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Science & Tech

NEW BOOKS: Innovative Africa: The new face of Africa (Technology & Startups)

I’m all about emerging markets. Innovation in technology in parts of the world that have historically been on the losing-end of tech-booms excites me. Here’s one book I’m looking forward to reading that was just published this month:  Innovative Africa: The new face of Africa by Will Mutua, Mbwana Alliy

We live in an age of increasing innovation taking place throughout the world. Easy access to cheap or free technology, social media networks and oceans of investors looking to seep their funds into the next game-changing idea has leveled the playing field and created fertile ground for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs around the world to launch tech startups. It really is a new day.

Silicon Alley-based VC Eghosa Omoiguui is investing $30 million in African startups this year.

Africa (like many other parts of the world) is experiencing an “innovation rebirth” that is holding its own compared to other parts of the world. Particularly with regards to mobile technology (where African nations need and use technological innovations the most), it’s clear Africa is making strides in tech. (@MobileActive) documents research being done on the numerous mobile technological advances being done in third world countries and many poorer nations in Africa and the results are both surprising and hopeful. While Forbes recently did a post on Africa’s hottest tech startups which you can read here. And since we’re on the subject and I’m sharing, here are tweets from last week’s Open Innovation Africa Summit (#OIAS)  #innovation

Innovative Africa: The New Face of Africa is a compilation of essays discussing Africa’s current and potential future tech  startup economy. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one. Here are a few of the chapters that should make any entrepreneur, investor, marketer or techie want to grab this book and delve in:

  • Doing Tech Business in Africa: A Few Lessons from Twitter‘s Rise in Africa
  • Which African Country is Best To Do a Tech Startup?
  • The Road Ahead: Blueprint for Building Africa’s Tech Ecosystem
  • Disruptive Innovation in the African Tech Context
  • 7 Stepts to Raising Seed Investment for Africa-focused Tech Startups
  • Mending Africa’s Tech Skills Gap & Tapping into its Youthful Population to Power Innovation in Tech
  • The Making of Silicon Valleys in Africa
  • Looking East: Observations and Lessons for Africa from China’s Startup Ecosystem and Special Economic Zones

Below is more about the book from the publisher. You can also download a preview of the first few chapters here. It’s available on Amazon here.


Technology and Innovation are playing a vital role in shaping Africa’s future and will continue to do so. This collection of essays on the ‘New face of Africa’ posits an African continent where technology, innovation and entrepreneurship create new opportunities for even further growth on the continent.

We look at a wide array of issues that affect the creation, growth and sustainability of startup and innovation ecosystems around the continent. The book does not seek to address issues at the level of a specific country or locality, but instead looks at things from a broad and high level, with the intention of highlighting issues that are pertinent across borders and cultures. Indeed, some aspects may apply more within some country or culture than others (“Africa is not a country”).

The book is divided into two parts: The first, “Investigating Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa”, takes a look at the current state of things and makes observations of what progress has been made, existing challenges and opportunities as well as providing specific recommendations that startups, investors and government can use to further technology innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent.

The second part “In Search of a Model for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems that fits the African Context” takes a close up view of three innovative economies: Silicon Valley, China and Israel, from which we try to glean a few lessons about startup ecosystems that could be applied within the African context in order to come up with a (perhaps hybrid) model that works best for the continent and specific nations within the continent.



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Seven Security Fears for 2012 that May Keep You Up at Night

We all troll the internet seemingly without a care in the world, but most of us realize the inherent danger of sharing personal information online and on our mobile devices. We are all vulnerable to security weaknesses of the internet (and there are far more than I’ll list in this post).

Technology Review recently listed the seven leading security fears for 2012 discussed at this year’s RSA Computer Security Conference. It’s a varied list, but basically, no one is safe as long as big institutions such as banks, mobile carriers and the like are vulnerable (and, as it turns out, they’re pretty much sitting ducks).

Here’s the list in a gist. For a more detailed account of each item, check out the full report here.

  1. Big Data – gives new meaning to the term “too much information”
  2. Government Regulation on the Internet
  3. A Cyberwar Arms Race
  4. The Web’s most common security mechanism is basically, useless.
  5. Mobile devices being used as a back-door into company networks.
  6. Home Automation.
  7. Hactivism

Government regulation is probably the deal-breaker for me. What about you?

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Joshua Sheridan Fouts

EVENT: Rethinking Collaborative Culture with Joshua Fouts

One of the positive unintended consequences of being inundated with technology that we do not fully understand how to maximize is that we get to stretch the typically inflexable regions of our mind to reimagine the world we want to live in through the new, powerful technology we create. We get to reimagine society while tossing out the rules of our parents and their parents. Public discourse on the consequences of technology that moves and defines us is not only necessary, but fun as hell too (especially if you’re a big dork like meee!).

Entrepreneur Anil Dash

On Tuesday, March 20th, I’ll be attending a breakfast series which was created for the sole purpose of not only featuring thought-leaders giving presentations on the most hotly debated issues in tech, media and culture, but also to allow attendees to have meaningful dialogue with the guest speakers after their presentation.  At the last event, I had the pleasure of conversing with Anil Dash (@anildash)  (entrepreneur, technologies) after his presentation on social networks (how they really function versus how we perceive them). Anil stayed for an hour to chat with attendees. I was amazed at how generous he was with his time and how genuinely interested he seemed in learning what other people did.

The guest presenter this month is digital anthropologist Joshua Fouts (@josholia) (Executive Director of Science House Foundation, a New York international non-profit that “works to spark the imaginations of students worldwide about the excitement of science and mathematics”. He has also worked as a diplomat for the United States on cultural relations.

What will Joshua be speaking on? Collaborative culture.

In the wake of social technology that has given us the tools to collaborate across generations, ethnicities and countries in ways we never could have imagined in the past, collaborative culture is one of the most discussed topics in business and education. In his talk, Joshua will ask: “How can we use science and imagination to create a new global economy?” He will then explore how empowering youth with big ideas can transform the future.

Fun times! Makes my brain all tingly.

If you’d like to attend this event (breakfast and speaker presentation), ping me. I’ll be live-tweeting form the presentation as well.


Joshua Sheridan Fouts
Joshua Sheridan Fouts

Joshua is Executive Director of Science House Foundation, a New York City based international non-profit that works to spark the imaginations of students worldwide about the excitement of science and mathematics. Joshua is a digital business anthropologist, technologist, futurist, and entrepreneur who has worked at the forefront of cultural collaboration, science and technology innovation. In the 1990s Joshua worked as a diplomat for the United States focused on cultural relations. He went on to launch and direct, at the University of Southern California Annenberg School, two think tanks — in 1998 the first ever think tank dedicated online journalism and in 2003 the first-ever think-tank dedicated to the applied study of cultural relations. Joshua has a lifelong passion for anthropology and the science of culture. He is a senior fellow for Science Diplomacy, Culture and Education at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress and a Next Generation Fellow at The American Assembly.  He speaks Brazilian Portuguese.


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