It’s been a month since TEDGlobal 2007 rocked Arusha, Tanzania — bringing together Africans from all over the continent and the world, philanthropists and businesspeople, global citizens and key bloggers. The four days of the conference were up-all-night intense — and many bloggers signed off on the last day with promises to write more when they caught up on their sleep.
Well, now they have.
Three weeks ago, TED held its first-ever conference in Africa, bringing together trademark optimism with an even more humbling sort of A-list.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin, a World Bank economist, returned to her native Ethiopia to start a commodities exchange to prevent future famines. Daniel Annerose invented software in Senegal that allows farmers to track market prices via SMS text messaging. Alieu Conteh built the first cellular network in the Congo, Florence Seriki, Nigeria’s first computer manufacturing company.
Then there’s William Kamkwamba, the undisputed showstopper, a teenager from rural Malawi who, at age fourteen, built a windmill from plastic scrap and an old bicycle frame that generates enough electricity to light his family’s house.
These speakers were selected to support a thesis, painfully obvious but somehow radical in this age: Africa won’t be “saved” by aid, but by the ingenuity and determination of its own people. …
George asked, “so Nii, how do we get you TED Cheetahs to contribute to African development”?
I thought about it for a second and said, “I would be nice if TED sponsored fellows to their respective countries to use their professional work experience to help a business for a month or so.”
I heard a pause, and George said, “well that is nice, but what about a fund, called a Cheetah Fund that is sustainable was set-up to help TED fellows or other African Cheetahs with funding for their respective businesses”.
Wow, I said to myself, how come I didn’t think about this before. African chiefs have been using this system for centuries before colonialism, we just have to go back to some of our indigenous roots …
Speaker Ory Okolloh, who blogs at Kenyan Pundit and runs the public-affairs site mzalendo:Eye On Kenyan Parliament, is working her way through the sessions, using Ethan Zuckerman‘s liveblogging for her notes. During Euvin Naidoo‘s talk, she mused:
… wouldn’t it be great to have a one-stop shop website or something where you can access stats and info about investing in individual African countries. I thought the Investment Climate Facility was supposed to be doing that, but it appears that they are focused on other things. Niche blog opportunity anyone?
Lova Rakotomalala, from blogging family Global Voices, offers a quote-packed roundup from the Malagasy blogosphere (with translations from French to English):
Harinjaka got to visualize his dream of helping his homeland by attending the TED conference …
He explains that he drew inspiration from the discussion in Arusha and he plans on leaving France and going back home to contribute to the turnaround …
This is just a sample from the TEDGlobal blogging community; visit our list of TEDGlobal bloggers to find more updates and news.
And watch this space: Video from TEDGlobal 2007 will start appearing on TED.com this month.