we¸volume¸oõ/2o11 AFRICA

£mergent Afrlca Mark Kaigwa ¤ Thlngs You Dldn’t Know About Afrlca Tolu Ogunlesi
Ask Chlna! Sofia Fernandes/Kinfu Adisu/Thomas Sharkey Afrlca’s CIobaI Communlty Kasandra
Housley Afrlca ls Not A Country! Hans Rosling TechnoIogy For Transparency Lova Rakotomalala
TaIklng About A kevoIutlon Lina Ben Mhenni 5LUMCOD£ Albert Nashon Odhoji 5paces Of
Freedom Hisham Almiraat 5top Terrorlsm! 5tart Transformatlon! Arslan Chikhaoui Kenya
Matters Erik Hersman/Ethan Zuckerman A Techle ln Love Wlth The Arts Jepchumba kadlo
As A Force For Peace Jocelyne Sambira You ßeg, ßorrow, 5teaI ;-) Wanuri Kahiu Our CuIture
Emmanuel Charlse Richardson For Men OnIy! Mary Githinji l Want To ße A Computer Cenlus
William Dwayne-Tyga Junior Memolrs Of A 5Ium ßoy Mark Kamau
Most peopIe outslde the contlnent
lmaglne Afrlca as belng about the
slze of a France or two.
ln reaIlty lt’s the slze of the U5A,
Chlna, ¡apan and most of £urope.
8ea Cschwend. ArL DírecLor
Ülríke keínhard. LdíLor ín Chíel
Doníník Wínd. Web
1ranslaLíon LdíLoríal.
Paul Morland, 8erlín
Ülríke keínhard
¦aehrweg 2
D6¤2¯¤ Neckarhausen
phone. +4¤ 622¤ ¤¯ o¯ o6
naíl. we(we¸nagazíne.neL
¦ronLpage. Onpeh / ÜníLy Drun
we¸voIume_0d/2o11 http://africa.we_magazine.net
oo6 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Examples of what is happening are encouraging.
Now, according the Economist Magazine, “developing
countries (editor’s remark: ‘developing countries’ is an
expression WE don’t like) are competing on creativity
‘in all matter of things’ as well as cost.” That will
change business everywhere – the rich world is losing
its leadership in the sort of breakthrough ideas that
transform industries.
we_afrlca doesn’t touch too much on business and
industry but WE still think and can see that these
transformations are not only happening in business.
They’re happening everywhere! In the arts, in mobile
communications, in society, education and politics.
And this is what you’ll  find here …
we_afrlca is a platform for those who personally
drive the change they want to see. It would be great if
many of you continue to contribute. WE view
we_afrlca as an ongoing process which DOES NOT
end with the release date … So please do feel free to add
on! You’re more than welcome!
And please have a look at our special video collection
(http://africa-videos.we_magazine.net/) where you’ll
find other stories which WE think come across better
as video than as text.
Bea, Domink & Ulrike
Welcome to the latest edition of we_magazlne:
During Ulrike’s last trip to Africa (August &
September 2010) the idea of working on a new issue of
we_magazlne dedicated to Africa took shape.
And now here it is: we_afrlca! “
WE have tried to go beyond the stereotype “western-
like“ point of view to zoom in on the continent’s
incredible richness and diversity.
In various very personal reports from Africans all over
the continent WE have sought to draw up an
authentic picture of Africa – an Africa that is no
longer dark but innovative, inspiring and full of hope.
This is our contribution to a new worldview.
As usual we focus on the transformation processes new
technologies are bringing about in our understanding
of WE. WE as “Westerners”, as industries, as societies,
as nations, as farmers, as schools … 20 years ago none
other than Bill Gates said: “What can we do with tech-
nology when people are starving? The world’s poorest
two billion people desperately need healthcare right now,
not laptops.” Maybe he was right. It is extremely
difficult to fashion a technology agenda for the poorest
nations in the world. Or at least it was difficult back
Today we have entered the age of creativity and innova-
tion. The thinking is different. With the creative and
innovative use of the tools of this new age, African na-
tions – like all other nations – can get ahead.
oo7 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo8 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
£mergent Afrlca Mark Kaigwa 001z
¤ Thlngs You Dldn’t Know About Afrlca Tolu Ogunlesi 0018
lf You Want To Know About Afrlca’s Future – Ask Chlna!
Sofia Fernandes/Kinfu Adisu/Thomas Sharkey 00zd
Afrlca’s CIobaI Communlty Kasandra Housley 00d0
Afrlca ls Not A Country! Hans Rosling 00d8
TechnoIogy for Transparency – Text Messages To HeIp
To Protect ChlIdren Agalnst VloIence Lova Rakotomalala 00¤8
TaIklng About A kevoIutlon Lina Ben Mhenni 006d
5LUMCOD£ – £mpowerlng 5Ium Communltles Albert Nashon Odhoji 001z
5paces Of Freedom – Web z.0 ln Marocco Hisham Almiraat 0086
5top Terrorlsm! 5tart Transformatlon Arslan Chikhaoui 00¤z
Kenya Matters Erik Hersman/Ethan Zuckerman 0100
oo¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
A Techle ln Love Wlth The Arts Jepchumba 0110
kadlo As A Force For Peace Jocelyne Sambira 0118
You ßeg, ßorrow, 5teaI ;-) You Do AImost Anythlng
To Cet Fundlng Wanuri Kahiu 01z6
Change Has A Name: MoblIe Steve Song 01¶6
Our CuIture – A 5ource Of Llfe Afflrmlng ¡oy
Emmanuel Charlse Richardson 01d6
For Men OnIy! Mary Githinji 01d8
l Want To ße A Computer Cenlus William Dwayne-Tyga Junior 01¤0
Memolrs Of A 5Ium ßoy Mark Kamau 01¤z
oo1o we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
AII Afrlcan
oo11 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo12 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: ihIerheI, mobIle,
mobIle mohey,
ushahIdI, IHub,
Mark Kalgwa
... is a storyteller working with leading African
brands, communications agencies and non-profits to
improve communication and collaboration using
mobile and the social web. He is currently Creative
Director for strategic consultancy PlugIn Africa.
£mergent Afrlca
oo1¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo1õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
It is both a great pleasure and an honour for
me to be contributing to WE_magazine in its
focus on Africa. I appreciate the spotlight and
hope that the words I write will do more than
arouse your interest, but spark an unquenchable
flame to ignite Africa in your eyes. That this
ember as it glows will enlighten a new state
of mind, far from that of Africa being the
so-called “Dark Continent”.
oo1s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
W£ are Afrlca.
W£ are
Maklng Hlstory.
Alríca’s wríLíng hísLory, lor all Lhe ríghL reasons now.
1he anounL ol ínnovaLíon goíng on across Lhe con
LínenL has leaders, Lhínkers and ínnovaLors curíous
abouL Lhe possíbílíLíes ol Lhís narkeL. A challenge
when Lalkíng abouL Lhe conLínenL ís íLs sheer síze.
LesL we lorgeL, Alríca ís noL a counLry, buL a conplex
conLínenL ol ¬4 counLríes and regíons. 1o puL Lhís ín
conLexL, Alríca ís over 2,6oo languages, LhaL’s over
2,6oo local culLures Lo address.
1o Lake a bírdseye víew ol Lhe conLínenL, we nusL
conLínue Lo lrane Lhe conversaLíon ín conLexL. LeL’s
look aL sone nunbers abouL Alríca.
• 1 bíllíon people
• +¬oo níllíon nobíle phones
• +11o níllíon connecLed Lo Lhe ¦nLerneL
• +2o níllíon on ¦acebook
• ¦nLerneL peneLraLíon across Lhe conLínenL
ís pegged aL 11%
1he ínLerneL and nobíle phones are Lranslorníng Lhe
way Alrícans connunícaLe and LransacL. We’ll look aL
Lhen lron Lhree perspecLíves locusíng on Lhe nobíle,
and bríngíng íL back ínLo Lhe conLexL ol Lhe ínLerneL.
1hís has Lo be Lhe síngle bíggesL ínnovaLíon success
LhaL’s been bríngíng worldwíde recogníLíon, awards
and acclaín. 1he ríse ol nobíle connerce or ncon
nerce has seen Alríca posíLíoned as Lhe narkeL leader
and LhoughL leader when íL cones Lo provídíng solu
Líons lor people wíLhouL bank accounLs and Lhose aL
Lhe boLLon ol Lhe pyraníd.
Kenyan nobíle phone servíce províder, Salarícon’s
producL MPesa (M lor nobíle, Pesa Swahílí lor noney)
beíng Lhe worldwíde leader and Lhe greaLesL success
so lar. Coogle’s CLO Lríc SchnídL recenLly declared
LhaL Coogle’s nexL phone, Lhe Nexus S would be Lhe
nobíle walleL and could evenLually replace Lhe credíL
card. 1hís has been a realíLy ín Alríca lor Lhe pasL ¯
years Lhanks Lo nobíle phone Lechnology and ínnova
Líve paynenL sysLens such as MPesa.
MPesa’s goL a neLwork ol over 2o,ooo agenLs across
Kenya. WheLher snall onenan kíosks, Lo CusLoner
Care CenLres or even Lílls aL supernarkeLs, Lhe ubíquíLy
ol nobíle noney has neanL LhaL Kenyans have delíned
and owned Lhe nobíle walleL círca 2oo¯. 1o puL íL ínLo
conLexL, when ¦ Lake a cab, ¦ pay ny cab dríver wíLh
MPesa, ¦ buy ny groceríes wíLh MPesa nobíle.
WheLher íL’s school lees or collecLíng salaríes sone
people preler MPesa.
1hís has neanL LhaL banks have had Lo ínnovaLe Lo
reLaín and engage new cusLoners. ParLnershíps wíLh
MPesa have seen Lhe bírLh ol MKesho (Kesho beíng
1onorrow ín Swahílí) a parLnershíp beLween LquíLy
8ank and Salarícon whích sees people able Lo save
as líLLle as 1o Kenya Shíllíngs aL a Líne. 1hese ínno
vaLíve applícaLíons ol whaL could be relerred Lo as
nanolínance are whaL’s led Alríca as a leader ín LargeL
íng and prolíLíng lron whaL C.K. Prahalad delíned as
1he 8oLLon ol 1he Pyraníd. 1o daLe, MPesa’s cunulaLí
vely LransacLed over ¬¤6.84 8íllíon Kenya Shíllíngs –
S¯.12¯ 8íllíon (ÜS Dollars) ín personLoperson Lrans
lers and LransacLs an esLínaLed S¬oo Míllíon a nonLh,
agaín ín personLoperson noney Lranslers. 1he naxí
nun you can LransacL per person ís less Lhan S¬oo a day.
1he ouLcone ol Lhís all ís nobíle noney ís a sLandard.
Now all servíce províders ín Kenya each have a nobíle
noney plaLlorn, each wíLh íLs nuanced approach.
1he success nay noL scale Lhe sane way ín oLher Alrícan
narkeLs, buL Kenya has proven Lhe case lor Lhe no
bíle walleL and proven íL doesn’L need a snarLphone
Lo be a snarL ínnovaLíon.
oo16 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
¦l we’re Lo look aL how Lhe nobíle’s shapíng con
nuníLy, we would look no lurLher Lhan SouLh Alríca,
where Lhe ínsLanL nessagíng neLwork MXíL’s revolu
Líonísed youLh culLure and socíal neLworkíng across
Lhe globe. WhaL sLarLed ouL as an SMSbased gane
has evolved ínLo a global nobíle socíal neLwork ol
over 2¯ níllíon users wíLh a bulk ol Lhose users ín
SouLh Alríca and over 12o oLher counLríes íncludíng
2.¬ níllíon users ín ¦ndonesía. As lar as growLh goes,
Lhey’re addíng over 4o,ooo new users a day lron
across Lhe world.
One phenonenal exanple would be Yoza, a seríes ol
shorL cellphone sLoríes LhaL were seeded and spread
Lhrough MXíL. 1he ouLcone ín 2 nonLhs was 62,ooo
readers leadíng Lo over 4o,ooo connenLs. ¬o% ol
whon lelL connenLs alLer Lhey’d read Lhe conLenL.
SLeve Vosloo ¦ellow lor 21sL CenLurey Learníng aL
1he ShuLLleworLh ¦oundaLíon and Pro|ecL Leader on
Yoza, descríbes Lhe nobíle phone as “Lhe Kíndle ol
Alríca”. A senLínenL LhaL ríngs Lrue lron whaL we’ve
seen wíLh Yoza and oLher exanples on MXíL.
1hrough an íníLíaLíve called MXíL cares, Lhe MXíL plaL
lorn has gone way beyond |usL sharíng nessages Lo
delíveríng educaLíon ín engagíng and parLícípaLory
ways Lo Lhís large audíence. Lxanples ínclude sLu
denLs sLudyíng lor Lheír línal exans ín SouLh Alríca
accessíng a naLhs LuLor on MXíL and H¦V/A¦DS ínlor
naLíon and drug & subsLance abuse counsellíng. 1o
puL Lhís ín conLexL, Luropeans spend líLLle nore Lhan
1% ol Lheír average nonLhly íncone on nobíle con
nunícaLíon, Alrícans spend 1¯.¯%.
¦ron SouLh Alríca, we Lake a Lríp Lo Chana, where
líke nany oLher counLríes ín Alríca, counLerleíL drugs
are a seríous problen. ¦or exanple, accordíng Lo
8ríghL Sínons, an esLínaLed 4¬% drugs ín Nígería are
lake. 1he World 1rade OrganísaLíon esLínaLed LhaL
lake nalaría drugs accounLed lor 1oo,ooo Alrícan de
aLhs a year. 1he esLínaLed annual global losses Lo Lhe
pharnaceuLícal índusLry exceed S¯¬ bíllíon, and Lhe
lake drug índusLry ís closely línked Lo organísed críne.
1hís ís where nPedígree cones ín.
1ake Lhís exanple, a paLíenL walks ínLo a pharnacísL,
buys drugs and scraLches oll a panel Lo reveal a 1o
dígíL code. 1hey send LhaL nunber ín an SMS nes
sage – whích ís lree – usíng a shorL díallíng code.
Seconds laLer Lhey geL a LexL back conlírníng, or oLher
wíse, Lhe auLhenLícíLy ol Lhose drugs. nPedígree valí
daLes genuíne nedícínes and bríngs claríLy Lhrough
one ol Lhe nosL basíc ol Lechnologíes. SLarLed ín
Chana and píloLed ín boLh Chana & Nígería, Lhe
rapíd success ol nPedígree has seen íL spread Lo
Kenya and soon Lo Lhe resL ol LasL Alríca.
“Alrícan nobíle phone users do noL have conLracLs,”
says Mr. 8ríghL Sínons, Chíel SLraLegísL aL nPedígree
“1hey use Lopup scraLch cards. So people are very
used Lo usíng scraLch cards líke Lhís.” ¦n addíLíon Lo
Lhe healLh benelíLs and línancíal rewards, Lhere ís also
Lhe benelíL ol realLíne ínlornaLíon on drug consunp
Líon. 1he nPedígree daLa, whích ís rouLed Lo daLa
cenLres ín ¦reland and Cernany, provídes a conLínuous
pícLure ol Lhe pharnaceuLícal needs ol Lhe counLry al
lowíng dísLríbuLíon conpaníes Lo prevenL shorLages,
and gívíng healLh prolessíonals early warníng ol epí
denícs or unusual drug consunpLíon paLLerns.
Lach ol Lhese exanples ín Lheír own respecLíve ways
apply culLure, connerce and connuníLy and are
success sLoríes ín Lheír own ríghL. 1he nobíle plaL
lorn ís where Alríca ís wríLíng Lhe hísLory books.
¦ron busínesses buíldíng on nobíle paynenL plaL
lorns Lo connecL Lhe web and Lhe nobíle phone Lo
Lhose Lappíng MXíL’s AP¦ Lo creaLe ganes and paíd
conLenL, whaL we’re seeíng ís ecosysLens and eco
noníes lor ínnovaLíon developíng lron Lhe develo
píng world.
1he challenge wíLh Alríca ís Lo change narraLíves
ínLernaLíonally abouL Lhe conLínenL, Lo showcase
success sLoríes and Lo ígníLe LhaL ínLeresL and Lhe
new Alríca.
oo17 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
¦l we have a look aL Lhe web and whaL redelíníLíons
Alríca ís pronoLíng, we need noL look lurLher Lhan
Lhe sLory behínd Üshahídí. An exLraordínary sLory
whose genesís ís Lraced back Lo a períod duríng
Kenya’s 2oo¯/o8 posL elecLíon víolence when blog
ger Ory Okolloh along wíLh a Lean ol volunLeers ín
cludíng Lrík Hernan, Davíd Kobía and !ulíana koLích
developed a websíLe Lo nap íncídenLs ol víolence
and peace based on reporLs subníLLed vía Lhe web
and nobíle phone. 1hís websíLe had 4¬,ooo users ín
Kenya, and was Lhe caLalysL whích nade us realíze
Lhere was a need lor a plaLlorn based on íL whích
could be used by nany oLhers around Lhe world. ¦L
was Lhen LhaL Üshahídí was born.
“Üshahídí”, whích neans “LesLínony” ín Swahílí, has
gone on Lo becone one ol Lhe world’s besL used
crowdsourcíng plaLlorns. Üshahídí has always been
lree and opensource and ís developed, naínLaíned
and dríven by a group ol passíonaLe volunLeers lron
across Lhe world, nanaged by Kenyans, a sLory ín
and ol íLsell. Now, Üshahídí ís a global success sLory
ín vísualízaLíon, ínLeracLíve nappíng and crowdsour
cíng. ¦ron noníLoríng elecLíons ín ¦ndía, Mexíco,
1anzanía, 8urundí, Lo Lhe earLhquake ín HaíLí and
nore recenLly Lhe Oíl Spíll ín Lhe ÜníLed SLaLes, Lrík
Hersnan, Üshahídí colounder puLs íL well. “¦l íL’ll
work ín Alríca, íL’ll work anywhere.”
1he nexus lor all Lhíngs ínnovaLíve ín Kenya, and
Alríca aL Lhe nonenL has Lo be Lhe ínnovaLíon hubs.
¦L’s hard Lo poínL Lo Kenya ríghL now and noL see how
Lhe *íHub – ís aL Lhe lorelronL ol ínnovaLíon wíLhín
Lhe Lechnology space. ¦ron hosLíng evenLs wíLh
leadíng LhoughL leaders lron across Lhe world Lo
hosLíng Lheír lírsL seL ol Creen Menbers – 1oo ol
Naírobí’s nosL pronísíng developers, creaLíves and
busíness LechnologísLs. Descríbed as an open space lor
LechnologísLs, ínvesLors, Lech conpaníes and hackers,
Lhís space ís a Lech connuníLy lacílíLy wíLh a locus
on young enLrepreneurs, web and nobíle phone
progranners, desígners and researchers. ¦L ís parL
open connuníLy workspace (coworkíng), parL vecLor
lor ínvesLors and VCs and parL íncubaLor.
Such hubs, labs and coworkíng spaces are creaLíng
Lhe physícal sLrucLure Lo creaLe susLaínable envíron
nenLs lor concepLíon and execuLíon across Lhe con
LínenL lron Línbe Labs ín Caneroon Lo Lhe Híve
Colab ín Üganda and 8anLa Labs ín Senegal |usL Lo
nane a lew. We have producLs beíng developed,
launched and succeedíng because ol Lhe role such
spaces are playíng ín Lheír localíLíes.
1he sun LoLal ol Lhís bríel |ourney Lakes us back Lo
where we sLarLed Lhís conversaLíon. As we’ve |usL
Lraversed Lhe conLínenL lron LasL Lo SouLh Lo WesL
across Sub Saharan Alríca we’ve seen |usL a handlul
ol sLoríes. 1here are plenLy nore Lo locus on or show
case, buL íL sLarLs wíLh your ínpuL. 1hís has Lo be
a conversaLíon we carry and share beLween us – a
conversaLíon LhaL we own.
lt’s tlme we shaped the Afrlcan
narratlve for the worId. PoIltlcs
ls a reaIlty, so are some of the
deveIopment and lnfrastruc-
ture chaIIenges we face, but
we certalnIy are ln a posltlon
to dlctate the klnd of storles
that domlnate the Afrlcan
brand. And now that we’re ln
a posltlon to Iead ln emerglng
markets, W£ must coIIaborate
and exchange, share and bulId
on what we have. You can be
of servlce by spreadlng thls
message: carrylng lt, remlxlng
lt, oratlng lt, spreadlng and
reteIIlng these success storles.
W£ can keep thls fIame
gIowlng. WlII you!
oo18 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: aId IhdusIry,
IourIsm, I-IrIca,
IuIure, lIIeraIure
ToIu OgunIesl
... was born in 1982. He is the author of a collection
of poetry, Listen to the geckos singing from a balcony
(Bewrite Books, 2004) and a novella, Conquest &
Conviviality (Hodder Murray, 2008). In 2007 he
was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry
prize, in 2008 the Nordic Africa Institute Guest
Writer Fellowship, and in 2009 a Cadbury Visiting
Fellowship by the University of Birmingham. His fic-
tion and poetry have been published in The London
Magazine, Wasafiri, Farafina, PEN Anthology of New
Nigerian Writing, Litro, Brand, Orbis, Nano2ales,
Stimulus Respond, Sable, Magma, Stanford’s Black
Arts Quarterly and World Literature Today, among
others. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.
¤ Thlngs
You Dldn’t
Know About
oo1¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
This article was first published in the 3 Quarks Daily, July 26. 2010
oo2o we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
When Western tourists talk about
Africa somehow it seems to me that
what they really mean is East and
Southern Africa, places like Namibia,
Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and
parts of Uganda where you will find
safaris and zebras and elephants and
lakes in abundance.
SerengeLí, 1anzanía
oo21 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Afrlca thelr Afrlca
When ¦ Lhínk ol1ourísLs’Alríca ¦ alnosL never Lhínk ol
Nígería. 1ourísLs sLay away lron a counLry líke Nígería
– Lhose nasses ol loreígners Lo be seen aL Lhe arríval
Lernínal ol Lhe Lagos ¦nLernaLíonal AírporL (MM¦A) are
díplonaLs andNCOLypes and oíl workers and |our
nalísLs and researchers, and naybe spíes. (And ol
course Lhe occasíonal‘Nígerían leLLer’ vícLín despe
raLely hopíng Lo recover a losL lorLune). ¦ornosL ol
Lhen Lhere wíll be Lhe lure ol noney Lo be nade / ear
ned – as hardshíp allowance or crazy busíness prolíL.
Nígería ís one counLry where loreígners cone Lo nake
noney, noL Lo lríLLer íL away on guíded Lours and
lakesíde resorLs.
¦n Lhe Congo Lhey wíll be aíd workers and díanond
seekíng busínessnen and gorílla savers, díLLo Lhe
Sudan (nínus Lhe goríllasavers and busínessnen). ¦n
Líbería and Síerra Leone Lhey wíll be ¦M¦ and World
8ank ollícíals. ¦n Cuínea 8íssau Lhey wíll nosLly be
cocaíne nerchanLs and ÜS drug enlorcenenL agenLs
¦l Alríca dídn’L exísL, Lhe world – Lhe WesL, acLually –
would have Lo ínvenL íL. ¦l Lhey laíled, Lhen Chína
would have succeeded. ¦ndeed Lhe anLhropologísL
and Alríca specíalísL !ohn kyle wroLe
, ín hís revíew ol
kíchard Dowden’s Alríca. AlLered SLaLes, Ordínary
Míracles, ín Lhe London Cuardían. “¦n an ínporLanL
sense, “Alríca” ís a wesLern ínvenLíon. DespíLe aLLenpLs
by vísíonaríes Lo pronoLe uníLy anong Lhe sLaLes LhaL
ínheríLed doníníon lron Lurope’s reLreaLíng enpíres,
Alrícan políLícíans have never paíd anyLhíng nore
Lhan lípservíce Lo Lhe panAlrícan ídeal.”
8uL we could even Lake LhaL concepL ol ínvenLíon Lo
Lhe exLrene, beyond Lhe ínvenLíon ol Alrícan “uníLy”
Lo Lhe ínvenLíon ol Alríca íLsell.
1hínk ol a planeL wíLhouL Alríca, wíLhouL whaL 8ríLísh
|ournalísL and auLhor ol ¯ ínporLanL books abouL
Lhe conLínenL, Míchela Wrong descríbed (speakíng on
behall ol all loreígn |ournalísLs) as “Alríca’s varíous
Lrouble spoLs, our prolessíonal bread and buLLer.”
¦ repeaL Lhís. ¦l Alríca dídn’L exísL Lhe WesL would have
had Lo ínvenL íL. ¦l Alríca dídn’L exísL, where would all
LhaL aíd noney go7 Savíng Lurope’s poor7 Or baílíng
ouL Creece and ¦celand7 CerLaínly noL, íL would have
gone ínsLead Lowards provídíng granLs lor publíshers
and novels churníng ouL books abouLan ‘ínagínary
conLínenL ol Alríca’, where Lhe only Lhíng LhaL worked
would be Lhe dysluncLíon. ¦l Alríca dídn’L exísL, whaL
we Loday know as Scílí would be seL on a conLínenL
known as ‘Alríca’.
WhaL would Lhe slave planLaLíons ol Lhe New World
have done ín Lhe absence ol Alríca7 WhaL would
Mungo Park have done7 Davíd LívíngsLone7 Lord Lugard7
Lord PalnersLon7 kyszard Kapuscínskí7 8ob Celdol7
WhaL would Lhe World 8ank and ¦M¦ be wíLhouL
¦l Alríca dídn’L exísL, SLeve !obs would have cone Lo
Lhe rescue wíLh Lhe ílríca.
The epldemlc of the angry Afrlcan
Lver sínce Lhe arríval ol Lelevísíon Alríca has been
greaLly delíned by íLs chíldren. Kwarshíorkoed 8íalran
kíds – wíLh bloaLed bellíes and llíes ín Lhe eyes – shocked
Lhe world ín Lhe línal years ol Lhe 1¤6os, and galvaní
zed a nassíve hunaníLarían operaLíon, Lhe nodern
begínníngs ol Lhe bíllíondollar charíLy índusLry. A
decade and hall laLer Lhe LheaLre ol píLy noved Lo
LLhíopía. 8ono and 8ob Celdol (as we know Lhen
Loday) were born. 1he hungry Alrícan chíld noLíl Look
íLs place as Lhe unílyíng neLaphor lor a conLínenL ol
grossly dísparaLe parLs.
And Lhen ín Lhe 1¤¤os Lhe helpless Alrícan chíld goL
Lough conpeLíLíon, ín Lhe lorn ol Lhe chíld soldíer. ¦n
place ol Lhe beggíng bowl, Lhe Alrícan chíld now held
a Kalashníkov. 1here’s an enLíre genre ol líLeraLure
buílL around Lhese chíldren, books líke Chrís Abaní’s
Song lor NíghL, Ahnadou Kourouna’s Allah ¦s NoL
Oblíged, Üzodínna ¦weala’s 8easLs ol No NaLíon,
¦shnael 8eah’s A Long Way Cone, Chína KeíLeLsí’s
Chíld Soldíer. ¦íghLíng ¦or My Líle.
1oday, decades laLer, anoLher ínage ís energíng, LhaL
wíll boLh rellecL and delíne Lhe ínage ol Lhe conLínenL
ín Lhe years Lo cone. ¦L ís Lhe angry Alrícan. She ís
everyLhíng LhaL Lhe chíld vícLín ís noL. educaLed, prí
víleged, ín nany cases donícíled ínLhe wesL. She ís
angry aL Lhe porLrayals ol Alríca by WesLern nedía.
oo22 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
She loans aL Lhe nouLh when she sees Lhe 1¦ML Ma
gazíne essay
on naLernal norLalíLy ín Síerra Leone,
has a!PLC líle ol Lhe LcononísL’s lanous “1he Hope
less ConLínenL” cover on her nenory sLíck, can quoLe
8ínyavanga Waínana’s essay “How Lo wríLe abouL
líne by ríbcrackíng líne, and ís an avíd reader
and connenLaLor on blogs and websíLes, her nínd an
auLonaLed search engíne progranned wíLh one
word. “Alríca”.
1he angry Alrícan ís as helpless abouL her anger as Lhe
hungry Alrícan chíld ís abouL her hunger. 8uL unlíke
Lhe hunger Lhe angry Alrícan’s anger ís |usLílíed, every
bíL ol íL. She has Laken Lhe AK4¯ lron Lhe chíld soldíer,
enpLíed íL ol íLs lead and lílled íLs carLrídges wíLh ínk
1rue, Alrícan anger aL WesLern porLrayal ís noL new.
Long belore now Lhere was Achebe (LonenLíon only
one exanple) and hís LrenchanL críLíque ol !oseph
Conrad. 1here was Lhe posLcoloníalanger ol Lhe síxLíes
and sevenLíes. So whaL’s new7 1he ínLerneL, naybe,
whích has succeeded ín nulLíplyíng access Lo Lhe ín
sLígaLors ol Lhe anger as well as Lo neans ol expres
síng íL. ¦l Lhere were only a handlul ol angry Alrícans
belore now (nosLly sequesLered ín ¦vory 1owers), Loday
Lhere are arníes ol Lhen, leL loose on Lhe ínLerneL.
8acked up by blogs and 1wíLLer and ¦acebook, angry
Alrícans can wíeld Lheír anger ellorLlessly. 8eware,
all you nísínLerpreLers ol Lhe conLínenL. 8eíng well
ínLenLíoned wíll probably no longer save you. 1here’s
a loL Lo learn lron whaL recenLly happened Lo 1¦ML
Alríca 8ureau chíel, Alex Perry
Afrlca ls the past – and the future
Lver heard ol Lhe kílL Valley7 ¦L’s Lhe place ín LasL
Alríca where scíenLísLs Lell us hunans lírsL learned Lo
walk on Lwo leeL, and lron where Lhe hunans who
Loday occupy oLher parLs ol Lhe world connenced
Lheír wanderíng. 1he LcononísL’s ¦nLellígenL Líle na
gazíne 2oo¤ sunner íssue had as íLs lead a lascína
Líng píece LíLled. “We’re all Alrícan now.”
¦n íL !.M. Ledgard wríLes. “Accordíng Lo poLassíun
argon daLíng, honíníds líved here lor ¤oo,ooo years.
1hey nade handaxes whích Lhey used Lo buLcher Lhe
híppos, zebras and baboons Lhey hunLed and scaven
ged … 1he Kenyan anLhropologísL Louís Leakey un
covered a Hono erecLus skull here ín Lhe 1¤4os, Lhe
braín cavíLy was dísappoínLíngly snall. 1here nusL
have been grunLs, gesLures wíLh sLones, blood, Lhe sky
bloLLed wíLh vulLures, ape chíldren kepL back ín Lhe
darkness …”
Ledgard goes on Lo declare. “We are all Alrícans. We
orígínaLed ín Alríca. 1haL ís proved by Lhe conLínenL’s
rích geneLíc ínheríLance. Alrícans are nore díverse
Lhan Lhe resL ol hunaníLy puL LogeLher, because Lhey
are drawn lron Lhe pool ol hunans who díd noL leave
Alríca ís índeed Lhe world’s pasL. ¦níLs darkesL reces
seslíes overwhelníng shane – Lhe shane ol slavery,
ol coloníalísn, ol neocoloníalísn –luellíng Lhe guílL
ol Lhe world.
8uL Alríca ís also Lhe luLure. Ask Chína
Ask Lurope ín a lew decades, when íLs sLreeLs wíll
Leen wíLh pensíoners, beneaLh whose conbíned
weíghL econoníes wíll LoLLer, when íL’d be easíer Lo
línd a nosquíLo ín Cernany, Lhan a Leenage Cernan.
¬¬ percenL ol Lhe world’s cobalL ís ín Alríca, as are
1¬ percenL ol Lhe world’s arable land, 16 percenL ol
íLs gold, 8¤ percenL ol íLs plaLínun, and a síxLh ol íLs
populaLíon. Add Chína and ¦ndía and WesLern Lurope
LogeLher and Lhe resulLíng landnass would sLíll be
snaller Lhan Alríca.
1here ís an ínvasíon ol líbreopLíc cablíng
across huge
swaLches ol Lhe conLínenL, LhaL ís cerLaín Lo snash
nuch ol Lhe ínvísíble ceílíng LhaL has kepL Alríca
on Lhe ground lloor whíle Lhe world ínches Lowards
Lhe penLhouse.
¦L ís a lacL LhaL íL ís now nuch harder Lhan ever belore
Lo be a dícLaLor on Lhe conLínenL. Vícíous wars have
ended ín Líbería and Síerra Leone and Angola.
Alríca, Lhe scar ol yesLerday (¦n 2oo1 1ony 8laír called
Lhe Alrícan síLuaLíon “a scar on Lhe conscíence ol Lhe
world”) ís also Lhe poLenLíal sLar ol Lonorrow. ¦L ís
where Lhe guílL ol Lhe world wíll be assuaged.
oo2¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
How to read about Afrlca
¦ have wríLLen belore abouL Lhe ‘ínkaLLracLíng’ naLure
ol Alríca’s nany líres
. Alríca has Lurned Lhe world
ínLo lírelíghLers, lírelíghLers wíLh cash and ínk ín Lheír
hoses. WhaL nany do noL boLher Lo realíze ís LhaL Lhere
are as nany “experLs” lron wíLhín as lron wíLhouL.
¦n a You1ube Q & A sessíon wíLh readers, New York
1ínes colunnísL Nícholas KrísLol was asked
why hís
“colunns abouL Alríca alnosL always leaLure black
Alrícans as vícLíns, and whíLe loreígners as Lheír
Hís ínLeresLíng response. “1he problen LhaL ¦ lace —
ny challenge as a wríLer — ín Lryíng Lo geL readers Lo
care abouL soneLhíng líke LasLern Congo, ís LhaL
lrankly, Lhe nonenL a reader sees LhaL ¦’n wríLíng
abouL CenLral Alríca, lor an awlul loL ol Lhen, LhaL’s
Lhe nonenL Lo Lurn Lhe page. ¦L’s very hard Lo geL
people Lo care abouL dísLanL críses líke LhaL. One way
ol geLLíng people Lo read aL leasL a lew grals ín ís Lo
have sone kínd ol a loreígn proLagonísL, sone Ane
rícan who Lhey can ídenLíly wíLh as a brídge characLer.”
So Lhere – we neeL Lhe lazy Anerícan reader who
cannoL engage wíLh a píece unless he sees eíLher ol
Lhe lollowíng. a “DonaLe” buLLon or a WhíLe CharacLer
creaLed by a WhíLe LxperL.
¦L ís ínporLanL lor Anerícans ínLeresLed ín learníng
abouL Alríca Lo read noL |usL Lhe WesLern ínLerpreLers
ol Alríca buL also Lhe Alrícans who daíly spíll ínk abouL
a conLínenL Lhey care very nuch abouL and probably
know nore abouL Lhan nany ol Lhe loreígn experLs
ever wíll. Please read people líke Nícholas KrísLols –
buL also nake sure Lo read Lhe 1aLalo Alanus
and Lhe
keuben AbaLís

¦n hís 2oo¯ 1LD lecLure Chrís Abaní saíd. “¦l you wanL
Lo know abouL Alríca, read our líLeraLure. And noL |usL
1híngs ¦all AparL, because LhaL would be líke sayíng
¦’ve read, Cone WíLh Lhe Wínd, and so ¦ know every
Lhíng abouL Aneríca.”
Speakíng ín 2oo8, auLhor ol 1híngs ¦all AparL Chínua
Achebe Lold 1ransíLíon Magazíne. “1he lasL líve hun
dred years ol Luropean conLacL wíLh Alríca produced
a body ol líLeraLure LhaL presenLed Alríca ín a very bad
líghL and now Lhe Líne has cone lor Alrícans Lo Lell
Lheír own sLoríes.”
1hey have sínce sLarLed Lellíng Lhose sLoríes. You only
need Lo pay a líLLle nore aLLenLíon.

oo2õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
lf You Want
To Know About
Afrlca’s Future –
Ask Chlna!
oo2s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Introduction: Why lnvest ln Chlna!
Africa is still a poor continent. 1.03 billion are living there. Of this 1 billion
65% live on
under $2 per day
and 59% of African households do not have electricity
, and the number
increases to 69% if you only look at Sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless Africa is no longer
about famine, poverty, and war. That was the Africa of the 20th century. The 21st century
Africa is about opportunity, technology, and entrepreneurship.
You may read about Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Eastern Congo, and the Ivory Coast in
the New York Times and hear about these countries on the nightly news. But these are only
five of the 54 countries in Africa. The real untold, narrative of Africa is what’s happening
in the other 49 countries. Tremendous economic growth, investment, and rapidly rising
living standards. What happened in South East Asia from 1950 - 2000 (rapid growth and
poverty reduction) is now happening in Africa from 2000 - 2050. Most of the world just
hasn’t realized it yet.
In East Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania) the GDP has grown
at an average annual rate of 7.6% the last four years compared to just 0.5% for the USA.
Africa will be the economic lion of the 21st century as McKinsey proclaimed in their July
Report “Lions on the Move: The Progress and Potential of African Economies.” WE think
Africa is ready now for private investment – we’ve seen in many countries around the
world, that the private sector has huge power to drive positive change in the world. The
best way WE believe investment can contribute to positive change is to help high-growth
companies that are creating jobs expand and create more jobs. At the end of the day,
the cause of poverty is a lack of jobs and productive capital. If you have been to Africa, you
can feel this everywhere. Low education, low health care, and low nutrition are the sym-
ptoms of poverty, not the causes. If you increase someone’s income they can afford better
education, health care, and food for their family. And this is what most development aid and
most countries which invest in China don’t see.
