Maker Faire Africa 2011 : Cairo, Egypt


From the Maker Faire Africa Blog:

Maker Faire Africa is pleased to announce our 3rd event, ‘Maker Faire Africa 2011 : Cairo‘ which will take place in Egypt, October 6-8th, 2011.  Join us once again as we continue to cultivate  new and existing maker communities across Africa. As was the case in Accra (‘09) and Nairobi (’10), MFA 2011 will present and spotlight the vibrant and endlessly creative individuals that have come to represent the spirit of ‘making’ throughout the continent.

These innovators, artists and tinkerers will be exhibiting a fusion of the informal and formal; ideas, inventions, hacks and designs both low-tech & high-tech.  From cuisine to machines, come see their re-imagining of products, exploration of novel materials, and original solutions for some of the continent’s most important challenges and opportunities.  Maker Faire Africa 2011 will be a celebratory showcase of unhindered experimentation and curiosity. We look forward to seeing you this October.

Please check back for further updates.

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First Swahili iPad/iPhone App By Nkyea Released


Nana Kwabena Sarpong and Isaac Ameyaw started Nkyea Learning Systems in 2009 to develop desktop and mobile applications for learning African languages. They’ve already developed and released two Twi language applications, Nkyea Twi Primer and Nkyea Twi Phrasebook, ’My Twi Name‘ app, and ‘Adrinkra E-Cards‘ app.

Nkyea Swahili App on iPad/iPhone

The two-man Ghanaian language learning apps development team has just released Nkyea Basic Swahili, the first Swahili iPhone and iPad app from their startup, on the Apple App Store. Nkyea Basic Swahili, which sells for $2.99, contains more than 650 essential words and phrases and has been designed to give absolute beginners a general conversational competence in Swahili.

Nkyea Basic Swahili presents the user with 18 lessons of basic grammar and vocabulary. The user can then choose a lesson, listen to the native speaker, read and record, play back and compare with the native speaker. The app also presents you with a quiz after each topic, which means users can reinforce what they learn and earn motivation badges for scoring high marks.

“This is a very user friendly language learning application, “Sarpong explains. “It’s really easy to learn Swahili with Basic Swahili.”

Nkyea Basic Swahili is targeting four primary markets: Tourists traveling to East Africa, students learning Swahili at a beginner level in school, anybody who has an East African relative or friend and lastly, language enthusiasts.

Here is the link to the app in the Apple App Store

Sarpong and Ameyaw are also working on more African language apps, which would be released in the coming weeks. Nkyea remains a bootstrapped endeavor, wholly financed through the startup’s PC, Mac and iPhone application sales.

You can follow them on Twitter via @NanaSarpong & @IsaacAmeyaw for more info about their work and creativity.

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Re-blogged: Meet The TED Global 2011 Fellows Working Within Africa


Re-blogged via Timbuktu Chronicles

5 spectacular individuals with Africa related connections are part of the recently announced TED Global 2011 Fellows class. They are:

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Call For Application: Young Journalists For Global Civil Society Event


CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, international civil society groups, donors and government representatives will unite at 10th CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

This year four young journalists from developing countries have the chance to attend the largest gathering of civil society activists in the world in all expenses paid prize. Read below to see how you can win and find information about the keynote speakers of the event.

What Is The Prize?

Through a full bursary (including travel, accommodation and registration), the four journalists will have full access to all keynote plenary sessions and activity sessions that will take place at the Youth Assembly on 8 September and at the World Assembly on 10-12 September.

They will also have unique one on one opportunity to interview all keynote speakers:

  • Matt Dunne – Head of Community Affairs, Google Inc;
  • Kumi Naidoo – Director General, Greenpeace International, South Africa;
  • Mozn Hassan – Executive Director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, Egypt ;
  • Maina Kiai – Executive Director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy and others

How Do You Qualify?

You qualify if you are an active journalist who:

  • Has a background in covering civil society issues (such as development effectiveness, new technologies, democratic space and climate justice)
  • Is a citizen of a developing country.
  • Are between 18 and 30 years of age.

The journalist will also have a thoughtful and feasible dissemination plan to use their reports as a tool to raise awareness of the human rights or social justice issues explored at the event with a goal to bring about change.
While creative freedom will be left to the individual journalist, they will be required to report on a minimum of two sessions per day in the language of choice (Spanish, English, and French).

How To Apply?

To apply for this prize, submit your CV, a writing sample and a 250 word article on why it is important for civil society to engage with the media to rowena.mcnaughton@civicus.org before 15 June 2011.

