Sunday, August 27, 2006

Africa compared to the rest of the world

Africa, the Dark Continent. A romantic name for an unknown and underexplored region of the world to the Europeans of the 19th century. Today is different though, we know Africa and have mapped out every last mystery - even that elusive source of the Nile.
Take a look at a night time map of Africa compared to the rest of the world - yes it’s very dark.

Even Google is concerned, the number of searches from Africa compared (again) to the rest of the world is miniscule. (I apologize for not being able to get a larger and more up-to-date image, this is from 2003)

Let’s take a look at a news attention map, highlighting where the big news organizations are focusing (countries in deep red are experiencing the most attention).

Looking at the above maps, one can see that Africa is still dark infrastructurally, technologically and on top of that, the world just doesn’t care. What does that mean for Africa and Africans?
I sit in a strange place, as do many of you who read this blog. We are considered the African first-movers on web technology, the African Digerati if you will. Our insights into technology are not the same as the vast majority of those who live in Africa and our knowledge and perspective of Africa is much different than the rest of the world’s. We, currently, are the people on the bridge - maybe even the bridge - that spans the divide of both knowledge and technology when it comes to Africa.
So, in our unique position, what do we see? This is what I see:
I see young Africans gaining access to technology and connecting to the world at a greater pace than ever before. What happens when you get millions of children on $100 computers? How does that change their world view and affect the way communication happens?
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