One of the biggest investors in Africa is China … and its investments are viewed critically
in many ways
.This is why WE placed this topic among the first in the line-up!
hLLp.//news.bbc.co.uk/2/hí/alríca/¯o86¯¯¯.sLn und MarLíne Dahle Huse & SLephen L. Muyakwa.
Chína ín Alríca. lendíng, polícy space and governance,
Publíshed by. Norwegían Canpaígn lor DebL CancellaLíon, hLLp.//www.sleLLg|elda.no
Norwegían Councíl lor Alríca, hLLp.//www.alríka.no
oo26 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
5ofla Fernandes
Sofia Fernandes is a PhD candidate in African Stu-
dies at ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute. She holds
a degree in International Relations and a MsC in In-
ternational Development and Cooperation. Her
main interest areas are the economy and internal
and external politics of China. Her present research
project is on Chinese engagement in the economy of
Angola. Her past research includes “Macao and
Luso-Chinese Relations” and “Inequality in China:
from 1978 to the Present”. She has published an ar-
ticle on “Turkey: an European Country?” in Janus,
an International Relations Annual publication, in
Center for Afrlcan 5tudles, l5CT£JlUL,
The general objective of the CEA is to promote inter-
disciplinary studies in the social sciences on Sub-
Saharan Africa. This objective is pursued mainly
through research, but also through (mostly interna-
tional) conferences, publications, and support for stu-
dies in this field at ISCTE as well as in other
(Portuguese, African) universities, through the disse-
mination via its website and email of information re-
levant to the field and through the constitution (since
early 2005) of a central library of African studies for
Portugal. In this context, special attention is given to
the five Lusophone African countries, but concern is
with the continent as a whole.
tags: IhvesImehI,
developmehI aId,
NIgerIa, NIger,
ZambIa, Ahgola,
oo27 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
lf You Want To
Know About
Afrlca’s Future –
Ask Chlna!
tags: resources, labor,
8eI|Ihg Cohsehsus,
ChIhese approach
Klnfu Adlsu
Crand VaIIey 5tate Unlverslty
A quote instead of a CV:
“My teaching goal is to create a rigorous learning
environment that is conducive to interaction, colla-
boration and development of critical thinking. It is
very important to respect the diverse ideas and
background of my students and reflect fair and equal
treatment of them in and out of the class room. I also
encourage the understanding of global issues and
the importance of knowledge and cultural exper-
ience as a contributor to personal and national
Thomas 5harkey
CoIIege of ßuslness Admlnlstratlon
The Unlverslty of ToIedo
Thomas is Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Indiana
University, 1985. He received his Masters of Business
Administration (MBA) at University of Akron in
1977. He is also a Master of Science and holds a
Bachelor in Arts.
This article was first published in: African Business News, November 6, 2010
Chlnese lnvestments ln Afrlca
Sofia Fernandes
1he íncenLíves Lo loreígn ínvesLnenL ín Chína sLarLed
ín 1¤¯8, when Lhe econony sLeadíly opened Lo loreígn
ínvesLnenL, buL Lhe bíg push Lo Chínese ouLward ín
vesLnenL sLarLed ín 2oo2 wíLh Lhe announcenenL ol
Lhe “Co Clobal” polícy, aíned aL Lhe ínLernaLíonalíza
Líon ol Chínese enLerpríses.
¦n whaL concerns Alríca, Lhe recenL surge ín Chínese
ínvesLnenLs sLarLed ín Lhe níd 1¤¤o’s, alLer Lhe lírsL oíl
supply agreenenLs were sígned. Lven Lhough Chínese
loreígn dírecL ínvesLnenL ís sLíll snall on a global scale
and híghly concenLraLed ín Asía and LaLín Aneríca, íLs
ínporLance ín nosL Alrícan econoníes ís growíng ra
1oday Chína ranks lourLh anong Asían ínvesLors ín
Alríca ín Lerns ol ¦D¦ sLock (alLer Síngapore, ¦ndía and
Malaysía) accordíng Lo daLa lron Lhe 2oo¯ ÜNC1AD
reporL on “Asían loreígn dírecL ínvesLnenL ín Alríca”.
Chínese conpaníes ín Alríca have been íncreasíng
lron less Lhan 8o ín 1¤88 Lo 4¤¤ ín 2ooo, Lo nore Lhan
double Lo ¤oo ín 2oo6, accordíng Lo daLa collecLed
by PeLer Kragelund a researcher on Lhe Lhene, who
publíshed Lhe arLícle “Chínese drívers lor Alrícan
developnenL7 1he ellecLs ol Chínese ínvesLnenLs ín
Zanbía”, ín 2oo¯. 1hís daLa also allows us Lo ídenLíly
an ínporLanL Lrend ín Chínese ínvesLnenLs ín Alríca
í.e Lhe ínporLance ol snaller prívaLe enLerpríses. whíle
Lhe average síze ol ínvesLnenLs ín 2ooo was around
2 níllíon dollars, ín 2oo6 Lhís anounL has decreased
Lo 1.4 níllíon dollars. DespíLe Lhe lacL LhaL Chínese
ínvesLnenLs concenLraLe ín Lhe oíl secLor, Chínese ¦D¦
íncreasíngly donínaLes ínvesLnenLs ín all secLors ín
nany Alrícan counLríes.
1he search lor new narkeLs Lo sell Chínese overpro
ducLíon ín Lhe socalled líghL índusLríes and also Lhe
possíbílíLy ol seLLíng up uníLs ol producLíon wíLh Lhe
aín ol exporLíng Lo Lhírd counLríes Lakíng advanLage
ol such íníLíaLíves as Lhe ACP agreenenLs (Alríca, Ca
ríbbean and Lhe Pacílíc) wíLh Lurope and ACOA (Alríca
CrowLh and OpporLuníLy AcL) LhaL allow líscal and
enLry advanLages Lo exporLs wíLh orígín ín Alrícan
counLríes, are oLher ínporLanL drívers ol Chínese ín
vesLnenL ín Alríca. AnoLher ínporLanL lacLor ís Lhe Chí
nese search lor land ploLs lor agrículLural producLíon
oo28 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
The lmpact of Chlnese lnvestment ln Afrlca
Kinfu Adisu / Thomas Sharkey
1he purpose ol Lhís paper ís Lo explore Lhe íncrea
síngly ínporLanL econoníc and busíness relaLíon
shíp beLween Lhe People’s kepublíc ol Chína and Lhe
counLríes ol Alríca. Our locus ís on how Lhís parL
nershíp nanílesLs íLsell ín ínvesLnenLs. 1he research
quesLíons are. lírsL, how has Lhe relaLíonshíp changed
over Líne and second, lron an Alrícan perspecLíve
has Lhís relaLíonshíp been benelícíal7 ¦ínally, how
has Lhe recenL econoníc downLurn allecLed Lheír
parLnershíp7 Our ínvesLígaLíon shows LhaL Chínese
ínvesLnenL has been noLívaLed by a desíre Lo access
críLícal resources (oíl, bauxíLe, eLc.). 1he Chínese ap
proach was been Lo downplay políLícal íssues (e.g.,
hunan ríghLs). AlLhough recípíenL Alrícan naLíons
have receíved ínvesLnenL ínllows, Lhey have cone
wíLh cerLaín drawbacks. ¦or ínsLance, Lhey have ne
gaLívely ínpacLed local Lrade and connerce. Also, ín
sone cases Alrícan labor has noL benelíLed lron
Chínese ínvesLnenL.
lntroductlon – Phases of £ngagement
HísLorícal evídence show LhaL Lhere have been eco
noníc and políLícal relaLíonshíps beLween Chína and
Alríca as lar back as ¬oo years ago (Mohan and Kale,
2oo¯). A prolound íncrease ín Lhe lasL Lwo decades
nay have been relaLed Lo Lhe shílLs ín Lhe world
econony, geopolíLícal conpeLíLíon, and changes ín
Chínese loreígn polícy (8rauLígan, 2oo¯). Accordíng
Lo Mohan and Kale (2oo¯), Lhe ChíneseAlríca
busíness conLacL ís dívíded ínLo Lhree phases.
1he lírsL phase lron 18¬o Lo 1¤¬o relaLed Lo coloníal
labor denand called “coolíe Lrade.” Coolíe Lrade
locused naínly on planLaLíon, níníng, and raílway
consLrucLíon. Alongsíde Lhís were snall buL enLer
prísíng busínesses LhaL servíced Chínese labor nar
keLs and underLook snallscale exporL. 1he second
períod was lron 1¤6o1¤8o. WíLh Lhe esLablíshnenL
ol Lhe People’s kepublíc ol Chína and Lhe sub
sequenL cold war, relaLíons beLween Chína and Alríca
becane políLícal. Chína challenged Lhe superpowers
Lhrough loreígn aíd Lo Alríca ín order Lo cenenL
_01 _0z
oo2¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Lo exporL Lo Chína. 1hís seens Lo be an ínporLanL
dríver lor Leh Chínese presence ín Alríca, wíLh íLs orí
gíns goíng back Lo Lhe 1¤¯o’s. AL LhaL Líne Chínese as
sísLance Leans arríved ín Alríca Lo buíld rural
exLensíon prograns, nanely Lhose regardíng Lhe hy
bríd ríce developed ín Chína. Chínese acLívíLy ín whaL
concerns lood producLíon lor local consunpLíon, can
be also perceíved LhroughouL Lhe conLínenL.
¦urLhernore ín analyzíng Lhe paLLerns ol Chínese ín
vesLnenL ín Alríca one can undersLand LhaL íL enbra
ces Lhe enLíre conLínenL. lron oíl rích counLríes such
as Angola and Nígería, Lo land rích counLríes such as
Zínbabwe Lo counLríes wíLh no naLural resources líke
Cape Verde, an archípelago ol níne íslands, buL where
Chínese shops have spread consísLenLly sínce 1¤¤¯
creaLíng líerce conpeLíLíon anong Chínese shop
owners. ¦L ís ínporLanL Lo nenLíon LhaL Lhe counLríes
where Chínese engagenenL ís nore noLíceable are
Lhe ones LhaL have íníLíally been nore prone and wíl
líng Lo Lake loreígn ínvesLnenL líberaLíon polícíes,
pressured by Lhe WesL. 1haL ís Lhe reason why analysLs
líke Kragelund connenL LhaL wíLhouL WesLern ínllu
ence íL would be very díllículL lor Chína Lo naínLaín
íLs currenL ínvesLnenL pace LhroughouL Lhe conLínenL.
Zanbía ís an exanple ol a counLry where Chínese ín
vesLnenL has been growíng sLeadíly sínce 1¤¤¯, alL
hough concenLraLed ín Lhe níníng secLor. ¦n 2oo6 Lhe
sLock ol Chínese ¦D¦ was ¬28 níllíon dollars, consíde
ríng LhaL ¯¬% ol LhaL anounL was ín Lhe níníng secLor,
accordíng Lo daLa lron Lhe Zanbía DevelopnenL
Agency and Lhe AssocíaLíon ol Chínese Conpaníes ín
Zanbía. 1he oLher secLors ínvolved were nanulacLu
ríng (1¬% ol ¦D¦), consLrucLíon (¯%), and servíces
(2%). ¦L ís ínporLanL Lo noLíce also lron Lhe avaílable
daLa LhaL Lhe ¦D¦ ín níníng ís concenLraLed ín only 8
conpaníes whereas ínvesLnenL ín nanulacLuríng
nakes only lor a quarLer ol Lhe anounL ínvesLed ín ní
níng, buL ís spread Lhrough ¯6 conpaníes. 1hís daLa
nay índícaLe LhaL níníng ínvesLnenLs cone lron bíg
sLaLe enLerpríses, whíle ínvesLnenL ín Lhe nanulacLu
ríng secLor cones lron snaller enLerpríses, probably
where prívaLe conpaníes are ín Lhe na|oríLy.
Kragelund (2o1o) noLed LhaL nany Zanbíanrun shops
are ín lacL owned by Lhe Chínese, as well as consLrucLíon
and nanulacLuríng conpaníes whích have only a
“ghosL” Zanbían parLner allowíng Lhen Lo wín Lenders
specílícally aíned aL Zanbían conpaníes.
‘SouLhSouLh’ relaLíons. ¦L also encouraged Lhe ín
dependence novenenL ín Alríca. 1hís ís also when
Chínese econoníc relorns were beíng ínsLíLuLed
allowíng líberalízaLíon, specíal econoníc zones, and
perníLLíng loreígn dírecL ínvesLnenL (Shenkar, 1¤¤4).
1he lasL períod ís lron 1¤¤o Lo presenL, nosL noLíce
able ín Lhe lasL ¬ years. Accordíng Lo 8roadnan
(2oo¯), Lhere has been novenenL ol Chínese con
paníes ínLo Alrícan counLríes parLícularly ín Lhe areas
ol consLrucLíon, níníng, and oíl exLracLíon. Such
ellorLs have been encouraged by Lhe Chínese go
lntroductlon – Conferences
One ol Lhe cornersLones ol ChíneseAlrícan rela
Líonshíp began alLer Lhe 8andung conlerence ín
1¤¬¬ (Muekalía, 2oo4), ín whích, “Chína began Lo
culLívaLe Líes and oller econoníc, Lechnícal, and
nílíLary supporL Lo Alrícan counLríes and líberaLíon
novenenLs ín an ellorL Lo uníLe Lhen agaínsL boLh
superpowers”. 1híssLraLegy was also rellecLed aL Lhe
lírsL ever ChínaAlríca CooperaLíon ¦orun held ín
8eí|íng lron OcLober 1112, 2ooo, ín whích 44 Alrí
can counLríes and 8o nínísLers were presenL. Accor
díng Lo Muekalía (2oo4), Lhe lorun expressed a clear
polícy goal lor dealíng wíLh Alrícan counLríes. ¦L ín
volved cooperaLíons on ínvesLnenL, línancíal ope
raLíons, debL relíel and cancellaLíon, agrículLural,
naLural resources and energy, educaLíon, and nulLí
laLeral naLLers. Anshan (2oo¯) also reíLeraLes Lhís, ex
plaíníng how Lhe new Chínese approach enhanced
íLs relaLíons wíLh Alríca ín nany ways íncludíng edu
caLíonal, culLural, nedícal, publíc healLh supporL and
lntroductlon – Motlves
¦n víew ol Lhe above aíd sLraLegy, one nay suggesL
Lhe naín noLíve lor Chínese relaLíonshíp ís Lo gaín
access Lo Lhe abundanL raw naLeríals LhaL Alríca
ollers. AlLhough Lhís nay be a good reason, Alden
(2oo¬) sLaLes LhaL Chína’s ínsísLence on recogníLíon
ol íLs “one Chína” polícy by Alrícans as anoLher
ínporLanL requírenenL. Alden (2oo¬) also lísLs lour
lacLors LhaL have shaped Chína’s conLenporary
Alrícan polícy. Chína’s need lor energy securíLy, new
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¦n Naníbía Lhe relaLíonshíp wíLh Lhe Chínese goes
back Lo Lhe naLíonal líberaLíon sLruggles when Lhe cur
renL presídenL receíved broad supporL lron Lhe Chí
nese governnenL íncludíng díplonaLíc and línancíal
supporL. Sínce 2oo¯ Lhe Chínese have been presenL ín
Naníbía’s econony, naínly ín consLrucLíon and Lhe re
Laíl Lrade. AlLhough aL lírsL Lheír ínvesLnenL was very
well apprecíaLed, ín Lhe lasL years Lhere has been gro
wíng resenLnenL agaínsL Lhe Chínese LhaL has gone
even lurLher ín Lhe ParlíanenL, wíLh Lhe opposíLíon ac
cusíng Lhe governnenL ol corrupLíon ín Lhe publíc Len
ders won by Lhe Chínese.
Chínese consLrucLíon conpaníes have been wínníng
conLracLs, boLh aL Lhe publíc and prívaLe level. Only ín
2oo¬/6 Chínese conpaníes won síx ol Lhe síxLeen pu
blíc conLracL Lenders. On Lhe prívaLe level Loo Chínese
conpaníes have acLually won 1¬% ol Lhe narkeL
quoLa ín Lhe consLrucLíon busíness, accordíng Lo daLa
by Dobler ín “SolídaríLy, Xenophobía and Lhe regulaLíon
ol Chínese busíness ín Naníbía”, 2oo8. 1o ouLweígh
Lhe Chínese presence ín Lhe econony Lhe governnenL
has Lo change Lhe bíddíng rules lor publíc conLracLs –
loreígn conpaníes are noL allowed Lo bíd lor conLracLs
ínleríor Lo 6 níllíon Naníbían dollars – as well as Lhe
AllírnaLíve AcLíon AcL ol 1¤¤8 announcíng LhaL work
perníLs can only be íssued íl Lhe worklorce skílls can
noL be lound anong Lhe naLíonals.
1he reLaíl busíness ís very lucraLíve ín Naníbía, espe
cíally ín íLs norLhern border area because ol Lhe ín
creasíngly good lívíng condíLíons ín Angola. 1wo bíg
warehouses sell dírecLly Lo Angolan Lraders.
¦n SouLh Alríca ínvesLnenL relaLíons have been gro
wíng sLeadíly sínce Lhe early 1¤¤o’s, especíally sínce
1¤¤4 when Lhe AparLheíd regíne lell. SouLh Alríca was
ín lacL Chína’s lírsL Lradíng parLner unLíl 2oo8 when
Angola ouLpaced íL as Chína’s naín parLner on Lhe
conLínenL. 8y 2oo6 Chínese conpaníes had ínvesLed
18o níllíon dollars ín nore Lhan 8o pro|ecLs ín Lhe
areas ol agrículLure, LexLíles, elecLronícs, níníng, ban
kíng, LransporL and connunícaLíons, accordíng Lo
CarLh ShelLon ín “SouLh Alríca and Chína. a sLraLegíc
parLnershíp7”. ¦n lacL Lhe bíggesL ouLward ínvesLnenL
ol Chína up Lo Lhe presenL was íLs buyíng ol a 2o%
sLake ín Lhe SouLh Alrícan SLandard 8ank ín OcLober
narkeL and ínvesLnenL opporLuníLy, synbolíc díp
lonacy and developnenL, and lorgíng sLraLegíc
parLnershíps. Accordíng Lo Koníngs (2oo¯), Lhe naín
drívers ol Lhe ChínaAlríca cooperaLíon ís delíned by
recenL sLaLenenL by Chínese governnenL on Lwo
íssues. One ís on cooperaLíon. “Chína wíll conLínue
Lo sLrengLhen solídaríLy and cooperaLíon wíLh Alrícan
counLríes ín Lhe ínLernaLíonal arena, conducL regu
lar exchange ol víews, coordínaLe posíLíons on na|or
ínLernaLíonal and regíonal íssues and sLand lor
nuLual supporL on na|or íssues concerníng sLaLe
sovereígnLy, LerríLoríal ínLegríLy…” (pp. ¯6o) 1he
oLher one ís Lhe lacL LhaL “1he oneChína príncíple
ís Lhe políLícal loundaLíon lor Lhe esLablíshnenL
and developnenL ol Chína’s relaLíons wíLh Alrícan
counLríes and regíonal organízaLíons.” (pp. ¯61).
Zweíg and !íanhaí (2oo¬) concluded LhaL Chína’s
Alrícan polícy ís beíng dríven by íLs donesLíc deve
lopnenL sLraLegy. ¦írsL, íL wanLs Lo access energy
resources. Second, íL wanLs Lo esLablísh exporL
narkeLs lor íLs líghL nanulacLuríng, servíces, agro
processíng, apparel, and connunícaLíons olleríngs.
Already, Alríca ís lull ol lowcosL noLorcycles, elec
Lroníc and consuner goods nade ín Chína.
Chlnese lnvestment ModeI
Accordíng Lo SauLnan and Haírong (2oo¯), Lhere are
lacLors LhaL nade Chína’s relaLíonshíp wíLh Alríca
dísLíncLíve. OLher Lhan aíd and nígraLíon polícíes,
Lhe “Chínese nodel” ol ínvesLnenL and ínlrasLruc
Lure loans known as Lhe “8eí|íng Consensus” ís a
very ínporLanL approach LhaL needs Lo be díscussed.
¦n kanos’s (2oo4) Lerns, íL ís a new aLLíLude Lowards
políLícs, developnenL, and global balance ol power.
¦n general, íL values Lhe políLícal and ínLernaLíonal
relaLíons concepL ol nulLílaLeralísn, consensus and
peacelul coexísLence (Wenpíng, 2oo¯). 1hís ap
proach conLrasLs wíLh WashíngLon consensus, a neo
líberal paradígn LhaL Lakes ínLo consíderaLíon
denocracy, good governance, and poverLy reducLíon
(¦íne and !ono, 2oo¬2oo¯ ín SauLnan and Haírong).
1he Chínese nodel ol ínvesLnenL ín essence bríngs
econoníc growLh ob|ecLíves and loreígn polícy Lo
geLher guídíng Lrade and ínvesL decísíons ín Alríca
along wíLh “no sLríngs aLLached” línancíal and
Lechnícal assísLance (Zalar, 2oo¯). Chínese bíd con
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OLher ínvesLnenLs are concenLraLed naínly ín Lhe ní
níng secLor, such as Lhe ¯¬ níllíon dollar ínvesLnenL ín
Lhe Línpopo Provínce DevelopnenL CorporaLíon Lo
esLablísh a conpany naned ASA nínerals aíned aL
chrone níníng. Shanghaí ¦ndusLríal and ¦írsL AuLo
Works have ínvesLed ín nanulacLuríng planLs. ¦n Lhís
regard íL ís also ínporLanL Lo nenLíon SouLh Alrícan
ínvesLnenLs ín Chína, whích accordíng Lo ollícíal sour
ces anounLed up Lo 2oo8 ín 4oo níllíon dollars ín over
2oo pro|ecLs ín Chína, ín Lhe areas ol Lhe brewery
busíness wíLh SA8Míllar, enLerLaínnenL and Lelevísíon
wíLh M¦H and Landpac ín road buíldíng Lechnology. A
¦ree 1rade AgreenenL beLween Lhe counLríes have
been under díscussíon sínce 2oo4, buL Lhere were ne
goLíaLíons Lo ensure LhaL SouLh Alrícan LexLíle pro
ducLíon was proLecLed agaínsL Chínese conpeLíLíon ín
Lhe lírsL years. Angola ís currenLly Lhe counLry where
Chínese econoníc engagenenL ís nore noLíceable,
naínly aL Lhe level ol concessíonal línancíng LhaL ís
used Lo línance publíc consLrucLíon pro|ecLs. ¦n whaL
concerns ¦D¦ we can híghlíghL Lhe ínvesLnenL ol Z1L,
Chína’s nunber one LeleconnunícaLíons conpany,
LhaL has ínvesLed so lar 4oo níllíon dollars ín Lhe Le
leconnunícaLíon neLwork as well as ín Lhe nílíLary
connunícaLíon sysLen.
¦L ís also very ínporLanL Lo nenLíon Lhe role perlor
ned by Chína’s Specíal Lcononíc Zones (SLZ’s) ín
Alríca. Üp Lo Lhe presenL Lhere are eíghL Chínese SLZ’s
ín Alríca, nanely ín Zanbía (2), MauríLíus, LgypL,
LLhíopía, Nígería (2) and Algería. 1hese SLZ’s sínílar Lo
Chínese SLZ’s have Lax íncenLíves and are lavoured by
local governnenLs nanely ín whaL regards land con
cessíon. SoneLínes SLZ’s are explored Lhrough |oínL
venLures seL up beLween local Alrícan enLerpríses and
Chínese sLaLe enLerpríses, líke ín LgypL and Zanbía. ¦L
ís also worLh nenLíoníng LhaL soneLínes Lhe Chínese
conpaníes operaLíng are acLually Lownshíp and víllage
enLerpríses, í.e. Lhey are nanaged by local auLhoríLíes
ín Chína, such as 1ían|ín Lcononíc1echnologícal De
velopnenL Areas, operaLíng ín MauríLíus.
1he ZanbíaChína Lcononíc and 1rade CooperaLíon
zone operaLíng ín Lhe níníng regíon ol Chanbíshí ín
Lhe copper secLor, was ínauguraLed ín ¦ebruary 2oo¯
wíLh a LoLal anounL ínvesLed ol ¤oo níllíon dollars,
accordíng Lo daLa lron “Chína’s ínvesLnenL ín Alrícan
SLZ’s” by Lhe World 8ank publíshed ín !anuary 2o1o. ¦n
!anuary 2oo¤ a new ZanbíaChína CooperaLíon Zone
peLíLívely lor resource and consLrucLíon pro|ecLs
usíng ínvesLnenL and ínlrasLrucLure loans. 1hese
loans are olLen advanced aL zero or near zero
percenL ínLeresL or allow lor repaynenL ín naLural
resources (8rauLígan, 2oo¯). ¦or exanple, Chína ol
lered ÜSS2 bíllíon ín aíd lor ínlrasLrucLure pro|ecLs,
Lhereby securíng a lorner Shell Oíl block ín Angola
by ouLbíddíng an ¦ndían proposal. ¦n a sínílar case,
a Chínese lírn pronísed ÜSS¯ bíllíon ín ínvesLnenLs
and rehabílíLaLíon ol power sLaLíons Lo secure an
oíl area soughL by wesLern corporaLíons (Alden and
Davíes, 2oo6). Many Alrícans víew Chínese ínvesL
nenL as díllerenL lron Lhe wesLern ínvesLnenL.
Accordíng Lo 1hís Day (2oo¬), Lhe Chínese are noL
ínposíng Lhe neolíberal package ol relorn usually
requíred by Lhe World 8ank under íLs ‘‘condíLíonalíLy
provísíons.” Chínese aíd by conLrasL cones wíLhouL
sLríngs aLLached and ís seen as supporLíng íníLíaLíves
by Alrícan sLaLes Lo address developnenL íssues
noL solved by WesLern ínvesLnenL (SauLnan and
Haírong, 2oo¯).
Chlnese lnvestment ln Afrlca
Alríca, accordíng Lo SauLnan and Haírong (2oo¯) has
Lhe híghesL reLurn on ¦D¦, rangíng lron 2¤% ín 1¤¤o
Lo 4o% ín 2oo¬. AlLhough Chína’s Lrade wíLh Alríca
ís snall conpared Lo ÜSS1.¯6 Lríllíon ín world Lrade,
íL has grown lron ÜSS¯ bíllíon ín 1¤¤¬ Lo ÜSS¬¬
bíllíon ín 2oo6. ¦L ís predícLed LhaL Chínese ínvesL
nenL wíll Lop Lhe ÜSS1oo bíllíon nark by Lhe end ol
Lhe decade (1aylor, 2oo6). As evídence ol Lhís Lrend,
Lhere are nore Lhan 8oo Chínese conpaníes ín Alríca
ín 2oo6, one hundred ol whích are nedíun Lo large
sLaLe owned lírns (Xínhua, 2oo¯).
Accordíng Lo Kaplínsky, McCorníck and Morrís
(2oo¯), Chína ís havíng a prolound ínpacL on Alrícan
econoníes. 1he íncreasíng econoníc expansíon ís
parLícularly evídenL ín SubSaharan Alríca. ¦n Lhe lasL
decade, Lhe Chínese have buílL a neLwork ol Lrade,
aíd and ínvesLnenL wíLh close Lo lílLy counLríes
(Zalar, 2oo¯). Chínese conpaníes are níníng oíl
ín Angola and Sudan, buíldíng roads ín LLhíopía, ge
neraLíng elecLrícíLy ín Kenya, buíldíng ínlrasLrucLure
and encouragíng Lourísn ín Síerra Leone, and serví
cíng nobíle phones ín Kenya and Nígería. Chína’s
rapídly developíng oíl consunpLíon seens Lo have a
_0z _01
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was ínauguraLed near Lusaka aíned aL líghL nanulac
Luríng and servíces, wíLh an ínvesLnenL ol ¬oo níllíon
1he SLZ ín LgypL ís aíned aL lour clusLers. LexLíles and
garnenL, peLroleun equípnenL, auLonobíle assenbly
and elecLrícal equípnenL. 1here are plans lor a second
developnenL phase lor elecLronícs and heavy índusLry.
As ol !uly 2oo¤, 16 enLerpríses had already noved ínLo
Lhe lírsL square kíloneLer sLarLup zone. 1hís sLarLup
phase ís planned Lo conclude around 2o11, when Lhe
zone LargeLs Lo have around ¬o conpaníes. ¦n March
2oo¤ Lhe |oínL venLure lorned beLween Lhe local nu
nícípal Chínese conpany, ¦nvesLnenL Holdíngs, Lgyp
Lían ínLeresLs and Lhe ChínaAlríca DevelopnenL ¦und
won a Lender Lo buíld a “ChínesesLyle” SLZ, neaníng
LhaL íL should ínclude a porLíon desLíned Lo resídenLíal
1he LLhíopía OríenLal ¦ndusLríal Park was orígínally
lorned by Lwo prívaLe Chínese sLeel producL nakers
wíLh a LoLal ínvesLnenL ol 1o1 níllíon dollars. 1he
conpleLíon ol Lhe zone ís Lo be ín 2o1o, buL Lhe lírsL
cenenL planL has been workíng sínce SepLenber
2oo¤. Lleven enLerpríses have sígned leLLers ol ínLenL
Lo nove ínLo Lhe areas ol consLrucLíon naLeríals, sLeel
producLs, hone applíances, garnenL, leaLher proces
síng and auLonobíle assenbly.
¦n MauríLíus Lhe Chínese developer has been Lhe
1íanlí Croup, a províncíal owned enLerpríse, run by
Shanxí provínce local auLhoríLíes.
AL Lhe begínníng Lhe econoníc zone buílL a spínníng
níll LhaL supplíed nuch ol Lhe denand lor coLLon
and synLheLíc yarn on Lhe ísland, as well as exporLs Lo
oLher counLríes. 1he second phase ol Lhe pro|ecL ís Lar
geLed lor 2o16 locusíng on solar energy, pharnaceu
Lícals, nedícal equípnenL and processed sealood.
¦n Nígería Lhere are Lwo SLZ’s. Lhe Lekkí ¦ree 1rade
Zone and Lhe NígeríaCuangdong ¦ree 1rade Zone.
1he lírsL, wíLh a LoLal ínvesLnenL ol ¯6¤ níllíon dol
lars, ís a |oínL venLure beLween a group ol lour Chínese
conpaníes and Nígerían ínLeresLs aíned aL LransporL
equípnenL, LexLíle and líghL índusLry, hone applíances,
connunícaLíon, warehousíng and exporL processíng.
1he second ís also a |oínL venLure beLween Lwo Chí
nese conpaníes and Ogun sLaLe (Nígería). 1he zone,
wíLh an íníLíal ínvesLnenL ol ¬oo níllíon dollars, wíll
locus on Lhe nanulacLuríng ol consLrucLíon naLeríals,
bígger ellecL on ChíneseAlrícan Lrade (1aylor, 2oo6,
McLeary, 2oo¯). 1hís ís Lhe naín reason behínd Lhe
whole ralL ol new conLracLs beLween 2oo2 and 2oo6.
Duríng Lhís períod, Chínese oíl conpaníes have
sígned deals Lo buy relíneríes and explore oíl and
gas ín Algería, Cabon, Angola, Nígería, ¦vory CoasL,
Kenya, Congo 8razzavílle, Naníbía, LLhíopía,
Madagascar and Sudan. AddíLíonally, Chína also
helped ín LreaLíng ínlecLíous díseases such as nala
ría and H¦V/A¦DS and launched Lhe lírsL overseas
radío sLaLíon ín Kenya (8rooks and Shín, 2oo6).
kecenLly, Chína and Nígería |usL sígned a na|or oíl
deal worLh ÜSS2¯ bíllíon (SwarLz and Hall 2o1o). ¦L
calls lor Chína Lo buíld Lhree relíneríes ín Nígería.
As a resulL, Lrade beLween Lhen has íncreased na
kíng Chína Lhe conLínenL’s Lhírd largesL Lradíng
parLner alLer Lhe Luropean Üníon and Lhe ÜS. Chína
has conLínued Lo push closer Líes wíLh Alríca and has
awarded ÜSS1o bíllíon ín aíd lor Lhe nexL Lhree years
and díspaLched volunLeers Lo províde nedícal assí
sLance and buíld hospíLals and schools (Lwíng,
2oo¤). As 1ull (2oo6) explaíns, WesLern críLícísns ol
Chína’s hunan ríghLs record and oLher ínLernaLíonal
íssues have índuced Lhe Chínese Lo seek closer Líes
wíLh nonwesLern naLíons ín an ellorL Lo buíld ínLer
naLíonal coalíLíons.
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ceranícs, íronware, lurníLure and a híghLech agrícul
Lural denonsLraLíon park nay be added ín Lhe luLure.
1he AlgeríaChína !íanglíng ¦ree 1rade Zone was pro
|ecLed Lo be developed by a Chínese auLonobíle con
pany, wíLh no local parLner. However ín early 2oo¤,
relorns ín Algería’s ínvesLnenL regíne requíred lo
reígn ínvesLors Lo have Algerían parLners as na|oríLy
shareholders. 1he pro|ecL has been on sLandby sínce
Novenber 2oo¤.
OLher pro|ecLs however have been esLablíshed wíLh
ouL Lhe ollícíal approval and supporL ol Lhe Chínese
MínísLry ol Connerce (MO¦COM), nosLly orígínaLed
ín províncíal governnenL enLerpríses and ín prívaLe
conpaníes. 1hese pro|ecLs are characLerízed naínly by
a lower ínvesLnenL anounL and nore llexíble lorns.
¦n Síerra Leone a prívaLe |oínL venLure beLween Henan
Cuo|í and Lhe naLíonal MínísLry ol 1rade and ¦ndusLry,
ís specíalízed ín pro|ecL conLracLíng and ínLernaLíonal
Lrade and ínvesLnenL. 8ecause conpaníes were sel
líng ínporLed duLy lree producLs ín local narkeLs na
nulacLuríng acLívíLy ín Lhe zone was alnosL neglígíble.
¦n Nígería Lhe LíshíCS¦ ¦ndusLríal Park ís a |oínL venLure
beLween Lwo Chínese conpaníes. 1he zone sLarLed
operaLíons ín !uly 2oo¤ wíLh a LoLal ínvesLnenL plan
ned ol 6oo Lo 1oo níllíon dollars, locusíng on rubber
and plasLíc producLs, hone applíances, LexLíles, con
sLrucLíon naLeríals and nachínery nanulacLuríng.
One ol Lhe enLerpríses, Lhe Nígería Líshí Croup, has
been operaLíng ín Nígería sínce 1¤64 and owns nore
Lhan ¬o lacLoríes ín several Alrícan counLríes. AnoLher
¦ndusLríal Park, ís beíng planned lor Lhe LexLíle secLor,
Lo buíld an enLíre value chaín.
¦n conclusíon, Chínese ínvesLnenLs have been gro
wíng progressívely sínce 2ooo ín Alríca. However Lhe
híríng ol Chínese labor Lo Lhe consLrucLíon pro|ecLs
has resulLed ín a vísíble ínllux ol ínnígranLs Lo Lhese
connuníLíes, Lríggeríng growíng resenLnenL agaínsL
Lhe Chínese connuníLy. Local connuníLíes belíeve
LhaL Lhese |obs – nosLly low skílled |obs ín consLruc
Líon – could perlecLly well be perlorned by locals. Mo
reover Lhe ísolaLíon ol Chínese connuníLíes does noL
benelíL Lheír ínage, Lheír enLerpríses nor Lheír goals.
1he Chínese are seen as unwíllíng Lo níx or learn Lhe
habíLs and culLure ol Alrícans. ¦n whaL concerns Lhe
reLaíl Lrade, alLhough nany Alrícans praíse Lhese
shops lor Lhe low príce ol Lheír producLs, local sellers
always conplaín abouL Chínese shop owner’s unlaír
conpeLíLíon whích puLs Alrícan reLaíl busínesses ouL
ol work.
¦n sone counLríes such as Nígería, Níger, Zanbía and
nore recenLly Angola, Chínese busínesses are línked Lo
Lhe governnenL. Whenever Lhere are ouLbursLs ol so
cíal dísconLenL íL has been readíly dírecLed agaínsL Lhe
Chínese who are consídered as Lhe closesL allíes ol po
líLícal power. ¦L ís also ínporLanL Lo poínL ouL Lhe lack
ol políLícal lreedon ín nany ol Lhese socíeLíes whích
neans LhaL Lhe rage agaínsL Lhe políLícal power ís dí
verLed Lo Lhe Chínese ally.
¦n nany counLríes, as ín Zanbía, Chínese have ínve
sLed ín areas LhaL díd noL aLLracL Lhe ínLeresL ol oLher
ínvesLors. Lhe Chanbíshí nínes have been unexplored
lor LhírLy years, buL Lhe Chínese ínvesLnenL has
broughL Lhen back Lo producLíon, gívíng enploynenL
Lo Lhousands ol people. 1here ís however Lhe oLher
síde ol Lhe coín. Lhe conplaínLs ol Lhe workers abouL
bad workíng condíLíons and low salaríes. ¦n OcLober
2o1o Lhere was news abouL Chínese nanagers havíng
nurdered Lwo Zanbían workers conplaíníng on wor
kíng condíLíons. kíoLs beLween nanagers and workers
ín Lhís níne are noL new.
One can undersLand LhaL Lhese condíLíons – Chínese
labour, Chínese labour condíLíons ín Alrícan counLríes
and ísolaLíon – have a sLrong negaLíve ellecL on Lhe
ongoíng pro|ecLs as well as on luLure ínvesLnenLs. ¦n
spíLe Chína does noL yeL have Lhe pracLíce ol corpo
raLe connunícaLíon, Lhe nanagers ol Chínese enLer
príses should sLarL undersLandíng Lhe príncíples and
consLraínLs LhaL allecL Lhe work on Lhe líeld. As Lucy
Corkín, a SOAS researcher relerred Lhey care nuch
abouL esLablíshíng hígh level conLacLs, buL lorgeL
abouL Lhe problens on Lhe ground.
