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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Day 1 Thoughts on TEDGlobal 2007

Everyone knows that TED conferences are stuffed full of influential attendees, remarkable speakers and great ideas. None of which I want to talk about here. Instead, I want to focus on the repercussions of this type of meeting to the greater world. After all, TED’s motto is “Ideas Worth Spreading”.

Our little conference overlaps with the G8 meeting in Germany, where there will be some substantial discussions on Africa. So, we sit here – business giants, philosophists and thought leaders – making the case for changing Africa. Changing the way the world sees Africa, changing the way Africa sees itself, and most of all, changing the way money flows and operates in Africa.

That’s pretty heavy stuff actually. We’re talking about the differences between development aid and capital investment throughout the second largest continent in the world. Bono and Mwenda have already squared off over it, and it’s a discussion worth having.

The two questions I have:

  1. Will the policy makers of the developed and developing nations hear and act upon the idea that businesses should be leading the charge for change in Africa?
  2. Will the TEDGlobal conference be dominated by this one theme of aid vs. trade, or will there be room for more thoughts and discussion on other ideas?

1 Comment

  1. It might be an easy cope out answer but the answer to #1 has to be…. both. As it stands, aid is not very effective. So an alternative to aid to government has to be elaborated. However, not giving governments the chance to help non-profit venture ( school, health center…) is senseless and goes against the very own purpose of development. So I would lean towards Bono’s side on the issue. Aid is not the problem, irresponsible gvt and lack of monitoring of aid are.
    About #2, I would not worry too much about that. There are enough brains over there to entertain all ranges of issues.

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