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The Encyclopaedia Of African Wisdom.

The rescue mission of the African culture starts in a small village in Cameroon. Chief Gaston Donnat Bappa was born here. He is an IT specialist with more than three decades of experience in different companies and institutions and is currently the General Coordinator of the ITSUD (Information Technologies for Sustainable Development), an NGO in Song-Mbengue in the rural area of Cameroon, and institution that fights the digital divide, in African rural areas notably.

The 56-year-old is creating a site that he hopes will become the first port of call for African arts and crafts, food, laws, medicine, music, oral storytelling, religion, science, sport – anything that can be defined as tradition, dating back millions of years. A prototype is open for contributions, with early entries including Myths and Legends of the Bantu, and Concepts of Social Justice in Traditional Africa. The name: African Traditions Online Encyclopaedia (ATOE).

The idea grew from Bappa’s passion for beliefs and customs from a young age on in his village, Ndjock-Nkong, as well as his traveled to more than 20 African countries as a senior IT engineer, consultant and bank executive. Bappa:

I saw that even in my tribe traditions are beginning to disappear. When I was going to other countries in Africa I saw it was the same. It’s not because young people don’t want to learn about them but because they don’t have the access in urban areas.

Gaston Donnat Bappa embodies the combination of old and new: He inherited the title of clan chief from his great-grandfather, grandfather and father 22 years ago but has 34 years of experience in computer technology. He hopes to bring the two worlds together in his project.

People think traditions don’t belong with information and communications technology because traditions are so far behind us and ICT is so far ahead of us. But if you don’t know who you are, you don’t know where you are going.

The ATOE will use wiki applications for volunteers to input, change or remove content in collaboration with others. Bappa is operating from Yaoundé and working to raise worldwide awareness of the project, which he will formally unveil at next year’s eLearning Africa conference. He plans to approach Microsoft and other potential sponsors in an attempt to raise 400,000 Euro for the initial phase.


It is not only for Africa. It will be open to all worldwide, Africans and non-Africans. It is for the whole of humankind because Africa is the cradle of humanity. We are going to ask Wikipedia if they can transfer all the information on African traditions to our database, and they’ll be very happy to do so, I’m sure

Have a first look at the encyclopaedia here.

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, July 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) announced the call for entries for the 2014 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) (http://www.innovationprizeforafrica.org).

The prestigious Prize, presented annually since 2012, aims at encouraging innovations that contribute to sustainable development in Africa. The winning submission will be awarded a prize of USD 100’000, with two additional USD 25 000, one for the runner up with an innovation with the best business potential and the other one for the runner up with the innovation with the best social impact.

In an effort to drive African-led development, the IPA invites African entrepreneurs and innovators to propose projects that unlock new African potential under one of five categories which include: 1) agriculture and agribusiness; 2) environment, energy and water; 3) health and wellbeing; 4) ICT applications; and 5) manufacturing and services industries.

“The IPA team believes that the best way to build Africa’s capacity is to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurship. This prize encourages Africans to develop creative ways to overcome everyday challenges,” said AIF founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais.

The IPA 2013 was awarded to South Africa’s AgriProtein for its innovative approach to nutrient recycling – a method that uses waste and fly larvae to produce natural animal feed. The 2013 prize also recognized two additional winners for their contributions to African innovation. In the business potential category, Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini from Saphon Energy (Tunisia) received USD 25 000 for creating a bladeless wind convertor. In the social impact category, Sanoussi Diakite (Senegal) received USD 25 000 for developing and distributing a thermal powered machine that husks 5 kilograms of fonio – an important and healthy West African cereal – in just 8 minutes. This innovation increases accessibility to a nutritious African staple food source and addresses challenges associated with its consumption.

With more than 1350 applications received to date, the IPA aims to support Africans’ efforts to develop new products, increase efficiency and drive cost-savings on the continent. The IPA also provides a platform for African innovators to showcase their solutions to potential investors and seek partners to scale up their marketable concepts. Only innovations by Africans and for Africans are eligible to enter. Africans in the Diaspora can also apply if their innovations are of significance to Africa.

The registration deadline for the 2014 prize has been set for 31 October 2013. For detailed information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission procedures, please visit www.innovationprizeforafrica.org and review the detailed call for application prior to applying.



It was not without its fair share of challenges. The students initially hoped to launch the CanSat with a rocket, but discovered authorities would not give them permission to import one. “They think you are going to use it as a missile, like a terrorist,” said Benjamin Bonsu, the lab’s 29-year-old project manager.

