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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

African Technology Powerhouses

African Technology PowerhousesThere are three main areas of web technology innovation in Africa, three regions that define it. They are split geographically, have different focuses and are the recognized technology leaders in their region. All three contain a strong sense of identity and a continued drive to change the continent.

These three countries are Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. They represent the power nexus of Africas technological future. (note: other countries also show technological innovation, these ones just keep popping up more than the others)

Let’s take a look at them in closer detail. A few examples of what I see, which I’m sure many readers can augment with products, projects and businesses that I haven’t heard of.

Kenya

  • A 20 Gigabit underwater fibre optic cable will arrive in 2007 (EASsy)
  • Mobile for Good pilots and proves that Kenyans will pay for news and job information by SMS phones

Ghana

South Africa

  • 25 Million mobile phone subscribers (the most on the continent)
  • Ubuntu, Linux-based open source alternative to Windows by Mark Shuttleworth
  • Jonga, a search engine for South Africa by Alistair Carruthers

Obviously, there are many more in each of these countries, and many other countries that also have a great deal of innovation (So, all you Nigerians don’t get too upset, I know you’re doing some big things there too).

It will be interesting to see the development of technology in each of these regions. South Africa has stronger ties to the West and a better infrastructure for development. Kenya has a great deal of innovative ideas coming out of it, and also seems to be the testing ground for many different projects. Ghana continually proves that despite a lack of infrastructure, that Africans can design and innovate around it through harnessing technology.

[Note: I’m already being set right by my Nigerian friends. 🙂 Please keep sending emailing, or commenting on what’s happening in your country and I’ll add you to the list. I’ll append the map later.]

Nigeria

  • The Solo project, computers made for Africa and made in Africa

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7 Comments

  1. Hash , the solo project is actually being fronted by Nigerians plus there is a Linux Distro ( wazobia) which supports three native nigerian languages so I think they deserve a spot on the african digerati map 🙂

  2. Dude, you forgot the blogosphere on the continent. That may not be a new technology emerging, but it sure is a driving force that will see more acceptance and understanding for web technology and the need to invest into anything web-alike as ppl have found the web to be a great way to communicate and interact. ~ the passive factor…

  3. I have been trying to write an essay on EASSy that is turning out to be my Moby Dick and I have to tell you, while EASSy is badly needed in East Africa, to be brutally honest, the business model behind the implementation that is being carried out sucks bug time. It will do absolutely nothing for the bottom feeder internet user like you or me. If anything, internet access prices may paradoxically go up!

    Thanks for the links to stuff happening outside Kenya, the “Space to Space” link was particularly interesting since there is a similar phenomenon in Kenya called “Simu ya Jamii” – literally “The community/family phone” which is basically a battery/solar powered GSM desktop phone.

    Here is another link for you, a paper by Nyaki Adeya on “Wireless Technologies and Development in Africa”. The paper deals with the idea that mobile telephony could potentially be supplied at 1/6th the current cost as well as some real implementations of solutions using mobile technology.

  4. Erik,

    I work for the parent company in UK of UUNET regionally hq’d in Jo’burg. It’ll be interesting to see what we can do to help you with the project. I’ll download the pdf off Changethis and if there is some more detail, email me to let me know and I’ll email you back my office address.

    RB

  5. Good post. I think Rwanda probably deserves a mention, not only because of their innovative, ground breaking, and award winning venture into cheap energy- biogas, Rwanda achieved this feat just a couple of years after going through one of the most horrific genocidal calamity in African history…

    See: Innovative Technology in Africa

  6. Erik,
    I emailed you the SAP Survey Qs, but got bounceback. Did you get them in the end? Do you have a 2nd email address?

  7. there is such thing as white Africans?????

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