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Day 4: reports from the bloggers

Posted by: Tedstaff

Two final sessions, “Leadership and Truth” and “Ideas Worth Spreading,” brought together economists, activists and the president of Tanzania. And the big ideas keep coming.

Mweshi reports:

Salim Amin is asking every African and those interested in the continent to help his for-Africa by-Africa 24-hour news channel, A24, come to fruition. With 900 million people on the continent, we continue to look to international news channels to provide information about our continent. …
… It’s time Africa got its own 24-hour news channel.

After Salim Amin comes Ory Okolloh, a lawyer, activist and blogger from Kenya (and yet another TEDGlobal blogger to take the stage). NETucation digests her remarks, which begin:

Africa is a continent full of contradictions. You’re Harvard educated and you’re coming here to tell us what to do?

James Shikwati is described onstage as “a one-man think tank libertarian economist” by TED curator Chris Anderson. NETucation quotes Shikwati:

We need to understand how the world works, how the world thinks. The Aid debate operates under the constrained position i.e. the African person is in a box, somebody else must free him. We need to focus on releasing the African mind.

Tanzanian president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete closed the early-morning session with a talk on African governance as it works on the ground. Ethan Zuckerman reports on what he said:

In the past, leaders would march in, declare themselves President, dismiss the parliament. They’d declare a ‘revolutionary council’, but there’s no revolution there. This used to be the way the continent worked. We’re moving beyond this, and beyond the leaders who led us out of colonialism.

Starting the final session of TEDGlobal 2007, President Shikwati got back on stage for a wonderful announcement, as reported by Ethan:

Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete took the stage with Dr. Larry Brilliant of Google.org and Bruce McNeighbor of Technoserve. Dr. Brilliant announces his support for “Believe, Begin, Become,” a national business plan competition, modeled on the successful experiment Google and Technoserve operated this past year in Ghana.

Noah Samara got up to talk about how he built WorldSpace, the first satellite radio network — in a case where, as NETucation reports:

… for the first time technology was launched in Africa before it was handed down to America.

Journalist Dele Olojede talked about a decision he had to make in 1994: cover the birth of the new South Africa, or cover the Rwandan genocide? Ethan reports:

He decided that he’d give anything to see Mandela see his dream through, and he missed the Rwanda story.
“It became clear this was not an ordinary Central African horror story,” Olejede tells us, “and perhaps my decision was not correct.” Out of a sense of penance, he became “obsessed with the idea of Rwanda, with understanding it,” and has been travelling there ever since.

Patrick Awuah left Microsoft (pointing out that “While he worked at Microsoft the revenue of the company group grew larger than the GDP of Ghana”) to found a university at home in Ghana. NETucation reports on his talk:

A month after launching he received and email from a student, “I am thinking now.” Another student asked “Can we create a perfect society?” after they were issued a challenge to come up with their own honour codes. This has lead to a vigorous debate among the students on campus. For the first in the history of Ghana, a woman was elected to be president of student body. This is real hope.

The amazing Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria, closed the session. In a week of refocusing the aid story, she made a brilliant point, says Ethan:

African entrepeneur Mo Ibrahim dreams of the moment when Africa is giving aid. “But we’re already doing it – the UK and the US could not have been built without African aid. The resources – including human resources – have made those countries what they are today.” So when those countries are willing to give something back, we need to take it, but we need to use it effectively.

NETucation quotes her further:

Aid has to be a facilitator, it can be catalytic. China says Nigeria needs infrastructure and discipline to succeed. Within the private sector maybe aid can be used as a money guarantee. Her punchline is to help women get more access to resources – the research and statistics of this speaks for itself.The final question is what you will do with aid, the government, the private sector and the African as an individual.

Soyapi reports via Twitter on the party that folllowed:

Vusi on stage at tedglobal2007. Will be joined by the other 2 lady musicians. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala just did the last talk.