Where Africa and Technology Collide!

“If Africa is Surprising…

…Then you’re not paying enough attention.” – Ethan Zuckerman at Picnic ’08

Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan has just finished giving an excellent 20 minute talk on why people need to start paying attention to Africa. Not for Africa’s good alone, but for their own good as well.

One of the comments made was that the African reaspora will be the ones who rebuild Africa. Those are the Africans who have left and are now coming back with money, purpose and drive to see change happen. Binyavanga Wainaina and Helen Omwando represent that group, and are up on stage having a conversation with Ethan, discussing what is really going on.

Binyavanga, Helen and Ethan

“The default form of organization in Africa is a tribe.”
– Binyavanga Wainaina

“When you force people to use Western Union, you’re basically saying, ‘go rob this guy’.”
– Ethan explaining how having such a high profile, undistributed means of transferring money sets up the receiver of the funds as a target.

More tomorrow at the day-long event on Africa – I go on stage at 10:30 and will be talking about how mobiles are being used in Africa.


  1. Is there any chance in the world I could get a transcript or video of the talk? Also would I get the permission to use it as the basis for an article in our print magazine? I’d really appreciate this.

  2. Ati, since when is BW sporting this new hairstyle? Or is it the US-customs version? 😉

    Seriously, it’s interesting that this parameter (“organization”) was mentioned.

  3. Also very interested in video or audio of the event! Please let us know if it’s available in any way!

  4. I agree, we need a video of the event. I am not so sure that is Wainaina. Sounds like a good talk. Africa Rising.

  5. Cant wait to see that video

  6. Thanks for providing updates otherwise the Picnic in “Africa” would only be eaten in Amsterdam! I see that Olivier is on the panel. Why isn’t Africa News carrying this on their site with regular updates, etc?

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