Technology, not aid, is the key to African development

edited August 2014 in Tech in Africa
imageTechnology, not aid, is the key to African development -

Thoughtworks' head lays down five point plan for economic transformation through tech.

Read the full story here


  • Well, here's the thing: the technology industry and culture is vastly different in Ghana and other places in Africa than it is in America. I spent a month in Kenya and Uganda last year checking out what's going on there, and one of the main differences is that most of the tech startups I saw there were working to benefit regular folks. I actually do believe that tech really is incredibly beneficial in sub-Saharan Africa. But there are mistakes we've made in America that y'all can also avoid -- the greed and stupidity both corporate and cultural that often seems to permeate Silicon Valley.

    In point of fact, seeing tech in East Africa gave me hope that we can figure out ways to do it right in America. Which says something, as I wrote the post you linked to, about feeling hopeless. :-)
  • Hi Joshua - what an unexpected and pleasant surprise. It's funny - someone passed me the link to your post yesterday, so it was really top of the mind when Enyo started talking in completely the opposite vein...

    I really hope the tech industry can maintain its character as it evolves here - entrepreneurs I meet all over Africa are always interested in what they can do to improve the lot of the many. I was at one startup event in Joburg the other day and that was the very first question the audience asked the key speaker - what's your CSR policy like? Imagine that in San Francisco.

    The thing that worries me, though, is that Thoughtworks really is unusual in having those concerns written into its corporate DNA and business structure - I worry that the same mistakes will happen here because the US really doesn't have a monopoly on greed and stupidity. Perhaps more importantly, optimistic startups that end up having to do anything they can to carry on showing growth for investors - who are few and spoiled for choice here, and also mostly linked to old money petrochem, mining and banking concerns. Not exactly the greatest benefactors for mankind.

    But that's all for the great who knows... right now the tech scene here is a fantastic place to be, yes. Hell, I wouldn't be here (English ex-pat, also of the generation of busted technodreams) if I didn't think that.
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