It seems this has to still be said.
Stop 👏🏾 convening 👏🏾 deliberations about Africa 👏🏾 without 👏🏾 Africans!
This is a notorious behaviour in western capitals that HAS GOT TO END.
Why, in 2019, would anyone organise a whole event about a whole continent, a whole people (diverse as we are), and nary an African be speaking or invited to attend?
And it’s exclusion by design. Let’s count the ways:
🚮organised abroad (visas become an issue)
🚮many organised this time of year (December is loading, it’s our “summer”).
But at this point, a la hashtag#SayNoToManels, we must have a…
This started off as a Twitter thread, in reaction to a recent announcement (one of several, in a growing trend), on how digital development will help ‘fix’ the global South.
All the big bucks in development financing (for digital inclusion, digital identity, energy, water, sanitation and the reduction of the mobile gender gap etc…aka “global South challenges”) are exclusively going to tech private sector/social enterprise/development players.
Mostly white people-driven, mostly western. What could go wrong?
The seeming rationale/justification to this growing trend:
ℹ️MPESA as a stellar example of PPPs addressing “real needs” (financial inclusion en ce cas là).
I know…policy is a put off for many. It’s that space for the old men and government types that we love to hate.
Bears repeating, however, that failing to engage — worse, ignoring- the unfolding ICT policy space is myopic for all ye techpreneurs. I bet you it will only come back to bite you in the derrière.
Think of it this way. You’re building this tech platform/company/solution that will do wonders if/when it takes off. You’ve got a solid proof of concept, and spend your days and nights dreaming of its taking off or achieving unicorn status.
It’s 2017, and it seems we didn’t leave manels, (all male panels) along with many other things, behind. They are everywhere: locally, regionally, globally. And they must persistently be called out.
Back in May 2016, I wrote for the Daily Nation(in Kenya) on this nefarious issue. They are pervasive. They are normalised. They are problematic. The reactions to the piece have been interesting to follow, primarily via the #SayNoToManelsKE and #SayNoToManels hashtags. (Other hashtags highlighting this issue globally include #AllMalePanels).
I am very pleased to see, and be part of many conversations around this. It is encouraging to note…
The term policy very likely puts off a lot of folks. It probably evokes images of old men in suits and spectacles droning on about something or other. I, on the other hand, am fascinated by (public) policy. The most basic definition of policy is “a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business, or individual.” Policies help in shaping laws and regulations that govern various actors in a jurisdiction.
In an increasingly interconnected world, there is an emerging realm of cyber policy that is exciting as it is challenging. Safety, security, privacy, autonomy, freedom…
Over the past few years I’ve observed the open movement focusing on the power of technology. The rationale seems to be: ‘fix first the technological, and all things ‘open’ will fall into place.’
We need to acknowledge, however, that open government is about recalibrating the power dynamic between governments and citizens, putting power back in the hands of people. In that sense, it is a very political endeavour. …
Back in 2009, some journalist -perhaps trying to make her story about “the pearl of Africa” land some eyeballs- stated that Uganda was “a place where cell phones could outnumber light bulbs.”
Now, that little nugget has morphed into the widely parroted factoid, that there are more mobile phones than bulbs in Uganda. It’s been cited in keynotes, presentations, maybe even helped advance some careers.
By 2010, we were being regaled with a UN statistic, that there are more people on earth with access to cellphones, than to toilets. It’s only upon digging deeper that one finds that the toilets…
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. At my organisation, we believe in having user experience at the heart of consumer-facing technology. Also, I’ve heard many a Facebook exec counter the backlash with a valid question: how many advocates (for/against) have actually used Free Basics? So, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I dug out my Airtel Kenya SIM card (Airtel is the current sole partner) and took the app for a spin. …
Read an article (on international media) lately about some tech startup or innovation in Africa? Have the words “disrupt”, “revolutionise”, or phrases like “the next big thing” appeared? Have you found yourself believing that there’s a “tech revolution” across the continent (not country) of Africa?
It is understandable that the rest of the world (Africans included) is now a bit more aware, and perhaps (more) vested in the “Africa Rising” narrative. As a friend once put it: “Africa rising ; someone opened the oven early, the yeast is not ready”.
It is tedious, to always be on the…
The Global Conference on Cyberspace, hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 16th and 17th April, 2015, was a very interesting one to have attended. The convening drew attendance from governments and private sector players; civil society were invited to the table, with a one and a half day pre-event that served as a capacity-building program, and an ‘unconference’ event where they could set the agenda, discuss further on issues that were brought up at the conference, or those not tackled altogether.
(Tech x Public Policy)^ (Culture, Governance, Media, Gender). Thinking out loud, here and elsewhere.