Africa Gathering London – Friday, presentations 1

Notes from the Africa Gathering London – “sharing ideas about positive change” – an event about business, IT, social causes and Africa.


Ed Scotcher – Introduction

Africa Gathering is already in place almost a year and has grown into this event – giving space for people to present their projects which might not be that big, but still innovative and important

The money which is made is going to a prize for a project which is presented

Mariéme Jamme

We are the leading platform in London today to share ideas about Africa and innovation

Africa is a great continent, a lot of things happen there, we are here to find out how to improve our continent


Leon BenjaminWinning by Sharing

Personal background – child of different cultures, coming from the IT sector

Biggest story of the 21st century – from industrial age to a networked one

The things the basic institutions nowadays needed to survive are mostly gathered around command and control

Advances in technology, prosperity, but at what cost?

The cost of command & control

  • Diabetes – e.g. appeared in India with Modern work and life models
  • Work Rage – stress, suicides
  • Inequality – no more middle class, huge wage differences, rising poverty
  • Environment – business “owns” the environment

Animals have a different way of living and have totally different needs to survive

  • Self-organization
  • Transparency
  • Trust

P2P production values

  • Open Source Software – also Google, Facebook, … couldn’t exist without it
  • P2P lending – microfinance
  • Prosperity without growth – economic prosperity other than GDP growth
  • Creative Commons – crowdsourcing
  • Open democracy

Guide for entrepreneurs

  • Different thinking about ownership structures – Visa, a chaordic model; Ricardo Semler, Semco employee contract; txteagle, separation of work
  • Different thinking about labour models – fractional work, “the future is about less”,

We need antibodies

  • we need different types of leadership
  • P2P, self-organized
  • power from the bottom, not from the top
  • Ubuntu – I am because we are

Q & A:

What steps need to happen in Africa?

  • Connectivity – the penetration of mobile phones is not yet enough


Ken BanksFrontline SMS – The business of social mobile: Mobile empowerment and the art of invisibility

Empowerment – build something, then take a step back and let other people take over

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Centralised vs. Decentralised communities

  • Many people have fantastic ideas, but they can’t realise them because they don’t have access to certain resources
  • We have to do something about it

Who has control over the stuff communities are producing? Who is controling?

  • The local people vs. the professionals

Long tail theory

  • High tech, expensive, infrastructure heavy solutions vs. easy, cheap, free local solutions
  • In rural, poor areas, the easy solutions tend to work, but the complex ones don’t


  • already documented on this blog e.g. at the April Africa Gathering notes
  • empowering people in various countries – e.g. monitoring elections, working with Ushahidi visualizing stuff

FrontlineSMS Medic

  • “Text messages saving lives”
  • Students in the US set it up
  • Out there and running

People run it themselves now, the community is present

Important things to think about when starting a project

  • hardware requrements
  • make it run on its own
  • make it cheap or free
  • forget the internet
  • assume there’s no technical knowledge
  • provide space to connect
  • be multi-discipliary
  • appropriate technology, low tech
  • collaboration, not competition
  • connect with your users

New concept FrontlineSMS Credit

  • One system, microcredit solution
  • Presentation tomorrow

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Africa Gathering London – Friday, presentations 1
was published on 09.10.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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2 Responses to “Africa Gathering London – Friday, presentations 1”

  1. ismael peña-lópez Says:

    FrontlineSMS Credit?

    Did not know about this!

  2. Florian Sturm Says:

    Yes – it was just announced today 😉