I just got an email from Gareth Knight (blogger behind OneAfrikan.com) about the possibility of a new tech conference for southern Africa called TECH4AFRICA. It looks like the plan is to hold it in Jo’burg, which is a good location for these sorts of things since South Africa is proving to be the biggest hotbed of web and mobile technology in Africa at the moment.
Right now seems like a good time to weigh in on what your thoughts are on technology conferences in Africa. There was some heated discussion a few months back on this topic, so I know that people have thoughts on what one should look like.
I can think of nothing better than Africans starting to take their own initiative in building web/mobile applications and controlling their own web ecosystem. These are exciting times, and a great time to be part of building things in Africa. I think it’s a good idea, and hope to see more meetings and conferences like this throughout the continent.
When I filled out the questionnaire on the TECH4AFRICA website, it asked me what three topics I would like to see discussed. Here they are:
- Mobile phones – upcoming changes and how it is changing the face of Africa
- Web application development within Africa – 15 minute segments by individuals within Africa who are doing things
- Growing a culture of programming and design in Africa – let’s hear the success stories and see examples of top designers and programmers in Africa
Let’s see Africans leading these panels and speaking. Let’s hear from leaders in the different fields. Let’s hear from people on the ground in the areas where people are making technological changes. Let’s hear from internationals who have experiences that can be leveraged in Africa.
[sidenote: TED is going to have a conference in Arusha, Tanzania in 2007. These are incredible conferences with some of the most amazing speakers you’ll ever see in one place. TED is really hard to get invited to attend, and is pretty expensive too. I think that TECH4AFRICA could follow the lead of some other conferences, and put together a top-class conference that doesn’t exactly compete, but that many more people could afford to attend]