Tag Archives: africa

On why Obama’s win matters to Africa and what the continent expects from America

Today in the Daily Nation, Kenya’s premier newsprint, there is a beautifully written article on Obama’s win, what it means to the country that gives him his last name, and what Africa expects from an Obama-Biden administration.

On what Africa expects from the United States:

Africa does not expect alms from the United States now that an African-America is soon to be sworn in as its president.

That was not the point of the overwhelming goodwill and support that the continent lent to President-elect Barack Obama in his audacious, and wildly successful, fight for the most powerful office on the planet.

Kenya is proud of Mr Obama, his almost unimaginable achievement, and just like he has inspired tens of millions of Americans, we too shall draw inspiration from his example.

On what Barack Obama’s win means for Africa:

His victory provides evidential justification for disadvantaged minorities and people of color to reassure their children that they too can rise above the limitations of their station, the sins of their parents, and the disadvantages of their circumstances.

And it is a lesson to every African father to create the right conditions for their children, to not allow the limitations of their own vision to be a hindrance to the aspirations of their offspring.

To Africa and the entire black race, Mr Obama is the vindication of our humanity.

and On Africa’s hope for Barack:

Africa hopes Mr Obama realizes that access to opportunities is not a preserve of Americans. While protecting America’s prosperity, he must have something to say about fair trade, particularly for Africa.

The earth is dying, poisoned by the avarice of man. Those who profit from the poisoning will not even acknowledge that their activities pose a danger to humanity.

Africa expects Mr Obama to add his voice to those cautioning that we shouldn’t live just for today but must take care of tomorrow too.

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Why Ushahidi must succeed in the DRC Congo and how to help?

The DRC deployment can be found at http://DRC.ushahidi.com, and the mobile number to send SMS reports to is +243992592111
Internally Displaced People leave Kibati heading north from the city to their villages, Kibumba and Rugari, north of the provincial capital of Goma, Congo, on November 2, 2008. Several thousand people displaced in the fighting between rebels and government troops in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo began returning home Sunday as a ceasefire held, an AFP correspondent on the scene reported. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Internally Displaced People leave Kibati heading north from the city to their villages, Kibumba and Rugari, north of the provincial capital of Goma, Congo, on November 2, 2008. Several thousand people displaced in the fighting between rebels and government troops in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo began returning home Sunday as a ceasefire held, an AFP correspondent on the scene reported. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Full Photo Set from the DRC here: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/11/conflict_in_congo_refugees_on.html

The Ushahidi team released an instance of their crowd sourced crisis reporting engine for the Congo today.

Just days after announcing their alpha release Ushahidi already has it’s first major crisis deployment at hand. The team took a collective decision last week to work overtime and deploy in the Democratic Republic of Congo even though the Engine is still in Alpha and has some kinks — everyone agrees that the current situation is dire and we could not justify the wait.

The Congo poses a difficult, but all too common crisis situation and the team is working overtime to tackle multiple challenges. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced into refugees, many of them sick, wounded and starving. Since this is an open source project, a major part of the work is done by volunteers ALL of whom believe in the necessity of accurate reporting in a time of crisis.

Ushahidi was very effective when first deployed to document the incidents of violence and looting during the post-election crisis in Kenya, but more than the need for accurate reporting, the assimilated incident reports help Coordinate Humanitarian Resources and Aid to those most afflicted by the conflict.

I believe in Ushahidi. There are numerous reasons why Ushahidi must succeed, but most of all because it holds parties accountable for their atrocities when humanity is at its worst — thus preserving some dignity for those dispossessed.

How to Help?

  1. Get the Word Out Help spread the word that the website is live. Share this with everyone you know – the more the people know about what is happening on the ground, and the more the media keep their focus on this story, the more likely our leaders will intervene to make a difference.
  2. Help verify and collect reports: Unlike our first installation in Kenya, the Congo poses some real challenges for the Ushahidi team. UN peacekeepers and NGo’s are being evacuated in droves and we need to get the message to the people on the ground in the Eastern Congo that this tool is now available for them to report incidents in on. If you have contacts there, or can help spread the word through some other means, tell them about our SMS number +243992592111
  3. Help make Ushahidi better: Since Ushahidi is an open source effort, we are always looking for help to make the tool better. We are still in the Alpha Stages of development but David Kobia and the team decided that we had a stable enough install to have a working version for the Congo. We are always working out kinks and incorporating lessons learnt. Hop on over to the Ushahidi blog for up to date updates and reach out if you think you can help.