(via ghanailoveyou)


@africatechie (Rebecca Enonchong) speaks to CNN about technology and innovation in West Africa

Africans in the technology industry on Twitter are quite familiar with @africatechie (Rebecca Enonchong) for her timely, insightful updates on technology happenings across Africa. She was recently interviewed by Robyn Curnow of CNN Marketplace Africa. Check out the interview below and share with your fellow African techies 

Cameroonian tech entrepreneur and businesswomen, Rebecca Enonchong discusses technology and innovation in West Africa.


“I developed the pot-in-pot to help the rural poor in a cost-effective, participatory and sustainable way.”

Northern Nigeria is an impoverished region where people in rural communities eke out a living from subsistence farming. With no electricity, and therefore no refrigeration, perishable foods spoil within days. Such spoilage causes disease and loss of income for needy farmers, who are forced to sell their produce daily. Nigerian teacher Mohammed Bah Abba was motivated by his concern for the rural poor and by his interest in indigenous African technology to seek a practical, local solution to these problems. His extremely simple and inexpensive earthenware “pot-in-pot” cooling device, based on a principle of physics already known in ancient Egypt, has revolutionized lives in this semi-desert area.

read more about his AMAZING project and HEY he’s Nigerian!! :) Aren’t we innovative? ;) Source

(via forwardtozion-deactivated201306)

MARTIN: Do you think that the prize is having its intended effect?

IBRAHIM: I think so. What we wanted out of the prize, really, is raw attention to the issue of governance and leadership. The week before we announce the winner or the week after, this is the main subject of conversation in every dinner table in Africa. People say, oh, well, why my president didn’t get it? Why this guy got it? Why? Once people start to talk about governance and leadership, that all what we wanted. Once a civil society gets hold of this issue, then our job is done.

MARTIN: What - of the major forces that we are now seeing in Africa - we’re seeing a drive toward entrepreneurship, the roots of which have always been there. We’re seeing a very young population. We are seeing a reverse migration in many ways, so many people who’ve been educated in the west in a previous generation would have stayed in the west are now returning home. We’re also seeing investment, like from China and a number of other countries, but China being the one that gets the most attention. Of all those factors, what do you think is going to be the most transformative?

IBRAHIM: I think the rise of the African civil society is very important and this new generation of young people - and, by the way, half the African people is below 19 years old. We have the most young population anywhere on the planet and this young generation is much better educated than us, than our generation. It’s much better connected to each other, but in our times, many years ago, there was only one newspaper in the country run by the government, one TV station, one radio station, both run by the government. And just to acquire a photocopier, you needed permission from the police.

Now, it is different, so the flow of information - this connected young people who receive better education than us who are not afraid. They are asking the questions. Why is that our standard of living? You know, Africa is rich as a continent. Why are we poor? That’s the question. And when people start to ask that question certain conclusions will be reached and that is very important. So I’m really quite optimistic about the future of Africa, given this vibrant, young generation of people.

MARTIN: What do think you…

IBRAHIM: African women also are very important.

Mobile communications entrepreneur, billionaire, and philanthropist, Mohamed ‘Mo’ Ibrahim is optimistic about the continent’s future.

via NPR


Bicycle Phone Changer

In Tanzania, the majority of people live without electricity, yet a third of the country uses mobile phones. Bernard Kiwia, a trained electrician and vocational-school instructor, collaborated with the for-profit social enterprise Global Cycle Solutions (GCS) to design a phone charger from scrap bike and radio parts. Made from spokes, brake tubes, clamps, motors, and capacitors, the device generates power when its roller comes in contact with the bike’s spinning wheel as one rides it

(via nocturnalphantasmagoria)


It’s been more than ten years since Diébédo Francis Kéré built his first school in Burkina Faso. In 1998 the architect planned a climate friendly clay school building in his home village of Gando, 200 kilometres west of the capital of Ouagadougou. It was finally built in 2001 with the help of villagers and the foundation Schulbausteine für Gando (“School Building Blocks for Gando”), which he established specifically for this purpose.

Until then many had looked down on his work with condescension. But the clay building was still standing after the first rainy season and further buildings followed — a school extension, residential buildings for teachers and an infirmary, and soon the library and women’s centre will be completed too. The award-winning architect is currently constructing his largest clay building to date, in the form of a high school for more than 1,200 students, which will be made of wall panels prefabricated from clay and concrete. The village of Gando is his building site, and in his architecture, Kéré combines what he has seen in Europe with what he finds in Africa.

Kéré’s biography reads like something straight from the movies. As a boy, the now successful architect lived with a foster family in the provincial capital of Tenkodogo, where he went to school during the week. His weekends, meanwhile, were spent mending rain-damaged clay houses. “I obtained building materials for the houses of my foster family,” he remembers. “I got gravel, sand and clay in particular, because after every rainy season the buildings needed to be repaired. During this work, I decided I wanted to build better houses one day.”

