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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Tag: barcamp (page 2 of 3)

Barcamp Mauritius

South Africa – IdeaCamp

Senegal – Barcamp Dakar

Bush-videostreaming at Barcamp Jozi

We had a great day 1 at Barcamp Jozi yesterday, and then a mad evening rushing around Johannesburg trying to find a good enough uplink connection to run the live streaming panel back to Barcamp Africa. We didn’t exactly succeed in live streaming, but the video will be uploaded shortly.

More importantly, we had an incredibly good time having the adventure, spending the evening having a conversation about mobile phones, the web and technology in Africa – all under the open skies of South Africa.

Panelists:

I can’t actually view the video, but if I could it would be at this link: Barcamp Jozi panel

USA – Barcamp Africa

South Africa – Barcamp Jozi

Madagascar – Barcamp Madagascar

African Meetups, Barcamps and Conferences

African Tech Events CalendarThings are definitely heating up in the African tech sphere according to my calendar of African tech events (Events RSS feed) for the remainder of the year. From Madagascar to Mauritius there are unconferences, conferences and adhoc meetups happening at a rate I haven’t seen before. The African tech scene is definitely getting bigger and noisier.

Barcamp Nairobi

In the next two weeks we have 8 events covering 6 countries:

** I’ll be attending these
* I will stream in live to Barcamp Africa with the South Africans, but it’s also open in Kenya and Ghana.

On top of these scheduled conferences and unconferences, there are many meetups happening all over the place – from the monthly 27Dinner in cities around South Africa to the bi-monthly Skunkworks meetings in Kenya.

Africa’s a happening place – just watch!

[As always, if you know of an upcoming African tech event, let me know and I’ll add it to the calendar]

Thoughts on Barcamp Africa

There has been a lot of talk in the Kenyan tech backchannels over the upcoming Barcamp Africa. Kahenya has a posted the email thread from the Skunkworks email list into his blog for further reading – it’s worth reading for context alone.

The two biggest points of contention seem to be over the name “Barcamp Africa”, with the conference being held in the US, and the fact that Google has agreed to sponsor the facility for it to take place in.

On the Name

The first thing I’d say is, don’t get caught up in the nomenclature on this one. Barcamp Africa happening in Silicon Valley is being put on by a couple people who are from Africa, or have a vested interest in what happens here.

From what I understand, it’s really only about drawing attention to African projects and initiatives in the world’s largest tech mecca: Silicon Valley. Could one/should one be held in Africa? Of course, but at a local, level like we already see in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, etc. I’d also be interested in seeing one at a continental level, but so far haven’t seen anyone step up to take charge on that idea.

I know for a fact that Kaushal and Ellen specifically didn’t want to be the “owners” of Barcamp Africa as a name. From my conversations, they are hoping that other Barcamp Africa’s happen around the world (inside and outside of Africa). In fact, they wouldn’t even spend the $10 on registering the domain name, so I did that in their stead to make sure that no squatter would jump on it (it’s available to anyone who wants to use it).

On Google Sponsorship

As anyone who has put on a Barcamp knows, it does take having a couple sponsors to put on a free conference. They’ve been talking to almost every tech company in the Silicon Valley trying to get them to sponsor the event – by either providing facilities or money for food, etc. After a lot of work, Google finally came on board to sponsor the facility (and they’ve got one of the best facilities around), so it’s a big win.

Speaking of Google sponsorship of free tech events outside of the US, it should be noted that they happily sponsored our own Barcamp Nairobi in June, and showed up to participate in Barcamp Kampala in August. If anything, it should be the African tech companies who should be ashamed for not sponsoring their own local talent at these events.

On Africans in Africa Taking Part

I’ve added my two cents in with the Barcamp Africa team of creating some way for people from around the African continent to take part. One of those ideas would be to set up a live stream of what they’re doing, but that’s not truly interactive. What would be even better is for them to setup one of the rooms where people from Kenya (or elsewhere) could signup for a 20-30 minute spot to address everyone in the US. Then, when your slot came up you could give a Barcamp talk just like everyone else. It would require a certain amount of bandwidth of course, but might be just the type of thing to get everyone involved.

5 More African Conferences/Events

A few more conferences to add to my earlier list of events going on around the continent, though one is in the US and another is in Europe, and are about Africa.

In Africa

Tech4Africa – The Technology for Africa conference has a group of really interestin speakers from around the web, mobile and ISP space in Africa. A lot of grassroots guys who are actually doing things, intermixed with some international, and well-known, speakers.
Dates: October 3-4, 2008
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Int’l Bloggers Roadshow – Still being put together, it sounds like an interesting group of US-based big name bloggers will be heading to South Africa. More by Matthew Buckland.
Dates: Unannounced
Locations: Unannounced

FOSS4G (Free and Open-Source Software for Geospatial) – A meeting of international mapping gurus. Hopefully we can get some major African mapping work started here.
Dates: September 29 – October 3, 2008
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

In the United States

BarCamp Africa – Organized in California as a way to bring people interested in Africa, on a variety of levels and topics, together in one place for a day of exploration, connection and enjoyment. Some big Silicon Valley names are getting behind this. (more on Twitter, Facebook and the wiki). Note: not the real logo above, I made that up…
Dates: October 11, 2008
Location: Pending

In Europe

Surprising Africa @ Picnic’08 – A one-day program designed to inspire and update the Picnic public – creatives, innovators, trendsetters and technologists – with a range of cross media and culture happenings from various Africa countries. From South African urban identity photography to Ethiopian architecture, to mobile banking to Kenya (online) critical writing, amongst others.
Dates: September 26, 2008
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

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