Friday, May 13, 2005

Open Source on the rise in Africa

Open source rising in Africa by ZDNet's Dana Blankenhorn -- One of the fastest-growing markets for open source in the world is Africa. (The satellite image is originally from NASA.)If you think of sub-Saharan Africa in terms of jungles or primitivism, you're making the same mistake Europeans do when they think of America as the Wild West. Africa has a large, and growing middle class, spurred [...]

Tags: africa, open-source

Sunday, May 01, 2005

of politics and Africa...

"Cultural center destroyed in ______", "Refugees flee fighting in _______", "Government soldiers and rebels clash in ______"

You fill in the blanks, because those could be headlines about many different African countries. Isn't that sad? Now it's Togo, but there've been many more before, and it doesn't seem that as Africans, we've learned enough to hope that this might be the last. I've been greatly saddened by the conflict in Togo, and mostly because it comes in the wake of conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leonoe, Ivory Coast....and that's just West Africa. Will we never learn that nothing is worth the price a civil war exacts from a country?I realize that injustice can only be tolerated up to a point, and that after a point desperate people resort to desperate measures, but when has fighting resolved any of our problems?

After Faure Gnassingbe was installed as president earlier this year, it was international pressure that had him removed from power, and not acts of violent opposition on anyone's part. In fact, I think that if the opposition had tried to remove him by brute force, they would still be fighting a (losing) battle. Why then do they think that insurgensy now will reverse the results of the elections? Sure, it might increase pressure on the government to justify the results, but at what cost? Over 12,000 people have already fled the country, and it doesn't look like that is going to let up anytime soon. Wouldn't perhaps a campaign to increase international pressure on the government to hold another election, or to recount the votes in the areas with high irregularities have been more effective?
To answer my own question, maybe not. Especially not after ECOWAS ok'd the elections, saying there weren't enough irregularities to deem it unfair.

I'll end what is already a long posting here, but basically, i think african politics leaves much to be desired, and that we have no hope for eceonomic advancement unless we're able to move away from the transition of power by the gun to transitions by the ballot box..

Tags: africa, media, elections


Anyone who knows me even slightly well knows that i love children, and related to this, i'm really passionate about education, and ways to improve the quality and accessibility of education, especially in Africa. Here's a quote which sums up a lot of what i tihnk about education and educational policies..

"There is no extravagance more prejudicial to the growth of national wealth than that wasteful negligence
which allows genius that happens to be born of lowly parentage to expend itself in lowly work"
-Alfred Marshall

Basically, I have a problem when people are limited by the resources available to them. My ideal is a situation in which the only limit placed on the possibility of intellectual exploration for a person is their desire to pursue it. This struck me particularly during a documentary i watched over the weekend, invisible children. In brief, it is a documentary about children in Uganda who are forced to flee their homes every day, and make a 10km trek to a big city to sleep there, to avoid being conscripted into the Lor'd Resistance Army (LRA) by the LRA rebels. These young children make this journey alone every day, with no adult supervision, and sleep in bus terminals, and the often damp, dark basements of various other buildings. But lest I digress, back to the point about education.
One segment of the movie featured the children as they completed their the extremely poor light of very few candles. These are children caught up in a war, without their parents, often having lost siblings and friends to the war, but are still able to find the determination to learn. Isn't it sad that they should have so much drive but be denied the opportunity to advance? One of the students said he 'wanted' to be a doctor. Another that he 'wanted' to be a lwayer. These both in the past tense because they realized how bleak a future they had in their present situation.
It's things like that which really get to me, and hopefully Africans and other people around the world can help to work together to change this.

Camp Amelia, a non-profit I work with, is one effort to improve the quality and accessibility of primary education . Check out . It's just one thing, in a limited set of locations, but as long as it makes a difference to even one child's life, i think it is worth it.

Here to stay :-)

After a long hiatus, and a period of deciding whether or not I want a blog, I've decided to keep one. I haven't changed my mind about not wanting to write about me, but i think i've come to find a separation between personal and 'other' that i'm ok with. that being said, this will be about my thoguht on issues i think are important, and not my personal life (or at least not much of it :-) )
the problem now is that i have so much to say, after being away for so long...well let's get right to it then. to make it easier to read, i'll do a series of posts...stay tuned haha