The chosen journalists will be informed before 30 June 2011.

About the 2011 World Assembly

The CIVICUS World Assembly is the premier global gathering of civil society organizations, donors and representatives of government, international institutions and business to seek collaborative ways to strengthen the rights of citizens around the globe. This year, the focus is on the essential role of civil society in global decision-making. As governments of varied ideological persuasions crack down ever more harshly against dissent, challenges to their authority or lack of accountability and basic freedoms of expression and association, it is clear that civil society needs to come together in order to strengthen our ability to act for a more just world.

Under its overarching theme of “Acting together for a just world”, the 2011 World Assembly will focus on “Civil Society and Global Decision-Making: Doing It Better” through a programme divided in four thematic tracks:

  • Development Effectiveness
  • Climate Justice
  • Connecting People through Technology
  • Civil Society and Democratic Space

For more information, visit www.civicusassembly.org

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Nokia Connection 2011, Nokia’s Biggest Event of the Year


Do you have any events planned for the month of June, 2011? Mark your calendars! Nokia is planning their biggest event of the year on June 21, 2011.

The Nokia Connection 2011 website claims a solid strategy is in place and the event is where the new Nokia ecosystem will be introduced first-hand to the world. We’ll assume they’re going to show their first Nokia Windows Phones.

Nokia Connection 2011

Nokia Connection 2011 is an annual event held in conjunction with CommunicAsia 2011. This year, Nokia Connection will take place on 21 June at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The event is an exciting platform for Nokia to showcase the latest and newest devices and services to customers, operators, media and analysts from the region. Nokia Connection is a private event and attendance is by invitation only.

According to the programme, Nokia Connection 2011 is an invite-only event taking place in Singapore. CEO Stephen Elop will speak about Nokia’s new strategy, including an update on the company’s partnership with Microsoft. Following after him is Executive Vice President of Mobile Phones Mary McDowell who will show brand new mobile devices.

I can’t believe the event is just a few weeks away. I’m definitely eager to see some new devices.Are you excited?!

Get Social & Win a shiny new Nokia E7 or Nokia X7

 

 

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Global – CNN and Nokia Announce International Partnership


Nokia and CNN have announced an international partnership whereby the handset manufacturer will become part of CNN’s roster of mapping providers, delivering mapping services to its international news network.

The collaboration harnesses the companies’ strengths in global newsgathering, user-generated content, mapping technologies, and location-based services. The collaboration debuted with the use of Nokia’s 3D Maps across CNN’s platforms in its recent coverage of the British royal wedding.

Nokia Ovi Maps 3D

“This collaboration is a great fit for us as both companies share a similar philosophy on connecting people beyond borders through the combination of compelling news content and highly sophisticated technology,” said Tony Maddox, Managing Director, CNN International. “The international scale of each of our businesses makes the scope of the collaboration particularly exciting.”

“Nokia and CNN share the belief that news is now mobile, powerfully democratic, and can immediately be shared by people around the world,” said DeVard, Chief Marketing Officer, Nokia, in the press release.

“We are pleased that CNN wants to use Nokia’s innovative mapping services for its international news platforms, and we are excited to work with CNN to deliver a compelling news service to users of Nokia phones.”

The collaboration also includes the CNN App for Nokia which provides mobile access to CNN’s world, business, sport, entertainment and technology reporting, as well as live streaming video.  The app also allows users to share CNN’s news via their own social channels, and participate in the reporting process with direct access to CNN’s participatory news community, iReport. The CNN App for Nokia is available in Ovi Store.

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Accra Wi-Fi Map Launched


On September 2, 2009; I was inspired by Rebecca Wanjiku’s article; Free Wi-Fi hotspot locator in Nairobi to also write on Free Wi-Fi Hotspots In Accra which pointed out the various FREE Wi-Fi spots in Accra about 2-years ago.

This morning, one of my tech and social media mentors; Erik Hersman shared the link to the Nairobi Wi-Fi map which made me decide on creating and developing the Wi-Fi Map for Accra.

The site is designed and built on the Crowdmap platform by the Ushahidi Team from Kenya. Its allows you to

  • Collect information from cell phones, news and the web.
  • Aggregate that information into a single platform.
  • Visualize it on a map and time-line.