¦n Lhe presenL scenarío one can expecL íncreased Chí
nese engagenenL ín Alríca sínce Lhere are unnísLa
kable conplenenLaríLíes beLween boLh econoníes,
buL Lhe nanagíng ol econoníc and busíness relaLíons
ín luLure should be nade nore carelully, baríng ín
nínd culLure, ínLeresLs and needs ol Lhe populaLíons
oo¯7 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Is there any chance to get more recent data?
5ofla Fernandes: ¦ would love Lo have access Lo nore
recenL daLa, buL ¦’n alraíd ¦ have noL. 1he lasL World
¦nvesLnenL keporL lron ÜNC1AD publíshed ín !uly 2o1o
doesn’L dísplay nore recenL daLa Lhan Lhís. ¦urLher
nore, as you know, Lhe Chínese only now are nakíng
Lheír daLa publíc (buL Lhere ís noL nuch anyway …) 1he
oLher daLa LhaL can be lound are ín newspapers buL
Lhese are naínly guesses, ín ny opíníon.
What is the impact of Chinese investment on
African society?
5ofla Fernandes: 1haL ís Lhe sub|ecL ol ny research
PhD pro|ecL, buL wíLh relerence Lo Angola. ¦’n wor
kíng on íL buL accordíng Lo Lhe gaLhered ínlornaLíon
Lhere ís no delíníLe answer sínce íL ís a raLher new phe
nonenon, so íL has noL passed enough Líne Lo reach a
conclusíon. As a rellecLíon ¦ can nenLíon LhaL Lhe buíl
díng or rebuíldíng ol ínlrasLrucLure ís benelíLíng Lhe
populaLíon sínce Lhey have access Lo roads, Lraíns,
hospíLals and schools LhaL díd noL exísL belore. On Lhe
oLher hand a growíng resenLnenL agaínsL Lhe Chínese
ís rísíng ín alnosL every socíeLy ¦’ve collecLed daLa on.
1he conplaínLs as ¦ nenLíoned aríse as a resulL ol Chí
nese nassíve labor “ínporLs”, Chínese labor laws as
well as Chínese shops unlaír conpeLíLíon LogeLher ín
ny víew wíLh a deep lack ol ínLerLwíníng beLween
local populaLíons and Chínese expaLríaLes.
Do you see any indications that Chinese investment goes
hand in hand with the distrubtion of Chinese products in the
country? Meaning: No product distribution, no investment!
Do you have any specific view and data on Chinese
investment in technology and infrastructure?
5ofla Fernandes: ¦ don’L Lhínk so. Chínese ínvesLnenLs
goes hand ín hand wíLh Lhe denand LhaL aL leasL ¯o%
ol Lhe publíc works conLracLs goes Lo Chínese conpa
níes, as well as ¯o% ol Lhe labour enployed. ¦ never
noLíced any nenLíon ol Chínese ínporLs.
kegardíng Lechnology and ínlrasLrucLure. nosL ol
Lhe conLracLs are Lo buíld/rebuíld ínlrasLrucLure,
as nenLíoned. ¦n Angola, up Lo Lhe presenL 8,¬ bíllíon
dollars ín concessíonal credíL línes have been gíven
by Lxínbank |usL lor ínlrasLrucLure. AnoLher credíL
líne nanaged dírecLly by Lhe PresídenL’s cabíneL and
CabíneLe de keconsLrucão Nacíonal (CkN) are sup
posed Lo nanage sínílar levels ol línancíng buL íL’s
hard Lo geL Lhe real nunbers.
¦’n aware LhaL Chínese ínvesLnenL has been relevanL
also ín Lhe LeleconnunícaLíons secLor. Huaweí and
Z1L are Lwo ínporLanL conpaníes ín Lhís secLor LhaL
have been ínvesLíng ín several Alrícan counLríes.
boLh are presenL ín Angola. Z1L has sígned conLracLs
Lo repaír and exLend Lhe exísLíng Lelephone landlíne
as well as Lo exLend Lhe nílíLary connunícaLíons sy
sLen. Huaweí has ollíces ín Luanda and has lunded a
1eleconnunícaLíons ¦nsLíLuLe Lo Lraín local prolessío
nals ín Lhe secLor.
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PhoLo © Onpeh / ÜníLy Drun
oo¯¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
ooõo we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: aIrIcah vIews,
dIaspora, global
AIrIcah dIaspora,
Wale IdrIs
Kasandra HousIey
... was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. She has a
Bachelor of Science from Seton Hall University
in international relations and is finishing her M.A
in Political Science at Indiana State University. Her
topics of interest include, peace and conflict studies,
African and Middle Eastern history, as well as
economic development. She currently serves as the
outreach director in Indiana for African Views.
Afrlca’s CIobaI
ooõ1 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
ooõ2 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
The African Views framework is designed to
support information exchange, cross-cultural
communications and collaborative opportunities
in a fast pace global environment. Our objective
with this framework is to accumulate, aggregate
and deploy intelligible resources of voluntary
and contributive participants from all disciplines.
Our main strategy is to use an improved decen-
tralized framework to overcome immediate and
future challenges with regard to the issue of self-
reliance and interdependency between Africans,
the African diaspora and the international
community at the grassroots level.
ooõ¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Maklng connectlons
ls part of the mlsslon
of the Afrlcan Vlews
Organlzatlon. Afrlcan
Vlews hope to
resoIve the lssue of
soclaI connectlvlty
not onIy among
Afrlcans ln the
broadest sense, but
aIso between
Afrlcans and the
gIobaI communlty.
Afrlcan Vlews expects
that by bulIdlng
soclaI networks, new
ldeas and cuIturaI
lnformatlon can pass
between these
respectlve groups
and thus reduce the
costs, flscaI, temporaI
and otherwlse, of
The effort lncIudes,
obvlousIy, the
The Framework
Alrícan Víews OrganízaLíon, or AV, was íncorporaLed
ín 2oo¯ and ís desígned Lo aíd Lhe Alrícan and Díaspora
connuníLy ín socíal and econoníc developnenL. As
a nonprolíL organízaLíon, Alrícan Víews achíeves Lhís
by aggressívely buíldíng íLs sLore house ol resources,
parLícularly Lhose ol ínLellecLual value. Havíng |usL
launched Lheír new lranework onlíne Lhís year, Lhey
have nade excepLíonal progress buíldíng Lheír envís
íoned neLwork ol boLh onlíne and real world acLors.
1he lranework, locaLed aLalrícanvíews.org, ís desígned
Lo aíd ín Lhe process ol enpoweríng Alríca and Lhe
Díaspora. 8y nakíng íL an open source Lool, Lhe col
laboraLíve dínensíon ol Lhe Alrícan Víews níssíon
has becone all Lhe easíer Lo achíeve. kegísLered
users can posL arLícles as conLríbuLors or, under Lhe
Díscourse and DebaLe secLíon, Lhey can pose ques
Líons and spark debaLe vía blog enLríes. 1he íssues
covered vary. Üsers have Laken Lhe opporLuníLy Lo
posL speeches, quesLíons abouL Lhe changíng role ol
Chína, as well as news and evenLs. Üsers can also
ínclude posLs LhaL línk Lo oLher arLícles and websíLes.
LasLly, users can raLe posLíngs and search lor specílíc
íssues and ínlornaLíon.
1he blog enLríes are parL ol Lhe Alrícan Víews socíal
neLwork, and líke MySpace or ¦acebook, users can
creaLe a prolíle whích íncludes a pícLure, and oLher
ínlornaLíon. Üsers can Lrack Lheír own connenLs
and naínLaín a lísL ol lavoríLe posLs lor Lheír own
use. 1hey can connecL as lríends, ínvíLe oLhers, add
vídeos, or send nessages all ín a sell conLaíned servíce
on Lhe Alrícan Víews síLe. 1hís allows users Lo neeL
new conLacLs who share Lheír ínLeresL, línd Lhen and
share very specílíc ínlornaLíon wíLh people workíng
on sínílar pro|ecLs, Lhus eleganLly nergíng Lhe AV
síLe as one ol boLh connunícaLíon and producLíon.
CurrenLly, Lhe leaLured arLícle on Lhe síLe ís LíLled
“WhaL ís Alrícan”. ¦L addresses Lhe quesLíons wíLh a
revíew ol Lhe varíous nanílesLaLíons ol ‘Alrícan’ lea
Lures across Lhe conLínenL. ÜlLínaLely, Alrícan Víews
delínes Alrícan as “anyone who can Lrace parL or all
Lheír ancesLry Lo índígenous ínhabíLanLs ol Alríca aL
any poínL ín Líne”. 1hís ís a very broad delíníLíon LhaL
allows groups ín ‘lorgoLLen’ Díaspora connuníLíes
Lo be íncluded. ¦L ís clear LhaL Lhere are large Alrícan
populaLíons ín Lhe Anerícas and Caríbbean. 8uL Lhe
delíníLíon also íncludes descendenLs ol Alrícans ín
PorLugal, ¦raq, or any oLher counLry. 1hís coíncídes
wíLh a scrollíng lísL Lrackíng Lhe percenLage ol any
sLaLe’s gíven populaLíon whích can be called Alrícan.
1hus lar Lhe websíLe has only Lrace ínlornaLíon on
nosL Alrícan sLaLes. However, Lhere are Lools ín place
Lo add addíLíonal ínlornaLíon over Líne. As wíLh oLher
porLíons ol Lhe websíLe, Lhe counLry ínlornaLíon
secLíon ís open Lo collaboraLíve ínpuL lron regísLe
red users. 1he Lrackíng ínlornaLíon ís noL líníLed,
however, Lo Alríca alone. !usL líke Lhe ínlornaLíon on
Alrícan populaLíons, Lhe daLa perLaíníng Lo sLaLes ís
accepLed lor nearly every counLry ín Lhe world under
counLry prolíles. As a resulL, users can ínclude ínlor
naLíon relevanL Lo anyone ín Lhe Díaspora or relaLed
Lo Alrícan políLícs ínLernaLíonally.
¦n addíLíon Lo Lhe LexL or counLry prolíle, Lhere ís also
a secLíon lor counLry prolíle vídeos, whích are posLed
vía Coogle vídeo and You1ube. 1hese vídeos cover a
range ol Lopícs, íncludíng news and oLher progran
níng. When a user línds a vídeo ol ínLeresL on eíLher
ol Lhese síLes, íL can be posLed under a counLry lor
use Lhrough Lhe Alríca Víews síLe. Üsers wíll be
acLíng as search engínes, addíng vídeos under
counLry prolíles LhaL a regular search engíne níghL
have over looked wíLhouL Lhe requísíLe key words,
by addíng vídeos Lhey línd Lo be relevanL.
1he Alrícan Víews ¦aír MarkeLplace Lool ís anoLher
ínsLrunenL avaílable Lo AV users. ¦L allows a person
Lo publísh Lheír work lor lree, íncludíng arLícles or
ebooks on Lhe Alrícan Víews síLe. Sínílarly, Lhe síLe
nakes avaílable an Anazon wídgeL lor users Lo coun
Lry LargeL producLs avaílable on Anazon, nakíng íL
easíer Lo shop and sell relaLed producLs. ¦n Lhís nan
ner, auLhors who have naLeríals avaílable on Lhe
Anazon síLe, have a new adverLísíng opporLuníLy
lor Lheír producLs and naLeríals. 1hís ís parLícularly
uselul lor researchers or sLudenLs lookíng lor new
MosL ínLeresLíng, however, ís Lhe perlornance revíew
secLíon. 1hís ínnovaLíon ís desígned Lo províde a re
víew nechanísn lor organízaLíons operaLíng on Lhe
ground on Alrícan and Díaspora íssues, wheLher Lhey
are corporaLíons or nonprolíLs. Cíven Lhe exLensíve
hísLory ol nísnanagenenL and corrupLíon sone ín
sLíLuLíons have dísplayed ín Lhe pasL, be Lhey publíc
or prívaLe, Lhís ís a crucíal aspecL ol Lhe Alrícan Víews
lranework. 8y creaLíng a lorun lor críLíque, AV has
also creaLed a space lor leedback whích nay be ol
value Lo Lhe acLors Lhenselves, parLícularly snaller
groups who have noL yeL been gíven Lhe opporLuníLy
lor exLernal revíew ol Lheír work.
¦L ís clear LhaL should AV succeed ín íLs níssíon, Lhe
revíew nechanísn has Lhe poLenLíal Lo nake a bíg
díllerence ín Alríca. Many Alrícan counLríes sLíll sul
ler Lhe scourge ol corrupLíon and nísnanagenenL,
boLh ín Lhe publíc and prívaLe secLors. Alrícan Víews
has puL Lhe power ol críLíque ín Lhe hands ol obser
vers ín an excíLíng way. 1he ínlrasLrucLure publíshed
on Lhe Alrícan Víews síLe conbíned wíLh Lhe varíous
acLívíLíes Lhe organízaLíon has puL lorward wíll allow
Alrícan Víews Lo be a dynaníc and posíLíve lorce lor
Alríca and Lhe díaspora well ínLo Lhe luLure.
¦n con|uncLíon wíLh and avaílable Lhrough Lhe onlíne
lranework, Alrícan Víews expecLs Lo buíld a collec
Líon ol arLícles worLhy ol Lhe acadeníc eye. 1hís ellorL
coíncídes wíLh Lhe organízaLíon’s long Lern ellorL Lo
creaLe íLs own |ournal ín con|uncLíon wíLh Lhe ACL¦
ínsLíLuLes called Lhe Alrícan Víews !ournal ol ¦nLer
culLural ConnunícaLíon SLudíes. ¦L ís hoped Lhe |our
nal wíll conLríbuLe Lo ínprovíng qualíLy ol líle ín
Alrícan and Díaspora connuníLíes, líke íLs noLher
ínsLíLuLíon, prínaríly Lhrough cooperaLíve and cross
culLural learníng.
ßeyond the lnternet
Wale ¦drís ís Lhe dírecLor ol research and sLraLegy lor
Alrícan Víews OrganízaLíon based ín Hoboken, New
!ersey. ¦L ís clear when speakíng Lo hín LhaL he ís a
nan ol boLh a posíLíve ouLlook and characLer. A lor
ner narkeL analysL, he has dedícaLed hís energy Lo
lurLheríng Lhe agenda ol Alrícan Víews OrganízaLíon,
or AV, and Lhe resulLs ol hís ellorLs are evídenL. A gra
duaLe ol Colunbía ÜníversíLy, he has used hís nany
LalenLs Lo aíd Lhe organízaLíon ín growíng a new and
broad range ol acLívíLíes ín supporL ol íLs cause. 8uL
he ís quíck Lo reproach any overL locus on hín alone.
“Alrícan Víews ís a collaboraLíve ellorL”, he ínsísLs.
¦n Zínbabwe Alrícan Víews ís busy buíldíng a sup
porL sysLen lor a luLure Alrícan CulLural Lxchange
¦nsLíLuLe or ACL¦ ín Cweru. ¦n keepíng wíLh Lhe orga
nízaLíon’s conníLnenL Lo workíng wíLh a wíde range
ol parLners, Alríca Víews proposes LhaL Lhe luLure la
cílíLy aL Cweru wíll acL as a cenLer lor agrículLural and
cross culLural learníng. 1he ACL¦ ín Zínbabwe wíll
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locus on agrículLural developnenL and pracLíces buL
Alrícan Víews OrganízaLíon ís planníng on lornaL
Líng a nunber ol ACL¦’s ín Lhe luLure Lo address local
needs ín oLher counLríes.
Alrícan Víews leadershíp anLícípaLes LhaL Lhe ACL¦
aL Cweru wíll creaLe an aLnosphere ol learníng lor
boLh Lhe local connuníLy and sLudenLs. Alrícan
Víews hopes LhaL Lhe ACL¦’s wíll ulLínaLely becone
an engagíng sLudenL progran LhaL acLs as a venue
lor sLudy abroad and ínLernshíp opporLuníLíes. ¦n Lhe
process, boLh sLudenLs and locals can learn lron one
anoLher. 1hís wíll be a large parL ol Lhe AV lace ín
LernaLíonally. Alrícan Víews ís noL an organízaLíon
neanL only lor cyberspace.
¦n Lhe ÜníLed SLaLes anong boLh adulLs and chíldren,
Alrícan Víews ís aL work buíldíng educaLíonal ínlra
sLrucLure ín Lhe lorn currícula broadeníng Lhe concepL
ol Alrícan. ¦n 8rooklyn, New York, Lhe organízaLíon
hosLed a day progran lor ¯rd grade sLudenLs olle
ríng Lhen a LasLe ol Alríca noL líníLed Lo druns and
naLure parks. 1he progran acLed as a snaller versíon
ol Lhe Alrícan CulLural Lxchange progran. 1he sLu
denLs had Lhe opporLuníLy Lo learn abouL Ndebele
dolls lron SouLh Alríca and waLch a presenLaLíon on
Alrícan culLural díversíLy. 1he organízaLíon anLícípa
Les LhaL Lhís basíc lornaL wíll soon be expanded lor
older sLudenLs aL Lhe níddle and hígh school level
by íncludíng nore challengíng naLeríal relevanL Lo
políLícs and hísLory.
1he progran lor Lhe school aL 8rooklyn’s PS 1o¯ was
a resoundíng success. 1he chíldren asked quesLíons
and becane engaged. 1he quesLíons Lhey asked nade
an ínpressíon on Lheír Leachers and vísíLíng ínsLruc
Lors. 1he educaLors ínvolved wroLe a response leLLer
Lo Alrícan Víews, Lhanklully acknowledgíng Lhe
“Lean ellorL” LhaL broughL “|oylul expressíons” lron
Lhe sLudenLs. 8uL nore ínporLanL Lhan Lhe delíghL Lhe
sLudenLs experíenced, was Lhe chance each sLudenL
had Lo learn ol Alrícan people and culLures ín a posí
Líve way showíng Lhe connon hunaníLy ol all people.
1hís educaLíonal ellorL ís ín addíLíon Lo conlerences
coveríng Línely Lopícs. Alrícan Víews aíns Lo provoke
LhoughL and energíze people Lo acL by usíng conle
rences and evenLs Lo sLínulaLe debaLe. 8y usíng Lhe
ínsLíLuLíon ol Lhe conlerence, AV can bríng LogeLher
acadenícs and pracLíLíoners wíLh Lhe general popula
Líon Lo open up Lhe lloor ol debaLe Lo a wíder audí
ence. ¦or exanple, aL Lhe Hoboken Líbrary, Alrícan
Víews sponsored a conlerence on Lhe Lopíc ol HaíLí ín
Lhe alLernaLh ol Lhe recenL earLhquake.
AL Lhe HaíLí conlerence, Lhere were síx panelísLs,
each bríngíng Lo bear a díllerenL síde ol Lhe sLory.
Duríng Lhe díscussíon íL was reíLeraLed LhaL only 2 ol
Lhe 2o donor counLríes had lullílled Lheír pledges, a
soberíng sLaLísLíc. ¦L was clear alLer Lhe conlerence
LhaL ÜS polícy ín HaíLí was seen as needíng revísíon,
buL LhaL Lhe HaíLían governnenL íLsell had greaL
responsíbílíLy Lo bear as well lor ínprovíng Lhe con
díLíons ín LhaL counLry. On Lhe Lopíc ol Lhe HaíLí
conlerence, Wale ¦drís noLed LhaL, íLs achíevenenL
was ín separaLíng “enoLíons lron pracLícalíLy”, a
príne noLíve AV has ín pronoLíng Lhe conlerences.
Alrícan Víews selecLs Lopícs lor conlerences based on
relevance Lo currenL evenLs buL also a need lor ín
proved connunícaLíon, a key word ín Lhe Alrícan
Víews vocabulary. 1hís was Lhe noLíve behínd Lhe
recenL conlerence on econonícs and governance ín
Lhe sLaLe ol Nígería whích Alrícan Víews cosponso
red aL Lhe Nígerían ConsulaLe ín New York. 1he
novelLy ín LhaL parLícular conlerence was ín bríngíng
LogeLher Nígeríans wíLh Lhe Díaspora lor a seríous
exchange ol quesLíons and even nore seríous search
lor answers. 1he Lopícs covered ranged lron líbera
lísn Lo corrupLíon, all ol whích were ín Lhe líghL ol
¬o years ol Nígerían índependence.
Alrícan Víews boasLs Lhese acconplíshnenLs ín parL
nershíp wíLh acadeníc prolessíonals, nonprolíL and
publíc organízaLíons. ¦L sees íLsell as an organízaLíon
whích locuses aLLenLíon on Lopícs whích are olLen
díllículL Lo díscuss, and aL Línes enoLíonally Lryíng,
íncludíng buL noL líníLed Lo racísn, poverLy, and Lhe
laílure ol leadershíp. 1he lasL íssue ís ol parLícular
salíence, noL only ín sLaLe governance ín Alríca buL ín
Díaspora connuníLíes as well. SLíll, AV locuses on
lacLs and ínlornaLíon and a lorward lookíng vísíon.
ParL ol LhaL vísíon ís encapsulaLed ín Lhe conlerences
and ouLreach Lo sLudenLs, who wíll ulLínaLely play a
crucíal role ín shapíng Alríca’s luLure.
Alríca Víews also prídes íLsell on Lhe breadLh ol íLs
acLívíLíes. When Kasandra Housley, Lhe ouLreach
dírecLor ín ¦ndíana, was asked íl Alrícan Víews sullered
lron níssíon creep she replíed, “1haL ís alnosL Lhe
poínL we Lry Lo be open Lo whaLever opporLuníLíes
presenL Lhenselves and as a resulL have achíeved a loL”.
As ís evídenL ín íLs work Alrícan Víews renaíns prína
ríly locused on ouLreach and drawíng aLLenLíon Lo ís
ooõ7 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
sues perLínenL Lo Lhe Alrícan and díaspora connu
níLíes. 1hís ouLreach has íncluded boLh prívaLe and
publíc organízaLíons buL especíally sLudenLs, whon
Alrícan Víews sees as críLícal Lo carryíng ouL íLs níssíon.
Alrícan Víews has a long lísL ol pro|ecLs lor Lhe luLure.
Asíde lron Lhe Alrícan Víews !ournal ol ¦nLerculLural
ConnunícaLíon SLudíes and Lhe ACL¦’s, Alrícan Víews
wíll conLínue Lo seek ouL new ídeas lor naLíonal and
ínLernaLíonal conlerences on conLenporary íssues.
Ol parLícular ínporLance ín Lhe luLure wíll be Lhe ríse
ol Chína and Lhe role LhaL counLry ís playíng ín
changíng Lhe Alrícan landscape. 1he ínLeresL ín LhaL
parLícular Lopíc, as noLed above, has already been de
nonsLraLed ín Lhe Alrícan Víews díscussíon boards.
¦n Decenber 2o1o Lhe organízaLíon launched Lhe
weekly radío show called Lhe Alrícan Víew, aíríng aL
1PM on Sundays vía Skype. 1hís radío show ís Lhe lírsL
ol nany anLícípaLed luLure pro|ecLs Lo be produced
by Alrícan Víews lor boLh radío and Lelevísíon. Cur
renLly on Lhe AV websíLe Lhere are sone broadcasLs
avaílable lor lísLeníng as well as a vídeo on Lhe
Nígerían Peoples’ ParlíanenL.
Alrícan Víews desíres ín Lhe long Lern Lo reach a
wíde audíence Lhrough Lelevísíon, and ulLínaLely, Lo
have íLs own channel on Lhe aírwaves. 8uL lor now
Lhe organízaLíon ís conníLLed Lo Lakíng one sLep aL
a Líne. ¦or Alrícan Víews, 2o1o has cerLaínly been a
producLíve year. Already new conlerence ídeas are
beíng círculaLed and new ídeas lloaLed lor pro|ecLs.
1he organízaLíon ís oll Lo a líne sLarL lor 2o11.
AdoIf Mavheneka, sLudenL, Zínbabwe
The commitment for African values begins with us. Precisely this provides us with the best ever opportunity to
deliberate over issues of common interest. The paradox is that Africa has had to do without ‘riparian’ African interests
since colonial times. Valued African interests in the socio-economic have been clear for their absence. Thus the
networkings, and deliberations afforded by AV creates the best ever opportunity in the history of the continent.
It brings back the token for unity ... that has remained the cry of the beloved continent!
AIoke Mukerjee, publíc speaker and wríLer, New !ersey, ÜS
When you were talking about Africans in India, at first I thought you were referring to the Dalit. I had no idea about
the Siddis. And Oh my God, I also learned about the Jawaras on the AV country video profiles. I think many Indians
will appreciate being accepted culturally as Africans because they were born there, especially the ones in Eastern and
Southern Africa. I must admit this is a good thing. African Views is authentic and timely. And that is a good thing to
support and be part of. Thank you!
Marla D’ALbert, narkeLíng analysL, 8rooklyn, New York
From African Views’s African Cultural Exchange program for children on Dec. 2., 2010 I heard a lot of joyful
expressions from kids and some good feedback from the teachers too. I think it did what we hoped: Support and enrich
the curriculum in ways so that a far away place feels real to them: Echo found that each group had different questions
in the Africa presentation and thought it was going to be fun to have the groups return to their regular classes and share
their perspectives (great idea to mix it up!).
Robert explained how Animism as a faith believes that drums have the spirit of the animals and trees that they are
made from, so when you play you are celebrating with those spirits. The kids made beautiful sculptures/dolls out of
recycled plastic and scraps of fabric, buttons echoing the work done by children in South Africa’s Ndebele tribe.
I can tell you from personal experience that how you learn about the world when you are young directly affects how
you feel about the world and your role in it as you grow up. I hope they are fired up with questions and ideas when
you return to talk about it.
ooõ8 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: sIaIIsIIcs,
global healIh,
poverIy, IIhIIh,
gapmIhder, HIV,
Hans kosIlng
Hans Rosling is a Swedish medical doctor, academic,
statistician and public speaker. He is Professor of
International Health at Karolinska Institute and
Director of the Gapminder Foundation, which deve-
loped the Trendalyzer software system. From 1967
to 1974 he studied statistics and medicine at Uppsala
University, and in 1972 he studied public health at St.
John's Medical College, Bangalore. He became a
licenced physician in 1976 and from 1979 to 1981 he
served as District Medical Officer in Nacala in nort-
hern Mozambique.
Rosling discovered an outbreak of a paralytic disease
known as and described in 1938 as konzo and the
investigations that followed earned him a Ph.D.
degree at Uppsala University in 1986.
Rosling's research has focused on other links between
economic development, agriculture, poverty and
health in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has
been health adviser to WHO, UNICEF and several
aid agencies. In 1993 he was one of the initiators of
Médecins Sans Frontières in Sweden. At Karolinska
Institutet he was head of the Division of International
Health (IHCAR) from 2001 to 2007. As chairman
of Karolinska International Research and Training
Committee (1998—2004) he started health research
collaborations with universities in Asia, Africa, the
Middle East and Latin America. He started new
courses on Global Health and co-authored a textbook
on Global Health that promotes a fact-based world
Afrlca ls Not A
ooõ¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
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Statistics can be beautiful and sexy. In that
sense the Gapminder Foundation is positively
pornographic. Gapminder presents important
global data in clear graphs that move dynami-
cally so that you can watch the history of the
world unfold through the magic of statistics.
The Gapminder graphs are built on a platform
called Trendalyzer (which was sold to Google in
2007) and use data from a variety of global
institutions like the OECD, World Bank, and the
International Labor Organization. Gapminder
is free to use and you can share graphs easily
with bit.ly links. Now, Gapminder is available
for you to download as well, so you can use all
of that yummy data in your own presentations
and educational lessons.
oos1 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
How would you describe the “WE” today?
What does it mean to you?
Hans kosIlng: 6.¯ bíllíon people.
What is the driving force behind your work?
Hans kosIlng: CuríosíLy. ¦L’s exLrenely ínLeresLíng Lo
see how Lhe world has changed. Plus Lhe convícLíon
LhaL you can Lalk abouL Lhe world wíLhouL doíng
advocacy. Sone people nake íL Lheír Lask Lo explaín
whaL a cíLy looks líke. When you cone as a LourísL
Lo a new cíLy, you wanL Lo see nuseuns, resLauranLs,
and LheaLres, and íl you cone on busíness you wanL
Lo know where banks and conpaníes are – you need
a nap Lo línd your way around. Capnínder provídes
an updaLed econoníc, socíal and envíronnenLal nap
ol Lhe world so users can línd Lheír way around.
What is the core idea behind Gapminder?
Hans kosIlng: 1o use Lhe graphíc anínaLíon Lechno
logy behínd conpuLer ganes Lo show Lhe changíng
world. We apply conpuLer ganes “en|oynenL” Lo
sLaLísLícs Lo upgrade old níndseLs and Lhereby creaLe
a lacLbased worldvíew. We nusL upgrade Lhe world
víew lron a “1ínLín” víew where Lhe world ís dívíded
ínLo Lhe WesL and Lhe resL. 8uL Lo undersLand econo
níc developnenL, denographíc change and healLh
ínprovenenLs, we now have Lo nake daLa abouL Lhe
world accessíble ín a new lornaL. 8asícally, íL’s a new
nap. ínsLead ol norLh and souLh, we dísplay counLry
bubbles on a scale lron healLhy Lo síck, and ínsLead ol
easL and wesL, we show rích and poor.
And when Lhose bubbles ín our anínaLíons nove, íL’s
líke a looLball gane. People can see how lasL Alríca
has noved ín Lhe lasL decades Lo achíeve a noderaLe
bírLh raLe. We’re raLher líke sporLscasLers usíng Lhese
graphs Lo open Lhe eyes ol a very broad publíc Lo
whaL’s happeníng ín Lhe world.
You often use the expression “continuous world” –
what do you mean by it?
Hans kosIlng: You have Lo realíze LhaL Lhe díllerence
ís no longer beLween Lhe WesL and Lhe resL – íL’s beL
ween Lhe lourLh lílLhs ol Lhe world populaLíon LhaL’s
novíng ahead and Lhe one lílLh LhaL ís lelL behínd. 1he
new gap ín Lhe world wíll noL be beLween Cernany
and Chína, íL wíll be beLween Chína and LLhíopía,
naybe beLween Chína and Mozanbíque. 1haL’s Lhe
bíg challenge. you have Lo bríng all Lhe pooresL coun
Lríes wíLh you.
And you have to distinguish between different countries
in a much better way than we usually do …
Hans kosIlng: LxacLly. Alríca ís NO1 one counLry!
1here are huge díllerences beLween Lhe counLríes ín
Alríca. ¦L's nísleadíng Lo LreaL Lhen as one and Lhe
sane. ¦or exanple. líle expecLancy ín Cape Verde ís
22 years longer Lhan ín Swazíland yeL boLh are Alrícan
counLríes. 8oLswana ís one ol Lhe Lop 1¯ achíevers ín
Lhe world when íL cones Lo susLaíned econoníc
growLh. ¦L has been denocraLíc and peacelul ever
sínce índependence. And íL ís also an Alrícan counLry.
1he DenocraLíc kepublíc ol Lhe Congo ís one ol Lhe
nosL Lragíc econoníc dísasLers ín Lhe world, plagued
by despoLs and war ever sínce íLs índependence.
Míllíons have díed sínce Lhe Second Congo War broke
ouL ín 1¤¤8. ¦L ís Lhe pooresL counLry ín Lhe world. And
Lhe Dk Congo ís also an Alrícan counLry.
Or look aL H¦V. 1here are huge díllerences wíLhín
Lhe Alrícan conLínenL.
oos2 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
You can clearly see LhaL hígher íncone does NO1
guaranLee a snaller percenLage ol adulLs havíng H¦V,
and LhaL Lhe nunbers vary Lrenendously lron counLry
Lo counLry.
1he ¦nsLíLuLe ol HealLh MeLrícs have esLínaLed Lhe
average nunber ol years spenL ín schoolíng by nen
and wonen ín díllerenL age groups lor alnosL all
counLríes. 1he neLhods used lor Lhese esLínaLes are
all welldocunenLed.
1hís daLa shows LhaL Lhere ís no correlaLíon beLween
educaLíon levels ín counLríes all over Lhe world and
Lhe percenLage ol adulLs lívíng wíLh H¦V. No naLLer íl
you líve ín Lhe ÜS or Alríca, educaLíon does NO1 corre
laLe wíLh H¦V ínlecLíon.
How about if you look at a specific country?
Hans kosIlng: Yes. LeL’s Lake 8oLswana as an exanple.
1he ríse, lall and reríse ol healLh ín 8oLswana. ¦n 1¤6¬
aL índependence 8oLswana was a poor counLry wíLh
low líle expecLancy. 2¬ years ol renarkable progress
íncreased líle expecLancy wíLhín 1¬ years. 1hís gaín ín
líle expecLancy was losL duríng Lhe 1¤¤os wíLh Lhe H¦V
epídeníc. 8y 1¤88, 8oLswana had ouLpaced 1urkey
and caughL up wíLh 8razíl. 1hen H¦V grew Lo Lragíc
levels, causíng líle expecLancy Lo plunneL by 1¯ years.
Over Lhe pasL líve years, however, LreaLnenL ol ínlec
Led persons has reduced A¦DSrelaLed deaLhs by over
¬o%. 1hís has caused líle expecLancy Lo ríse agaín.
AdulLs wíLh H¦V ín correlaLíon Lo íncone per person
oos¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
What about the correlation between children per woman
and life expectancy? How does it look in Africa today?
Hans kosIlng: Once agaín, Lhere are huge díllerences
wíLhín Lhe enLíre conLínenL – counLríes líke keuníon,
Cape Verde and MauríLíus have already caughL up wíLh
nosL ol Lhe Asían counLríes, and even wíLh Lurope
and Lhe ÜS. 8uL Lhey are sLíll nany places líke Sonalía,
Üganda, Níger, Chad and Congo – Lo nane |usL a lew
– ín whích líle expecLancy ís around ¬o years and Lhe
nunber ol chíldren per wonan ís greaLer Lhan ¬.
Sane Lhíng wíLh per capíLa CDP and chíld survíval –
Lhere are huge díllerences beLween díllerenL coun
Lríes. Whíle ín Síerra Leone, lor ínsLance, Lhere ís líLLle
noney and hígh chíld norLalíLy, MauríLíus ís once
nore doíng very well – wíLh good noney and a hígh
chíld survíval raLe. MauríLíus was Lhe lírsL counLry
Lo abolísh Lrade barríers ín Alríca so Lhey could sell
Lheír sugar and LexLíles on equal Lerns wíLh Lhe
people ín Lurope and NorLh Aneríca. Chana ís ríghL ín
Lhe níddle beLween Lhese Lwo … Síerra Leone needs
hunaníLarían aíd, Üganda developnenL aíd, ín Chana
íL ís Líne Lo ínvesL and as we clínb up Lo Lhe Lop we
arríve aL MauríLíus – where you can go on vacaLíon,)
1he ríse and lall and reríse ol wealLh ín 8oLswana
oosõ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
1here really ís Lrenendous varíaLíon ín Alríca – and
yeL WL conLínue Lo Lhínk – because we don’L know
any beLLer or don'L read Lhe daLa – LhaL everyLhíng
ís equal Lhere! As an ínvesLor, enLrepreneur or deve
lopnenL aíd worker you need Lo be well aware ol
Lhese Lhíngs because such díversíLy denands LhaL any
soluLíon nusL be híghly conLexLualízed. OLherwíse íL
wíll laíl!
You are saying: ending global poverty (and increasing child
survival rates) is the clear path to reaching a sustainable
human population. Why?
Hans kosIlng: 1here are clear línks beLween íncrea
sed econoníc success and reduced laníly síze, and
beLween low ínlanL norLalíLy and reduced laníly síze.
¦ an convínced LhaL by 2o¬o we can reach a susLaína
ble hunan populaLíon ol ¤ bíllíon people íl WL sLarL
Loday Lo be seríous.
What do you mean … serious in which way?
Hans kosIlng: Look. 1he Lragedy ís LhaL Lhe 2 bíllíon
people who were alíve ín 1¤6o – when Lhere were
¯ bíllíon people on Lhe planeL – are sLíll sLrugglíng on
an everyday basís Lo survíve. 1hey don’L have enough
Lo eaL. 1hís hasn’L changed ríghL up Lo Loday. ¦n lacL
Loday 4 bíllíon people are lívíng ín poverLy. 8uL Loday
we are alnosL ¯ bíllíon people on Lhís planeL. So íl
WL don’L sLarL Lo becone seríous abouL geLLíng Lhese
4 bíllíon ouL ol poverLy – WL won’L succeed. Our
problen ís noL Lhe íncreasíng nunbers ol Lhe popu
laLíon, our problen ís Lhe 4 bíllíon people lívíng ín
Lhese níserable condíLíons!
1hey sleep on Lhe lloor, Lhey don’L have Lapped waLer,
Lhey can’L Lake a shower, Lhey don’L have elecLríc líghL.
1o íncrease Lheír sLandard ol lívíng Lo a decenL level
líke LhaL ol Sweden ín 1¤¬o would nean íncreasíng
Lhe sLandard ol lívíng by a lacLor ol lron ¬ Lo 1o lor
Lwo Lhírds ol Lhe world populaLíon. 1haL’s a 1o lold
bígger challenge Lhan Lhe nunber ol people. ¦ can’L
undersLand why people are sLíll carríed away by nun
bers – Lhey nusL have sone problen wíLh naLhena
Lícs! 8uL how can you expecL a young couple ín Alríca
síLLíng on Lhe lloor wíLh raLs, cockroaches and llíes,
and carryíng waLer ín a buckeL Lo be saLíslíed wíLh Lhís
and expecL Lheír chíldren Lo líve as Lhey are doíng.
