Where Africa and Technology Collide!

An Evening with Chinery-Hesse and Negroponte

Next week I’ll be in London to speak at the 21st Century Challenges event put on by the Royal Geographic Society with a focus on “Digital Technology in Africa“.

Besides that main event, it will be a busy 3 days as I’ll also be speaking at the World Bank, meeting at #10 Downing Street, talking at the BBC College of Journalism and at the launch of a Vodafone SIM paper on the mobile web in East Africa at the London School of Economics.

I’m particularly excited about the RGS event because of who I’ll be sharing the stage with. The other speakers are Herman Chinery-Hesse and Nicholas Negroponte.

The above video is Herman Chinery-Hesse, a successful and well-established software entrepreneur in Ghana. He’ll be keynoting the Tech4Africa conference this October in South Africa (along with my colleague Jon Gosier). Herman brings a wealth of knowledge on successful technology businesses, within a West African context. The understanding that the regions of Africa have differing business models and technology success stories is important to recognize.

Nicholas Negroponte is known internationally due to his long and storied history at MIT’s Media Lab. He’s leaving soon, and Joi Ito will soon take over the leadership of that institution. Negroponte spent his last few years heavily pushing the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, and I’m sure that will be a large discussion item in London.

Here’s Negroponte a couple years ago talking about the OLPC:

If you’re in London and can join, do check to see if any tickets are still available.


  1. Booked. Tube strikes and other things permitting, I will be there 🙂 . Looking forward to meeting you and catching up with Herman.

  2. Thank you. Really enjoyed the debate. It was very stimulating. I left buzzing and excited about the opportunities for growth and development in Africa that technology is providing. My quote of the evening was from Herman – “removing artifical borders with technology” I think the word is interchangeable with barriers – which is an extremely liberating idea.

    Loved your point about needing to understand the demands of the current market (Iyam.mobi) and needing more investors to invest in risky startups in order to be able to find the ‘success stories’. Thanks for switching me on to the http://www.manypossibilities.net site.

    The event today help to consolidate my thinking on one of my blog ramblings last June http://bit.ly/al5WFu …sometimes we need to review our thinking and challenge our beliefs to see opportunity when it presents itself. Thank you for the feast for thought!

  3. Loved the 21st Century Challenges last night. Wish Sir Bob had been there to really stir it up and there had been more time for questions. Do you/Herman have another other events coming up in the UK?

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