Accra Wi-fi Map

Accra Wi-Fi Hotspot map will provide data on all Wi-Fi hotspots located in the heart of Accra. The various categories include:

  • FREE Wi-Fi Hotspots
  • Hotels & Guest Houses With Wi-FI
  • Cyber Cafes & Coffee Shops

I entrust all dwellers, visitors, bloggers and techies in Accra to feed in enough data unto the site. Visit the site: http://accrawifi.crowdmap.com/ and submit a report of all Wi-Fi Hotspot you’ve accessed recently. You can also submit a report by texting to the number: (+233) 262.220.210

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Google Appoints Female Country Manager for Nigeria


Juliet Ehimuan - Google Country Manager : Nigeria

Google Nigeria recently appointed Ms. Juliet Ehimuan, the former General Manager of  Strategic Business Units at Chams Plc as its Country Manager for Nigeria.

Responding to her new appointment, Joe Mucheru; Google’s lead for Sub Saharan Africa said:

“Google sees great potential in the Nigerian market. We are excited to have Juliet Ehimuan bring her expertise and knowledge to help fulfill that potential.”

“It’s a very exciting time to be joining Google where, amongst other initiatives, I will be helping Nigerian enterprises take advantage of the online world, to better engage with their customers and grow their businesses,” Ms. Ehimuan said.

“The Internet is set to play a critical role in the country’s socio-economic development; Google is committed to investing in Nigeria and to making the internet accessible and relevant for all Nigerian users,” she added.

Ms. Ehimuan brings her industry expertise in technology that spans experiences in Europe, Middle East, (EMEA) Africa and the United States to the role. For more information, read her bio below.

Bio:

Prior to her appointment at Google, Ms. Ehimuan was the General Manager, Strategic Business Units of Chams Plc where she was responsible for leading and formulating strategies for the Chams Strategic Business units. She holds an Executive MBA from the London Business School, a Post Graduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge, UK; and obtained a Bachelors degree with 1st class honours in Computer Engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. She is a recipient of the London Business School Global Women’s Scholarship, and at Cambridge University she received two scholarly awards – Selwyn College Scholar and Malaysian commonwealth Scholar.

She worked with Microsoft UK for 6 years, initially as a Program Manager managing Strategic Projects for MSN Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).  She received the Microsoft “Ship-IT” award for successfully launching the new MSN online subscription business in the UK, Spain, Italy, and Germany. She is a pioneer member of the African Computer Network for Developing Countries sponsored by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy in 1995. She also worked with the Shell Petroleum Development Company as a Performance Monitoring and Quality Assurance Supervisor from 1995 – 1997.

In 2005, she left Microsoft to start SI (Strategic Insight) Consulting Ltd UK, focused on providing collaborative programs that connect African Business leaders and Professionals with their global counterparts. The SI team clients are made of an eclectic mix of organisations including MSN, BP (British Petroleum), Royal Bank of Scotland, Harvard Business School alumni club, representatives from all banks in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria etc.

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EduNet Africa Conference 2011 – Lagos, Nigeria


From June 07 – 08, 2011; a group of young, enthusiastic  and tech-savvy Nigerians are putting together a technology-focused event dubbed: EduNet Africa 2011 aimed at –

“Exploring the Opportunities of a Connected Tertiary Institution to Pioneer Digital Revolution in Africa.”

About EduNet Africa:

EduNet Africa conference is the leading internationally recognized conference for Higher Education community in Africa. It is being hosted annually in different tertiary institutions across the continent. This event is meant to create an environment to learn, network with stakeholders in the ICT industry,  share ideas that will enhance the effective use of the internet facilities and the new technologies in the Universities and Institutions of higher learning in Africa.

One of the unique features of EduNet Africa Conference is the opportunity it offers African Start-ups to showcase their product and services through the African Startups Showcase (ASS) at the event. African Startups will have opportunities and exposure to venture capitalists, partnership, loans, grants, scholarship etc. at the conference. They will be given opportunities to be part of International events like the World Summit Youth Awards organized by the United Nations.

 

EduNet Africa Conference 2011

Objectives

-To explore the opportunities and possibilities the internet, mobile and new technologies provide within the academics in the areas of e-learning, business, communication and social changes (ICT4D).

-To educate and empower our teaching, learning and Training community with Internet education that will improve the quality of teaching, learning, e-collaboration, research and development in Africa.

-To spark up “net-preneurship” and digital revolution in Africa by creating opportunities for our institutions to develop applications that will compete favorably globally. It is an event that encourages African Startups through the African Startup Exhibitions.