1hey wíll work hard, líghL hard – do anyLhíng Lo geL
a decenL líle lor Lheír chíldren. ¦’n noL Lalkíng abouL
charLer Lourísn or owníng a car or aír condíLíoníng,
¦’n Lalkíng abouL a decenL líle, noL a nínínal basíc
líle, buL a decenL líle. Perhaps goíng Lo Lhe cínena
once ín a whíle or owníng a nusícal ínsLrunenL.
1haL wíll íncrease Lhe sLandard ol lívíng, and Lo do LhaL
we need Lo have new Lechnology. We can’L do LhaL
wíLh exísLíng coal Lechnology. And Lhís ís a na|or
challenge. We don’L have Lo change Lechnology by
¯o% or whaLever. we have Lo nake a huge leap. 8uL
we are noL nakíng seríous ínvesLnenL. Lhe OLCD
counLríes are puLLíng Lhree Lo lour Línes nore ínLo
agrículLural subsídíes Lhan Lhey do ínLo green Lech
nology. Creen Lechnology ís noL yeL a seríous íssue.
¦n lacL Lhe corporaLe secLor ís nore seríous abouL íL
Lhan governnenLs are aL presenL. So why don’L we
channel Lhe noney lron agrículLural subsídíes ínLo
green Lechnology7
Chíld survíval ín correlaLíon Lo per CDP capíLa
ooss we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
When we díscuss Lhe car índusLry, we’re sínply noL
seríous. ¦n Lhe Second World War Lhe ÜníLed SLaLes
was seríous. 1hey decíded Lo wín and Lhey puL Lheír
enLíre índusLry ínLo wínníng LhaL war. ¦l we díd Lhe
sane wíLh energy, we would solve íL. 8uL we’re noL
seríous abouL íL.
We’re Lryíng Lo wín Lhe nexL elecLíon, noL Lo solve Lhe
problen. And ín Lerns ol long Lern Lrends, people
ín Alríca, ¦ndía and Chína won’L conLínue Lo síL on a
nud lloor whíle we ín Lhe ríchesL counLríes aren’L
How come that you are so closely related to the poorest
in the world Hans Rosling?
Hans kosIlng: ¦ worked as a young nedícal docLor ín
Alríca where ¦ was one ol Lhe people who díscovered
a paralyLíc dísease anong Lhe very poor ín a renoLe
rural area. We naned Lhe dísease “konzo” alLer Lhe
nane gíven Lo íL by Lhe lírsL allecLed populaLíon.
1herealLer ¦ spenL LwenLy years researchíng konzo
epídenícs LhaL are índuced by poverLy, nalnuLríLíon
and ínsullícíenLly processed cassava rooLs ín renoLe
parLs ol rural Alríca. ¦’ve done nany líeld surveys ín
rural Alríca. And LhaL’s when ¦ goL írríLaLed by Lhe Lern
“developíng counLríes”, a Lern LhaL puLs Mozanbí
que, 1haíland and ArgenLína ín Lhe sellsane group ol
counLríes. 1haL dídn’L nake any sense because Lhese
counLríes are so very díllerenL. So ¦ LaughL ny sLudenLs
Lo Lake a nore upgraded worldvíew. ¦nsLead ol sorLíng
counLríes ínLo Lwo groups, Lhey should be sorLed ínLo
aL leasL 4 groups. hígh íncone, níddle íncone, low
íncone and collapsed. 1haL’s how íL all sLarLed. ¦ wan
Led Lo show LhaL Lhe healLh and econony ol counLríes
Loday lorn a conLínuous seL ol varíaLíons ín Lhe world,
lron collapsed counLríes líke Sonalía and Alghaní
sLan, and peacelul low íncone counLríes líke 1anzanía
and Chana, Lo Lhe níddle íncone counLríes now
called “energíng econoníes” – líke Chína and 8razíl
Lhrough Lo hígh íncone counLríes líke SouLh Korea
and Cernany. 1he healLh levels ín counLríes vary lron
4o years líle expecLancy Lo 8o years, and you’ll línd all
kínds ol healLh levels ín beLween Lhese Lwo exLrenes.
And íncone levels vary lron 4oo dollars Lo 4,ooo or
4o,ooo dollars per person per year, and here agaín
counLríes can be lound wíLh all kínds ol íncone levels
ín beLween.
Hans koslíng aL 1LD 2oo¯
Hans koslíng aL Cíuídad de las ¦deas, 2o1o
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oos8 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: global voIces,
chIld abuse,
Lova kakotomaIaIa
... is a researcher in biomedical engineering for low-
cost mobile diagnostic tools in resource limited
settings. Raised in Madagascar, Lova has a strong
interest in international development and digital
media as a tool to promote social change and trans-
parency in the developing world. He is part of the
core team of the Foko, an NGO driven to promote
the online exposure of social grassroots projects based
in Madagascar. Lova is studying at the School of
International Affairs and Public Policy, Princeton
and is the editor of the Francophone region for
Global Voices. Technology for transparency is a sub-
division of Global Voices.
This article was first published on Global Voices, October, 19, 2010
TechnoIogy for
Transparency –
Text Messages
To HeIp Protect To
ChlIdren Agalnst
oos¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo6o we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
The Violence Against Children (VAC) project is
an initiative co-implemented by PLAN and Save
the Children in West Africa and takes place over
4 years (2008-2011) in seven countries: Togo,
Ghana, Benin, Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and
Gambia. The VAC project trains and engages
children and youth themselves as advocates and
agents of change to end violence, together with
adult community allies. A comprehensive UN
report proposes recommendations for action to
prevent and respond to violence against children
around the world. Earlier this year, the project
explored the idea of setting up a text message
based system that will collect and map out reports
of violence against children in communities in
Benin and Togo.
The managers of the VAC project sent the following
statistics about violence against children in Benin:
according to a study conducted by the Benin
Ministry of Family in 2007: “It was estimated that
at the time of the study, 40,317 children living in
Benin were exploited, i.e 2% of the population
between the age of 6 and 17 and of those 86%
were young girls.”
The following is our interview with Linda Raftree,
social media and new technology advisor for
Plan West Africa Region and ICT4D Technical
Advisor for Plan USA who was closely involved
with implementing the text messages-based techno-
logical support for the VAC project in Benin. She
wrote extensively about fostering a new political
consciousness on violence against children in
Benin, the solutions that ICT could potentially
provide in that context and the challenges that
they faced. We discussed the implementation, the
strengths and weaknesses of the technology portion
of the project and the lessons learned in order to
provide better protection for children.
oo61 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
TechnoIogy for Transparency Network {TTN):
Tell us a little bit about the project, the genesis of the idea for
a text message-based reporting system.
Llnda kaftree {Lk): 1he pro|ecL ís nanaged by ny
colleague who works ín Lhe WesL Alríca regíonal ollíce
and ¦’n supporLíng wíLh Lhe ¦C1 ínLegraLíon. ¦L sLarLed
oll really as a youLh pro|ecL lunded by our ollíce ín
¦ínland and an ellorL Lo break down Lhe ÜN recon
nendaLíons lron Lhe Víolence agaínsL Chíldren (VAC)
sLudy ínLo a nore naínsLrean language. 1he ídea was
Lo nake specílíc areas ol Lhe sLudy nore palaLable Lo
Lhe general populaLíon. 1he orígínal VAC sLudy was
conducLed over abouL ¯ years ín consulLaLíon wíLh
hundreds ol chíldren, and Lhe goal ol Lhe broader VAC
pro|ecL ís Lo íncrease awareness anongsL chíldren and
adulLs, Lo geL Lhen Lo learn abouL Lhe ellecLs ol
víolence and how Lo prevenL íL and Lo share Lhe
knowledge wíLh Lheír peers.
We (Plan) organízed a conlerence ín Kenya on socíal
change Lhrough new nedía ín Decenber 2oo8, where
ny colleague AnasLasíe Koudoh ín Dakar heard ol
¦ronLlíneSMS and Üshahídí. She sLarLed wonderíng
wheLher such a sysLen could be seL up Lo Lrack vío
lence vía cell phone nessages. We knew lron Lhe VAC
sLudy LhaL nany íncídenLs ol víolence are noL repor
Led lor varíous reasons and decíded Lo see íl we could
renedy LhaL. We díscussed ínLernally wíLh colleagues
lron our Dakar and our ¦ínnísh ollíce and we had a
loL ol quesLíons abouL ínplenenLaLíon, prívacy and
nanagenenL ol Lhe plaLlorn, eLc. ¦n !anuary, ¦ was
lucky enough Lo neeL lor a day wíLh !osh NesbíL and
!anes 8on 1enpo aL our ollíce ín WashíngLon DC and
we díscussed and sorLed ouL sone basícs abouL ínple
nenLaLíon, daLa collecLíon and prívacy. We goL our
Üshahídí ínsLance seL up wíLh help lron our colleague
Míka aL Lhe ¦ínnísh ollíce and Lhe lolks aL Üshahídí.
1hen ¦ wenL Lo 8enín and supporLed AnasLasíe and Lhe
sLall Lhere Lo conducL workshops wíLh Lhe chíldren ín
Lhe connuníLy, Lhe sLall, Lhe chíld proLecLíon servíces
and Lhe MínísLry ol ¦aníly, consulLed wíLh Lhen and
wenL Lhrough Lhe whole process ol how SMS repor
Líng níghL be seL up. We asked wheLher Lhey LhoughL
Lhís new sysLen would help, Lhe Lype ol ínlornaLíon
LhaL Lhey LhoughL we níghL wanL Lo collecL and any
addíLíonal rísks Lo people reporLíng LhaL we níghL noL
have LhoughL ol. 8asícally nakíng sure LhaL everyone’s
ínpuL was lully ínLegraLed ínLo Lhe sysLen.
TTN: What type of violence is more prominent in Benin
and how would the project impact on the incidents?
Lk: 1he MínísLry ol ¦aníly generously senL Lhe laLesL
sLaLísLícs. 8esídes Lhe naLíonal nunbers nenLíoned
earlíer, Lhe sLudy reporLs LhaL ín 2oo8, abouL ¬¤8,¬21
chíldren (¯1%) are lorced Lo work ín íllegal condíLíons
and LhaL 24% are perlorníng dangerous work acLíví
Líes. Cenderbased víolence ís also sLíll very ínporLanL.
88% ol gírls reporLed havíng experíenced physícal
abuse and 8¯% were verbally abused, ¯.2% were se
quesLered aL leasL once, 2.8% had undergone lenale
geníLal cuLLíng (¦CC) and 1.4% ol gírls beLween Lhe
age ol 2 Lo 14 had been raped.
LvídenLly, one nusL Lake ínLo accounL LhaL delíníLíons
ol corporal puníshnenL and verbal abuse can be cul
Lurally díllerenL. 1here ís also víolence aL school where
corporal puníshnenL ís sLíll a connonly uLílízed educa
Líonal neLhod. ¬¬% ol sLudenLs reporL havíng experí
enced corporal puníshnenL eíLher ínsíde or ouLsíde
Lhe school.
So we really puL Lhe enphasís on havíng Lhe supporL ol
Lhe connuníLy when raísíng awareness and addres
síng socíal change around Lhís íssue. We would noL
order people around buL we would explaín why Lhís ís
noL Lhe besL way, and províde alLernaLíve ways wíLh Lhe
backíng ol Lhe connuníLy. ¦L can be díllículL aL Línes íl
íL ís culLurally íngraíned.
TTN: Have you done an evaluation of the impact of the
project so far, and are alternatives to the SMS reporting system
(e.g. voice reporting) being considered?
Lk: Colleagues are planníng a checkín Lhe lírsL week ol
Novenber wíLh our regíonal specíalísL on chíld proLec
Líon. 1hey’ll be lookíng aL achíevenenLs and challen
ges ín Lhe areas ol. Lechnology (ís íL workíng7 ¦l noL,
why noL7 WhaL do we need Lo ad|usL), hunan resour
ces and local capacíLíes lor nanagíng Lhe sysLen, parL
nershíp and Lhe relaLíonshíp wíLh Lhe local and
naLíonal governnenL ín Lerns ol Lheír abílíLy and
ínLeresL Lo Lake on and nanage Lhe sysLen, and re
sponse – whaL ís Lhe currenL capacíLy Lo respond7 How
can Lhís be ínproved7 1hey’ll also do a nore deLaíled
nappíng ouL ol all Lhe díllerenL poLenLíal chíld pro
LecLíon acLors ín Lhe 2 connuníLíes, íncludíng healLh
workers, schools, and LradíLíonal auLhoríLíes, ín order
Lo see how we can besL ensure Lhe sysLen ís ínLegra
Led wíLh exísLíng connuníLy sLrucLures and see how
oo62 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Lhís sorL ol ínLegraLíon can ínprove local capacíLíes Lo
respond Lo reporLs ol víolence. We’ll buíld a lorward
lookíng plan based on Lhís assessnenL ol Lhe pro|ecL.
So lar, Lhe sLall have sLaLed LhaL Lhey are saLíslíed wíLh
Lhe seLup ol Lhe pro|ecL as íL ís now, buL Lhey know
LhaL Lhere are a loL nore reporLs LhaL could be coníng
ín. 1hey only have receíved 1¯ reporLs vía SMS sínce
Lhe sLarL ol Lhe pro|ecL, buL íL’s díllículL Lo assess why
Lhose poLenLíals reporLs are noL coníng ín. wheLher
íL ís Lhe nedíun (LexL nessages) or oLher lacLors ín
dependenL ol Lhe new sysLen ín place. Duríng Lhe
Lechnology assessnenL, we’ll look aL whaL we can do
lron LhaL síde, lor exanple by poLenLíally ínLegraLíng
voíce ín addíLíon Lo SMS and addíng an ínproved way
Lo Lrack verílícaLíon and lollow up ol reporLed cases.
One could argue LhaL Lhe pro|ecL already allowed lor
nore reporLs LhaL would noL have been reporLed íl Lhe
new sysLen were noL ín place. 1herelore, even íl we are
sLíll níssíng nany unreporLed cases, we are geLLíng a
lew nore, and LhaL’s progress. ¦n ny opíníon, íL ís a
good sLarL íl íL |usL geLs people Lo Lhínk díllerenLly and
look aL Lhe íssue díllerenLly. Also we níghL see Lhe díl
lerence noL |usL ín SMS reporLíng, buL ín reporLíng
overall. 1haL would Lhen allow us Lo evaluaLe whaL
oLher channels we could consíder lor reporLíng and
whích ones would be Lhe nosL ellecLíve.
AL Lhe end ol Lhe day, Lhough, reporLíng ís noL Lhe bíg
gesL boLLleneck – Lhe bíggesL boLLleneck ís usually Lhe
response. Suppose we had ¬oo reporLs LhaL cane ín
by SMS, Lhere would noL be Lhe capacíLy Lo respond
Lo Lhen. So slow growLh nay acLually be benelícíal Lo
Lhe pro|ecL. ÜLílízíng Lhe sysLen Lo advocaLe lor nore
capacíLy lor chíld servíces ís also one aspecL ol Lhe pro
|ecL LhaL we look ínLo very closely. We don’L wanL Lo
seL up a reporLíng nechanísn LhaL would noL be able
Lo delíver an adequaLe response nechanísn.
TTN: How does the response mechanism work?
Who manages the reports and the responses?
Lk. We are workíng wíLh Lhe CenLre de ProLecLíon So
cíal (CPS) and Lhey ulLínaLely reporL Lo Lhe MínísLry ol
Lhe ¦aníly and have Lhe responsíbílíLy Lo lollow up on
any Lype ol chíld abuse. 8enín has a governnenL
agency and clear laws agaínsL chíld abuse. AL Lhe
workshop, we Lry Lo gaLher all Lhe local agenLs LhaL
have sone Lype ol responsíbílíLy who can respond ín
case ol chíld abuse (socíal agenLs buL also políce and
connuníLy leaders). So when we receíve reporLs lron
any vícLíns or wíLnesses, a chíld proLecLíon ollícer aL
our dísLrícL ollíce receíves Lhe reporL Lhrough ¦ronLlí
neSMS and Üshahídí and nakes a phone call Lo Lhe
poínL person ín LhaL area (a CPS agenL or a políce ol
lícer). Once we geL Lhe ‘alerLs’ sysLen luncLíoníng ín
Üshahídí, Lhís can be auLonaLed. AL LhaL poínL, Lhe re
porL ís ollícíally líled ínLo Lhe governnenLal sysLen.
TTN: Could you give a broad estimate of the cost of the project?
Lk: AnasLasíe says LhaL Lhe Lraíníng ín 8enín cosL
around S¯,¬oo, plus Lhe purchase ol phone/noden
lor Lhe ¦ronLLíneSMS plaLlorn. We used an exísLíng
conpuLer. 1haL’s |usL Lhe sínple parL ol Lhe pro|ecL
Lhough, and doesn’L ínclude Lhe sLall Líne, Lhe broa
der pro|ecL acLívíLíes and work wíLh Lhe youLh belore/
alLer Lhe Lraíníng, and Lhe cosLs ol lollow up LhaL are
TTN: Do you think the Ushahidi platform would benefit
from being translated into the local language like Yoruba ?
Lk: AcLually, Lhe nappíng porLíon ol Üshahídí ís noL
uselul lor Lhe local connuníLíes. Very lew ol Lhen
have access Lo ínLerneL so Lhe Üshahídí plaLlorn ís
nosLly uLílízed by Lhe sLall and Lhe agency, who would
know Lhe local languages, ¦rench and sone Lnglísh.
So Lhe SMS reporLs can be receíved ín any language
and Lhe adnínísLraLors would LranslaLe Lhen ínLo
¦rench. 1he web ínLerlace and Lhe nap are nore ol
an advocacy Lool Lhan a reporLíng sysLen. ¦or exan
ple, we can share Lhe nap wíLh connuníLy leaders,
local auLhoríLíes, school ollícíal and Lhe varíous níní
sLríes as we have nore ínlornaLíon coníng ín and
díscuss Lhe íssue wíLh Lhen and look lor soluLíons. We
also have a prívacy íssue, so we are consíderíng na
kíng íL a prívaLe page or a passwordproLecLed page
because ¦ an noL convínced LhaL íL has any uLílíLy aL
Lhís poínL lor soneone workíng ouLsíde Lhe chíld pro
LecLíon sysLen. 1haL would also oller sone addíLíonal
proLecLíon Lo Lhe vícLíns.
TTN: Has the government approached you about down-
loading the data collected so far?
Lk: 1haL’s a good quesLíon. ¦ an noL sure íl Lhe daLa
has been downloaded by Lhe governnenL yeL. WhaL
we wanLed Lo be carelul abouL ís ínvolvíng Lhe hígher
level ol Lhe governnenL ín Lhe early phases. We wan
oo6¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Led Lo work wíLh Lhe local auLhoríLíes – wíLh Lhe ap
proval ol Lhe naLíonal governnenL, ol course. We
wanLed Lo opLíníze Lhe sysLen Lo Lhe poínL where íL ís
easy Lo undersLand and llawless, and Lhen advocaLe
lor íL Lo be adopLed aL hígher levels. We would noL
wanL Lo presenL a sysLen LhaL ís only hallway ready
and rísk havíng íL re|ecLed.
TTN: Since it is really focused on the community, how did
you approach publicizing the number to which text reports
should be sent?
Lk: We are workíng on a connunícaLíon sLraLegy and
ouLreach. We need Lo noL only deLerníne Lhe besL way
Lo adverLíse Lhe nunber, buL also Lake care ol educa
Líng Lhe connuníLy abouL Lhe ínporLance ol aware
ness and how Lo reporL abuse correcLly. We need Lhen
Lo send conpleLe ínlornaLíon ín Lhe LexL nessages,
oLherwíse we cannoL help. 1here are also sone new
plugíns ín ¦ronLlíneSMS LhaL can help wíLh beLLer daLa
collecLíon. We are also lookíng ínLo possíbly addíng a
voíce leaLure Lo see íl nore reporLs would cone ín.
TTN: Are there any additional lessons learned or remarks
that you would like to add?
Lk: ¦L ís ínLeresLíng Lo conpare Lhís pro|ecL, where a
sLrucLure ís ín place lor chíld proLecLíon, wíLh oLher
places. ¦or ínsLance, we LhoughL abouL ínplenenLíng
a sínílar pro|ecL ín a neíghboríng counLry, buL Lhe
governnenL Lhere ís basícally noL ínLeresLed. So Lhe
conplexíLy Lhere ís. how does one ínplenenL a chíld
proLecLíon servíce ín a nore lragíle sLaLe7 Would we
be able Lo work wíLh a connuníLybased proLecLíon
group and do wíLhouL Lhe presence ol an esLablíshed
sLrucLure7 ¦n ny opíníon, íL’s beconíng íncreasíngly
ínporLanL noL only lor pro|ecLs líke ours, buL any
Üshahídí deploynenL or SMS reporLíng ín general, Lo
Lhínk beyond daLa collecLíon and address Lhe response
nechanísn when Lhere ís no |udícíal sysLen. One can
look aL HaíLí and víolence agaínsL wonen ín Lhe
alLernaLh ol Lhe earLhquake. Sure we can Lalk abouL
reporLíng víolence, buL who wíll respond Lo Lhe
reporLs7 Maybe we should also address lundíng lor
buíldíng a response nechanísn Lo go along wíLh Lhe
reporLíng nechanísn. Maybe LhaL ís where we need
Lhe nexL wave ol ínnovaLíon Lo locus on. Lven ín Lhe
aíd líeld ín general, ínlornaLíon shorLage ís noL usu
ally Lhe íssue, buL raLher whaL we can do wíLh Lhe
ínlornaLíon, whaL kínd ol response can be Lríggered.
¦L’s a díllículL íssue. We are lookíng ínLo supporLíng
local proLecLíon nechanísns wíLhín Lhe connuníLíes,
buL Lhís ís also Lrícky because Lhe perpeLraLors ol Lhe
víolence níghL be parenLs, relaLíves or Leachers or lea
ders ín Lhe connuníLy. So one ol Lhe lírsL críLícal
poínLs ís always awareness raísíng on Lhe negaLíve
ínpacLs ol víolence on chíldren or whíchever íssue
LhaL you are hopíng Lo address.
WhaL nakes a díllerence ís when Lhe chíldren leel en
powered Lo díscuss Lhe íssue ol víolence. Chíldren are
organízíng radío shows cenLered around víolence and
learníng Lo look lor help. 1here are also LradíLíonal
|usLíce sysLens ín nosL ol Lhe renoLe connuníLíes
LhaL deal wíLh Lhe íssue ol víolence and we Lry Lo work
wíLh Lhen whenever íL’s possíble.
Facts about Benin
1he kepub|ic oj 3enin i: c countrv in We:t Ajricc.
|t borJer: 1oço to the we:t, Niçeric to the ec:t cnJ
3ur|inc |c:o cnJ Niçer to the north. 1he ccpitc| oj
3enin i: ºortoNovo but the :ect oj çovernment i:
|occteJ in the countrv’: |crçe:t citv oj cotonou. 3enin
cover: cn crec oj cpproximcte|v 11C,CCC :cucre |i|o
meter: with c popu|ction oj cpproximcte|v 0.C¬ mi||ion.
Whi|e 3enin hc: :een economic çrowth over the pc:t
jew vecr: cnJ i: one oj Ajricc’: |crçe:t cotton proJu
cer:, (the mcin Jriver oj çrowth i: the cçricu|turc|
:ector, with cotton beinç the countrv’: mcin export) it
hecvi|v re|ie: on trcJe with it: ec:tern neiçhbour,
3enin rcn|: cmonç the wor|J’: poore:t countrie:.
current|v, cbout c thirJ oj the popu|ction |ive be|ow
the internctionc| povertv |ine oj 1.2¬ $ per Jcv cnJ
pcrticu|crv women cre :ubject to i||iterccv. On|v 2.2º
oj the popu|ction hcve ccce:: to the internet.
3ut 3enin i: c|:o one oj Ajricc’: mo:t :tcb|e Jemocrc
cie:. 1he po|iticc| :v:tem i: JeriveJ jrom the 100C
con:titution oj 3enin cnJ the :ub:ecuent trcn:ition to
Jemocrccv in 1001. 1he |nternctionc| ºre:: |n:titute
(|º|) :cv: 3enin hc: one oj the reçion’: “mo:t vibrcnt
meJic |cnJ:ccpe:” whi|e it i: rcn|eJ ¬¯rJ out oj 160
countrie: in the Wor|JwiJe ºre:: |reeJom |nJex bv
keporter: Without 3orJer: in 2CC/.
oo6õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: blogger, blogs,
web 2.o, cehsorshIp,
humah rIghIs,
global voIces,
Ireedom oI speech,
PhoLo © Lína 8en Mhenní
Llna ßen Mhennl
... is a Tunisian assistant lecturer in linguistics at
Tunis University and a blogger. Lina is mainly blog-
ging about freedom of speech, human rights (especi-
ally women’s rights and students’ rights), social
problems, and organ donation awareness. She likes
photography, reading, writing, watching movies. Lina
is also an athlete but within a special team:
The Tunisian National Organ Transplant Team.
TaIklng About A
oo6s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo66 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Facts about Tunisia
1uni:ic i: the northernmo:t countrv in Ajricc. |t i: c
Mcçhreb countrv, borJereJ bv A|çeric to the we:t,
|ibvc to the :outhec:t, cnJ the MeJiterrcnecn Sec to
the north cnJ ec:t. |t: crec i: c|mo:t 16¬,CCC|m²,
with cn e:timcteJ popu|ction oj ju:t over 1C.¯ mi||ion.
1uni:ic hc: c|o:e re|ction: with both the £uropecn
Jnion– with whom it hc: cn c::ociction cçreement–
cnJ the Arcb wor|J.
1uni:ic hc: c Jiver:e economv, rcnçinç jrom cçricu|
ture, mininç cnJ mcnujccturinç to petro|eum proJuct:
cnJ touri:m. 1he inJu:tric| :ector i: mcin|v mcJe up oj
c|othinç cnJ jootwecr mcnujccturinç, proJuction oj
ccr pcrt:, cnJ e|ectricc| mcchinerv. A|thouçh 1uni:ic
mcncçeJ cn cvercçe ¬º çrowth over the |c:t JeccJe
it continue: to :ujjer jrom hiçh unemp|ovment
e:pecic||v cmonç vouth. 1uni:ic wc: rcn|eJ the mo:t
competitive economv in Ajricc cnJ the aCth in the
wor|J bv the Wor|J £conomic |orum. 1uni:ic hc:
mcncçeJ to cttrcct mcnv internctionc| compcnie:
:uch c: Airbu: cnJ |ew|ettºcc|crJ.
Since 108/ 1uni:ic hc: jormc||v rejormeJ it: po|iticc|
:v:tem :everc| time:, cbo|i:hinç |ije pre:iJencv cnJ
openinç up the pcr|icment to oppo:ition pcrtie:. 1he
ºre:iJent’: ojjicic| :peeche: cre ju|| oj rejerence: to
the importcnce oj Jemocrccv cnJ jreeJom oj :peech.
AccorJinç to Amne:tv |nternctionc|, “the 1uni:icn
çovernment i: mi:|ecJinç the wor|J c: it convev: c
po:itive imcçe oj the humcn riçht: :ituction in the
countrv whi|e cbu:e: bv it: :ecuritv jorce: continue
uncbcteJ cnJ cre committeJ with impunitv”.
1uni:ic prcctice: :ome |nternet cen:or:hip, inc|uJinç
the b|oc|inç oj certcin web:ite:, :uch c: )ou1ube,
|cceboo|, 1witter, |ci|v Motion cnJ other:, keporter:
Without 3orJer: inc|uJe: 1uni:ic in the countrv |i:t oj
‘£nemie: oj the |nternet’ toçether with North |orec,
ScuJi Arcbic cnJ 1ur|meni:tcn. |n |cnucrv 2C1C JS
Secretcrv oj Stcte |i||crv koJhcm c|inton :içhteJ 1uni
:ic cnJ chinc c: the two countrie: with the çrecte:t
internet cen:or:hip.
1he :tcte owneJ ‘ºub|inet’ internet networ| hc: more
thcn 1.1 mi||ion u:er:. 1he 1uni:icn netizen: cre the
mo:t connecteJ communitv on |cceboo| in North
PhoLo © Lína 8en Mhenní
oo67 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
TaIklng About A kevoIutlon
In Tunisia two weeks ago unrest started when
a young Tunisian man, Mohamed Bouazizi, set
himself on fire to protest the country’s high un-
employment rate. The incident, which took place
in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, became
the catalyst that sparked widespread protest and
riots that have become a referendum on the
government of President Zine el-Abidine Ben
Ali. Protesters are calling for an end to corrup-
tion, nepotism, and restrictions on basic freedoms.
There have been reports of Tunisian security
forces opening fire on protesters as well as large
scale arrests and torture of prisoners. Although
traditional media in Tunisia is heavily restricted
and authorities have sophisticated methods for
repressing internet freedom, reports of the protests
have spread through non-traditional forms of
media as bloggers and regular citizens have been
tracking the events.
Despite constitutional guarantees of freedom of
expression and association, the government uses
an array of legal, penal and economic measures
to silence dissenting voices. In June of this year,
Tunisia’s Parliament passed a law that crimina-
lizes opposition activities. Journalists and blog-
gers as well as human rights activists and voices of
political dissent are routinely harassed, arrested
and imprisoned. The state strictly monitors and
severely curbs the work of opposition parties.
WE conducted this interview with Lina Ben
Mhenni, a young Tunisian activist and blogger,
on December 30, 2010, two and a half weeks
after the unrest in Tunisia started.
By now it has spread to Egypt.
PhoLo © Lína 8en Mhenní
How would you describe the current situation in Tunisia?
Llna: LeL’s lace Lhe LruLh. 1unísía ís a políce sLaLe.
1here ís no doubL on Lhís. People are alraíd ol express
íng Lhenselves, íl Lhey say anyLhíng wrong príson ís
waíLíng. 1hís ís Lough! 1here ís no lreedon ol speech
ín 1unísía. Medía ís conLrolled by Lhe governnenL.
1here are no índependenL 1V channels or radío sLaLí
ons or newspapers. Lven Lhe socalled “prívaLe” nedía
ís owned by laníly nenbers ol Lhe PresídenL.
And also Lhe econoníc síLuaLíon ís noL really good,
even Lhough 1unísía ís doíng well ín conparíson Lo
oLher Alrícan counLríes. 8uL people are sulleríng. un
enploynenL raLes are very hígh, lívíng cosLs are very
hígh – íL ís hard Lo nake a lívíng and Lo línd a |ob!
Lina, could you please give us a brief timeline of what
happened so far during this revolution?
Llna: 1he Lrígger lor Lhís revoluLíon was Lhe lacL LhaL a
young unenployed nan, Mohaned 8ouazízí, seL hín
sell on líre Lo proLesL Lhe counLry’s hígh unenploy
nenL raLe. 1hís was ín Sídí 8ouzíd. ¦ron Lhere Lhe ríoLs
spread Lo oLher areas ín Lhe counLry. And ínsLead ol
Lryíng Lo línd a soluLíon, Lhe governnenL repressed
Lhe novenenL and Lhey even shoL and kílled sone
AlLer Lhe lírsL suícíde, anoLher young nan kílled hín
sell. 1hís second íncídenL was ín ny eyes Lhe naín rea
son why Lhe novenenL really expanded all over
1unísía. People were very angry and sLarLed proLesLíng
oo68 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Lina, when did you start blogging and why?
Llna ßen Mhennl {Llna):
¦ sLarLed bloggíng ín 2oo¯. ¦írsL ¦ was expressíng ny
LhoughLs and leelíngs on how we líve ín 1unísía. ¦
wroLe abouL snall socíal problens. SoneLínes ¦ wroLe
¦n 2oo8 ¦ wenL Lo Lhe ÜS, ¦ was lucky enough Lo geL a
¦ullbríghL scholarshíp. 1wo weeks alLer ny arríval ¦ no
Líced Lhe censorshíp ol ¦acebook back hone. WíLh
sone bloggers we launched a canpaígn agaínsL Lhe
censorshíp ol ¦acebook and ¦ sLarLed Lo wríLe abouL
íL. 1hen Saní 8en Charbía, dírecLor ol Clobal Voíces
Advocacy and 1unísían naLíve, asked ne Lo wríLe lor
Clobal Voíces. 8ack Lhen ¦ |oíned Lhen and ny lírsL
blogposL dealL wíLh censorshíp ín 1unísa.
Your personal blog is censored in Tunisia, isn’t it?
Llna: Yes. 1hey blocked íL ín ¦ebruary 2oo¤, as well as
ny ¦acebook prolíle and nosL recenLly, acLually only 2
hours ago, Lhey censored ny 1wíLLer accounL.
1he very lírsL Líne ¦ experíenced censorshíp aL all was
when ¦ was runníng a blog LogeLher wíLh a díssídenL
|ournalísL ín 2oo8.
1hey |usL shuL íL down … Lhey don’L gíve you any kínd
ol warníng.
Why do you call the unrest in Tunisia a revolution
and not riots?
Llna: 8ecause íL ís coníng lron Lhe cíLízens. ¦L ís noL
Lhe opposíLíon whích ís noníLoríng Lhís. ¦L ís |usL Lhe
people who are led up wíLh dícLaLorshíp, Lhey are Líred
ol our currenL sysLen. 1he people are expressíng
Lhenselves and say no Lo Lhe exísLíng síLuaLíon ín Lhe
counLry. ¦L ís a grass rooLs novenenL – and Lhís ís why
¦ wanL Lo call íL revoluLíon. And lron Lhe people's síde,
íL ís a peacelul revoluLíon.
oo6¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
How is the situation right now in Tunis where
you are based?
Llna: ProLesLs sLarLed ín 1unís lasL SaLurday (Dec. 2¬
2o1o) Lo supporL Lhe cíLízens ol Sídí 8ouzíd. 1he políce
was Lryíng Lo suppress Lhe denonsLraLíons ín a very
víolenL way. 1hey were bruLal. AlLer LhaL anoLher
denonsLraLíon was organízed – aL whích Lhe nunber
ol polícenen ouLnunbered Lhe proLesLors. ¦our
denonsLraLors were seríously ín|ured and Lhe políce
prevenLed Lhen lron beíng Laken Lo Lhe hospíLal. Ac
Lually Loday Lwo denonsLraLíons were planned, buL
Lhey dídn’L happen because ol Lhe nassíve políce pre
As far as I am informed many lawyers take part in
the protests. What role do they play?
Llna: On Decenber 26, lawyers organízed a denon
sLraLíon ín lronL ol Lhe courL house ol 1unís. 1hey
where shouLíng slogans agaínsL dícLaLorshíp, agaínsL
unenploynenL, agaínsL Lhe rulíng laníly and Lhe
PresídenL. ¦n Lhe alLernoon ol Lhe sane day Lwo
lawyers were arresLed and held overníghL ín príson.
1hey were released Lhe nexL norníng and one ol Lhen
was nísLreaLed, bodíly harned.
How do protesters communicate between the cities from
city to city?
Llna: We are usíng ¦acebook, cell phones and LwíLLer.
8uL sínce Lwo days all ol Lhese Lools are censored – we
cannoL upload vídeos any nore, our prolíles are block
ed, even our 1wíLLer accounLs are blocked. So con
nunícaLíon becones harder. 1oday Lhey even shuL
down Lenporaríly Lhe nobíle ínlrasLrucLure, because
we were líve sLreaníng wíLh our cell phones lron Lhe
Who is going in the streets?
Llna: ¦L depends on Lhe areas. 8uL usually Lhey are
young people, sLudenLs. 8uL Lhere are also lawyers,
docLors, Leachers, unenployed nen and wonen – all
people are expressíng Lheír anger ríghL now.
Is there any chance of the people succeeding?
Llna: ÜnLíl Loday ¦ would say YLS, Lhere ís a real chance
LhaL change wíll happen.
AlLer Lhe PresídenL’s publíc speech on Lelevísíon ín
whích he was LhreaLeníng Lhe people and puLLíng
pressure on Lhen NO1 Lo |oín Lhe proLesLs, people are
sLíll goíng ouL Lo denonsLraLe … Lhís ís new. We never
experíenced anyLhíng líke LhaL belore!
¦n 2oo8 people wenL on Lhe sLreeLs. 8uL íL renaíned
local. ¦L dídn’L expand ínLo oLher areas ol Lhe counLry.
1hís Líne íL ís díllerenL – íL ís expandíng all over 1uní
sía and people don’L allow Lhe governnenL Lo ínLíní
daLe Lhen.
1hís really gíves ne hope!
PhoLos © Lína 8en Mhenní
oo7o we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
What kind of change do you want to see?
Llna: No nore dícLaLorshíp! We wanL Lo geL ríd ol Lhe
people who are rulíng Lhe counLry. We wanL Lo have
lreedon, we wanL Lo have |usLíce. We wanL Lo be Lrea
Led as lree cíLízens! We don’L need corrupLíon any
nore! 1he reígníng laníly ís conLrollíng anyLhíng, Lhey
are sLealíng Lhe counLry’s noney. We don’L wanL Lhís
any nore!
Why is this happening right NOW?
Llna: 1o be honesL, ¦ don’L know.
Maybe alLer 2¯ years ol dícLaLorshíp, people are sín
ply led up. 1hey are Líred ol all ol Lhís.
1hís young nan who kílled hínsell by seLLíng hínsell
on líre – he really nade a poínL. 1hís was real. ¦L was
Lough and shockíng! Such a Lhíng never happened
belore. And sonehow íL seLs people lree. Now Lhey
show how Lhey leel. Many ol Lhen are goíng ouL on
Lhe sLreeLs – people can’L sLand Lhe síLuaLíon any
And ol course Lhe ¦nLerneL and all Lhe socíal nedía
Lools helped a loL. People are now able Lo see whaL ís
really happeníng ín Sídí 8ouzíd, now Lhey are aware ol
Lhe real síLuaLíon. No lílLers ínbeLween.