Learn more about Ushahidi and how you can help here

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Le Tour du Faso, Burkina Faso

Christophe Ena/AP

BBC NEWS: Sierra Leone's Mohamed Thorley rides past spectators during the third stage of the 22nd Tour du Faso, a major African cycling event, which has been taking place in Burkina Faso this week. Photo: Christophe Ena/AP

What’s fascinating about this contest is that twelve of the 18 national teams are from the continent and the race is run by the organizers of the Tour de France. Oh, and in case you are wondering Burkinabes have won 10 of the past 19 Tours.

More than 100 cyclists from around the world are pedaling their why across Burkina Faso this week in the 20th annual Tour de Faso. Burkinabes are passionate for the event.

In the capital Ouagadougou, police try to hold back excited crowds as cyclists enter the city.

After the races speed by, one spectator says it was a thrill to see the caravan. He says he was not able to catch it on television, so he went to see it in person.

The Tour de Faso is Africa’s premier cycling event.

source: Cyclists Converge on Burkina Faso for Tour de Faso Competition

The Stages

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Gearing up for BarCampAfrica in San Francisco

Dates: October 11, 2008
Location: Pending – Bay Area, CA

Yes we finally have a date BarCamp Africa for the San Francisco Bay Area. BarCamps allow for open environments where attendees contribute in some way to support the event.  The objective of our event is to bring technologists and non-technologists working to promote Africa under one roof for a lively discussion.

Stay tuned and join the discussion via our a wiki and a twitter

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Sailing around Africa in a Phoenician boat

On Arwad Island off the coast of Syria, a group of 20 sailors-to-be are preparing for a voyage their captain believes has not been undertaken for two and a half millennia.

They plan to set off on Sunday on a journey that attempts to replicate what the Greek historian Herodotus mentions as the first circumnavigation of Africa in about 600BC.

Their vessel, the small, pine-wood Phoenicia, is modelled on the type of ship the Phoenician sailors he credited with the landmark voyage would have used. Phoenicia route map

The Phoenicians lived in areas of modern-day Lebanon, Syria and other parts of the Mediterranean from about 1200BC and are widely credited with being both strong seafarers and the first civilisation to make extensive use of an alphabet.

Mammoth project

Celebrating Damascus as a capital of Arab Culture for the year 2008, event organisers sponsored the British-run expedition project to mark their festivities.

The year-long voyage will take the crew into some of the most dangerous waters in the world.

As well as sailing round the southern most tip of Africa, they are preparing to deal with pirates and long periods of waiting for favourable winds.

The skilful shipbuilders in Arwad are familiar with construction techniques dating back 200-300 years, but shipbuilder Orwa Bader, 28, says this is the first time they have ever tried to build in the Phoenician style.

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introducing Africa.Alltop.com

Introducing the latest addition to Guy Kawasaki‘s news aggregation service Africa.Alltop.com . Alltop is a popular news and blog aggregator for various topics around the web.

With the addition of Africa.Alltop Guy has given African technophiles a well deserved show of support and highlighted a continent in much need of some positive PR – see Afromusings article on the Meme’s. Markets and Africa.

I have had the good fortune of working closely with a number of bloggers featured on Alltop’s Africa page and can confidently say that these men and women are positively changing the perception of Africa. They belong to an ever growing breed of confident Africans that believe strongly in the need for dialogue, self-reliance and positive change.

Thanks to Guy Kawasaki, Ellen Leanse, Erik Hersman (see Erik’s blog for the back story on Africa.Alltop) and all those people working behind the scenes to bring this vision to fruition.

Be sure to join the conversation on Africa and watch Alltop.Africa.

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Kenyan marks 10 years since the US Embassy attack

Rescuers working after the American Embassy in Kenya was bombed on Aug. 7, 1998

NYTimes: Rescuers working after the American Embassy in Kenya was bombed on Aug. 7, 1998

On this day, August 7th 1998 – hundreds of innocent lives were lost and thousands more ruined in a senseless twin attack on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Hatred had reared its ugly head in the streets of these beautiful African cities. Nairobi’s streets, once famous their beautiful carpet of purple Jacaranda flowers were now littered with glass and debris.

Its fair to say that many dreams had once gained flight outside this building,  including my own. A month before the incident, I had huddled outside its doors with a dozen hopeful applicants – never would we have imagined such a fate.

On this day we remember those who were lost to this senseless tragedy; we remember those who stepped up in our time of need; those who helped rebuild shattered lives; and we recognize the need for peaceful co-existence — but most of all we recognize that the spirit of a nation may have been shaken but can never be shattered.

Peace to the world.

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