This would  serve as the largest gathering of leading IT Professional in Africa who have interest in the educational sector, Internet based professionals, Service providers, Web strategists, Equipment manufacturers, University dons, students; this offers the best opportunity to network.

Speakers:

Speakers include; Professor Charles Uwadia – University of Lagos; Ms. Dorothy K. GordonKofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, Ghana; Guy Berger – Rhodes University, South Africa; Sarah Chiumbu – Wits University;  South Africa; Professor Raymond Akwule -Digital Bridge Institute, Nigeria; Engr Titi Omo-Ettu -ATCON, Nigeria; Chris Uwaje – ISPON, Nigeria and a host of others.

 

Who Should Attend this Event?

-Senior and young academics and researchers from universities and Higher Education Communities.

-ICT coordinators and Managers. Media, PR and Brand experts, Digital Marketers

-Education administrators, Consultants and training practitioners

-Corporate training and Development Executives, company representatives

-Technology and Service Providers, Content providers, Web Masters, Publishers

-Web and Mobile application developers

-Entrepreneurs, Startups & anyone interested in leveraging the opportunity the internet providers.

Registration for the event is online via www.edunetafrica.com

 

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Opinion: Roger Stewart On The Current Situation In Ivory Coast


Roger Stewart; a native of Los Angeles but originally from Ivory Coast shares his opinion on the current situation in the West –African nation of Ivory Coast.

American media have largely ignored the nasty civil war in a West African nation that was once a model of success. Our best hope is a quick end to the power struggle.

I woke up Friday, read the news and prayed that it was some sort of macabre April Fool’s Day joke. Unfortunately, that was not the case. This is one of the worst times in the history of Côte d’Ivoire, a beautiful West African nation that was once a model of economic success.

Yet I can’t seem to find any news from someone reporting directly from Abidjan. Why is it that all news is reaching the United States via Ghana, Johannesburg or farther away? I, for one, want to know what is actually happening on the streets, and what I hear through my own sources, via e-mail and on Skype from terrified friends in Abidjan is much different from what I read in newspapers and online.

Ivory Coast Crisis Worsens

The U.N. presence is severely limited and largely ineffective in protecting the people. As the rebels got closer to Abidjan, security disintegrated. Currently, there is widespread killing and looting by those on both sides of the conflict, but the rebels are clearly the current aggressors. I get reports of bodies being left on street corners, and homes burned and looted. Cars are being stolen then loaded up with armed rebel fighters; while tiles, furniture and anything not nailed down is carried off on foot. The U.N. and French soldiers have evacuated foreigners but have left the Ivorian people to fend for themselves. For those who fled weeks ago, there is no telling what they’ll return to — if they even choose to come back.

The international community, with unprecedented speed, proclaimed Alassane Ouattara the winner of last November’s election, but the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to surrender his office. So now that it appears Ouattara may finally become president, why are the international forces not protecting the Ivorian people in the same manner that they defended the Golf Hotel? Does it matter which side is doing the killing? I suspect that there are enough atrocities to go around. But the international community becomes complicit when it fails to protect all.

It has long been known that African journalists run the risk of being “burned” if they print something seen as offensive to either side. Many foreign journalists face the same type of reprisal. Previous firsthand reports from the Associated Press have now stopped. I’m told it’s because reporters fear for their lives and are in dangerous neighborhoods, unable to move. Other reporters previously on the ground left last week. This is because; unlike in Afghanistan or Iraq, there are no embedded reporters, or a reinforced “green zone.”

So when I read that Gbagbo supporters had released and armed prisoners from a local jail, I was appalled. I’ve since heard from numerous sources that it was in fact the Ouattara rebels who released and armed the prisoners. The credible Reporters Without Borders has confirmed this.

For months, we’ve heard and read stories about the plight of refugees fleeing to Liberia. Yet I hear of bus stations in parts of Ghana serving as de facto Ivorian refugee camps. But there are no news reports, and certainly no U.N. assistance. I have to ask, why is this?

So now, if you care anything about this country or its people, you have to consider, what is down the road? As I write this, nothing is resolved politically. There is no real endgame in sight. But I did read about how cocoa prices are starting to fall again, and the optimism is based on the pending Ouattara takeover. I understand business interests putting out these types of stories. But can we please get some real firsthand reports out of Abidjan? Can we please get more calls for Ouattara to control the rebels — if he even can at this point? Just think, if this had been done back in November, Côte d’Ivoire would not be suffering the agony it is now enduring.

Original story here: The Roots

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