ÜnLíl recenLly we only receíved Lhe “ollícíal versíon”
ol whaL ís goíng on. Ollícíals were drawíng “our” píc
Lure ol 1unísía, everyLhíng ín Lheír docunenLaríes see
ned Lo be O.K.
8uL now wíLh Lhe developnenL ol Lhe Lechnology íL ís
díllerenL. CovernnenL can’L líe any nore!
And íl Lhey do so, people wíll unveíl íL.
What are your personal expectations?
Llna: ¦ hope LhaL people wíll resísL.
1unísía has Lo overcone censorshíp.
We, Lhe people wanL Lo see real soluLíon – soluLíons
based upon cíLízen needs, our needs.
We really wanL Lhíngs Lo sLarL Lo change.
Is there any kind of dialogue going on between the
government and the protestors?
Llna: No, noL aL all.
1he only connunícaLíon ís Lhe víolence ol Lhe políce!
Is there at least a chance for communication?
Llna: No, ¦ don’L Lhínk so. 1he PresídenL’s speech – he
gave one so lar duríng Lhe unresL, ¦ Lhínk íL was on
Decenber 2¯, 2o1o – only aíned Lo LhreaLen Lhe
denonsLraLors. No sígn ol gívíng ín. He ís noL reachíng
ouL hís hands Lo us ...
What is going to happen next Lina?
Llna: Probably Lhey wíll block nore websíLes, once ín
a whíle Lhey wíll shuL down nobíle connunícaLíon …
¦ don’L know whaL ís goíng Lo happen nexL.
¦ hope íL wíll renaín peacelul and LhaL Lhe víolence
won’L escalaLe.
What role does Tunisia play in Africa?
Llna: ¦ an noL sure how Lo answer Lhís quesLíon.
¦ would say 1unísía ís nuch nore ínLegraLed and rela
Led Lo Lhe Míddle LasL Lhan Lo Alríca. We don’L really
have bíg relaLíonshíps wíLh Lhe resL ol Lhe conLínenL.
We are nore an Arabíc counLry ...
What can foreign countries do to help the people in Tunisia?
Llna: 1he LÜ and Lhe ÜníLed SLaLes should puL pressure
on our governnenL.
All we wanL ís a basíc hunan ríghL. Lhe lreedon ol
speech. We, Lhe people, need lree nedía …
1hen our counLry can llourísh. NoL only Lhe PresídenL’s
laníly buL WL as a denocraLíc naLíon.
Thank you very much for this interview Lina. And all the
best for you and your country!
oo71 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLos © Lína 8en Mhenní
oo72 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: slumcode, slum,
voluhIeer work,
grass rooI,
socIal commuhIIy
PhoLo © Sluncode / AlberL and !udy on nessagíng by YouLh
AIbert Nashon Odhojl
... works as an independent development consul-
tant. He is founder of THE SLUMCODE GROUP
in Nairobi, Kenya.
£mpowerlng 5Ium
oo7¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo7õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
You must glve some tlme to your feIIow men.
£ven lf lt’s a IlttIe thlng, do somethlng for
others – somethlng for whlch you get no pay
but the prlvlIege of dolng lt.
AlberL SchweíLzer (18¯¬ 1¤6¬)
oo7s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
SLUMCODE is a not for profit organization
that develops strategies for community based
social development in low income communities
within Nairobi, Kenya. It does so through
developing partnerships and networking to
harness the potential of diverse ideas. Its
vision is “A better person, a better place!”
SLUMCODE started out in Huruma, a resident-
ial estate located in the northeast of Nairobi.
Huruma is what the government calls an
’informal settlement’ – a village that has no
official standing where people live in constant
threat of eviction. Today close to 60% of
Nairobi’s population lives in such areas while
occupying only 5.84% of residential land in
the city. In Huruma, the Luo, Luhya, Kikuyu,
Kamba, Kisii and other smaller tribes are
living together. Most of the population is below
the age of 25 years. And there are many more
girls than boys.
PhoLo © Sluncode / Huruna aL a glance
oo76 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
A day ln Huruma
¦ cane Lo Huruna aL Lhe age ol ¯ and líved Lhere lor
nore Lhan 2¬ years. AL Lhe end ¦ had Lo leave because
ol Lhe posL elecLíon víolence ín 2oo¯.8uL Huruna ís
sLíll deep ín ny hearL. ¦L’s ny soul. 1hís ís why ¦ loun
ded SLÜMCODL. ¦ go Lo Huruna every day Lo vísíL
pro|ecLs ¦ hope Lo wín supporL lor and LhaL we have
helped Lo keep alloaL. And every day íL sonehow
looks Lhe sane.
Larly dawn ín Huruna, ¬.oo an. 1he LooLs and hooLs
ol naLaLus – a Naírobíwíde LransporL sysLen – are
gaLheríng Lhose preparíng Lo go Lo work. Many work
lar away ín an índusLríal zone. ¦ew |ob opporLuníLíes,
low wages – buL only lor Lhose who have a naLíonal
ídenLíLy card. Sone chíldren lucky enough Lo have
sone place Lo call a “classroon” hurry ín Lhe norníng
darkness Lo a neíghborhood school. 6.oo an. Lhe
Lerríble Lrallíc snarl up along !u|a koad buílds up –
buL Lhe príce ol a naLaLu LíckeL ís sLíll low – íl you are
lucky, you pay abouL ¯o kshs (roughly ¬o ÜS cenLs).
As íL approaches ¯.oo an Lhe Lrallíc becones unbea
rable – and Lhe cheapesL LíckeLs now cosL Lhe equí
valenL ol a dollar. And íl you don’L nake íL Lo Lown on
Líne you rísk loosíng your |ob.
8ack Lo us who operaLe ín Huruna. ¯.oo an. A lew
“sLores” are open. Wonen are aL Lheír shops, young
nen pull carLs Lo díspose ol Lhe wasLe and garbage
collecLed overníghL lron Lhe nunerous hígh ríse llaLs.
Carbage and wasLe dísposal, over llowíng sewage and
crowded narrow lanes LhaL scare Lhe hell
ouL ol anyone who venLures down Lhen aL níghL are
nornalíLy here. 1he narkeL place ís awakeníng. pubs
blare ouL Lheír nusíc, noLor vehícles cruíse up and
down Lhe sLreeL. Wonen are already reLurníng Lo Lheír
snall grocery sLores lron “MaríkíLí” and “Cíkonba”,
Lhe reLaíl narkeLs where Lhey buy vegeLables. ¦ron
lood kíosks Lo grocery shops, local pubs, and neíghbor
hood clínícs Lo collínnakíng carpenLers and gene
ral íronnongers – busíness grínds on. Croups ol
young people línger líke every norníng ín Lhe esLa
Les lookíng lor soneLhíng Lo Lurn Lheír hand Lo –
Lhey níghL end up as LouLs, barLenders, drug peddlers,
garbage collecLors, LínsníLhs or carpenLers. Sone Lry
ouL Leachíng ín local connuníLy schools or hone Lheír
LalenLs as arLísLs.
When ¦ sLroll Lhrough Huruna nany ol Lhese young
people approach ne. SLÜMCODL ís well known wíL
hín Lhe connuníLy. 1hey wanL Lo Lalk Lo ne, ask ne
lor advíce, ask ne Lo pay a bíll or Lwo. Sone wanL Lo
sound ne ouL on ídeas líke how Lo línd a space Lo
show whaL Lhey can do besL. Many ol Lhe people ín
Huruna have already gíven up, capíLulaLed or are
plaín desperaLe. 1hey see no hope – íL’s a lerLíle
ground lor alcohol and drug addícLíon where críne
ís a daíly occurrence.
All Lhís nakes ne realíze how lorLunaLe ny Lean and
¦ are LhaL we have nanaged Lo do whaL we do!
AL lunchLíne wonen are busy cookíng aL Lhe road
síde, preparíng lood lor Lhose who cannoL cook aL
hone. Sellíng lood ís a preLLy good guaranLeed
source ol íncone – even Lhough príces can be as low
as ¯o Kshs. 8uL lood ís quíLe allordable and Lhere ís
even sone varíeLy ín Lhe nenu.
¦n Lhe eveníng Lhose who work ouLsíde Huruna
don’L head back hone dírecLly, 8ecause Lheír houses
are overcrowded, and very poorly equípped Lhey
preler Lo sLay aL Lhe local pubs and drínk away Lhe
sLress ol Lhe day. 1hey sLagger hone laLe aL níghL
when Lheír kíds are already sleepíng.
AL níghL Huruna ís ín lull swíng. LíLerally every hígh
ríse llaL has a bar on Lhe ground lloor run by lanílíes
lívíng ín Lhe buíldíng. 8eer ís cheap ín Kenya sínce
Kenya 8reweríes LíníLed has lícensed íL so LhaL people
can sell íL very cheap. Alcohol ís a huge problen ín
Huruna. And prosLíLuLíon ís línked ín wíLh íL. ¦or nany
wonen íL’s Lhe only way Lhey have Lo nake sone
noney. 1he raLe ol H¦V ínlecLíon ín Huruna ís sLagger
íng. PoverLy and Lhe Lhread ol addícLíon and prosLí
LuLíon are closely ínLerwoven.
5ecurlty J Crlme
¦nsecuríLy and críne are a consLanL LhreaL as nany
ol Lhe unenployed young people wíLh noLhíng Lo do
ídle Lheír Líne away and cone ouL on Lhe prowl aL
níghL wíLh nobíle phone beíng Lhe nosL prízed caLch.
Lven Lhough Lhey’ve grown rarer sínce Lhe deaLh ol
sone ol Lhe nosL wanLed hardcore gang leaders,
gun LoLLíng crínínals can sLíll be see roaníng every
Dennls Okoyo – Is a
youhg mah who recehIly
compleIed secohdary
school ahd |oIhed
Program CoordIhaIor.
He says:
“1hrough IhIs orgahIza-
IIoh I have realIzed my
poIehIIal Io IhIhk
crIIIcally ahd mahage a
program aI a very early
sIage. Some oI Ihe IhIhgs I do Ioday would
hever eveh have crossed my mIhd as a youhg
persoh ouIsIde such ah orgahIzed group.
8uI Ihe group’s spIrII oI IhhovaIIoh ahd Ihe way
II Ieaches you Io lead yourselI ahd oIhers has
made me a much beIIer persoh. I how help Io
develop Ihe IalehIs oI oIher youhg people by
workIhg wIIh chIldreh aged 1o – 18 Ih Ihe
MIoIo Palace program.”
oo77 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLo © Sluncode / Dennís Okoyo
oo78 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLo © Sluncode / Movíng hones Huruna sLyle
PhoLo © Sluncode / Canpaígn ín Huruna
oo7¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
níghL. A governnenL íníLíaLíve dubbed, “connuníLy
polícíng” laíled Lo work ín Lhís area alLer íL was ínlíl
LraLed by ríval gangs whích nade íL an even worse
LhreaL Lo local resídenLs.
8uL a políce posL nearby has nade all Lhe díllerence
Lo Huruna resídenLs and plans Lo have Lhe area
dísLrícL conníssíoners esLablísh an ollíce ín Lhe area
ís real good news. YouLh organízaLíons have also
becone nore aware and enphasíze beíng waLchlul
ín Lhe neíghborhood. We can only expecL Lhíngs Lo
geL beLLer.
VoIunteer Work
Sone SLÜMCODL volunLeers have nade Lheír way
Lo 8araka Prínary School a connuníLy pro|ecL
Lhe SLÜMCODL Croup has supporLed sínce 2oo8.
SLÜMCODL has done Lhís by nobílízíng local resour
ces Lo purchase desks, pay renL arrears, and buy
books and neals lor Lhe sone 1¬o chíldren who can
noL lollow lree prínary school educaLíon due Lo Lhe
lack ol space and noney Lo buy ollícíal expensíve
school unílorns. Here Lhey wear whaLever Lhey can
allord and pay whaLever Lhey can allord ín ínsLall
nenLs. Huruna has only ¯ sLaLerun schools whích
leaves nuch roon lor Lhe ever íncreasíng nunber ol
sell help pro|ecLs and non lornal schools owned by
connuníLy groups. ¦ was surprísed when ¦ asked
Mrs. ¦rene Agana Lhe head Leacher where Lhe 1¬o or
nore pupíls cane lron who lílled Lhe school wíLhín
a nonLh ol her seLLíng íL up. She saíd Lheír needs are
díverse and LhaL nany ol Lhe parenLs are |obless
because Lhey losL Lheír Lenp |obs or snall busínesses
duríng and alLer Lhe wave ol posL elecLíon víolence ín
2oo¯ and can no longer allord Lo help pay lor school
desks and expensíve unílorns as well as nandaLory
alLerschool LuíLíon. And so such schools becone an
easy opLíon lor nany who can parL wíLh around 4o
Kshs a day Lo keep a chíld ín school. 1he Lrend ís gro
wíng rapídly as nore and nore parenLs línd Lhís a
beLLer opLíon lor educaLíng Lheír chíldren.
VOLA1ILE ís Lhe word LhaL spríngs Lo nínd when
Lalkíng abouL Lhe posL elecLíon víolence ín 2oo¯.
WíLh ny work aL SLÜMCODL and ny personal leader
shíp qualíLíes, nany ol ny close lríends had encourag
ed and assured ne ol Lheír supporL íl ¦ decíded Lo
Lake parL ín Lhe naLíonal elecLíons. So ¦ Look up Lhe
challenge. ¦L was Lhe kínd ol experíence Lo wríLe
hone abouL – and quíLe a daríng one Loo.
8uL Lhe worsL was yeL Lo cone when everyLhíng
Lurned dark alLer Lhe laLelul announcenenL ol Lhe
íncunbenL presídenL’s reelecLíon. All hell broke loose
and everyLhíng wenL up ín llanes. 1he sellsane
young people ¦ had known lor so long Lurned agaínsL
ne |usL because ¦ cane lron a díllerenL Lríbe. ¦L be
cane easíer Lo counL Lhe nacheLes ín Lhe hands ol
youLh Lhan Lhe loaves ol bread broughL hone lor la
níly breaklasL. ¦or Lhree days a dark cloud hung over
our counLry and língered on lor nonLhs and years.
As a leader, ¦ was a key LargeL because ¦’d canpaígned
lor one ol Lhe naín políLícal parLíes. One ol Lhe nosL
dreaded vígílanLe groups ín Lhe counLry whích also
exLorLs noney lron Lhe local households and busí
nesses LhreaLened Lo execuLe ne |usL on hearsay. ¦L
had been reporLed LhaL ¦ had nade cerLaín sLaLe
nenLs abouL Lhen Lo Lhe auLhoríLíes. 8uL LhaL was
noL Lrue sínce ¦ had spenL ny whole day on Lhe
sLreeLs Lryíng Lo pacíly nobs ol rowdy youLh hell
benL on nayhen, robbíng and burníng down Lhe
houses ol any Kenyans perceíved Lo be lron anoLher
Lríbe. ¦ was very lucky Lo have escaped buL ¦ was
ordered Lo leave Huruna, a place ¦ had known lor
over 24 years. All ny prograns and organízaLíonal
acLívíLíes were locused Lhere, buL now Lhe very
people ¦ had known and worked wíLh Lhrough Lhíck
and Lhín |usL e|ecLed ne lron ny hone along wíLh
all Lhe oLher SLÜMCODL nenbers.
MOVINC ON: 1wo years laLer we are back and once
nore servíng our connuníLy. Many people have
healed and now dread seeíng políLícíans shouLíng
each oLher down on naLíonal 1V. 1he scars sLíll síL
deep. 1he volunLeers are back aL school Leachíng
kíds nosL ol whon are so desperaLe, Lhey probably
haven’L eaLen sínce Lhe níghL belore.
Dennís ís a lrusLraLed SLÜMCODL volunLeer as he
leels hís days are wasLed wíLh chíldren who cannoL
undersLand as quíckly as he would líke, buL Lhen agaín
he realízes LhaL íl he doesn’L do Lhís |ob nobody’s
goíng Lo do íL. So LogeLher wíLh OLíeno, Lríc and Mwaí
he sLruggles on Leachíng lor anoLher Lhree nonLhs.
Meanwhíle ¦ Lry Lo geL ouL Lhere and see who can
supporL Lhen aL school by aL leasL provídíng lunch.
NoL nany lríends cone Lo help ne buL líle nusL go
on. ¦ nusL gíve Lhen Lhe opLínísn and hope LhaL all
wíll be well ín Lhe end.
oo8o we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
SLÜM¦LS1 ís an annual connuníLy gaLheríng hosLed
by Lhe SLÜMCODL group ín low íncone connuníLíes
and based on LhenaLíc ob|ecLíves. 1hís wíll be Lhe
lílLh Líne alLer planníng and successlully hosLíng Lhe
ínaugural evenL ín 2oo¯.
1hís youLh íníLíaLíve aíns Lo províde a space lor nany
young people who have ínnovaLíve ídeas and Lake
Lhe íníLíaLíve Lo neLwork, share ídeas and sell Lheír
producLs. 1hey also Lake volunLary nedícal LesLs Lo
línd ouL abouL Lheír H¦V sLaLus. 1hey aLLend busíness
clínícs we organíze ín parLnershíp wíLh sLakeholders
supporLíng Lhe evenL.
Sponsors pay beLween Kshs. ¬,ooo and 1oo,ooo. ¦or
Lhís Lhey “adopL a LenL” as we call íL. organízaLíons,
conpaníes and ínsLíLuLíons pay lor a LenL space aL
and brand íL duríng Lhe enLíre evenL lor narkeLíng
and publícíLy purposes whíle olleríng Lheír servíces
Lo Lhe nany young people who cone along. We have
seen Lhe concepL grow and hope LhaL nany wíll línd
Lhís grass rooLs íníLíaLíve well worLh Lheír supporL.
1hese young people hope Lo be connecLed Lo busíness,
scholarshíp opporLuníLíes, enploynenL and even nen
Lorshíp and Lraíníng. 1hey also Lalk abouL íssues ol
naLíonal ínporLance and Lheír own personal develop
nenL. We ínLroduce Lhen Lo role nodels who all
cone lron local connuníLíes and share whaL Lhey
have achíeved and Lheír noLívaLíon ín achíevíng íL.
POVER1Y bíLes as youLh conLínue Lo be relegaLed Lo
Lhe períphery ol lronLlíne developnenL. 1alkíng Lo
kíchard, a níddle aged nan sellíng groceríes by Lhe
roadsíde ín Huruna leaves ne wonderíng how he
can supporL a laníly ol lour wíLh Lhís kínd ol |ob. 8uL
he’s been doíng íL lor over 6 years. He knows preLLy
well LhaL he has Lo keep hís expenses Lo a bare níní
nun íl he’s Lo caLer lor Lhe laníly. 8esídes whích he,
hís wíle and busíness parLner also have Lo pay lor Lhe
snall Lrader’s schene Lhey have seL up.
LlízabeLh Akunu, a síngle noLher ol Lwo boys,
spends her enLíre day ín a snall shop sellíng producLs
handnade by a young LínsníLh – square neLallíc
boxes used by school kíds lor cloLhes, energy savíng
cookers (|íkos ín Swahílí), lryíng pans and nouse
Lraps. OlLen she ís Lhere lor 8 hours on a sLreLch wíL
houL a síngle cusLoner appearíng. ¦L’s ouL ol despe
raLe síLuaLíons líke Lhese LhaL ínnovaLíon ís born.
SLÜMCODL seL up a resource cenLre where Lhese pro
ducLs can be dísplayed daíly, posLed on a websíLe and
publíshed ín brochures, hence savíng Lhe young ar
Lísan Lhe cosL ol híríng space and sLall, payíng lor lí
censes and beLLer securíLy whích are now all covered
by Lhe SLÜMCODL cenLre’s logísLícs. All Lhey have Lo
pay now ís a snall lee lor space so Lhey can do nore
1hís íníLíaLíve ís Lhe lírsL ol íLs kínd ín Huruna – a
sure way ol curbíng poverLy by pronoLíng ínnovaLíon
and enLrepreneurshíp. LlízabeLh also geLs a chance
Lo Lraín oLher ínLeresLed ín Lrade.
¦ advocaLe Lo encourage people Lo parLícípaLe ín
socíal pro|ecLs. WíLh nany sLíll lívíng on less Lhan
one dollar a day, challenges nusL becone opporLu
níLíes and avenues lor enpowernenL LhaL Lap Lhe
poLenLíals ol Lhe híghly pragnaLíc youLhlul deno
graphíc. ¦or nany years Lhe populaLíon conLínued Lo
grow and nobody boLhered abouL laníly planníng.
SLrucLures and ínsLíLuLíons were puL ín place Lo deal
wíLh Lhe expecLed pressure on resources such as
schools, housíng and enploynenL caused by Lhe
populaLíon explosíon.
We young people saL down Lo lorn sell help groups
lor sellenpowernenL, growLh and developnenL.
1hís was alLer críne raLes, deaLhs lron H¦V, and sub
sLance abuse híL record híghs ín connuníLíes líke
Huruna, Dandora, Kíbera and Korogocho. 1hey saw
a greaL ínllux ol people nígraLíng lron rural Lowns
ín search ol work and swellíng Lhe slun populaLíon
as decenL allordable housíng ís a luxury.
Havíng seen ny own broLher succunb Lo drugs, leav
íng 6 chíldren behínd, sone ol whon ¦ have Lo lend
lor, ¦ have encouraged ny Lean Lo íníLíaLe a progran
LhaL LargeLs chíldren. MLoLo Palace ís a chíld supporL
pro|ecL LhaL keeps our chíldren happy and locused
and we now Leach Lhen poeLry, characLer buíldíng
and class work lor school excellence.
We nusL curve new dínensíons and our díversíLy
nusL be led ínLo our connuníLy prograns by our
young and anbíLíous, open nínded and charísnaLíc
relorners. We are changíng percepLíons ol how con
nuníLíes víew Lhenselves ín order Lo Lake parL ín
YouLhled íníLíaLíves can Lranslorn connuníLíes.
Young people are agenLs ol peace, noL proponenLs
ol víolence. SLÜMCODL wanLs Lo see Lhen as leaders
ín susLaínable developnenL, noL as rísks Lo socíeLy.
oo81 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Ann W. Mbugua – who
leads SLUMCODE’s
womeh ahd gIrls pro-
gram, says:
“Over Ihe years as a
persoh who also helped
Io Iouhd Ihe orgahIza-
IIoh, I have experIehced
whaI II Iakes Io make ah
ImpacI Ih commuhIIIes.
I have dealI wIIh some
exIremely desperaIe
sIIuaIIohs IhvolvIhg youhg moIhers, womeh
wIIh chIldreh orphahed by HIV ahd ho regular
meahs oI earhIhg a decehI lIvIhg. We have
mobIlIzed supporI Ior such womeh ahd are
currehIly workIhg oh a plah Io creaIe employ-
mehI Ior less prIvIleged womeh by IeachIhg
Ihem vIdeo producIIoh ahd documehIary-
makIhg Ior whIch we heed IuhdIhg”.
PhoLo © Sluncode / Ann W. Mbugua
oo82 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLo © Sluncode / 1he loeLus ol Lwíns díscovered duríng a clean up evenL ín Huruna 2oo6
oo8¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
SLÜMCODL volunLeers are a case ín poínL showíng
LhaL we young people are no longer ígnoranL and
unaware ol whaL goes on around us.
INNOVA1ION and creaLívíLy ís whaL ¦ see ín nany ol
Lhe eyes as we síL ín Lhe SLÜMCODL ollíce, a snall
roon wíLh sone phoLos on Lhe wall and |usL space
enough lor a Lable. We wonder whaL Lhe nexL sLep wíll
be – always conlídenL LhaL we wíll nake íL sonehow.
Our approach ís nore and nore Lo supporL connu
níLy prograns LhaL pronoLe Lhe LeneLs ol Lrue enLre
preneurshíp and local soluLíons. Help people Lo help
Lhenselves. We wanL Lo ínclude Lhe ídea ol susLaín
abílíLy ín our concepLs – noL only Lo geL lundíng lor
an ídea buL Lo nake Lhe ídea susLaínable on Lhe lon
grun. We look aL how Lo besL nobílíze resources and
nake our prograns work. A good exanple lor LhaL ís
CHALLENCES lacíng organízaLíons líke SLÜMCODL
nusL always be seen as opporLuníLíes we can learn
lron. Workíng as a grass rooLs organízaLíon bríngs
us ínLo conLacL wíLh all sorLs ol people and charac
Lers. We know how Lo handle díllerenL challenges
lron díllerenL backgrounds. YouLhs lron low íncone
connuníLíes are poor and preler pro|ecLs wíLh quíck
línancíal gaíns. Very olLen young gírls resorL Lo pro
sLíLuLíon as a neans ol day Lo day survíval whích
nakes íL díllículL lor Lhen Lo geL ouL ol. AborLíon
quíckly becones Lhe norn as sex ís a Lool ol Lhe
Lrade and no longer lor pleasure. Nor ís íL sale as Lhe
acL ís perlorned when nany ol Lhe gírls are hall
drunk or worse. 1hey’re hooked on drínk as a way ol
nunbíng Lhenselves Lo paín. We’ve helped a 14 year
old ín a sLaLe ol LoLal bewíldernenL as she Lríed Lo
cone Lo Lerns wíLh Lhe realíLy LhaL she ís H¦V posí
Líve. Ann Mbugua, anoLher SLÜMCODL volunLeer,
leadíng a wonen’s H¦V progran Lakes up her case Lo
see LhaL aL leasL she geLs psychosocíal supporL.
WíLh our Slunedía™ pro|ecL (= a vídeo producLíon
pro|ecL) we LargeL school leavers who are Lhe group
nosL aL rísk lron sexual abuse. So we helped a lady
wíLh Lwo chíldren. Her elder daughLer has |usL saL her
class eíghL exans and she had Lo lígure ouL how Lo
geL Lhe gírl ínLo secondary school. Míssíng such an
opporLuníLy neans LhaL sooner or laLer Lhe gírl wíll
be yeL anoLher rape vícLín, síngle parenL or prosLí
LuLe. We were nore Lhan happy LhaL she engaged ín
Slunedía™ and |oíned us Lo dríve lurLher change.
Facts about Kenya
1he kepub|ic oj |envc i: c countrv in £c:t Ajricc.
Ncirobi i: it: ccpitc|. |vinç c|onç the |nJicn Ocecn to
it: :outhec:t cnJ c|onç the ecuctor, it i: borJereJ bv
Somc|ic to the northec:t, £thiopic to the north, SuJcn
to the northwe:t, JçcnJc to the we:t cnJ 1cnzcnic to
the :outh. |c|e victoric i: :itucteJ to the :outhwe:t,
cnJ i: :hcreJ with JçcnJc cnJ 1cnzcnic. |t hc: c
|cnJ crec oj ¬8C,CCC|m2, c popu|ction oj necr|v
¯0mi||ion re:iJent: cnJ i: c countrv oj a/ countie:
ecch with it: own çovernment :emicutonomou: to
the centrc| çovernment.
|t: economv i: the |crçe:t bv C|º in £c:t cnJ centrc|
Ajricc cnJ |envc’: ccpitc|,Ncirobi i: c mcjor commer
cic| hub. 1he countrv trcJitionc||v proJuce: wor|J
renowneJ tec cnJ cojjee. kecent|v it hc: Jeve|opeJ
c jormiJcb|e horticu|turc| inJu:trv therebv becominç
c mcjor exporter oj j|ower: to £urope. 1he :ervice
inJu:trv i: Jriven bv the te|ecommunicction: :ector
which i: one oj the mo:t innovctive in Ajricc. 1he
economv hc: :een c brocJbc:eJ expcn:ion cnJ it:
joreiçn Jebt wc: çrect|v reJuceJ. 3ut poor çover
ncnce cnJ corruption hcve hcJ c neçctive impcct on
çrowth, mc|inç it expen:ive to Jo bu:ine:: in |envc.
AccorJinç to 1rcn:pcrencv |nternctionc|, |envc rcn|:
poor|v in the corruption perception inJex thouçh
there hcve been :içnijiccnt improvement: in recent
compcreJ to it: neiçhbor:, |envc hc: c we|| Jeve|opeJ
:ocic| cnJ phv:icc| injrc:tructure mc|inç it cn cttrcc
tive c|ternctive |ocction to South Ajricc jor mcjor
corporction: :ee|inç entrv into the Ajriccn continent.
Ncirobi continue: to be the primcrv communicction
cnJ jincncic| hub oj £c:t Ajricc. |t enjov: the reçion’:
be:t trcn:portction |in|cçe:, communicction: injrc
:tructure, cnJ trcineJ per:onne|.
Some /¯º oj |envcn: cre unJer ¯C. 1he internet
penetrction rcte i: 1C.C º.
oo8õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLo © Sluncode / ParLíocípanLs lron Lhe Kenya Modelíng ¦raLerníLy sígn absLínence cards aL SlunlesL ¦V 14.o8.2o1o
oo8s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLo © Sluncode / Young príze wínners aL SlunlesL, AugusL 16, 2oo8
oo86 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: blogger, blogs,
web 2.o,
humah rIghIs,
global voIces
PhoLo © Híshan AlníraaL
Hlsham AImlraat
... is a medical doctor, blogger and free speech advo-
cate. Born in Morocco he now lives in France. He is
passionate about citizen media and writes about good
governance, human rights and online activism. He is
co-founder of TalkMorocco.net and author for Global
Voices Online.
5paces Of Freedom
– Web z.0
ln Morocco
oo87 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo88 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Eugene Delacroix (1798 - 1863) once said:
“I looked for the truth among the masses, but I
only found it in individuals”. Thanks to his travel
books and magnificent paintings Delacroix helped
transmit the details of an ancient Moroccan
society – it would have been impossible to imagine
it otherwise. If Delacroix lived today he would be
probably running his own blog.
PhoLo © Híshan AlníraaL
oo8¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
8loggíng, and Lhe Web 2.o nore broadly, have op
posed nass and cíLízen nedía. ¦L’s brídgíng Lhe gap
beLween Lhe olLen ínpersonal, soneLínes lílLered,
naínsLrean nedía and Lhe colorlul díversíLy ol ín
dívídual narraLíves. 8y doíng so Delacroíx’s drean
becones Lrue. he LhoughL Lhe closer we geL Lo índíví
duals, Lhe closer we are Lo Lhe Lrue ínLerpreLaLíon ol
Lheír líves. 1he Web 2.o ís a paLchwork ol níllíons ol
índívíduals creaLíng a rích, consLanLly updaLed nulLí
nedía conLenL. 1here are ¬oo níllíon acLíve users on
¦acebook (nore Lhan 1¬ Línes Lhe Moroccan popula
Líon), 1¤o níllíon on 1wíLLer, LweeLíng over ¯¬o LweeLs
per second, 6¬o níllíon per day.
¦n Morocco Lhere are hall a níllíon acLíve neLízens on
¦acebook and a lew hundred on 1wíLLer. 1here are no
ollícíal lígures lor blogs buL a conservaLíve esLínaLe
puLs Lhe nunber aL around ¬o,ooo. 8eyond Lhe nun
bers, however, líes a renarkable culLural and línguísLíc
díversíLy LhaL nírrors Moroccan socíeLy.
8uL whaL socíal ínpacL does Lhe Web really have7
¦ líke Lo belíeve LhaL Lhose hundreds ol Lhousands ol
bloggers, nícrobloggers and socíal neLworkers are
wríLíng Lhe corpus ol Moroccan conLenporary hísLory.
8y sharíng bíLs ol Lheír daíly líves and by expressíng Lheír
opíníons lreely, people are reclaíníng a publíc sphere
LhaL has been resLrícLed and censored lor Loo long. And
by so doíng, Lhey are líndíng ways Lo change Lhíngs.
One exanple. !uly 8, 2oo¯. A Moroccan cíLízen, arned
wíLh a sínple vídeo canera, goes ouL Lo shooL a scene
ol daíly líle near hís renoLe víllage ín Lhe norLhern parL
ol Lhe counLry. ¦n Lhe early norníng, he laíd quíeLly on
Lhe rool ol an abandoned house, overlookíng a cros
síng where a políce roadblock ís usually seL up. He
nade sure no one noLíced hís presence. 1hen as soon
as Lhe lírsL polícenen arríved he sLarLed Lo líln. On Lhe
vídeo you can clearly see políce ollícers sLoppíng
vehícles and exLorLíng bríbes lron drívers. A scene ol
everyday corrupLíon, unlorLunaLely all Loo lanílíar lor
Lhe víllagers lívíng nearby. 1he vídeos were soon posLed
on You1ube, lollowed by Lwo oLhers. 1hey wenL víral
alnosL ínsLanLly, and Loured Lhe world, seen by níllí
ons ol ¦nLerneL users. 1hey were broadcasL on news
channels, and soon becane a Lopíc lor Lelevísíon de
baLes. 1hey becane parL ín a docunenLary on onlíne
acLívísn and screened ín over 4¬ counLríes worldwíde.
And Lhe nosL renarkable Lhíng abouL íL – agaínsL all
odds – was Lhe lacL LhaL Lhe Moroccan auLhoríLíes re
acLed posíLívely, and raLher Lhan shooLíng Lhe nes
senger Lhey Look sLeps Lo ínvesLígaLe Lhe case. Soon
alLer Lhe ollenders were apprehended and concreLe
neasures were Laken Lo abolísh corrupLíon ín Lhe po
líce. 1oday, Lhe governnenL ís runníng a websíLe
where cíLízens can anonynously reporL cases ol cor
rupLíon and abuse by ollícíals and represenLaLíves ol
Lhe auLhoríLy. (See SLopCorrupLíon.na)
1hese vídeos sLarLed a Lrend. Lhe Lechníque was íní
LaLed by nany oLhers ín Morocco and elsewhere. ¦ílns
and phoLographs sLarLed Lo energe on Lhe web, un
coveríng elecLoral lraud, corrupL regínes, Lhe poor
ínlrasLrucLure around Lhe counLry, Lhe lloods ín sLaLí
ons and aírporLs, Lhe ínpacL on Lhe envíronnenL ol íl
legal dunpíng ol índusLríal wasLe.
OLhers have lound ín socíal neLworks, líke ¦acebook,
Lhe perlecL Lool Lo gaLher supporL lor Lheír cause or
coordínaLe Lheír acLíons on Lhe ground. On SepLenber
2oo¤, a group ol young Moroccans, callíng Lhenselves
MAL¦ (AlLernaLíve MovenenL lor ¦ndívídual LíberLíes)
decíded Lhey were goíng Lo eaL ín publíc duríng day
Líne ín kanadan — Lhe holy Muslín nonLh, duríng
whích belíevers are supposed Lo observe lasLíng lron
dawn unLíl dusk. 1he acLíon was coordínaLed alnosL
enLírely vía Lhe ¦nLerneL and was neanL as a synbolíc
acLíon ín lavor ol Lhe anendnenL ol a law LhaL calls
lor Lhe puníshnenL by príson or líne ol anyone whose
acLíons are perceíved Lo be dísrespecLlul ol ¦slan. 1he
proLesLers were ínLercepLed by Lhe políce buL Lhey hel
ped open Lhe debaLe abouL lreedon ol conscíence ín
a Muslín socíeLy. A sub|ecL so lar consídered Laboo.
1here’s general skepLícísn abouL wheLher Lhe Web 2.o
can acLually change publíc líle ín a counLry líke
Morocco. 8uL collecLíve power and collecLíve acLíon
are Lakíng shape Lhanks Lo íníLíaLíves on Lhe ground
lor whích Lhe Web ís servíng as a powerlul caLalysL.
AlLer decades ol nargínalízaLíon, cívíl socíeLy ís sLan
díng up. ¦l auLhoríLíes or governnenLs aren’L Lranspa
renL enough, cíLízens wíll poLenLíally sLep ín Lo unlold
Lhe LruLh. 1oday an ordínary cíLízen knows he or she
can, wíLh good purpose, change Lhíngs and sLarL a
oo¤o we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
debaLe all by hínsell or hersell. 8uL good ínLenLíons
are cerLaínly noL enough. ¦or Lhe Web 2.o Lo succeed
ín enpoweríng ordínary people, ¦ Lhínk Lhree ob|ecLí
ves nusL be achíeved.
¦írsL, Lhe governnenL nusL conníL Lo buíld an ínlra
sLrucLure guaranLyíng broadband lor all. Access Lo
broadband ¦nLerneL should acLually be elevaLed Lo Lhe
lully lledged sLaLus ol a Hunan kíghL. 1he reasons lor
Lhís are obvíous, and Lhe benelíLs counLless ín Lerns
ol developnenL, busíness and educaLíon. 1he Moroc
can governnenL has been proacLíve ín encouragíng
ínvesLnenL ín ínlornaLíon and connunícaLíons Lech
nology (¦C1) resulLíng ín a rapíd íncrease ol ¦nLerneL
users (1o,ooo percenL ín Lhe lasL ¬ years) nakíng
Morocco second only Lo LgypL ín Lhe MLNA regíon ín
Lerns ol ¦nLerneL subscríbers. 8uL Lhe raLe ol peneLra
Líon (¯¯%) ís sLíll relaLívely low and ellorLs so lar have
lallen shorL ol provídíng rural areas wíLh adequaLe
Second, Lhe governnenL nusL ensure neLwork neuLra
líLy. Lhe ídea ol any díscrínínaLory nanagenenL ol Lhe
¦nLerneL Lrallíc by ínLerneL servíce províders (¦SPs),
desLroys Lhe very loundaLíons ol a lree, lasL and laír ¦n
LerneL. 1he lack ol legíslaLíon ín Lhís regard neans LhaL
¦SPs can decíde whaL people can see on Lhe ¦nLerneL
and aL whaL speed. 1here ís a need lor nore Lranspa
rency so LhaL ¦SPs LreaL all daLa Lhe sane. 1he nono
poly ol Lhe ¦C1 secLor ín Morocco by a snall círcle ol
lanílíes and busínessnen close Lo power, nakes Lhe
change all Lhe nore díllículL and neans LhaL relorn
ínLínaLely línked Lo Lhe sLruggle lor nore denocraLíc
¦ínally, Lhe governnenL nusL ensure LhaL Lhe príncíple
ol lreedon ol expressíon ís paranounL. Consíderíng
Lhe resLrícLíons on Lhe press ín Morocco, Lhe ¦nLerneL
has becone an ínporLanL ouLleL where bloggers are
able Lo Lackle sub|ecLs lew |ournalísLs can.
