Maker Faire Africa, Accra, Friday: sessions 2nd part

Notes from the Maker Faire Africa 2009 in Accra, Ghana from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th August.

Follow the MFA09 aggregator on Maneno.

MFA09 program available here.


Panel: African Invention – what drives innovation on the continent?

Dominic Wanjihia, Kenya

Nana Aquah Kofi, Ghana

Emeka Okafor, Nigeria

William Kamkwamba, Malawi

Impediments of innovation

  • The old generation has a mindset not trusting the youth and not encouraging them to try things
  • Teachers are often not too creative, curious pupils are often shut down
  • Often education is seen with an end – a degree


  • Delivering constant quality is hard but quality is the key for international recognition
  • Look at your neighbours (Mala, Cameroon, …) before seeking approval internationally
  • Look at what people do, rather than what degree they have


Panel: Dissemination, Models for Technology Diffusion

Erik Hersman, AfriGadget

Amy smith, IDDS

FabLab Ghana

FabLab Kenya

Engineers for change

IDDS: Create prototypes, not papers; create technology and technologists

Engineers for change:

  • repository for problems and solutions
  • project management & communication tool
  • network for engineers internationally

There is no mechanism with which to share best practices

Often people just can’t invest in new technologies because the capital and time is scarce


Scott Fifer – Go Campaign Prize Announcement

NGO supporting projects helping children – the future of Africa depends on the future of its children

Scholarship for makers organizing workshops



Makers show & tell

IDDS – playground power team

Notes from IDDS final presentation

Is this being disseminated and how?

  • Thinking about using the merry-go-round for advertising
  • Approaching school systems

What was the biggest challenge?

  • making it cheap


Jodie Wu

Just finished MIT, talking about a project started 2 years ago

Technology to shell maize

  • bicycle used for that purpose
  • bike-device was rented and payed itself off in 20 days
  • right now – create an interface for the bike to attach any technology to it

How about releasing the designs – when you actually want to make profit?

  • the basic technology has been around for hundreds of years
  • I see it as a success when people are copying it


Panel: From invention to investor – getting venture finance to perfect your idea

Emeka Okafor

Mark Grimes, NedSpace

Nii Simmonds, Nubian Cheetah

Problem in Africa: many inventions don’t get investment easily, the investment market is quite underdeveloped currently is a great idea – allowing everybody to look at entrepreneurs in various countries and invest in their business

People talk about technology – but we need to look at basic stuff

Also corporate social responsibility programs will not bridge the gap – as big companies will not fund their ultimate opponents

Due to the crisis now is the time to make money – and eventually make the world a better place

Africa is open for business (Carol Pineau) and not different to other continents


  • funding – one reason why this event is hold
  • support from experiences person – platforms such as Nedspace provide a solution
  • having an office – a company address

One model is to look at others and adapt their behavious to your environment

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Maker Faire Africa, Accra, Friday: sessions 2nd part
was published on 14.08.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under sub saharan africa
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