They may not be the richest, but Africans remain the world's staunchest optimists. An annual survey [PDF] by Gallup International, a research outfit, shows that, when asked whether this year will be better than last, Africa once again comes out on top. Out of 52,000 people interviewed all over the world, under half believe that things are looking up.
The Free Software & Open Source Foundation for Africa, UNEC and UNCTAD are hosting the Second IDLELO Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Kenya, February 23-25. (via TechSoup)
The impact of tourism in Africa accounts for more cash moving from rich to poor countries than governments give in aid…tourism constitutes over 10% of total exports in more than half of African countries for which there is data. In countries such as Mali and The Gambia, tiny annual international arrival figures of 70,000 – that’s less than 200 tourists a day – are significant and tourism contributes 10.1% and 30.5% of total exports for these countries respectively.
Audio and video from the recent United Nations and Sun Microsystems sponsored Pop!Tech event is now available online (Part 1 & 2). This excellent event brought together young African thought leaders to discuss the role of technology in changing communities and fighting poverty and disease. Several of those in attendance were also blogging from the event.
Until recently, blogging - the practice of keeping a journal style website with dated entries - has barely registered in sub-Saharan Africa, with switched-on South Africa as the obvious exception. The relative scarcity of affordable internet access and the physical distance from the Western epicentre of the online world made blogging an elite pastime for expatriates living in the continent and Diaspora students outside it. But the situation is starting to change…
As every gardener knows, plants flourish when they get exactly the amount of water they require. A sudden downpour is wasted: The ground cannot absorb it, and the runoff erodes the soil. The same goes with funding development in Africa and other poor nations. Too little money, whether domestic savings, export revenues, or aid to governments and nongovernmental organizations, hampers progress. But too much is bad as well, national economies can absorb only a certain flow of money usefully.
The Christian Science Monitor profiles the ‘yahoo-yahoo boys’:
In the heart of sub-Saharan Africa's most-crowded metropolis, in a dimly lit Internet café thumping with Nigerian music, clusters of two and three teenage boys hover around aging computer screens. They use their Nike T-shirts and baggy jeans to wipe sweat off their brows and palms as they intently craft deceptive e-mails and scour the Web for foreign e-mail addresses.
The only way to give food security to 200 million sub-Saharan Africans is to give them the tools, not to rely on yet more aid and government mismanagement. World food production has increased with population by 90% in the last 50 years; the real price of food has declined by 75%. Yet Africa has none of the factors that made this possible: greater agricultural productivity, internal economic freedom and international trade.