1he new spaces ol lreedon ol expressíon ollered by
Lhe Web 2.o are a creaLíve lorce lor Morocco as well as
lor all Alrícan counLríes. ¦n Lhís respecL, censorshíp ís
an ínpedínenL lor developnenL and creaLívíLy LhaL
nusL be loughL head on, because only lree socíeLíes
can losLer ínnovaLíve, ínlorned and open debaLes.
SoneLhíng ny counLry and Lhe whole Alrícan conLí
nenL badly need.
PhoLo © Híshan AlníraaL
oo¤1 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Facts about Morocco
1he |inçJom oj Morocco i: c countrv |occteJ in North
Ajricc. |t hc: c popu|ction oj necr|v ¯¯ mi||ion cnJ cn
crec oj /1C,8¬C|m², JiviJeJ into 16 reçion:. Morocco
i: c con:titutionc| moncrchv with cn e|ecteJ pcr|icment.
A :tecJv çrowth oj a.0º between 2CC¯2CC/ he|peJ
the Morocccn economv to become much more robu:t.
1he economic :v:tem oj the countrv pre:ent: :everc|
jccet:. |t i: chcrccterizeJ bv c |crçe openinç towcrJ:
the out:iJe wor|J. |rcnce remcin: the primcrv trcJe
pcrtner oj Morocco. |rcnce i: c|:o the primcrv creJitor
cnJ joreiçn inve:tor in Morocco. |n the Arcb wor|J,
Morocco hc: the :econJ|crçe:t nonoi| C|º, behinJ
£çvpt, c: oj 2CC¬. 1he mcjor re:ource: oj the Morocccn
economv cre cçricu|ture, pho:phcte:, cnJ touri:m.
¯¯º oj it: popu|ction hcve ccce:: to the internet.
oo¤2 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: AlgerIa,
Nord-Sud VehIures,
NEPAD, reIorms
ArsIan Chlkhaoul
... is Chairman and CEO of the consultancy centre
“Nord-Sud Ventures”, specializing in business in-
telligence, strategy and lobbying based in Algiers,
Algeria. He was born in Algeria in 1962 and has
degrees in international relations and economics
from Berkeley University and in biology from the
Algiers University of Science & Technology. He did
further studies in strategy and government affairs
at the Foreign Service Institute.
He is also a senior consultant to Algerian Govern-
ment bodies and senior analyst on international
affairs for national and international media. At
the 1999 WEF Summit in Davos, he was chosen as
a 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow. He is also a
member of the Defence and Security Forum
(DSF) based in London, and WEF Regional Agenda
Council on MENA, and Alumni of NESA Centre
for Strategic Studies of National Defence University
of Washington DC.
5top Terrorlsm!
oo¤¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo¤õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
In this interview Arslan Chikhaoui gives
us insights into Algeria’s politics, economy and
social life.
The interview was conducted by Ulrike Reinhard
late November 2010 at the Transformation
Thinker Conference hosted by the Bertelsmann
Foundation and the GTZ. After Arslan’s presen-
tation I felt a little uncomfortable with what I
heard and I decided to talk to him about my
concerns. I saw a huge contradiction in what
Arslan’s company Nord-Sud Ventures is doing
and what Algerian citizens really need. Money
making and lobbying in what is (still) non-
democratic country barely goes along with
people’s need. I challenged him to think about
how transformation and change – both affirmed
goals of his company – can be driven in different
ways ...
It turned out to be a very interesting conversation;-)
oo¤s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Arslan, what is your company Nord-Sud Ventures doing?
ArsIan Chlkhaoul {ArsIan): 1he Lrade nane ol Lhe
lírn NordSud ís dírecLly relaLed Lo Lhe verLícal relaLíon
beLween Lhe NorLh and Lhe SouLh. ¦n 1¤¤¯, ¦ realízed
whaL Lhís counLry needed was Lo be advísed – buL noL
advísed by loreígn lírns wíLh whon Algería had spenL
níllíons ol dollars. So, ¦ decíded Lo sell ny ídeas Lo
boLh políLícal and econoníc players ín need ol coun
selíng. 1he níssíon ol ny ollíce ís Lo províde counse
líng servíces ín Lhe econoníc as well as políLícal líeld.
We províde a wíde range ol counselíng servíces ín Lhe
narkeL, sLraLegíc sLudíes by counLry, Lrade ínvesLígaLí
ons, políLícal narkeLíng, as well as counselíng aL Lhe
políLícal and socíal level. We sLarLed our acLívíLíes aL
Lhe local level and Lhen Lwo years ago, we expanded
Lhen ínLernaLíonally.
We creaLed a lobbyíng cenLer ín Algíers wíLh branches
ín London, París and 8russels, Lo gíve our decísíon
nakers a lobbyíng ínsLrunenL ín Lurope.
You are here as a transformation thinker, Arslan. Do you
think you are really supporting transformation in Algeria?
Transformation towards what? Are you working for the
“public good” in this way, helping people to achieve a better
life or are you one of these people who simply benefit from
the situation and the regime. Which is of course absolutely
legal and there is nothing to be said against it.
ArsIan: A good quesLíon. And nany people ask Lhís.
¦ have a phílosophy – and ¦ hope you can “geL íL” whíle
we are goíng Lhrough Lhís ínLervíew.
¦’ve had a choíce beLween Lwo opLíons. 1he lírsL op
Líon was Lo sLay abroad and líve an easy líle. ¦'ve sLu
díed ín Lhe ÜS, buL ¦ decíded Lo cone back. ¦l ¦ would
have sLayed, ¦ níghL have LhoughL abouL ways Lo ín
lluence ny counLry lron Lhe ouLsíde and dríve change
lron Lhere. 8uL ¦ Lhínk Lhís ís ínpossíble. You can'L ín
lluence anyLhíng lron Lhe ouLsíde, you are conple
Lely dísconnecLed lron realíLy.
1he “real” Lhíng ís Lo be ín Lhe counLry, Lo be connec
Led Lo realíLy, buL – even when you are connecLed Lo
realLy – Lo be away lron Lhe sysLen ...
Do you consider yourself “away from the system”?
ArsIan: ¦ an “ouL ol” Lhe sysLen. ¦ wíll never accepL
any posíLíon as a nínísLer or a políLícían. WhaL ¦ an
Lryíng Lo do ín Algería ís Lo parLícípaLe, Lo buíld sone
Lhíng new, Lo supporL Lhe change – buL ¦ Lry Lo avoíd
beíng a LhreaL Lo Lhe regíne.
¦l you are a LhreaL, you wíll never have Lhe chance Lo
Lraín, Lo educaLe Lhe regíne ín a beLLer undersLandíng
ol whaL needs Lo be done ín order Lo achíeve prospe
ríLy or a descenL líle lor Lhe na|oríLy ol Lhe people. 1o
beLLer undersLand Lhe new dínensíons ol Lhe narkeL
We nosLly locus on Lhe políLícíans, very olLen we lor
geL abouL Lhe adnínísLraLíon, we lorgeL all Lhe cívíl
servanLs who don’L know nuch abouL whaL ís goíng
on abroad and whaL needs Lo be done Lo Lranslorn
our counLry. ¦ see ny role ríghL ín Lhere! 1hís can only
be done lron ínsíde Lhe counLry, Lhís ís noL soneLhíng
you can achíeve wíLh anLí regíne blogs or any oLher
Lype ol acLívísn lron Lhe ouLsíde.
And ne, beíng a nenber ol Lhe World Lcononíc
¦orun (WL¦)…
… WEF – another of the elite clubs where a lot of “deals”
are made … not always really good for mankind. Sorry for
this, but I don’t trust them very much!
ArsIan: Yes, we can argue abouL Lhís as well. 8uL íL
gíves ne a Lrunp card Lo play wíLhín ny own counLry.
¦L denonsLraLes sone kínd ol repuLaLíon Lo our lea
ders ín Algería. And Lhís ís why Lhey are lísLeníng … ¦l
you don’L have Lhís, you wíll be conpleLely ouL ol Lhe
So Lhís ís ny way ol acLíng.
And ¦ Lry and ¦ do ny besL Lo be as honesL Lo boLh
sídes as possíble.
¦L ís sone kínd ol balancíng acL.
oo¤6 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
So let’s stop this discussion here and start talking about your
country. What is the role of Algeria within Africa?
ArsIan: Algería ís sLarLíng Lo cone back. 1¬ years ago
Algería was ín “brackeLs”, íL was puL on hold. ¦L wasn'L
ínvolved ín any pro|ecLs ín Alríca. 8uL now íL ís novíng.
AcLually Algería ís one ol Lhe Alrícan counLríes whích
delends poor counLríes and helps Lhen. One ol Lhe
luLure challenges lor íL wíll be Lo ínvesL Lhe noney
coníng lron our oíl and gas índusLry wíLhín Alríca. ¦
can see Lhís happeníng aL sone sLage, even Lhough
noL ínnedíaLely. 1he reason ís Lhe lacL LhaL Algería ís
one ol Lhe íníLíaLors ol Lhe NLPAD plan. 1ogeLher wíLh
Nígería and SouLh Alríca Lhey seL up Lhís progran lor
new developnenL ín Alríca. WhaL Lhey are sLíll wor
kíng on ís Lhe busíness plan whích goes along wíLh íL
and whích ís needed Lo ínplenenL íL so Lo speak “on
Lhe ground”.
Do you think other African countries like Ghana or Kenya see
Algeria as a supporter of Africa?
ArsIan: ¦ Lhínk Lhey see Algería as a leader ol Lhe old
lashíoned, non alígned counLríes whích helped oLher
Alrícan counLríes achíeve índependence.
And Lhís ís íL.
1oday Lhey don'L see Algería as a counLry whích could
help Lhen. NoL aL all. 8uL Algería could delíníLely play
a na|or role ín boLh Lhe norLhern Alríca and Sahel
regíon. And íL should do ín ny opíníon.
Who is creating wealth in Algeria? Is there anything like
a private sector?
ArsIan: Do you Lhínk íL ís Lhe prívaLe secLor whích
creaLes wealLh ín Algería7 No! ¦L ís sLíll Lhe cenLralízed
governnenL. And Lhís wíll renaín so lor a whíle –
Algería ís |usL sLarLíng Lo nove …
Would you say that Algeria has started a real transformation
process or is it just a declaration of well meaning intentions?
ArsIan: WhaL ¦ can say ís LhaL we have lreedon ol
speech. We have nore Lhan ¯o prívaLe nedía conpa
níes …
Are they censored?
ArsIan: (laughíng) Censored7 Sone ol Lhen ín a way.
8uL nosL ol Lhen noL! No! You can see Lhe nedía ín
sulLíng Lhe PresídenL and Lhey don’L have Lo lear any
consequences. 8uL ís íL enough Lo have lreedon ol
speech7 ¦s íL enough Lo nove on7 No! We need nore
Lhan Lhís. We need Lo nove away lron our presenL ol
governance – sLíll based on Lhe old SovíeL nodel – Lo
wards a new way ol governance.
Which could be …
ArsIan: Whích would ínclude – besídes lreedon ol
speech – reLhínkíng how decísíons are nade. How Lhe
decísíon nakíng process could be run wíLhín a lrane
work ol díalogue. 1he políLícal elíLe should open up
and leL cívíl socíeLy parLícípaLe nore Lhrough varíous
kínds ol plaLlorns líke nedía, uníons, NCOs … Our
leaders – decísíon nakers as we call Lhen ín Algería –
need ínLeracLíon wíLh Lhen. 1here ís sLíll a lack here.
1hey should lísLen nore Lo Lhe people – econonícally
and políLícally.
Do you think a strict distinction between politics and the
private sector is needed to transform the country?
ArsIan: ¦ Lhínk Algería should delíníLely becone nore
open – ín varíous ways … 1oday Lhey don’L puL you ín
|aíl when you ínsulL Lhe PresídenL. 8uL Lhís doesn’L
nean anyLhíng! We need lree Lrade and nore open
ness. WL, Lhe people need hope!
1he governnenL ís sLíll playíng a gane here. 8uL even
Lhe “wesLern” counLríes are playíng a gane here. 1hey
acLually very nuch líke Lhe síLuaLíon we have ín
Algería. 1hey don’L wanL every Algerían Lo be able Lo
leave Lhe counLry whenever he/she wanLs Lo … 1o be
very honesL.
oo¤7 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo¤8 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
1he new generaLíon ín Algería – 8o% ol Lhe popula
Líon ís younger Lhan ¯o years – Lhey need a vísíon lor
Lhe luLure! 1hey need a new leader as we had one ín
Lhe sevenLíes …
How can this be achieved?
ArsIan: Above all, we do need sLabílíLy ín Lhe counLry.
AL leasL a cerLaín level ol sLabílíLy. Once we are done
wíLh Lerrorísn, víolence and críne Lhen we can sLarL
Lalkíng abouL Lhe nexL sLep! OLherwíse you can’L
achíeve anyLhíng.
We haven’L achíeved Lhís yeL. We are sLíll sLrugglíng.
Lven Lhough Lhe securíLy wíLhín Lhe counLry has nuch
ínproved – ín conparíson Lo Lhe níneLíes – buL when
you open Lhe paper, alnosL every day you'll línd a new
case on Lhese íssues.
You are working as a consultant Arslan. Which are the
three drivers for transformation would you recommend the
government to take up?
ArsIan: DelíníLely nacro econoníc relorns and Lhen
econoníc growLh. 1hís wíll Lhen lead Lo Lhe Lhírd poínL
whích ís socíal sLabílíLy and descenL líle lor everybody.
¦l you achíeve socíal sLabílíLy, Lhen you can nove Lo
wards broader políLícal relorns.
What about the Internet? How many people have access?
Is it censored?
ArsIan: ¦ wíll surpríse you! 1he ¦nLerneL ís noL censo
red ín Algería, noL aL all. 1hís ís a really good poínL!
1oday nore Lhan ¯4 níllíon people have access, Lhís
ís abouL 1o % ol Lhe populaLíon. MosL ol Lhen are
young people. 1he ínlrasLrucLure ís Lhere ín Lhe cíLíes,
lor nosL people íL ís sínply Loo expensíve Lo use.
What about mobile?
ArsIan: ¦ wíll surpríse you agaín! More Lhan 1¯ níllíon
have nobíle phones, Lhís ís nore Lhan ¬o% ol Lhe po
pulaLíon. We have a publíc nobíle operaLor – líke
every oLher counLry – and we have opened up Lhís
narkeL lor Lwo prívaLe carríers. Orascon, whích was
esLablíshed ín 1¤¤8 and ís consídered anong Lhe
largesL and nosL díversílíed neLwork operaLors ín Lhe
Míddle LasL and Q1el lron QaLar. MosL ol Lhe phones
aren’L snarL phones, you sínply use Lhen lor phone
calls, SMS or MMS.
Are there any mobile services, applications that help
people in rural areas?
ArsIan: No, noL LhaL ¦ know ol.
Arslan, do you think that the kind of regime which is now
running Algeria is better right now than a democracy,
a democracy like we have here in Germany?
ArsIan: 1o be honesL, ¦ preler Lo answer YLS. ¦ Lhínk
we sLíll need Lhís auLocraLíc sysLen – wíLhouL íL ¦ be
líeve change would be even harder, Lhe síLuaLíon
would escalaLe nuch nore easíly! 8uL we don’L need
íL lor ever, |usL lor a lew nore years … a shorL períod
ol Líne!
Arslan, thank you very much for your open words and
your great personal insights! All the best.
ArsIan: 1hank you, Ülríke.
oo¤¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Facts about Algeria
A|çeric, c çctewcv between Ajricc cnJ £urope, hc:
been bcttereJ bv vio|ence over the pc:t hc|jcenturv.
More thcn c mi||ion A|çericn: were |i||eJ in the jiçht
jor inJepenJence jrom |rcnce in 1062, cnJ the coun
trv hc: recent|v emerçeJ jrom c brutc| internc| conj|ict
thct jo||oweJ :crcppeJ e|ection: in 1002 which wc:
won bv cn |:|cmi:t pcrtv. 1he e|ection wc: cnnu||eJ,
herc|Jinç c b|ooJv civi| wcr in which more thcn
1¬C,CCC peop|e were :|cuçhtereJ. A|thouçh po|iticc|
vio|ence in A|çeric hc: Jec|ineJ :ince then, the coun
trv hc: been :hc|en bv c ccmpciçn oj bombinç: ccr
rieJ out bv c çroup cc||inç it:e|j A|OceJc in the |cnJ
oj |:|cmic Mcçhreb (AO||M).
Ajter vecr: oj po|iticc| uphecvc| cnJ vio|ence, A|çeric’:
economv hc: been çiven c |ijt bv jrecuent oi| cnJ çc:
jinJ:. |owever, povertv remcin: wiJe:precJ cnJ un
emp|ovment hiçh, pcrticu|cr|v cmonç A|çeric’: vouth.
£nJemic çovernment corruption cnJ poor :tcnJcrJ:
in pub|ic :ervice: cre c|:o chronic :ource: oj popu|cr
A|çeric’: 1v cnJ rcJio :tction: cre :tctecontro||eJ,
but there i: c |ive|v privcte pre:: which ojten critici:e:
the cuthoritie:. 1here i: no Jirect cen:or:hip, but |cw:
:et out pri:on term: cnJ jine: jor in:u|tinç or Jejcminç
the pre:iJent, Mº:, juJçe: cnJ the crmv.
1here were a.1 mi||ion internet u:er: bv September
2CC0 (|nternetWor|JStct:). Mo:t :urjer: re|v on Jic|up
connection: cnJ cvberccje:. No wiJe:precJ ji|terinç
i: reporteJ, but the b|oc|inç oj c po|iticc| web:ite in
|cnucrv 2C1C wc: :ciJ to be the jir:t |nown in:tcnce
oj on|ine cen:or:hip.
oo1oo we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: IHub, Iechhology,
creaIIve space,
whIIe aIrIcah,
global voIces
PhoLo © íHub
£rlk Hersman
Raised in Kenya and Sudan, Erik Hersman is a tech-
nologist and blogger who lives in Nairobi, Kenya. He
is co-founder of Ushahidi, a free and open source
platform for crowdsourcing information and visua-
lizing data. He is the founder of AfriGadget, a multi-
author site that showcases stories of African invent-
ions and ingenuity, and an African technology blog-
ger at WhiteAfrican.com. His current project is the
iHub, Nairobi’s Innovation Hub for the technology
community, bringing together entrepreneurs, hack-
ers, designers and the investment community.
Eric is a Senior TED Fellow, a PopTech Fellow
and speaker. You can find him on Twitter at
Kenya Matters
oo1o1 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
£than Zuckerman
... was a co-founder of Tripod.com, a web hosting en-
terprise, and later founder of Geekcorps. He cur-
rently serves as a fellow at the Berkman Center for
Internet and Society. His work at the Berkman
Center has included research into global media
attention, and the co-founding of Global Voices On-
line in collaboration with Rebecca MacKinnon. For
some years he was also a contributing writer for
Worldchanging.com, where he served as president of
the board of directors. In January 2007, he joined the
inaugural Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board.
He is a graduate of Williams College, spent a year
in Accra, Ghana on a Fulbright scholarship, and
currently resides in Lanesborough, Massachusetts
with his wife Rachel Barenblat.
oo1o2 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
In August 2010 I was in Nairobi, Kenya for the
first time. I visited Makers Faire Africa and of
course – being an Internet person – I ended up
at the iHub. And I immediately fell in love with
it. In its inspiring and inviting atmosphere, I in-
stantly felt at home;-)
So it was somehow a “must” to include the iHub
in this issue.
Luckily Ethan Zuckerman came to Nairobi a few
weeks later and visited iHub as well and wrote
a beautiful blogpost, which is printed here.
We’ve added a short interview with Eric Hersman,
founder of iHub. We believe this round-up gives
you a pretty good overview on how this place
ticks and on what’s going on in Kenya!
Ulrike Reinhard
PhoLo © íHub
oo1o¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Tell us a little bit about the history of the iHub
and about your role in it.
£rlk Hersman: You can look back abouL 2 years ago
Lo see a posL on ny blog abouL Lhe ídea ol Lech hubs
needed ín Lhe na|or Lech cíLíes across Alríca. 1hís
was an ídea LhaL gernínaLed aL 8arcanp Naírobí
2oo8 when ¦ was chaLLíng wíLh one ol Lhe oLher
organízers lor LhaL evenL. 1here was obvíously a voíd
ín Lhe connuníLy lor a place Lo neeL, exchange
ídeas, and serve as a cenLral nexus poínL lor índusLry,
devs, ínvesLors and oLhers Lo neeL.
What is the secret of its success?
£rlk: Well, íL’s sLíll a líLLle early ín Lhe gane Lo know,
buL íL’s largely due Lo Lhe connuníLy beíng ín charge
ol nakíng a loL ol Lhe decísíons, Lherelore havíng a real
ownershíp role ín Lhe space. 1hey have done every
Lhíng lron desígn Lhe layouL Lo seLup neeLíngs Lo run
Lhe neLwork and servers. My role, and LhaL ol !essíca
and 1osh as well, ís Lo províde a basíc sLrucLure lron
whích Lhe connuníLy has Lo buíld soneLhíng.
“The good news:
l’ve found the
co-worklng space l’d
been searchlng for.
The bad news:
lt’s ln Nalrobl.”
1weeL by LLhan Zuckernan, Nov. 1¤, 2o1o
¦’ve spenL nosL ol Lhe pasL Lwo days aL Lhe íHub,
parL ol Lhe vasL (nonprolíL) corporaLe enpíre LhaL ís
Üshahídí. ¦’n lucky enough Lo have known Lhree ol
Üshahídí’s lounders lron belore Lheír launch ol Lheír
crowdsourcíng plaLlorn, and ny lríends ínvíLed ne Lo
|oín Lheír board ol dírecLors. Wednesday alLernoon
was a board neeLíng, and nenbers llew ín lron Lhree
conLínenLs Lo revíew a chaoLíc, crazy and íncredíbly
producLíve year. A Lean aL Lhe ¦leLcher School used
Üshahídí Lo coordínaLe ínlornaLíon and relíel ellorLs
ín Lhe wake ol Lhe HaíLían earLhquakes. A Lean ol blog
gers and acLívísLs ín kussía used Üshahídí Lo províde
aíd Lo people allecLed by kussía’s loresL líres, an ellorL
LhaL was so popular, íL bríelly broke our sysLen. Üsha
hídí launched Crowdnap.con, a plaLlorn LhaL nakes íL
possíble lor anyone Lo sLarL a crowdnappíng pro|ecL
wíLh no nore Lhan a lew nouseclícks, and everyone
lron índívíduals Lo Lhe 88C Lríed íL ouL.
1here’s loLs lor a board nenber Lo undersLand abouL
Üshahídí – Lhree core producLs, developers around Lhe
world, a web ol parLnershíps and collaboraLíons. One
parL ol Lhe níx ¦’ve never enLírely undersLood ís Lhe
íHub, whích serves as Lhe Lean’s Naírobí ollíces, buL ís
loLs nore Lhan LhaL.
1he space ís locaLed on Lhe Lop lloor ol a líve sLory buíl
díng on Ngong koad, one ol Lhe na|or arLeríes ol Lhe
cíLy. Across Lhe sLreeL lron a wellknown supernarkeL,
íL’s easy Lo geL Lo vía cab or naLaLu, Lhe nínívans LhaL
carry Lhe na|oríLy ol Lhe cíLy’s passengers. 1he space ís
open, híghceílínged, and surrounded by wíndows.
1here’s a collee bar ín one corner, sLalled by PeLe,
Naírobí’s barrísLa chanpíon. Above PeLe’s shop ís a
oo1oõ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
What role does the iHub play in the tech scene
within Kenya?
£rlk: 1he íHub serves as Lhe cenLral nexus poínL lor
whaL’s goíng on around Naírobí. We run evenLs, pro
víde a workíng space and are a LrusLed ínLernedíary
lor all ol Lhe sLakeholders. We províde neuLral Lerrí
Lory lor all Lo cone LogeLher.
What impact does it have?
£rlk: AL Lhís poínL, we’ve only been “open” lor abouL
¬ nonLhs. However, we’ve held ¬o+ connuníLy and
corporaLe Lech evenLs, we have over 1¤oo nenbers
and are seeíng Lhe nenbers cone LogeLher Lo lorn
conpaníes, wín seed capíLal and wín conpeLíLíons
lor príze noney lor Lheír ídeas.
narrow lolL, Lhe ollíces lor Lhe space’s nanagers –
Lhey’ve goL access Lo Lhe servers and oLher gear, as well
as a panoraníc víew ol Lhe roon below. 1hey look
down on a clusLer ol workLables, a raísed area wíLh
couches and conly chaírs, and a loose aggloneraLíon
ol wooden paLío lurníLure. 1he walls are víbranL blues
and greens, líL by Lhe sun sLreaníng ín lron all sídes.
One wall leaLures a halllíníshed nap ol Naírobí naLaLu
rouLes – Üshahídí colounder Lríc Hersnan Lells ne, “so
nuch ol Lhís space could have been anywhere ín Lhe
world, we needed soneLhíng Lo renínd us ol Naírobí.”
8y 1oan, vírLually every seaL ín Lhe house ís Laken, oc
cupíed by young Kenyans and a lew expaLs, alnosL
all wearníng green badges around Lheír necks. 1hese
badges are Lhe lírsL clue LhaL Lhe íHub ísn’L an exLre
nely híp cybercale. ¦L’s an íncubaLor, an ínvíLaLíon only
space open every day Lo Lhe 1oo enLrepreneurs who’ve
applíed lor and won badges lron Lhe íHub Lean. ¦or
Lhose who’ve won a green badge, Lhere’s no charge Lo
access Lhe space, whích ís a preLLy anazíng asseL, as
íL’s noL |usL an exLrenely cool space – íL’s goL sone ol
Lhe lasLesL connecLívíLy avaílable ín Lhe cíLy. Lríc Lells
ne LhaL nore Lhan 18oo people are nenbers ol Lhe
íHub, usíng Lhe onlíne Lools Lhe group nakes avaílable
and coníng Lo selecLed evenLs. ¦ron LhaL pool, 1oo píL
ched pro|ecLs or ídeas LhaL earned Lhen a green badge
and nenbershíp ín Lhís exclusíve club. AnoLher snall
seL, wearíng red badges, pay 1o,ooo Ksh (abouL S12¬
ÜSD) a nonLh lor a reserved desk space and a locker
wíLhín Lhe shared work space. 1he renLals help delray
Lhe cosL ol Lhe space, as does renLíng Lhe roon ouL lor
Lechnology Lraíníngs and evenLs.
1he end resulL ol Lhe space, Lhe connecLívíLy and Lhe
nenbershíp polícy ís LhaL nany ol Kenya’s besL and
bríghLesL young geeks can be lound aL Lhe íHub on any
gíven day. 1hís helps explaín why Lhere’s also a crowd
ol expaLs – Lhe íHub has becone a pílgrínage sLop lor
people hopíng Lo undersLand Lhe luLure ol ínlornaLíon
Lechnology ín Kenya, and ín Lhe developíng world as
a whole. ¦n Lhe lew hours ¦ spenL yesLerday, ¦ ran ínLo
a C8C crew lílníng a segnenL on Lhe cenLer, a reporLer
wíLh Lhe LcononísL, and hall a dozen vísíLíng NCO pro
lessíonals, lookíng lor conLacLs, ídeas and ínsíghLs.
Several ol Lhe greenbadged lolks are old lríends lron
Lhe Kenyan blogosphere, and ¦ spenL nosL ol 1hursday
síLLíng on a couch, caLchíng up wíLh Lhe besL and
bríghLesL ol Lhe Kenyan geeks. kebecca Wan|íku ís one
ol Kenya’s nosL LalenLed Lech |ournalísLs, wríLíng lor
donesLíc and ínLernaLíonal publícaLíons, íncludíng
oo1os we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Clobal Voíces. ¦ hadn’L realízed she’s also becone a
sysLens ínLegraLor, desígníng, purchasíng and ín
sLallíng Lhe essenLíal conponenLs ol neLwork ínlra
sLrucLure lor Naírobí busínesses. As we lounge on Lhe
couch, kebecca walks ne Lhrough Lhe ínsLallaLíon
work she and her Lean díd procuríng Lhe wílí hoL
spoLs and servers LhaL supporL íHub’s users. “8eíng a
|ournalísL ís an íncredíble resource lor beíng an ínLe
graLor,” she Lells ne. “You learn who’s relíable and
who’s noL, who you wanL Lo work wíLh … and you see
opporLuníLíes LhaL oLhers don’L see.”
One ol Lhose opporLuníLíes ínvolves workíng wíLh
NCOs Lo help Lhen use socíal nedía Lo reach a
Kenyan populaLíon LhaL’s rapídly coníng onlíne.
kebecca works ín Lhís space as well, where she’s a
lríendly conpeLíLor Lo Daudí Were, Lhe blogger
behínd Lhe celebraLed MenLal AcrobaLícs. Daudí ís
workíng wíLh Lhe Open SocíeLy ¦nsLíLuLe’s Publíc He
alLh progran, helpíng organízaLíons around Lhe LasL
Alrícan regíon use new nedía Lo reach Lheír audí
ences. We Lalk abouL ¦acebook, whích ís caLchíng on
ín Kenya aL a lerocíous pace. (¦n a bríel walk Lhrough
downLown, ¦ encounLered ¦acebook ads plasLered
LhroughouL a downLown shoppíng cenLer, and a nan
pushíng a bíke wíLh a back lender nade ol a cardboard
¦acebook sígn.)
Daudí Lells ne LhaL nosL Kenyans línd ¦acebook when
Lhey conpleLe secondary school – sone ol Lheír
lríends sLay ín Lheír honeLowns, whíle oLhers go Lo
Naírobí, oll Lo uníversíLy or ouL ol Lhe counLry. 1hey’re
separaLed physícally, buL ¦acebook – whích nosL
Kenyans access Lhrough Lheír phones, allows Lhen Lo
sLay ín close Louch. Daudí Lells ne abouL CheLLo kadío,
a sLaLíon LhaL’s buílL a youLh audíence around Lhe ídea
ol beíng an “underground” sLaLíon… Lhough íL’s pro
bably Lhe nosL popular sLaLíon lor íLs LargeL denogra
phíc. “1hey run polls on ¦acebook and geL Lhousands
ol responses. LoLs ol Lhe lolks respondíng can’L acLually
hear Lhe sLaLíon.” 1hey heard íL when Lhey cane Lo Naí
robí on holídays, decíded íL was cool and now lollow íL
onlíne. “You see guys requesLíng songs vía ¦acebook –
Lhey’re ín LldoreL, so Lhey can’L hear Lhen, buL íL’s a
cool way Lo ínLeracL wíLh a sLaLíon.” Daudí and ¦ Lalk
Lhrough Lhe ínplícaLíons ol Lhe ríse ol ¦acebook lor
Kenyan políLícs – gíven Lhe síze ol Lhe youLh voLe, and
Lhe nunber ol youLh who leel alíenaLed lron Lhe po
líLícal process, Lhe abílíLy Lo leverage personal socíal
neLworks Lo buíld supporL lor candídaLes could be a
powerlul lorce ín Kenya’s nexL elecLíons.
How would you describe/distinguish the tech scene
in Kenya in comparison to the rest of Africa?
£rlk: 1haL’s hard, as ¬¯ counLríes across Lhe conLí
nenL nake íL a very lracLured víew. 1here are a nun
ber ol bíg Lech cíLíes Lhough, and Naírobí ís one ol
Lhen. ¦n Kenya we have a populaLíon ol very hard
workers wíLh an enLrepreneuríal benL, coupled wíLh
a decenL educaLíon sysLen. 1hís neans LhaL Lhe Lech
scene has a consLanL and growíng nunber ol young
progranners and web desígners. We’re sLarLíng Lo
reach críLícal nass ín Lhe Lech secLor, wíLh Lhe bíg cor
poraLes líke Nokía, Coogle, MícrosolL, ¦8M head
quarLer locally, uníversíLíes wíLh a locus on conpuLer
scíence, and a governnenL LhaL ís Lryíng Lo Lrígger
even nore acLívíLy ín Lhe secLor.
What is “hot” right now at the iHub?
£rlk: 1here are always a loL ol díllerenL Lhíngs goíng
on ín Lhe nobíle area, Kenya has a real conpeLíLíve
advanLage ín Lhís space.¦n lacL, Lhe new nLab (nobíle
lab) ís goíng Lo expand our space by 1oo%, íL wíll
be on Lhe lloor dírecLly below Lhe currenL íHub roon.
We’re seeíng a couple ol pro|ecLs show up around
Lhe area ol nobíle agrículLure apps and servíces,
web based consuner buyíng and goods, as well as
nobíle paynenLs.
oo1o6 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
kachel Cíchínga ol Kuwení Seríous ís Lhínkíng abouL
elecLíons as well, and specílícally abouL Lhe ínpor
Lance ol aLLackíng apaLhy, whích she ídenLílíes as a
key evíl allecLíng cerLaín Kenyan connuníLíes. She
ídenLílíes hersell as parL ol a group ol educaLed, well
Lodo young Kenyans who have dísproporLíonaLe
power Lo ínlluence políLícs, buL who are usually síde
líned by a sense ol lrusLraLíon and luLílíLy. Kuwení
Seríous, a group LhaL cane LogeLher ín Lhe wake ol
conllícL alLer Lhe 2oo¯ elecLíons, uses víral vídeo Lo
reach Lhís group ol young Kenyans. One ol Lheír se
creL weapons ís !ín Chuchu, nenber ol elecLroníca
band !usL a 8and and Lhe nan behínd Lhe renarkable
Maknende víral vídeo. (Kulení Seríous’s vídeos have
Lhe sane Líneless, sundrenched look as Lhe Mak
nende Lraíler – ¦’n wonderíng whích one ol Kenya’s
nexL Lech exporLs wíll be an Adobe AlLerLllecLs plug
ín LhaL gíves you Lhe Chuchu look.) 1he work kachel
and oLhers ín her group are doíng renínds ne ol
Lnough ís Lnough and oLher groups Lryíng Lo use
boLh políLícal and socíal íssues Lo convínce Nígerían
youLh LhaL Lhey can have a voíce ín cívíc allaírs – íL’s
excíLíng Lo Lhínk LhaL Lhere’s a novenenL ín díllerenL
corners ol Lhe conLínenL Lo nobílíze youLh around
Lhe ídea LhaL Lhey can and should have a voíce ín
!essíca Colaco wonders wheLher Lhe nexL generaLíon
ol Kenyan youLh are sLarLíng Lo use socíal nedía ín
a díllerenL way Lhan peers a decade older. When
noL nanagíng Lhe íHub, she’s an M8A sLudenL aL
SLraLhnore ÜníversíLy, buíldíng experínenLs Lo LesL
Lhe ways díllerenL groups ol Kenyans ínLeracL wíLh
socíal nedía. She suspecLs LhaL Lhere’s a generaLíon
gap and LhaL Kenyans under 2¬ expecL Lo be ín díalog
wíLh everyone onlíne, lron índívíduals Lo corpora
Líons. When older Kenyans have problens wíLh Salarí
con, she Lells ne, Lhey conplaín Lo one anoLher,
whíle younger ones sLarL nessagíng Lhe conpany
on 1wíLLer and ¦acebook, denandíng Lhe conpany
respond ín nuch Lhe way we’d expecL an índívídual
Lo. ¦or her, Lhe íHub ísn’L |usL an íncubaLor, buL a lab,
where she’s able Lo waLch Lhe behavíor ol Kenyan
early adopLers change ín real Líne.
Cíven Lhe ríchness ol Lhe conversaLíon aL Lhe íHub,
íL’s noL always Lhe easíesL place Lo geL work done.
Lríc Lells ne he spends Lwo days a week workíng
lron hone ín Lhe hopes ol geLLíng granLwríLíng and
oLher locused acLívíLy done. Líno 1aboí ís based ín
Lhe quíeLesL corner ol íHub and exudes a sense ol
PhoLo © íHub
oo1o7 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
caln and locus LhaL creaLes a cone ol sílence around
hín and hís lapLop. 8eLLer known as “8ankelele“,
Líno ís Kenya’s Lop línancíal blogger, and perhaps,
Lop línancíal wríLer. And now he’s Lhe línancíal
nanager ol Üshahídí, wresLlíng ínLo subníssíon
Lhe línances ol an organízaLíon wíLh príncípal players
scaLLered around Lhe world. 8loggíng aL Lhe íHub
ís a níxed blessíng, he Lells ne – “We’ve goL so nany
greaL evenLs here, you’d Lhínk ¦’d geL blog posLs ouL
every day. 8uL ¦’n so buríed ín Lhe resL ol ny work,
íL’s hard Lo línd Lhe Líne Lo geL a posL ínLo Lhe shape
where ¦ can publísh íL.” My guess ís LhaL Lhís ís a
synpLon ol Lhe overwhelníng naLure ol Lhe íHub –
Lhere’s so nuch goíng on, íL’s hard Lo presenL a Lho
rough pícLure.
