BarCamp Africa

My wrap-up on BarCamp Africa, post on the official Google Africa Blog:

Over 100 technologists and social entrepreneurs descended on our Mountain View campus last Saturday, October 11th, for BarCampAfrica, an event designed to help strengthen Silicon Valley's ties to our continent. The event contributed to the 'Africa: Open for Business' narrative that gained prominence at TEDGlobal and at this year's BarCamps in Nairobi, Kampala, Mauritius, Madagascar and Johannesburg.

As participants set the agenda for the day, a clear consensus emerged that digital technology has a major role to play in addressing Africa's interconnected business and social challenges. Throughout the day, discussions of laptop distribution models were followed by conversations on the state of democracy on the continent, and talk of the future of mobile payments was followed by insights on mobile solutions for human rights monitoring.

Googlers Matthew Stepka and Andrew McLaughlin jointly opened the event and set the tone for the day. They discussed the challenges and opportunities of Google's work in Africa, and how both policymakers and philanthropists can pave the way for business leaders to succeed. A major theme on the morning panel was the return of centers of excellence to the African continent. Several panelists touched on the encouraging trend of "Re-aspora": Africans returning to their home countries. Others explored the model of the African Leadership Academy, a pan-African university dedicated to developing the next generation of African leaders.


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