Emeka Okafor is the first in the African Digerati series of interviews. He is a well established member of the African blogosphere, a leading thinker, and a doer. Not mentioned in this interview is the fact that he is also managing and coordinating one of the world’s top technology conferences that will be in Africa for the first time this year: TED Global. He has made a huge impact on me, and I believe his blogs should be considered regular reading for anyone interested in technological development in Africa.
Blog and/or website:
The Blogs I publish are Timbuktu Chronicles and Africa Unchained.
What inspires you?
Innovation, Creativity, Resourcefulness and Resilience in face of odds.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
My Parents, Internalist thinkers like George Ayittey
If you werenâ€™t involved with technology, what would you do instead?
Technology couldn’t really be separated from daily existence, its woven into the fabric of contemporary human endeavor. If it were however I would be drawn to the creative pursuits of business and idea implementation…this would always draw me in.
Name one book that you would label â€œrequired readingâ€ for those in the African technology sphere:
Kevin Kelly’s Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World
What emerging technologies are you most excited about?
Distributed computing and communication systems such as:
- Wireless mesh networks
- Open Source everything
Distributed and Renewable energy systems:
- Biogas, Biofuels
- Solar energy
- Nanotechnology, Robotics, Unconventional computing, Fabbing
What do you see as the biggest advantage or opportunity for African technology development?
Moving local research from the Labs & Universities into businesses and Agriculture and the wider world. Adapting existing and emerging technologies to enable leapfrogging. Adopting non-hierarchical technologies that are less susceptible to non-functioning centralised control
What do you see as the biggest challenge for African technology development?
Repositioning technology in the eyes of policy makers as being absolutely critical to the continents survival and its continued relevance. Evolving a home grown culture of ingenuity and resourcefulness, that is self-sustaining replicable and scalable.
What are your thoughts on the impact of blogging in Africa?
Blogging will continue to open up vistas of the continent that hitherto remained out of view. From food to finance, technology to tourism a million untold stories are waiting to be told…and we have begun to tell them.