AL Lhe board neeLíng on Wednesday, Lríc closed hís
presenLaLíon wíLh a slíde LíLled, “Kenya MaLLers”.
Kenya’s noL |usL parL ol Lhe narraLíve behínd Üsha
hídí, a plaLlorn used globally buL developed by
Kenyans Lo respond Lo a donesLíc políLícal crísís.
Kenya naLLers because íL’s one ol Lhe places where
Lhe luLure ol Lechnology ís coníng ínLo locus, where
a generaLíon ol creaLíve people are buíldíng Lhe
luLure, one experínenL aL a Líne. íHub nakes sense
because íL’s Lhe physícal nanílesLaLíon ol Lhe crea
Líve collaboraLíon LhaL Look Üshahídí lron ídea
Lo pro|ecL Lo plaLlorn wíLhín nonLhs. ¦ had Lo go Lo
Naírobí belore ¦ really goL íL. And now ¦ don’L wanL
Lo leave.
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lntervlew wlth ¡epchumba
Jepchumba is a digital enthusiast who works hard
to combine her two loves: Digital Media and Africa.
Originally from Kenya, she has lived around the
world developing her interest in philosophy, art and
technology. Founder of African Digital Art Network,
Jepchumba enjoys studying how technology has
changed art and culture. With a Masters Degree
in Digital Media, Jepchumba has formal training in
Project Management and Digital Media Production.
In many ways she considers herself as a mad scientist.
Always looking for the next upcoming project. She
loves experimenting with motion, sound and various
digital effects and techniques.
A Techle ln Love
Wlth The Arts
oo111 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: arI,
AIrIcah DIgIIal ArI,
dIgIIal arI,
oo112 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Digital Art according to Wikipedia is: “... an umbrella term for a
range of artistic works and practices that utilize digital technology.”
Something which is fairly new in Africa – first and foremost because
of the lack of bandwidth. The following interview with Jepchumba
will hopefully highlight the fact, that African Digital Art is as diverse
and special as traditional African Art has ever been.
oo11¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Jepchumba, who are you?
What are you doing? What is your passion?
¡epchumba: My nane ís !epchunba and ¦ an an
Alrícan dígíLal arLísL and dígíLal enLhusíasL lron Kenya.
¦ an also Lhe lounder ol Alrícan DígíLal ArL NeLwork. ¦
have a nasLers degree ín DígíLal Medía, and ¦ en|oy
sLudyíng how Lechnology allecLs arL and culLure ín
¦n nany ways ¦ consíder nysell a nad scíenLísL. ¦ love
experínenLíng wíLh noLíon, sound and varíous dígíLal
ellecLs and Lechníques. 1he reason why ¦ an so pass
íonaLe abouL dígíLal nedía ís naínly due Lo Lhe lacL
LhaL ¦ have an enLíre laboraLory aL ny língerLíps. ¦n
nany ways ¦ an a Lechíe wíLh Lhe hearL ol an arLísL.
You are founder of Africandigitalart.com. What is it all
about? What are the goals ? Why “only” digital art?
¡epchumba: Alrícan DígíLal ArL ís an onlíne collecLíve,
a creaLíve space, where dígíLal arLísLs, enLhusíasLs and
prolessíonals can seek ínspíraLíon, showcase Lheír ar
LísLry and connecL wíLh energíng arLísLs.
¦or Lhe pasL Lwo years Lhe Alrícan DígíLal ArL NeLwork
has presenLed unparalleled ídeas, índívídualísLíc works
and ínsíghLlul desígner soluLíons by Lhe Alrícan crea
Líve connuníLy. ¦L has becone a plaLlorn lor ínnova
Líon and ínspíraLíon wíLh a sophísLícaLed blend ol lresh
LalenL and successlul desígners and arLísLs.
1he locus on dígíLal ís quíLe uníque and ínporLanL Lo
us. We are noL exclusíve Lo dígíLal arL expressíons buL
we are naínly ínLeresLed ín how arLísLs use Lechnology
as a nedíun lor Lheír work. We belíeve LhaL Alrícan
dígíLal arL has a way ol “Pushíng DígíLal 8oundaríes”
by enablíng arLísL and creaLíve prolessíonals Lo cone
up wíLh ínnovaLíve soluLíons lor Lheír everyday líves.
1he Alrícan DígíLal ArL NeLwork ís dedícaLed Lo losLe
ríng Lhe growíng Lechnologydríven creaLíve connu
níLy LhaL sLíll renaíns ín íLs ínlancy ín Alríca.
Why is art so important for African
communities? What kind of impact has an art community
like the African DIgital Art Network on society?
¡epchumba: ArL has Lhe abílíLy Lo Lranscend barríers.
¦L ís a powerlul Lool lor connunícaLíon. 1here are
nany unLold sLoríes ín Alríca and arL has Lhe abílíLy Lo
gíve Alrícan connuníLíes a way Lo express and share
Lheír sLoríes and experíences. ArL, especíally dígíLal
arL, ís also a lorn ol íngenuíLy LhaL olLen losLers ín
novaLíon. 1hrough creaLíve exercíse new soluLíons are
broughL Lo líghL whích olLen help enpower índíví
duals Lo ínprove Lheír connuníLíes. ¦n Lerns ol de
velopnenL arL can be a powerlul weapon Lo noLívaLe,
ínspíre and dírecL índívíduals Lowards change.
What makes art good art?
¡epchumba: 1hís ís a díllículL quesLíon Lo answer. ArL
ís Lruly sub|ecLíve. However ¦ línd LhaL Lhe arL LhaL ¦
consíder “good” ís Lhe one LhaL resonaLes wíLh Lhe
One ol Lhe Lhíngs LhaL ¦ have lound as an Alrícan dígí
Lal arLísL, ís LhaL Lhere ís an expecLaLíon ol whaL ís
consídered Lo be Alrícan arL or “good” Alrícan arL. We
are sLíll very líníLed ín our scope ol undersLandíng
whaL Alrícan arL acLually ís. ÜnlorLunaLely Lhe na|o
ríLy ol Lhe world consíders Alrícan arL as naínly Lradí
Líonal nasks, sculpLures and paínLíngs. CapLuríng
Alríca’s vísual ídenLíLy ís sínply beyond our grasp. ¦L ís
a kaleídoscope – open Lo nulLíple ínLerpreLaLíons and
undersLandíngs. We can however engage Lhe creaLíve
connuníLy Lo Lake parL ín a collecLíve lorn ol pro
ducLíon. ¦L clearly wíll help Lo shape our undersLan
díng ol whaL íL neans Lo be Alrícan. 1he lorns ol
expressíon LhaL break Lhe sLereoLypes are Lhe ones ¦
línd nosL en|oyable.
What kind of role does art play in the African school / educa-
tion system? Are there any special art schools?
¡epchumba: ÜnlorLunaLely Lhere has been líLLle
developnenL ín arL educaLíon ín Alríca. ¦ would argue
LhaL Lhe educaLíon sysLen ín Alríca ís desígned Lo
creaLe docLors, lawyers and engíneers and noL Loo
oo11õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
nany arLísLs. 1here are |usL noL enough arL prograns
ín Alríca. Many prolessíonal arLísLs have receíved Lheír
educaLíon abroad and nany sLruggle Lo línd a susLaín
able íncone ín Alríca, where arL ís noL as valued. AL
Lhe end ol Lhe day íL all cones down Lo susLaínabílíLy.
1he arL índusLry ín Alríca ís naínly geared Lowards lo
reígn consunpLíon. ArL ís nass produced lor Lourísn
and ís undervalued wíLhín local connuníLíes.
1hanks Lo Lhe recenL World Cup ín SouLh Alríca, Lhe
creaLíve econony LhroughouL Alríca has been llourís
híng. More and nore creaLíve pro|ecLs and prolessí
ons are avaílable Lo Alrícan arLísLs. As Lhe denand lor
nore Alrícan ínspíred work conLínues ¦ hope Lo see
Lhe educaLíon sysLen, especíally Lhe hígher educaLíon
sysLen, respond Lo Lhe need lor Lraíned and skílled de
sígn prolessíonals.
Digital art in Africa is a fairly new concept, isn’t it?
¡epchumba: Yes índeed, íL ís laírly new. 8elore Alrícan
DígíLal ArL NeLwork was creaLed nosL people would
have never puL Lhe words “Alríca” “DígíLal” and “ArL”
LogeLher. 1he na|oríLy ol Lhe world does noL see
Alríca lron a dígíLal perspecLíve, Lhey sLíll see Alríca as
a place sonehow sLuck ín Lhe pasL. However as recenL
developnenLs ín nobíle Lechnology ín Alríca show,
we are greaL early adopLers. Alríca ís experíencíng Lhe
sane ínllux ol Lechnology as Lhe resL ol Lhe world, we
are on ¦acebook, on 1wíLLer, we LexL each oLher and
we share our experíences over Lhe ¦nLerneL.
As nore arLísLs are exposed Lo dígíLal Lechnology Lhey
are also exposed Lo new Lools LhaL Lhey can uLílíze lor
Lheír work. DígíLal arL expressíons are growíng rapídly
oo11s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
LhroughouL counLríes such as LgypL, Nígería, Kenya,
and SouLh Alríca. Young people who have grown up ín
Lhís new connecLed socíeLy are experínenLíng wíLh
noLíon, vídeo and sound.
We sLíll have a long way Lo go, Lhe sLaLísLícs show LhaL
Alríca ís underrepresenLed ín Lerns ol access Lo ¦C1’s
buL we do have an ínllux ol nobíle Lechnology LhaL
has ínspíred us Lo cone up wíLh new desígn soluLíons
lorour everyday experíences.
Art has always something to do with creativity. What does
creativity mean for you and how can you nurture other
peoples creativity?
¡epchumba: CreaLívíLy ís línked wíLh ínnovaLíon and
íL gíves us a way ol growíng and ínvenLíng, experí
nenLíng, Lakíng rísks and breakíng rules. CreaLívíLy lor
ne ís Lhe abílíLy Lo generaLe new ídeas or possíbílíLíes
LhaL nay be uselul ín solvíng problens, connuníca
Líng wíLh oLhers and expressíng and engagíng nysell
wíLh oLhers.
¦ creaLed Lhe Alrícan DígíLal ArL NeLwork as a plaLlorn
Lo losLer and encourage new lorns ol creaLívíLy. We
recenLly relaunched Lhe socíal neLworkíng conpo
nenL ol Alrícan DígíLal ArL, 1he DísLrícL. 1he DísLrícL ís
a new plaLlorn we desígned Lo geL arLísLs LogeLher
and connecL Lhen wíLh each oLher. On 1he DísLrícL,
Alrícan creaLíves can neLwork, share Lheír work and
resources. 1hey have Lhe abílíLy Lo collaboraLe, learn
new skílls and also pronoLe Lheír porLlolío all wíLhín
Lhís space onlíne.
You write on your website that you are dreaming digital ...
what do you mean?
¡epchumba: 1haL ís ríghL, ¦ olLen say ¦ drean “dígíLal”
because ¦ línd Lhe dígíLal lornaL Lhe easíesL way Lo
express ny own creaLívíLy. DígíLal Lechnology has
gíven ne Lhe abílíLy Lo bríng Lo líle whaL ís ín ny ína
gínaLíon. ¦L has gíven ne Lhe abílíLy Lo Lhínk ol new
possíbílíLíes and realíLíes and ollered ne a uníque way
Lo ínagíne and shape Lhe luLure.
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tags: gehocIde,
8uruhdI, Rwahda,
UN RadIo
¡oceIyne 5amblra
... was born in Paris, France. She holds a BA in Eng-
lish Language and Literature from the University of
Burundi. Since 1995 she has been deeply invoveld
in producing radio shows from conflict areas, mainly
in Africa. Her mission is peace building and driving
social change for the better.
kadlo As A Force
For Peace
oo11¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo12o we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
In 1998, at the height of the civil war in Burundi, one of the rebel groups
operating in the suburbs overlooking the capital, Bujumbura, had just issued
threats to the local population. The rumor was that the rebel group was
going to behead 100 people in the area suspected of being government infor-
mants. The locals did not take the threat lightly. There had been several
isolated cases where the heads of people were left on small pathways to discou-
rage the locals from talking to the government army. A group of men and
women took their courage in both hands and went to one of the independent
radios with this story. The station manager called the head of the rebel move-
ment and recorded a live interview with him. The rebel chief was livid. He
rigorous-ly denied any plot to murder people. This report was broadcast
throughout the week. That night and the rest of the week, the residents of
that area slept soundly. In fact, the beheading stopped completely.
That alone says more than a thousand words.
oo121 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
WhaL Lhe ordínary cíLízen ín 8urundí had cone Lo un
dersLand was LhaL ínlornaLíon ís power. ¦n a counLry
where people aL Lhe grassrooLs had líLLle or no power
ol decísíon, Lheír voíce carríed lar Lhrough radío. ¦n one
radío broadcasL, 6 níllíon people could be reached, Lhe
esLínaLed populaLíon ol Lhe counLry aL Lhe Líne.
¦n nany counLríes ravaged by war and víolenL conllícL,
radío ís soneLínes Lhe only way ol geLLíng ínlorna
Líon. ¦n nosL ol Lhese regíons, Lhere ís líLLle or no ínlra
sLrucLure and when people are on Lhe run, íL ís sone
Línes Lhe only línk Lo Lhe world Lhey have lelL behínd.
kepressíve governnenLs, Lhe nasLernínds ol Lhe geno
cíde, and oLher war crínínals ín Lhe pasL have under
sLood Lhe power ol radío. 1hey use íL as a Lool Lo conLrol
and ínlluence Lhe nasses, soneLínes even as a wea
pon ol nass nurder as ín kwanda. ¦n Lhe lead up Lo Lhe
genocíde ín kwanda, Lhere were very dívísíve and po
larízíng nessages broadcasL by Lhe lorner “haLe
radío”, kadío Mílles Collínes. Duríng Lhe genocíde íL
egged on íLs supporLers, encouragíng Lhen Lo kíll Lhe
people lron Lhe nínoríLy, Lhe “1uLsís’ who Lhey labe
led as cockroaches and assaílanLs. ¦L luelled a loL ol Lhe
eLhníc Lensíons and víolence, píLLíng one eLhníc group
agaínsL anoLher. 1hree ol Lhe sLaLíon nanagers were
Lríed and convícLed wíLh genocíde, íncíLenenL Lo ge
nocíde, and crínes agaínsL hunaníLy aL Lhe ¦nLerna
Líonal 1ríbunal lor kwanda ín Arusha.
8urundí has Lhe sane eLhníc nakeup as kwanda, and
alnosL Lhe sane eLhníc íssues, whích ís why “haLe
nessages” were also ínsídíously creepíng up ín Lhe
local nedía.
¦ had |usL graduaLed lron Lhe ÜníversíLy ol 8urundí
and Lhe counLry was aL war. ¦L was a parLícularly Lrau
naLíc Líne lor ne. ¦ had survíved Lhe genocíde ín
kwanda alLer lleeíng Lo a dísplaced persons canp gu
arded by Lhe kwandan PaLríoLíc ¦ronL, kP¦. ¦ was happy
Lo be alíve buL ¦ was also sLrugglíng wíLh Lhe Lrauna
ol whaL ¦ had been Lhrough as well as gríel over Lhe
nunber ol loved ones losL. ¦ walked away lron LhaL
Lragedy leelíng LhaL ¦ needed Lo do soneLhíng wíLh
ny líle, Lo líghL lor peace so LhaL genocíde would
never ever happen agaín ín our regíon. So íL was wíLh
LhaL níndseL LhaL ¦ applíed lor a |ob wíLh SLudío
¦|anbo, an ínnovaLíve nedía pro|ecL LhaL was usíng
radío Lo pronoLe peace and reconcíle Lhe Lwo warríng
eLhníc groups ín 8urundí. 1ogeLher wíLh a Lean ol
LalenLed local |ournalísLs, we sLrove Lo uphold Lhe
híghesL prolessíonal sLandards ol |ournalísn ín a very
díllículL nonenL ol our hísLory.
People ín 8urundí cane Lo LrusL índependenL radío
as a source ol ínlornaLíon buL also as a vehícle Lo
broadcasL sensíLíve ínlornaLíon. ¦L Look Líne Lo gaín
LhaL LrusL. ¦n Lhe begínníng people were alraíd ol Lal
kíng ínLo Lhe nícrophone. 1here was such an aLno
sphere ol lear and prolound nísLrusL, people ran away
whenever Lhey saw a |ournalísL. ¦L was alLer coveríng
several sLoríes abouL Lhe war, Lhe nassacres, and
oLher Lragíc evenLs duríng LhaL Líne LhaL people began
Lo open up.
When ¦ wenL ouL ínLo Lhe líeld and saíd ny nane,
people’s laces would break ínLo a sníle and ¦ would
always hear a word ol encouragenenL. AL Lhe radío,
we always worked as a Lean, regardless ol our eLhní
cíLy, and worked hard wíLh Lhe lacLcheckíng and dou
ble checkíng our sources Lo reporL wíLhouL any bías.
We always nade sure Lo go ín níxed Leans. boLh HuLu
and 1uLsí eLhníc groups represenLed. ¦L was a líLLle
scary aL Línes because when you wenL ínLo an area
where people were hosLíle Lowards your eLhníc group,
you had Lo rely LoLally on your colleague who was ol
Lhe oLher eLhníc group Lo keep you sale. 1haL lorged
a sLrong bond anongsL us. ¦urLhernore, you had Lo
soneLínes lace Lhe hosLílíLy ol lísLeners who díd noL
líke Lhe lacL LhaL we were denouncíng soneLínes vío
lenL acLs conníLLed by people ol our own eLhníc
group. ¦L was noL rare Lo be síngled ouL ín publíc or
called “LraíLor” by exLrenísL groups or índívíduals.
1he governnenL Loo was keepíng Labs on us. ¦ was
lílíng sLoríes on Lhe war lor AssocíaLed Press ín addí
Líon Lo ny work aL Lhe radío. ¦ olLen goL “reprínanded”
or “warned” on Lhe phone by arny ollícíals lor sLoríes
¦ wroLe abouL Lhe líghLíng. ¦ was even LhreaLened once
wíLh íncarceraLíon íl ¦ díd noL dívulge ny sources. ¦ was
called ínLo Lhe !usLíce MínísLer’s Ollíce lor an AP sLory
where ¦ quoLed one spokesnan lor a rebel group. 1he
líghLíng had ínLensílíed and was now Lakíng place noL
lar lron Lhe capíLal. 1he governnenL had warned Lhe
local sLaLíons abouL broadcasLíng ínLervíews wíLh Lhe
rebels usíng Lhe argunenL LhaL Lhe counLry was aL war
and LhaL íL was a naLíonal securíLy íssue. As |ournalísLs,
our posíLíon was LhaL Lhe sane rebels were ín secreL
Lalks wíLh governnenL, so we had an oblígaLíon Lo our
lísLeners Lo geL boLh víews.
When ¦ arríved aL Lhe MínísLer’s ollíce, ¦ was asked Lo
hand over Lhe rebel chíel’s cell phone nunber or go Lo
|aíl. ¦ chose Lo go Lo |aíl. Luckíly lor ne, íL was |usL a blull.
1he MínísLer already had Lhe nunber, buL he wanLed Lo
ínLínídaLe ne and naybe díscourage ne lron any lurL
oo122 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
her reporLíng. ¦L díd noL sLop ne, buL nade ne even
nore deLerníned Lo do ny |ob. ¦ can sLaLe lor a lacL LhaL
nonsLop coverage by 8urundí |ournalísLs duríng Lhe
cívíl and peace process kepL Lhe warríng parLíes ac
counLable and lorced Lhen Lo work Lowards peace.
kadío ín 8urundí becane Lhe lourLh esLaLe. ¦L kepL Lhe
governnenL ín check and denanded accounLabílíLy
lron Lhe local auLhoríLíes. 1hroughouL Lhe war, radío
covered boLh Lhe HuLu and 1uLsí canps and kepL Lhe
local populaLíons abreasL ol evenLs. kadío gave Lhe
people a plaLlorn lor díscussíon. ¦L olLen played nedía
Lor by organízíng debaLes beLween boLh ríval eLhníc
groups. kadío becane Lhe voíce ol Lhe voíceless. ¦L
LaughL people Lolerance and accepLance. 8y coveríng
aLrocíLíes conníLLed by boLh sídes, íL lorced people
Lo accepL and acknowledge Lhe LruLh. ¦L also gave an
unbíased accounL ol 8urundí’s recenL hísLory.
kadío prevenLed nassacres and kíllíngs ol ínnocenL
cívílíans where íL could by aíríng Lhe ínlornaLíon be
lorehand, díscouragíng Lhe arned groups lron carry
íng ouL Lheír deadly plans. ¦L helped curb víolence
beLween díllerenL eLhníc groups by Lryíng Lo geL ba
lanced reporLs on evenLs, gívíng a voíce Lo Lhe vícLíns
and conlronLíng Lhe auLhoríLíes and rebel groups Lo
explaín Lheír acLíons. 1he políLícíans and arned
groups could no longer píL people agaínsL one anoLher
by usíng propaganda and dísínlornaLíon. 1he people
were able Lo |udge lor Lhenselves because Lhey were
ínlorned. ¦gnorance and lack ol balanced and Lrue ín
lornaLíon has been Lhe rooL ol all evíl ín 8urundí.
Muzzlíng Lhe press, harassíng and arbíLraríly arresLíng
|ournalísLs caused such uproar LhaL Lhe auLhoríLíes
had Lo bow down Lo publíc pressure.
One Líne, Lhe governnenL had closed down one ol
Lhe popular prívaLe radío sLaLíons because íL had been
críLícal Lowards Lhe PresídenL. People cane lron
everywhere and denonsLraLed ín lronL ol Lhe radío
sLaLíon. When Lhe políce díspersed Lhen, Lhey wenL
Lo one ol Lhe PresídenL’s houses LhaL was under con
sLrucLíon, and sLaged a síLín. 1hey LhreaLened Lo bríng
Lhe house down, íl Lhe radío díd noL go back on aír. A
lew hours laLer, Lhe PresídenL lílLed Lhe ban on Lhe
radío sLaLíon. 1haL was a sígn lron Lhe people Lo Lhe
governnenL LhaL Lhey would never agaín accepL beíng
1he currenL ÜN envoy ín 8urundí, Charles PeLríe, re
cenLly saíd ín an ínLervíew LhaL “credíL needs Lo be gíven
Lo Lhe [8urundí] press” ín delusíng Lhe Lensíons and
lílLíng Lhe Laboos ín socíeLy.
AnoLher way our radío pro|ecL Lríed Lo break sLereo
Lypes and díscuss sensíLíve íssues líke eLhnícíLy, was
Lhrough drana. We produced a seríes called, “Our
neíghbors, ourselves” and were able Lo use íL as a plaL
lorn Lo debaLe socíal íssues. 1híngs LhaL people were
alraíd Lo say on aír, Lhey could acL ouL ín a skeLch. ¦L
also allowed people Lo debaLe Lhe íssues lreely sínce
Lhey were díscussíng “lícLíonal” characLers and síLua
Líons. 1he seríes was broadcasL lor 4 years wíLh huge
success LhroughouL Lhe counLry.
When ¦ noved Lo work wíLh a ÜN hunaníLarían news
agency, ¦k¦N, ¦ produced anoLher soap opera or radío
drana seríes wíLh a group ol 8urundían relugees lívíng
ín Lhe canps ín 1anzanía. 1hís radío soap opera wríLLen
lor and enacLed by 8urundían relugees denonsLraLed
once agaín Lhe power ol radío. 1he pro|ecL began ín
May 2oo¯ coveríng varíous aspecLs ol relugee líle, Lhe
peace process and Lhe reLurn hone. 1he 8urundí relu
gee canps ín 1anzanía had exísLed lor over LhírLy years.
Duríng LhaL períod, Lhe prevíous regínes díd every
Lhíng Lhey could Lo suppress all neans ol connuní
caLíon. Very líLLle nenLíon was nade ol Lhe ¬oo,ooo
people lívíng ín canps, and when nenLíoned íL was
usually Lo porLray Lhen as eneníes ol Lhe sLaLe, nur
derers and assassíns. 1hís radío soap opera gave a voíce
Lo Lhe 8urundí relugee as well as a say on whaL was
happeníng ín Lhe counLry. ¦or Lhe lírsL Líne, Lheír voíces
were heard across Lhe border. And we were sendíng
news reporLs abouL Lhe canps and Lhe repaLríaLíon
process LhaL was ongoíng.
People ín 8urundí were curíous and ínLeresLed ín Lhís
crossborder ínlornaLíon exchange. We were able Lo
puL a hunan lace Lo Lhe “8urundían relugee on Lhe
oLher síde ol Lhe border”. People back hone realízed
LhaL Lhey shared Lhe sane everyday íssues and aspíra
Líons wíLh Lhe relugees. Many were even surprísed Lo
hear LhaL relugees sLíll speak Lhe sane language and
were sLíll aLLached Lo Lheír counLry. Once Lhe díalogue
opened up, people were able Lo seL asíde Lheír dílle
rences and agree on cerLaín íssues. 8y experíence, ny
Lean and ¦ knew LhaL víolence erupLs ouL ol lear, and
you can only lear Lhe unknown. 8y geLLíng Lhe Lwo po
pulaLíons beLLer acquaínLed, Lhe pro|ecL helped deluse
pasL Lensíons. 1he reLurn lron exíle was no longer
víewed as a LhreaL lor eíLher populaLíon – and LhaL ís
soneLhíng only íníLíaLíves dealíng wíLh Lhe grassrooLs
can achíeve.
¦ had Lhe chance Lo experíence Lhe nagíc ol radío
once agaín, whíle Lraíníng Sudanese |ournalísLs aL Lhe
oo12¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
ÜN kadío ín !uba, SouLh Sudan. Sudan was very dílle
renL lron 8urundí ín Lhe sense LhaL nosL ol Lhe local
|ournalísLs had already pícked sídes. ¦L ís very hard Lo
línd ob|ecLívíLy or people who wanL Lo be “neuLral”.
Sudan had nany íssues rangíng lron racíal, Lo relí
gíous and línguísLíc dívísíons. People clearly lelL LhaL
Lhey were lundanenLally díllerenL and belonged Lo
Lwo díllerenL worlds. 1he NorLh ol Sudan ís naínly
Arab and Muslín whíle Lhe SouLh ís naínly ChrísLían
and 8lack. When ¦ arríved, Lhe language people used
ín prívaLe when Lalkíng abouL Lheír lellow counLrynen
lron Lhe NorLh or SouLh lelL ne ín no doubL. 1he radío
sLaLíon also enployed lorner soldíers Lo work wíLh
Lhen. So Lhe challenges were. how do you nake |our
nalísLs ouL ol lorner conbaLanLs7 How do you bríng
people who are sLíll políLícally acLíve and under Lheír
políLícal parLy or Lríbal/socíal/relígíous ínlluence Lo
Lhínk ob|ecLívely7 How do you buíld peace ín a war
AnoLher daunLíng Lask was Lo buíld a solíd and uníLed
Lean ol |ournalísLs – nakíng Lhe radío one. We had Lwo
newsroons. one ín KharLoun, Lhe capíLal ol NorLh
Sudan, and one ín !uba, Lhe capíLal ol SouLh Sudan. ¦L
olLen lelL líke we are Lwo separaLe radíos wíLhouL a
connon vísíon or goal. 1here was a loL ol rívalry –
whích ín nornal círcunsLances would be healLhy con
peLíLíon – LhaL weakened Lhe radío. ¦ lelL LhaL íl we
could bríng Lhe Lwo newsroons Lo work LogeLher, and
buíld LrusL, íL could be a LesL case lor Lhe resL ol Lhe
counLry. Cradually, Lhrough pep Lalks, a loL ol on Lhe
|ob Lraíníng locusíng on eLhícal reporLíng – lookíng aL
Lhe íssues and noL Lhe acLors – Lhe qualíLy ol Lhe work
ínproved. And as Lhe reporLíng ínproved, Lhe Lwo
Leans slowly began Lo apprecíaLe each oLher proles
síonally and sLarLed LreaLíng each oLher as equals.
¦ saw Lhese |ournalísLs gradually change and ríse
above Lhe conllícL and sLríve Lo be prolessíonal, non
parLísan and índependenL |ournalísLs dríven by Lheír
passíon Lo obLaín Lhe LruLh. ¦ lelL belore ¦ could see
Lhe Lwo newsroons nerge, lísLeníng Lo Lhe radío, you
would noL guess LhaL Lhe Leans were operaLíng lron
Lwo separaLe regíons.
¦ learned a loL as a |ournalísL workíng ín 8urundí du
ríng Lhe war and ín posL conllícL counLríes líke Sudan.
¦ learned Lo be accuraLe and renaín ob|ecLíve and
ínparLíal ín ny reporLs. ¦ soneLínes nade people
unhappy wíLh ny dogged pursuíL ol Lhe LruLh. One
soldíer ín 8urundí had even cruelly dubbed ne Lhe
“crow” because he saíd everywhere a dead body
showed up, ¦ was always on Lhe scene líke Lhe bírd.
8uL ¦ learned Lo deal wíLh díllículL and dangerous
people, líke Lhe soldíer, and ¦ also learned when Lo
push and when Lo Lread carelully when ¦ was collec
Líng ínlornaLíon. Over Líne, ¦ also developed a keen
sense ol danger, buL ¦ learned Lhe hard way. ¦ renen
ber goíng ouL Lo reporL on a newly buílL canp lor
people dísplaced by Lhe líghLíng ín 8urundí. On our
way, we saw people novíng lasL ín Lhe opposíLe
dírecLíon. We kepL drívíng and goL caughL ín Lhe cross
líre beLween rebels and Lhe arny. Luckíly we nanaged
Lo geL ouL salely buL ¦ always renenbered lron Lhen
on Lo be nore aware ol ny surroundíngs and look ouL
lor possíble sígns.
¦ also gaíned a prolound passíon lor |usLíce and Lhe
LruLh. ¦ cone lron a very Lroubled and conllícL prone
regíon ín Alríca where ínlornaLíon gíves a person
greaL power. ¦L can eíLher geL you kílled or save your
líle. 1hose who are prívy Lo cerLaín Lypes ol ínlorna
Líon wíeld íL líke a weapon agaínsL Lhe weak. 1hís
secreLíve culLure has been Lhe reason behínd our
bloodlílled pasL.
¦ undersLood, when coveríng Lhe war and Lhen Lhe
peace process, LhaL sharíng such crucíal ínlornaLíon
helped Lhe ordínary cíLízens nake Lheír own índívídual
choíces based on evídence and noL hearsay. ¦L also
acLed as a deLerrenL lor people who ín Lhe pasL used
lalse preLexLs Lo push people Lo víolence. kadío ís a
very powerlul Lool lor Alrícan cíLízens who wanL Lo
buíld sLrong, denocraLíc socíeLíes.
New York ís |usL anoLher leg ol ny |ourney. ¦l ¦ an here
Loday, íL ís because ol Lhe power radío has had ín ny
líle. And ¦ an noL alone. 1here are nany nore people
líke nysell whose líves have been Lranslorned posíLí
vely. 1o supporL and sLrengLhen radío ís Lo supporL
people whose voíces are beíng sílenced by repressíve
governnenLs and bríng Lhen a sLep closer Lo achíe
víng peace ín our líleLíne.
oo12õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLos © D¦¦D – ÜK DeparLnenL lor ¦nLernaLíonal DevelopnenL
oo12s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLo © noLphílaLall
oo126 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: IIlm maker, arI,
AIrIcah IIlm,
¦íln SLíll by Mark Wessels (www.narkwesselsphoLo.con)
lntervlew wlth Wanurl Kahlu
Kahiu was born in Nairobi, Kenya. After graduating
from the University of Warwick in 2001 with a BSc
degree in Management Science, she enrolled for a
Master’s Degree at the Masters of Fine Arts program
in directing at the School of Film and Television at
the University of California, Los Angeles.
You ßeg,
ßorrow, 5teaI ;-)
You Do AImost
Anythlng To
Cet Fundlng.
oo127 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
PhoLo by Chrís Kíng
oo128 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Wanuri Kahiu, a young Kenyan filmmaker, was introduced to me by Mark Kaigwa, also author in
this issue of we_magazine. Contact, first chat and the interview itself happened within one hour – thanks
to real time communication on the Web. Before we start with the interview here is a short introduction
to cinema in Africa.
African filmmakers often have difficulty accessing African audiences. The commercial cinemas in Africa
often have to book blindly and show primarily Hollywood or Bollywood films. However, there are still
limited venues where African audiences have access to African films, e.g. at the Panafrican film festival in
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Most African filmmakers still rely heavily on European institutions for
financing and producing their films. A commercially viable video production has been set up in Nigeria,
colloquially known as Nollywood. When you look deeper into it, you can clearly see that many young
African film makers follow a mission: They focus on social and political themes rather than any commer-
cial interests, and they try to give an exploration of the conflicts between the traditional past and modern
times. Their role is often compared to traditional Griots. Like them their task is to express and reflect
communal experiences.
¦íln SLíll by Mark Wessels (www.narkwesselsphoLo.con)
oo12¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
What made you a filmmaker Wanuri?
Wanurl: ¦’n a lírn belíever LhaL Lhere wíll always be a
role lor sLoryLellers ín Alríca. ¦ Lhínk ¦’n |usL a nodern
day sLoryLeller and ¦ use Lhe Lools LhaL are avaílable Lo
ny generaLíon. ¦ do renenber when ¦ realízed wíL
houL a shadow ol a doubL LhaL’s íL whaL ¦ wanLed Lo
do. ¦ was 16 years old. 8elore LhaL ¦ dídn’L even know
LhaL people produce 1V shows or nake líln.
So how come?
Wanurl: ¦ used Lo waLch a loL ol 1V. ¦ was a bookworn
and a Lelly addícL. When ¦ walked lor Lhe lírsL Líne ínLo
a producLíon sLudío and saw whaL Lhey were doíng, ¦
was líke. “1haL’s exacLly whaL ¦ wanL Lo do ín ny líle.”
Do you know whaL ¦ nean7
Yes! Where was it? In Nairobi or …
Wanurl: Yes, íL was ín Naírobí. A lríend ol ny noLher
was Lryíng Lo sLarL a 1V sLaLíon. 8y Lhen we were sLíll
under Lhe dícLaLorshíp ol Moí, so he never knew ex
acLly íl he would be able Lo geL Lhe ríghL docunenLs,
you know7
Wanurl: 1he nonenL ¦ walked ín ¦ knew Lhís ís íL, whaL
¦ wanLed Lo do.
That sounds great, so what is your background? Did you
study moviemaking, filmmaking?
Wanurl: Yes, alLer knowíng LhaL Lhís ís whaL ¦ wanLed
Lo do. ¦írsL ¦ applíed lor any possíble ínLernshíp Lo geL
closer Lo lílnnakíng. 1hen ¦ sLudíed and líníshed ny
MasLers ín ¦íln aL Lhe ÜníversíLy ol Calílornía ín Los
Not the worst place to do this ...
Wanurl: ¦L ís Lhe besL place Lo be lor lílnnakíng. LA
was a very ínLeresLíng experíence lor ne. ¦ don’L Lhínk
LhaL ¦’ve neL one síngle “real” person ín all Lhe years
¦ spenL ín LA. Lverybody was playíng a role. Lryíng Lo
be an acLor or Lryíng Lo be a sínger or cab dríver Lry
íng Lo be ín drana. 1here was nobody |usL beíng who
Lhey are.
How would you describe the film industry in Africa?
Wanurl: 1he líln índusLry ín Alríca ís Lwolold. Many
people probably know abouL Nollywood, Lagos,
Nígería, because íL ís so prolílíc. 8uL LhaL’s only Lhe
one Lype ol lílnnakíng we have. And Lhen Lhere’s Lhe
Alrícan cínenaLography LradíLíon LhaL has been Lhere
lor a long Líne. We all know nanes líke Ousnane
Senbene and Ounarou Canda – Lhe greaL godlaLhers
ol Alrícan cínena. 1hey saw lílnnakíng as an ínpor
LanL políLícal Lool lor recLílyíng Lhe erroneous ínage
ol Alrícans puL lorward by WesLern lílnnakers and lor
reclaíníng Lhe ínage ol Alríca lor Alrícans.
¦ would líke Lo Lhínk nysell as Lhe laLLer. ¦ would líke Lo
Lhínk nysell as a lílnnaker LhaL produces lor LheaLrí
cal release as well. kíghL now íL ís very excíLíng because
a loL ol aLLenLíon ís Lurníng back Lo Lhe Alrícan conLí
nenL. Alríca ís beconíng sexy agaín wíLh Lhe World
Cup and everyLhíng. 1haL’s greaL.
I totally agree. There is really a u-turn: America or Western
Europe at least have started to think differently about Africa.
It is no longer considered the "dark continent" as many busi-
ness opportunities are opening up. But I also feel – since I do
quite some work with Africans – that more and more young
educated Africans are returning back home after their studies,
ready and willing to drive change by themselves. They’re no
longer waiting for help. They really start doing their own
thing, they want to shape their future by themselves. I really
love to see this is! I think it’s very important!
Going back to filmmaking my next question is: Do you think
African film production has any impact on African society
and what role is played by digital media?
Wanurl: Ol course! So Lhe lírsL quesLíon ís íL ínpor
LanL ín socíeLy7 Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.
oo1¯o we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
In which ways?
