Where Africa and Technology Collide!

African Digerati: Emeka Okafor

African Digerati: Emeka Okafor

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 do you do:
I am an entrepreneur, one of my current endeavors is Caranda Teas and Coffee in which I am a partner. The company is repositioning itself as a Fine Foods company.

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 weren’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 “required reading” 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.


  1. Thank you hash for this, Emeka’s blogs are an inspiration to me. – Very cool series, i am looking forward to the next African Digerati you will be profiling.

  2. Very interesting interview and good choice as the first one up. I’ll be sure to link to this once i can log into my blog (bleeding 302 errors all over the place!)
    well done, yet another Hash project!

  3. Brilliant interview Hash and good choice for the first one up.
    I’ll post a link once BlueHost figure out why I cant log into my blog.

    Have a brilliant day.

  4. Thanks, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I’ll be rolling out 1-2 of these each week for the next month. It’s actually just as fun for me, since I too am very interested in what each of these leaders in our field are thinking.

  5. Excellent article. I really like the interview, it was really insightful. Emeka Okafor is a trailblazer, there is so much to say for someone who is able to “just do it” like Mr. Okafor has.

    Thanks guys!

  6. Excellent interview…been reading Okafor’s blogs for awhile now. African Digerati is what I’ve been looking for really. Can’t wait to read more.

  7. Pamela Mackey

    March 7, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Contextually, the bridge between creative learning and technological innovation must be erected to embrace the infinite capacity to integrate a systems approach to social change. Dialectically, our transcending the narrow curves of social division negates the authority of an oligarchy. In essence, the omnipresence of the sage is also omniscient from birth.
    Please EMAIL me to further advance the discussion!

  8. I am trying to find emeka’s e-mail address. I taught him in high school in houston and would like to contact him. thanks.

  9. Hey,
    Enjoyed your site. Yet I still want to know the meaning of your first name because I’m interesting in knowing for personal reasons.

  10. Does Emeka have an e-mail address I could contact him on? There’s an interesting concept in kitchen designs that I would like to be seen on his blog.

  11. This is very cool. As an artist and a teacher this is very exciting because it gives young African American and Latino students role models of color who are “doing magical things with technology” and “inventing” new ways to do them. Thx for posting!

  12. hey check out this small Kenyan company making stoves and promoting charcoal farming.


    keep up the good work of african innovation for homegrown solutions

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