This is what we need, innovations based on indigenous designs. Not wholesale foreign imports. I still believe that clay, or “mud” is much more suited for the West African environment, our ancestors knew what they were doing. Indigenous architecture(s) from Burkina Faso is already awesome and by improving the design and making it more sustainable, Kéré has basically “upgraded” them for this time and age.

I’d happily live in this “mud” house.

(via sarraounia)

"Africa is more dependent on aid than any other continent and its citizens have had little choice on whether to accept it or not…"

In this first episode of Al Jazeera’s new program South2North hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa, anchor Redi Tlhabi re-ignites the ongoing debate on the true impact on foreign aid throughout Africa.

Tlhabi also looks at the rise in African economies and what these developments mean in a broader global political context.

Very interesting discussion, especially in regards to China’s presence in Africa where Moeletsi Mbeki says that, “the regulations of the African countries are really the problem”, as well as arguing that due to the various levels of development and ‘stress’ that certain African countries face, aid is necessary in some way to establish economic stability in these nations.

Head of ActionAid International Joanna Kerr that outlines the distinctions between ‘real aid’ that does actually tackle issues such as poverty and social development, and aid that is linked to other non-beneficial political gains. She goes on to state the importance of transparency and creating spaces in which both citizens and the media are given both platforms and agency to freely and openly hold leadership accountable.

Nigeria is running one of Africa’s biggest space programmes. The hope is the satellite-based project will help manage agricultural production, but not everyone is convinced of the benefits.

In 2003 Nigeria announced its space programme and within a few years it had launched its first satellite, which quickly lost power and disappeared from orbit.

Now Nigeria has three satellites in orbit including NigComSat-1R, built in China. It was launched in 2011 and has boosted internet and telecommunications services across the country.

Next, the Nigerians turned to Britain’s Surrey Satellite Technology, which has built two earth-observation satellites, including the top-of-the-range NigeriaSat-2, which at the time of its launch was producing the highest resolution images of any UK-built satellite.

The other part of the project involved a trained team of 26 Nigerian engineers putting together the second satellite, NigeriaSat-X.

Both satellites are now providing data to help government agencies with planning.

For example, the satellites are tracking crops and weather around the country in an effort to protect long-term food supply.

There is also closer monitoring of the oil-rich Niger Delta, where there has been massive crude oil theft and environmental damage from oil spills.

This vantage point could also be useful in the Nigerian government’s fight against militants in the north.

"We’ve just collected images over Mali, which we’ve handed over to the armed forces because we believe they will be helpful to them in the peacekeeping mission over there," says Seidu Mohammed, director-general of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

Mozambique is a country full of hope, promise and a booming economy after difficult times.

Two decades of civil war ended in 1992 but left the country dependent on international donors and it has struggled to rebuild.

But now with one of the world’s largest new coal finds and a growing tourist industry, the capital city of Maputo is booming.

For Working Lives, the BBC’s Laeila Adjovi travelled to Maputo to meet five people who live and work in a country that is one of Africa’s emerging success stories.

In a country undergoing major transformation, Clothilde Maita's job as one of Mozambique's three female train drivers seems only fitting. As such, she is typical of many Mozambican women who relish a challenge.

Juneide Lalgy, a transport tycoon, is another person who thrives on a challenge. Starting with two lorries loaned by his father, he has built one of the biggest private companies in Mozambique. But he has used his success to help others from school children to aspiring young footballers.

Very few people would answer a job advert to work with rats, but Catia Rodrigues is happy she did. Now Catia and her very special rodents are helping Mozambique fight tuberculosis, a deadly disease of that kills 50,000 Mozambicans every year.

Ramos Saide is building the new Mozambique, literally. His construction skills help provide the growing middle class with their prized new houses. His own home, just three square meters (yards), stands in stark contrast to the smart villas where he spends his working days.

Natural resources may be booming now in Mozambique, but the country has always been rich in dance and music and Perola Jaime is considered one of the country’s national treasures. From her early years as a famous dancer, to choreographer and mentor to the national dance company, Perola embodies the spirit of the country.


These boda bodas are essentially ambulances.

Known variously as mAmbulance (mobile Ambulance) or BodAmbulance, seven re-tooled boda bodas have taken more than 4,200 emergency cases within the Mbale, Manafwa, and Bududa districts since the first run in December 2010.

(via Accessing Health Services in Uganda: Boda Boda to the Rescue! | Think Africa Press)

(via typicalugandan)

China’s interest in Africa is no secret. A lesser documented story is that of India and Australia’s interest in the continent.

A recent article in The Economist noted that foreign direct investment in Africa hit $46 billion in 2012, up from $15 billion in 2002. The bulk of deals are in infrastructure and transportation, with China as a majority investor, but straight-forward M&A is also playing a role.

