African issues, he’s oh so politic. The whole “dark continenet” routine really distorts the picture.

    We’re all on this “Spaceship Earth together.” It’s about time we start acting like it and have some fun while we’re at it.

    [comment fixed by Hash]

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