Wanurl: ¦n díllerenL ways. ¦ Lhínk nany ol us who are
noL able Lo Lravel Lo oLher Alrícan naLíons have alnosL
no chance Lo learn anyLhíng abouL oLher Alrícan cul
Lures. Sínply because ol Lhe ínages LhaL we see on
1V. so nany nore sLoríes lron Lhe WesL Lhan lron
Alríca. Alríca barely exísL on our 1V screens. Many ol
us even lorgeL our own represenLaLíon, our own role
wíLhín socíeLy and culLure, wíLhín our eLhos and wíLh
ín our or own noralíLy. 1híngs are líke LhaL, because
LhaL ís noL whaL ís presenLed Lo us. 1haL’s delíníLely
noL whaL ís presenLed Lo ny generaLíon ol Alrícans.
¦ renenber Lravelíng around Lhe conLínenL and beíng
very lascínaLed by Alríca. ¦ was overwhelned by Lhe
beauLy ol Lhe landscape and Lhe díversíLy ol our cul
Lures. ¦ haven’L seen íL belore and ¦ dídn’L know abouL
íL – even Lhough ¦ líve here. And lílns, docunenLaríes,
any kínd ol sLory Lellíng can bríng Lhís Lo us, can raíse
awareness. Alrícan lílnnakers have an ínporLanL role
Lo play here. Cíve people a sense ol allílíaLíon, Lo
where Lhey belong Lo – when Lhey see Lheír conLínenL
ín Lhe nedía. 1haL’s one ol Lhe Lhíngs lor us, Lhe Alrícan
lílnnakers – and ¦’n nakíng Lhís very, very general
and ¦ apologíze lor íL – buL LhaL ís one ol our ínpor
LanL roles. Lo porLray a posíLíve, generous, lovíng and
lanLasLíc ínage ol who we are! 8ased upon Lhís we
can begín Lo have a díalogue abouL ourselves and aL
leasL we can begín Lo relísh beíng our own heroes.
1he second quesLíon abouL Lhe dígíLal age, yes íL’s
lanLasLíc. AcLually one ol Lhe ways ¦ have been able Lo
dísLríbuLe ny lílns Lo líln lesLívals was onlíne. ¦ can
upload íL Lo a ¦1P server and sonebody else can
download íL on Lhe oLher síde. ¦L doesn’L lose resolu
Líon, íLs qualíLy renaíns Lhe sane and íL’s allordable.
CreaLíng a HD nasLer Lape ís sLíll alnosL ínpossíble. ¦L
ís way Loo expensíve and only a lew places ín Naírobí
províde Lhís kínd ol equípnenL. So Lo be able Lo send
a dígíLal lornaL líln, so LhaL oLher people can creaLe
nasLers so LhaL Lhey can save íL on a hard dríve ís re
voluLíonary and also very ellecLíve, ellícíenL (cosL and
Líne ellícíenL) and has |usL becone a breeze.
And dígíLal nedía ís also ínporLanL duríng Lhe pro
ducLíon process and ín Lhe posL producLíon. We Alrí
cans have noL nanaged Lo perlecL Lhe arL ol líln
nakíng yeL, because íL dídn’L cone lron Lhís síde ol
Lhe world. ¦L has a nuch longer LradíLíon and hísLory
ín Lurope and ín Lhe WesL. So we are sLíll learníng a
loL. ¦or exanple ín sound níxíng and sound conpo
síLíon we are noL aL Lhe Lop ol Lhe gane. ¦or ny líln
Punzí whích ¦ shoL ín SouLh Alríca, ¦ had Lo híre a con
poser lron Lhe NeLherlands. An anazíng, anazíng
conposer. ÜnlorLunaLely unLíl Loday we have never
ever neL laceLolace. We connunícaLed vía SKYPL –
and Lhís ís how ¦ know hín …! Only ín vírLual space …!
How would you describe the film industry in Kenya?
Wanurl: 1he líln índusLry ín Kenya ís growíng. Sone
Lhíng new besídes Lhe lrancophíle ínlluence lron
WesL Alríca ís happeníng. ¦or Lhe lírsL Líne we – ín
LasL Alríca – have begun Lo Lake on a very díllerenL
role. We are begínníng Lo claín our own space. And ¦
an noL Lalkíng only abouL ne. ¦ see Lhís happeníng ín
Üganda, ín 1anzanía. 1here ís an anazíng lílnnaker
ouL ol Üganda called Carol Kanya and she produced
her lírsL leaLure líln ¦naní LhaL was shown aL Lhe 8er
línale earlíer Lhís year. So Lhese Lhíngs are happeníng
and Lhere’s such a wave ol new LasL Alrícan cínena.
Very excíLíng, very dynaníc. We’re experínenLíng
wíLh Lhe arL lorn and Lhe way we’re dealíng wíLh íL ís
delíníLely díllerenL Lo Lhe way WesL Alríca does.
Are there any schools or universities where you can now
study filmmaking yet in Africa?
Wanurl: 1here are only a lew schools. ¦ wouldn’L say
Lhey’re lílnnakíng schools, Lhey are nore |ournalísLíc
schools. ¦ílnnakíng ís sLíll really, really ín íLs early
days. People who are nakíng lílns are nosL líkely
Lakíng Lraíníng workshops. Líke 1on 1ykwer has crea
Led workshops where young lílnnakers can cone and
sLudy and produce / creaLe a líln. Hís group has |usL
shown Lheír second líln ín Kenya whích has been ge
neraLíng ínLeresL ín our lílnnakíng índusLry. ¦L has
also encouraged oLher people Lo explore Lhe possíbí
líLíes ol lílnnakíng.
How do you fund your movies?
Wanurl: You beg, borrow, sLeal ,) You do alnosL any
Lhíng Lo receíve lundíng.
AL Lhe nonenL ¦’ve been lorLunaLe enough Lo have a
day |ob, so ¦ work duríng dayLíne and aL níghL ¦ an
oo1¯1 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
pushíng ny líln pro|ecLs. ¦or Lhís docunenLary ín
Sudan ¦’ve been lullíllíng ny day |ob duLíes, dídn’L
Lake one day oll and now ¦ an able Lo leave and nake
Lhís docunenLary happen. When ¦ cone back ín laLe
!anuary ¦ wíll sLarL agaín workíng. ¦’n splíLLíng ny days
ín hall. Day’s work ís lor payíng ny renL, níghL’s work
ís dedícaLed Lo ny “everyLhíng”, ny drean, Lhe reason
why ¦’n alíve.
So there is no way for you to make a living based on
Wanurl: ¦L’s very hard. 1hís ís Lhe lírsL |ob ¦’ve Laken lor
Lhe pasL líve years, ¦ have been lívíng lron lílnnakíng
buL íL can be very sLresslul. ¦’ve learnL lor nysell LhaL
creaLívíLy and sLress do noL líve LogeLher. 1hey do noL
líve ín harnony.
Not at all.
Wanurl: 1hís ís why ¦’ve decíded Lo Lake a |ob. ¦ wan
Led Lo avoíd Lhe sLress Lo línd Lhe noney Lo pay ny
nonLhly renL. Now ¦ can allow nysell Lo be creaLíve …
1o be creaLíve LhaL ís Lhe only reason why ¦ wake up ín
Lhe norníng. ¦L’s Lhe only reason ¦ surround nysell
wíLh Lhe people ¦ love. ¦L gíves ne |oy, pleasure, paín.
What is your dream?
Wanurl: My drean ís Lo be able Lo nake a lívíng lron
lílnnakíng. ¦ wanL Lo be successlul. Successlul ín Lhe
sense LhaL ¦ wíll be able Lo raíse ny laníly. ¦ wanL Lo
nake Lhe lílns ¦ love … LhaL’s ny prínary vocaLíon.
What kind of films would these be?
Wanurl: DíllerenL Lypes ol lílns. scíencelícLíon lílns,
docunenLaríes. My lírsL leaLure líln was abouL a real
sLory LhaL happened ín Kenya and ¦ adapLed íL ínLo a
narraLíve píece.
¦’ve always dealL wíLh Lhe quesLíon. “WhaL ís Wanurí’s
sLyle7” ¦ belíeve ny sLyle ís delíned by ny Lhenes. 1he
Lhenes LhaL ¦ deal wíLh usually deal wíLh belongíng,
wíLh díaspora, Lhey usually have Lo do wíLh beíng
hone or líndíng a hone.
You are leaving tomorrow for Sudan to shoot a new docu-
mentary. How would you describe the situation right
now in Sudan?
Wanurl: 1he síLuaLíon ín Sudan a couple ol weeks ago
was very peacelul, very energeLíc, very hopelul. ¦L lelL
líke everybody was gunníng lor peacelul denocraLíc
change. And LhaL’s whaL we hope Lo record. We hope
Lo record people who are lookíng lor change ín a po
síLíve and peacelul way. And we hope Lo reconnecL a
courageous and beauLílul young nan wíLh hís laníly
whích he hasn’L seen lor 18 years.
I was in Africa in August when in your home country
Kenya the new constitution became effective.
A very proud moment. Full of hope …
Wanurl: Yes, ¦ renenber how hopelul íL was.
It was. It really was … Everybody in the streets was so proud.
Wanurl: ¦ Lhínk íL was one ol Lhe greaLesL nonenLs ín
Kenya’s hísLory. Lspecíally alLer Lhe lasL elecLíons when
we laced so nuch víolence. ¦L was so devasLaLíng. So
íL was very ínporLanL lor Kenyans Lo voLe and leel LhaL
Lhey can nake a díllerence. And Lhey’ve nade Lhe díl
lerence. 1hey voLed lor Lhe new consLíLuLíon – a con
sLíLuLíon we lelL we needed lor ourselves and lor our
counLry. ¦L lílls ne wíLh such príde Lo be parL ol a coun
Lry LhaL recognízes a need lor change and allows
íLs cíLízens Lo be parL ol íL. 1haL ísn’L connon lor all
Alrícan naLíons yeL ...
Do you think the political parties will go along with it?
Wanurl: ¦ Lhínk Lhey don’L have a choíce.
So coming back to filmmaking, what makes a good movie?
Wanurl: A good sLory nakes good novíes. ¦ Lhínk LhaL
sLory ís key. SLory ís key, yes, and havíng sLrong and
conplícaLed characLers LhaL are noL sLereoLypícal ís
also very ínporLanL.
oo1¯2 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
What is your favourite movie?
Wanurl: 1haL’s a hard quesLíon. ¦L depends on Lhe day.
1oday, ¦ Lhínk ny lavouríLe novíe ís “¦n Lhe Mood lor
“In the Mood for Love”. Good. Good to hear.
Wanuri, anything you would like to add at the end?
Anything missing what you would like to say?
Wanurl: No. Or nay be ¦ should poínL ouL Lhe lacL LhaL
íL’s really ínporLanL lor Lhe people Lo supporL Lhe arLs,
íL ís Lhe hearLbeaL and Lhe pulse ol Lhe people, ol a
socíeLy. ¦L’s a greaL way Lo connunícaLe across Lhe
borders. We need Lhe arLs Lo unlold our lull poLenLíal.
¦ sLíll cannoL undersLand why nusíc and arLs have
been Laken ouL ol Lhe school currículuns …
Why is this?
Wanurl: 8udgeL resLrícLíons … When lree educaLíon
— prínary educaLíon sLarLed Lhey lelL LhaL Lhey needed
Lo concenLraLe on whaL Lhey lelL was ínporLanL. And
arL was noL consídered Lo be ínporLanL ...
That’s sad.
Wanurl: ¦L ís very sad, yes.
Wanuri, thank you very much!! It was a great pleasure!
¦íln SLíll by Mark Wessels (www.narkwesselsphoLo.con)
oo1¯¯ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo1¯õ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
¦íln SLíll by koss Híllíer (www.rosshíllíer.co.nr)
oo1¯s we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo1¯6 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
tags: mobIle,
healIh care,
PhoLo © ¦reríeke
5teve 5ong
... is the founder of Village Telco, a social enterprise
that develops low-cost, Open Source, telephone net-
work technology for use in under-serviced areas. He
has spent the last three years as a fellow at the Shutt-
leworth Foundation in South Africa developing both
advocacy and technology to drive down the cost of
access for those who can least afford it.
Change Has A
Name: MoblIe
oo1¯7 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
oo1¯8 we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
Mobile telecommunication networks in
Africa have profoundly changed the face
of social and commercial life in Africa.
But understanding the scale and impact
of this change can be a challenge for
several reasons.
PhoLo © kool¸skaLkaL
oo1¯¤ we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
¦írsL, nobíle neLworks and relaLed servíces are grow
íng aL an unprecedenLed raLe. Measures ol neLwork
síze nusL be conLínually revísed, as Lhe landscape ol
nobíle access can change sígnílícanLly over a lew
Second, Lhe nedíun íLsell ís evolvíng. NoL so long ago,
we consídered nobíle phones were |usL LhaL, phones
lor voíce conversaLíons. Now nore and nore nobíle
phones are also generíc ¦nLerneL access devíces, whích
opens up a whole new world ol access Lhrough Lhe
sane neLwork.
1he Lhírd challenge Lo undersLandíng nobíle neLworks
ín Alríca ís obLaíníng relevanL usage daLa. NeLwork
operaLors regard deLaíled ínlornaLíon on neLwork
usage and growLh as conlídenLíal busíness ínlorna
Líon LhaL níghL gíve Lheír conpeLíLors an advanLage.
MosL ol Lhe avaílable ínlornaLíon ís Lherelore Lhe pro
ducL ol LhírdparLy research. ÜnlorLunaLely, Lhe appe
LíLe ol lunders Lo supporL publíclyaccessíble, broad
based enpírícal research appears Lo be nodesL aL besL.
As a resulL, conprehensíve ínlornaLíon on connuní
caLíon paLLerns and allordabílíLy ol access ís noL wídely
avaílable and we are lelL Lo ínLuíL Lhe gaps ín our
So whaL do we know abouL Lhe ínpacL ol nobíles ín
Alríca7 Perhaps Lhe nosL sígnílícanL índícaLor ol Lhe
ínpacL and ínporLance ol connunícaLíon neLworks
ís Lheír very pervasíveness ín such a shorL space ol
Hígh level nacro econoníc sLudíes by Leonard
Wavernan ol Lhe London 8usíness School and oLhers
have nade credíble claíns LhaL Lhe spread ol nobíle
ínlrasLrucLure has had a dírecL posíLíve ínpacL on CDP.
AL Lhe nícro level, nany anLhropologícal sLudíes have
prolíled Lhe use and ínpacL ol nobíle phones on
specílíc connuníLíes. 8eLween Lhese nacro and nícro
levels, however, nuch ís sLíll guessed aL.
1here ís a seducLíve Lendency when Lalkíng abouL Lhe
conLínenL ol Alríca Lo reler Lo íL as a síngle counLry.
1he nínd boggles aL Lhe LhoughL ol characLerísíng
¬¯ díllerenL sLaLes and econoníes and we Lend Lo seek
ouL broad brush sLrokes Lo help cope wíLh Lhe dazzlíng
conplexíLy ol Lhe conLínenL. 1hís ís Lrue as nuch ín
Lhe Lelecons secLor as anywhere else. And superlící
ally Lhe developnenL ol LeleconnunícaLíon ínlra
sLrucLure across counLríes ín Alríca looks very sínílar.
MosL Alrícan counLríes have sLruggled wíLh narkeL lí
beralísaLíon, wíLh Lhe separaLíon ol governnenL ín
vesLnenL ín lornerly íncunbenL LeleconnunícaLíon
operaLors, and wíLh Lhe kínd ol LacíL ínlluence íl noL
ouLríghL corrupLíon LhaL such a lucraLíve narkeL ín
spíres. YeL, Lhe closer we look, Lhe nore íL ís evídenL
LhaL Lhere are no sínple lornulas lor sLínulaLíng
growLh and conpeLíLíon, LhaL each counLry has uní
que challenges and opporLuníLíes.
LeL’s Lake a look aL Kenya and SouLh Alríca as exan
ples. On Lhe surlace Lhe LeleconnunícaLíons secLor ol
Lhese Lwo counLríes have nuch ín connon.
• 8oLh have an índependenL connunícaLíons
regulaLor whose |ob ís Lo ensure healLhy growLh
ol Lhe LeleconnunícaLíons narkeL. ¦n boLh
counLríes, Lhese regulaLors have adopLed proopen
access regulaLíon lor lícensíng LeleconnunícaLíon
conpaníes. 1hís polícy approach aíns Lo separaLe
ínlrasLrucLure lron servíces wíLh Lhe ínLenLíon
ol sLínulaLíng índependenL conpeLíLíon lor Lhe
provísíon ol ínlrasLrucLure as well as lor Lhe
servíces LhaL run on LhaL ínlrasLrucLure. 1hus,
Lhe conpany LhaL bríngs copper wíre or wíreless
connecLívíLy Lo your hone need noL be Lhe sane
conpany LhaL sells voíce, ¦nLerneL or oLher servíces
Lhrough Lhose connecLíons.
• 8oLh Kenya and SouLh Alríca are recenL benelí
cíaríes ol new undersea líbreopLíc cables whích
províde orders ol nagníLude lor greaLer ¦nLerneL
and voíce capacíLy. 8oLh counLríes are acLívely posí
Líoníng Lhenselves as regíonal hubs lor LhaL
• Kenya and SouLh Alríca have a lorner nonopoly
líxedlíne íncunbenL LeleconnunícaLíons servíce
províder ín whích Lheír respecLíve governnenLs
reLaín a subsLanLíal ínvesLnenL. ¦urLhernore,
Lhe largesL nobíle operaLor ín Lhese counLríes,
Salarícon ín Kenya and Vodacon ín SouLh Alríca
have Vodalone ÜK as Lheír nosL sígnílícanL
shareholder. 8oLh counLríes currenLly have lour
nobíle operaLors.
• Kenya and SouLh Alríca have roughly 1o% ¦nLerneL
oo1õo we¸volume¸oõ/2o11
• ¦ínally, boLh Kenya and SouLh Alríca have nobíle
enabled noney Lransler and paynenL servíces.
NoLably, Lhe bíggesL nobíle noney success sLory
ín Alríca, Salarícon’s nPesa servíce, was recenLly
launched ín SouLh Alríca.
Cíven Lhís lísL, Lhe developnenL ol Leleconnuníca
Líons ínlrasLrucLure ín Kenya and SouLh Alríca appears
very sínílar. On a closer look, however, we línd LhaL
Lhe díllerences sígnílícanLly ouLweígh Lhese sínílarí
Kenyans spend a nuch larger percenLage ol Lheír
dísposable íncone on nobíle servíces Lhan do SouLh
Alrícans. Croundbreakíng work by kesearch¦C1Alríca
(hLLp.//www.researchícLalríca.neL), has shown LhaL,
wíLhín Lhe boLLon ¯¬% ol earners ín Kenya, people
spend an íncredíble 6¯.6% ol Lheír dísposable íncone
on nobíle servíces. ¦n SouLh Alríca, wíLhín Lhe sane
denographíc, LhaL lígure ís ¯8.2%. 1hís díllerence can
be aLLríbuLed ín large parL Lo a hígher average íncone
ín SouLh Alríca buL Lhere are oLher lacLors aL play as
SouLh Alríca has a nuch larger líxedlíne ínlrasLruc
Lure Lhan Kenya, wíLh 4o% ol urban areas havíng líxed
líne servíces ín SA versus a líLLle over 11% ín Kenya.
1hís neans LhaL urban users ín SouLh Alríca nay rely
nore on líxedlíne lor sone servíces such as ¦nLerneL
or sone voíce servíces whereas ín Kenya lar lewer
people have LhaL choíce.
Whíle boLh counLríes have lour naLíonal nobíle opera
Lors, Kenya ís donínaLed by Salarícon whose narkeL
share ís over 8o%. 1hís ís perhaps Lhe nosL ínLeresL
íng díllerence beLween SouLh Alríca and Kenya. WíLh
LhaL kínd ol narkeL donínance, Salarícon has been
ín a posíLíon Lo dícLaLe íLs Lerns Lo Lhe narkeL. One
would ínagíne LhaL Lhís would lead Lo a less conpeLí
Líve envíronnenL Lhan ín SouLh Alríca where Lhe
narkeL ís sonewhaL nore balanced. However, ín Lhe
lasL Lwo years, Kenya has seen nore príce conpeLíLíon
Lhan SouLh Alríca, Moreover, Kenya has nanaged Lo
naínLaín ínLerconnecLíon charges beLween Lelephone
neLworks LhaL are hall Lhose ín SouLh Alríca.
One níghL also argue LhaL Salarícon’s nassíve síze
enabled Lhe huge success ol nPesa ín Kenya, a success
whích curíously has noL been replícaLed Lo Lhe sane
degree anywhere else on Lhe conLínenL. SouLh Alríca
ín parLícular has noL seen a Lrenendous upLake ol
nPesa sínce íLs launch. 1he lacLors underpínníng Lhís
are conplex and worLh exploríng lurLher.
More sígnílícanL Lhan any ol Lhe above poínLs, howe
ver, ís Lhe arríval ol 8harLíAírLel ín Kenya Lhrough íLs
acquísíLíon ol Zaín neLworks ín Alríca. Zaín Kenya ís
Lhe second largesL nobíle operaLor ín Kenya. ¦ndían
owned 8harLíAírLel cones lron a nore aggressíve,
conpeLíLíve LeleconnunícaLíons envíronnenL ín ¦ndía
and has broughL operaLíonal and prícíng nodels LhaL
have senL shockwaves Lhrough Lhe Kenyan nobíle
narkeL. ¦n AugusL 2o11, 8harLíAírLel (Zaín) dropped
nobíle príces by over 6o%. Salarícon held ouL lor a
couple ol weeks buL evenLually dropped Lheír príces
Lo naLch. OverníghL Kenya becane one ol Lhe nosL
conpeLíLíve LeleconnunícaLíons narkeLs on Lhe con
Príor Lo buyíng Zaín, 8harLíAírLel had been ín negoLía
Líon wíLh M1N Lo buy Lheír neLworks ín Alríca. M1N ís
SouLh Alríca’s second largesL nobíle operaLor. ¦L ís
ínLeresLíng Lo speculaLe wheLher, had 8harLíAírLel
boughL M1N ínsLead ol Zaín, SouLh Alríca níghL be
Lhe nosL conpeLíLíve LeleconnunícaLíons narkeL ín
kegardless, Lhere ís now a nassíve díllerence ín Lele
connunícaLíons cosLs beLween Kenya and SouLh
Alríca. Lookíng aL Salarícon and Vodacon, Lwo con
paníes wíLh Lhe sane parenL ín Vodalone ÜK, voíce
calls are 8 Línes nore expensíve ín SouLh Alríca Lhan
ín Kenya. ¦ndívídual SMSes are Lhree Línes nore
expensíve. ¦or bulk purchases, SMS cosLs are up Lo
2o Línes nore expensíve. ¦or daLa servíces, ouLol
package daLa raLes have Lhe sane kínd ol dísLorLíon.
Mobíle daLa cosLs are Lhree Línes nore expensíve ín
SouLh Alríca. More Lhan anyLhíng else, Lhese lígures
suggesL LhaL Lhe SouLh Alrícan nobíle narkeL ís rela
Lívely sLagnanL and unconpeLíLíve.
¦nLeresLíngly, Lhís síLuaLíon conLrasLs dranaLícally wíLh
Lhe ¦nLerneL servíce provísíon narkeL ín SouLh Alríca
whích has seen íncreased conpeLíLíon and drops ín
príce lor pure ¦nLerneL servíces ol up Lo 8o% ín Lhe lasL
18 nonLhs. ¦nLerneL Servíces Províders (¦SPs) have had
healLhy conpeLíLíon lor nany years buL unLíl recenLly
have been hansLrung by havíng all ínLernaLíonal
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access LhroLLled by 1elkon SouLh Alríca, Lhanks Lo
Lheír conLrol ol Lhe SA1¯ undersea cable. ¦L Look abouL
a year alLer Lhe arríval ol Lhe Seacon cable ín !une
2oo¤ lor príces Lo nove buL 2o1o has seen an avalan
che ol change wíLh ADSL ¦nLerneL cosLs droppíng as
nuch as ¯o%. Kenya ís experíencíng sínílar príce
drops ín Lhe ¦SP narkeL alLhough Lhere ís nuch nore
denand lor nobíle ¦nLerneL ín Kenya due Lo Lhe lower
densíLy ol líxedlíne ínlrasLrucLure.
We can also see sígnílícanL díllerences ín Lhe nobíle
¦nLerneL narkeL. ¦acebook, arguably Lhe lasLesL grow
íng ¦nLerneLbased servíce ín Alríca, ís an íncreasíngly
good proxy lor neasuríng nobíle ¦nLerneL use on Lhe
conLínenL. ¦acebook ís Lhe Lop nobíle ¦nLerneL desLí
naLíon ín boLh Kenya and SouLh Alríca. And whíle
Lhere are nany nore ¦acebook users ín SouLh Alríca,
nearly ¯.¬ níllíon ín SouLh Alríca as conpared Lo
abouL a níllíon ín Kenya, Lhere ís a díllerenL growLh
paLLern across Lhe Lwo. ¦acebook use ín Kenya has
grown 2¯% ín Lhe lasL síx nonLhs conpared Lo 16% ín
SouLh Alríca.
Sínílarly, we can see nobíle ad growLh ín Kenya ex
plodíng aL 116% ín Lhe lasL year versus 18% ín SouLh
Alríca. And whíle nobíle ¦nLerneL use ín general ís
growíng ín boLh counLríes, we see 2¯¤% growLh ín
Opera browser sLaLísLícs ín Kenya versus 12¤% ín
SouLh Alríca. However, as wíLh all sLaLísLícs, Lhís eví
dence needs Lo be exaníned ín conLexL. 1he nassíve
popularíLy ol Mx¦1 as a nessagíng plaLlorn ín SouLh
Alríca nay parLíally accounL lor Lhe díllerence ín raLe
ol ¦acebook upLake. Also, Lhere ís evídence LhaL use
ol Lhe nobíle ¦nLerneL Lhrough dedícaLed “apps” such
as a nobíle ¦acebook or Cnaíl app ís nore popular
Lhan usíng Lhe sane servíces Lhrough a browser such
as Opera.
1hís Lale ol Lwo Alrícan LeleconnunícaLíons narkeLs
underscores Lhe conplexíLy ol connunícaLíon nar
keLs ín Alríca. NoneLheless, we can draw sone Lellíng
conclusíons. We know LhaL denand lor nobíle ser
víces ís growíng by leaps and bounds and we know
LhaL cosL renaíns a barríer Lo upLake. We know LhaL
wíLh Kenya and a lew oLhers as noLable excepLíons,
nobíle narkeLs renaín unconpeLíLíve ín Alríca na
kíng cosLs hígh lor Lhose who nosL need íL buL can
leasL allord íL. 1he greaLesL barríer Lo access on Lhe
conLínenL and Lo a growíng wave ol Alrícan ínnova
Líon ís Lhe cosL ol access and enablíng real conpeLí
Líon ís Lhe key Lo drívíng príces down.
ÜnlorLunaLely enablíng conpeLíLíon ín Lhe Lelecon
nunícaLíons narkeLplace ís noL as sLraíghLlorward as
sínply allowíng new conpeLíLors ínLo Lhe narkeL, alL
hough LhaL ís obvíously a lacLor. 1he key Lo parLícípa
Líon ín Lhe narkeL ís access Lo wíreless specLrun. 1he
rísíng príce ol copper as a connodíLy nakes íL ín
creasíngly ínpracLícal as a lasL níle soluLíon. ¦Ls ín
crease ín value also nakes íL nore appealíng as a
LargeL lor LhelL. 1he only pracLícal opLíon lor servíce
delívery ís wíreless. However, one cannoL use |usL any
wíreless specLrun. Mobíle phones are desígned Lo
work wíLhín specílíc wíreless specLrun bands Lhus re
gulaLors are consLraíned Lo assígn specílíc ranges ol
specLrun lor nobíle use.
1he resulL ís LhaL nosL ol Lhe specLrun allocaLed lor
nobíle use has already been assígned Lo exísLíng
nobíle operaLors. 1hís “adnínísLraLíve scarcíLy” ol
specLrun ís soneLhíng LhaL urgenLly needs Lo be
addressed by regulaLors. More specLrun needs Lo be
nade avaílable wheLher Lhrough Lhe lícensíng ol new
specLrun bands, sharíng ol exísLíng bands, or íncrea
sed use ol unlícensed specLrun líke Wí¦í.
Lnablíng nore conpeLíLíon Lhrough íncreased access
Lo wíreless specLrun ís an opporLuníLy LhaL could help
dríve down Lhe cosL ol access on Lhe conLínenL. 1o
daLe we have seen greaL íncreases ín ellícíency
Lhrough access Lo nobíle ínlrasLrucLure ín Alríca. ¦l we
can dríve down Lhe cosL ol access Lo Lhe poínL where
nobíle users don’L need Lo Lhínk abouL how nuch
Lhey are spendíng aL every access, we’ll begín Lo see
a wave ol ínnovaLíon ín Alrícan producLs and servíces
LhaL wíll asLonísh Lhe world.
Research IC1 AIrIca. hLLp.//www.researchícLalríca.neL
CIA World FacI 8ook:
SocIal 8akers – HearI oI Facebook SIaIIsIIcs:
Admob – MobIle MeIrIcs: hLLp.//neLrícs.adnob.con/
Opera – SIaIe oI Ihe MobIle Web: hLLp.//www.opera.con/snw/
IhIerheI World SIaIs: hLLp.//www.ínLerneLworldsLaLs.con/al/
Vodacom: hLLp.//www.vodacon.co.za
SaIarIcom: hLLp.//www.salarícon.co.ke
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PhoLo © LsLher Dyson
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PhoLo © Onpeh
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Our CuIture –
A 5ource Of Llfe
Afflrmlng ¡oy
Emmahuel Charlse RIchardsoh, 2o, Cape CoasI, Chaha
tags: culIure, empowermehI,
dahce, uhIIy drum, oomph,
AIrIcah youIh
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There was a time my mother and father met in life to be a couple and care
for each other. It came to the point where my father and mum gave birth to my
senior siblings.
And it then came about that I was born to the earth of Africa without anything
in my hands but came empty to the world of Africa. I started crawling on the
ground at the age of six months and I started walking at the age of one year.
At the age of five my father started teaching me drumming but different from
traditional drumming. My father was a great musician on the Ghana Cape
Coast then.
When I was nine years of age my dad and my elder brother took me to a group
called the Twerampong Traditional Drumming and Dancing Group at the
Cape Coast Castle. They knew where my source of motivation in life came from.
I never knew I could dance but I always see the music in me as my passion. I
humbly submitted to my leaders in the group and learnt drumming and dancing
very well and everything else they were willing to teach me.
When I was in junior secondary school my dad died and it was like I have lost
all my life. But I never give up on what I do. I continued but stopped my formal
group and became my own master by teaching foreign and local people to earn
some money for a living. In late 2007 when I was in senior high school I got the
opportunity to teach my mates in school for the school’s speech and prize giving
day. After this day, I took those people and I taught them drumming and dancing.
This way I started forming my own group now called UNITYDRUM which was
first known as the Peace Academy Youth Group. My aim was to pass on my
knowledge to others. However, after only four months the group was on the
verge of collapse due to financial problems because we spent too much on drums
and other equipment.
Despite these initial setbacks I still kept the vision alive, continuing to walk on
the path I felt was laid out for me. In August 2008, I met Joy Ayo Tang founder
of the Onevillage Foundation (OVF). She opened up OVF’s doors to UNITY-
DRUM. In 2010 we did a Digital Archive for OVF which uses digital tools to
record the lives of local people. OMPEH was a local fishermen’s group we got
involved in.
This group is made up of elderly people of great personal dignity. OMPEH
means I DON’T LIKE. Its meaning is derived from the speech of youth who,
when they saw the group full of elderly people, said we don’t like ’old age things’.
But this group is a very passionate one and also speaks a lot to you when you hear
their drumming and their songs. Because it always speaks to your heart to know
where your roots are and where you’re heading to.
Drumming and dancing has always been the soul of Africa. In UNITYDRUM
and OMPEH all our dreams come together: to celebrate our spiritual heritage
and to revisit the past with SANKOFA as our spiritual guide. All this is done in
honor of our land of Africa.
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For Men OnIy!
Mary CIIhIh|I, 26, NaIrobI, Kehya
facebook: hIIp://www.Iacebook.com/marIe.gIIhIh|I
twltter: marIegIIhIh|I
tags: gehder, Iechhology,
equalIIy, IHU8, AIrIcah youIh
£ducatlon: I have an advanced diploma
in business information technology.
£mpIoyed at: I am a Web developer, freelancer
Hobbles: I have a passion for technology,
I read a lot, and I also love to watch movies.
Your wlsh for Kenya: My wish for Kenya is
that more people will embrace technology in solving
problems, especially women. These women will
understand that there is no such thing as careers
“meant for men only”. And I guess men have to
learn this as well.
Women ln tech – PIease, teII us about
the status quo ln Afrlca, Marle.
If you take a look at any IT department in East Africa
you will notice that women who embrace technology as
a career are still a rare. IT has been seen as a career
that is only suitable to males within the African com-
munity. Therefore the men-women ratio in IT is still
9:1. But it is changing. Even though slowly. The shift
started about 10 years ago: more and more women are
trying to embrace technology and apply for IT related
courses. Especially in Kenya. It is still a long way to go
for women and men – men have to accept women in
their new role and women have to go for it!
Any exampIe where W£ can aIready
see the change!
The Akirachix network is a very good example. It is
a forum for girls in IT. The community is steadily
growing. Their goal is to empower women interested
in IT in Kenya.
Akira is a Japanese word that means energy and
intelligence. These two words aptly describe this group
of ladies: “We are intelligent and we bring all our
energy together to help and empower the greater
community of girls out there.”
Akirachix has successfully launched a training program
for girls from poor backgrounds by offering them
free IT training courses. The same group of girls has
also been asponored by infodev to run a mobile social
network lab in Nairobi.
Akirachix is based in Kenya but they are planning
to reach out to other parts in Africa and to the rest
of the world.
Do women earn Iess than men for
the same job!
Every case is unique, but men are paid better than
women in ICT. This is because there tehy are given
more responsibilities than women because they are seen
as more capable.
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twltter: O|hrwIll
facebook: hIIp://www.Iacebook.com/|hrwIlly
tags: Iechhology, programer,
AIrIcah youIh
l Want To ße A
Computer Cenlus
WIllIam Dwayhe-1yga !uhIor, 16, WIhheba, Chaha
How many brothersJslsters do you have!
I have one sister.
What are your parents dolng!
My mom is a trader.
Are you stlII golng to schooI!
Yes, I am still going to school.
What are you dolng besldes schooI!
I actually do repair computers for people.
How do you use dlgltaI medla and what for!
Digital media usually refers to any electronic media that is created and
displayed using computer technology, such as digital audio, digital video
and anything that you would find online, such as computer games, internet
technology, communication (email) and social interaction (Facebook for
example). And all these I use.
What ls your personaI dream!
My personal dream is to become a computer genius – a Microsoft Engineer.
And I want to explore the world.
What ls your vlslon for Afrlca!
My vision for Africa is to alleviate the abject poverty and appalling health
conditions by re-developing the conditions of mother and child healthcare
centers, enhancing youth development through training programs and
expanding the sponsorship of orphaned vulnerable children in underprivileged
areas of African countries.
What couId J shouId “western” countrles do to heIp Afrlca
move towards your vlslon!
I think they should oppose congressional legislation to extend the trade
preferences in the African Growth and Opportunity Act to all developing
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Memolrs Of A
5Ium ßoy
Mark Kamau, ¯o, NaIrobI, Kehya
twltter: OMark¸Kamau
facebook: hIIp://www.Iacebook.com/mckam
tags: slum, sIruggle, haIrobIIs,
educaIIoh, KIbera, AIrIcah youIh
My name is Mark Kamau. I was born in the slums of Nairobi
which are – to say the very least – quite difficult conditions to
grow up in. As a young person it was difficult to understand why.
Why do some people go without food and others don’t? Why had
we all to sleep in a cold space with a leaking roof while others had
comfortable rooms and didn’t worry that it was raining?
Who decides? What did I do wrong?
Many young people numb themselves with drugs and cheap liquor.
They steal and will do anything to get by. They harbor no dreams.
They themselves are the peddler’s dream. He moves around
making sure they never dream. He makes it clear that this is
where they are destined to live and die.
To be fair, it was not all gloom. I remember the togetherness and
solidarity that living so closely together can bring. I remember
sitting by the fireside and everyone contributing the little money
they had to give a fallen son a decent burial. This often happened
because a lot of young people got shot while committing crime.
But the solidarity, the togetherness in such times is something
special. I remember sharing playthings we improvised and running
around with my cousin Kamse. Those were special moment of
bonding and friendship forged in the substance that is suffering,
tears and joy. Bonds forged of life itself.
While many gave up, I decided to dream. My dreams kept me
sane. They were the only thing standing between me and the
horrible things I saw and experienced. Without them I would have
had nothing. I would have lost. I dreamt of success – a proper roof
over my head, a car, wealth … you name it.
I played football with all my heart as a way of escape. I even was
called up by our under 21 national team. But they never paid us
so that was that. I wanted to be a journalist. After finishing school,
I gathered myself up and went to the Kenya Institute of Mass
Communication to learn about the fees they charge. I simply
couldn’t afford them and there was my last card. By the time I
heard about NairoBits I was completely desperate. They wanted
to train youth from the slums in computer skills.
I didn’t even know what computers were. I had only seen them
through the windows of glass-fronted offices where people wear
fancy clothes. It was a dream I had never even considered. But my
time at NairoBits changed my life completely. It was the lifeline
I needed.
Today I am able to support myself and my family and – more im-
portantly – I also have a chance to help other young people to get a
grip on the same lifeline. When I look at my future now, I see only
opportunities ahead.
And you know what? I am glad I dreamt …
And I am glad I still can dream …
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