Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Africa Gathering in London

I’m spending a dreary London Saturday indoors with a bunch of Afriphiles at the University of London. We’re all meeting for Africa Gathering, a meeting put on by Ed Scorcher, focused on the point where Africa and technology collide. It really is an impressive gathering, a couple hundred people who really think, do work and care about Africa and technology.

Ed Scotcher at Africa Gathering in London

Some quotes:

“340 million people are connected through mobile phones in Africa. But 660 million aren’t.”
– Nigel Waller of Movirtu

“Most ICT development for education in Africa is focused on primary students. For, as we know, the smaller the child the better the photo opportunity.
– David Hollow, talking about the OLPC and assessment of it in Ethiopia

“What happens when you hand someone a mobile phone and say, ‘You can ask any question by text and get an answer.’?”
– Sian Townsend, user experience researcher at Google

A great question was asked by someone in the audience of Sian, “When people are not used to or aware of concept of Google do they trust the answers?” I’m not sure there was a good answer to that question, so will follow up on it. I’m really intrigued with it because I wonder how you that branding/trust issue works in a vacuum.

Other resources and posts:

Karola Riegler’s Flickr pictures (ongoing through the day)
Tim Unwin on “Why we need Africa Gathering
ICT4D.at’s blog posts

On a sidenote, it appears that my old friend David McQueen (TED Africa Fellow) and I have exactly the same phones and models:

David McQueen and I compare our identical phones


  1. Hey White African (or Abruni here in Ghana)

    My wife and I are with SIL based in Accra, currently. We are eventually going to end up in Cameroon. I’m a mac user and would be interested in getting an iphone to use in Africa, but are unsure of the particulars. I saw that you owned one in the above pic. I thought you might be able to give me some ideas about making one work here in Ghana, Switzerland (language school), and Cameroon. Thanks for helping.

    BTW, you look nothing like your dad:)

  2. Hey Eric. Do you know whether these talks will be available online later for our viewing pleasure? If there’s no such plan, could you, ahem, put a word in for it?

  3. @Rombo – they are recording these talks. I’m assuming that they’ll have them up on the Africa Gathering website afterward. I’ll find out for sure though.

  4. @Alan – contact me via email and I’ll give you some thoughts on that.

  5. @rombo Yes, we’ll be putting the videos of the Africa Gathering London talks up as soon as we can. We are starting to edit them today.

  6. That mobile coincidence thing was rather spooky my friend.
    Good seeing you again. Hopefully not to long till the next reunion


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