This M&A activity accounts for why, as per mergermarket, India and Australia (but not China) are Asia’s largest African rain-makers, in terms of number of deals.

India’s draw to Africa is obvious,” said Managing Partner Cyril Shroff of Indian law-firm Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co. Amarchand, which is working on three Indo-African deals, has a dedicated team scouting African opportunities and building relationships.

“Africa has been witnessing demographic growth coupled with rising purchasing power,” Shroff said. “Culturally, there are similarities and a long history between Indians and Africans,” he added.

In fact, Africa’s largest inbound M&A transaction to date by an Asian player was Indian. Three years ago, Bharti Airtel paid $10.7 billion for Kuwaiti firm Zain’s African assets. Since then Bharti has said it would invest heavily in Africa, including in Malawi and Uganda, to ramp up its portfolio. On the consumer front, Godrej Consumer Products, which has already made acquisitions in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, has said it will continue to seek African deals in the household and personal care segment, as has peer Dabur India.

“While there is not yet a critical mass of Indian acquirers, several corporates are deeply conscious of the African opportunity and could seek to enter those markets – once they stabilize their domestic operations,” Shroff continued.

Africa’s lure for Australia, meanwhile, lies mainly in the mining and energy sectors. The largest deal to date was in February, when Rio Tinto picked up an additional 37% stake in South Africa’s Richards Bay Minerals, which produces iron and zircon, for $1.7 billion. The majority of other deals, while smaller in size, fall in the same sector and sometimes extend to auxiliary sectors such as Sedgman’s AUD $104 million acquisition of mining services company last November.

Countries that will continue to lure investors include South Africa, already the largest recipient of Asian capital and which stands in its own league, despite recent mining and labor woes. Other countries that will drive interest, partly due to their natural resources, include Angola, Mozambique, and Nigeria.

One of the caveats, dealmakers said, is that target countries have diverse levels of political stability and sovereign risk. Another warning would be with regards to limited or alternative deal-making knowledge such as alternative financing and structures, public market deals, share swaps, tax issues and cultural differences during negotiations.

Despite obstacles, India Inc clearly has Africa on its mind. Deals will be done, albeit slowly, in consumer, financial services, telecommunications and natural resources. The Australian story — in the wake of the death knell arguably sounding for its mining industry given falling commodity prices, high labor costs and reduced capital expenditure by miners — is less rosy.

But one thing is clear — inbound African deals are here to stay. Beckoning Asian investors is its wealth of natural resources, tempting demographics, stabilizing politics and improving social-economic conditions.

They attached an $8 (£5) ball lens to the handset camera lens, and used a cheap torch and double-sided tape to create an improvised microscope.

Pictures were then taken of stool samples placed on lab slides, wrapped in cellophane and taped to the phone.

They were studied for the presence of eggs, the main symptom of the parasites.

When the results were double-checked with a laboratory light microscope, the device had managed to pick up 70% of the samples with infections present - and 90% of the heavier infections.

The study has been published this week in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Researcher Dr Isaac Bogoch, who specialises in internal medicine and infectious diseases at Toronto General Hospital, told the BBC he had read about smartphone microscopes being trialled in a laboratory and decided to “recreate it in a real world setting”.

"Ultimately we’d like something like this to be a useful diagnostic test. We want to put it in the hands of someone who might be able to use it," he said.

"70% (accuracy) isn’t really good enough, we want to be above 80% and we’re not quite there yet," he added.

"The technology is out there. We want to use materials that are affordable and easy to procure."

Camera key

Dr Bogoch and his team, which included experts from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, said the only reason he used an Apple iPhone was because it was his own handset.

"You need the ball lens to help with the magnification - but any mobile phone with a decent camera and a zoom function will be sufficient," he explained.

The smallest eggs visible using the smartphone were 40-60 micrometres in diameter.

"From an egg standpoint that is not tiny but it’s not enormous either," said Dr Bogoch.

"The microscope was very good at diagnosing children with heavier infection intensities as there are more eggs, so they are easier to see."

Intestinal worms are estimated to affect up to two billion people around the world, mainly in poor areas.

"These parasitic infections cause malnutrition, stunted growth, and stunted mental development," added Dr Bogoch.

"It’s a big deal, a big problem."


Floating School

For the community of Makoko of Lagos, Nigeria, life on the water is nothing new. Prone to flooding, residents have dealt with encroaching waters for generations by building houses on stiltsand using canoes as their main source of transport.

Nigerian-born architect Kunle Adeyemi has a vision for the city of 250,000 people that involves constructing a group of floating structures that have better access to sanitation, fresh water, and waste disposal.

His first endeavor would be to build a three-story school held afloat by plastic drums.