These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
“After a week of business meetings in the cities of sub-Saharan Africa, Eric Schmidt posted a detailed list of observations. As he used to run Google and is still on their board, I'll give him a bit more credit than others who might want to opine after a week's exposure to the continent's dynamism.
Eric starts with 3 positive major trends:
- the despotic leadership in Africa from the 1970s and 1980 is in decline, replaced by younger and more democratic leaders
- a huge youth demographic boom is underway, with a majority of the population of 25, or even under 20
- mobile phones are everywhere, and the Internet in Africa will be primarily a mobile one” READ MORE
“Davos: The civil society is demanding social justice and accountability from all institutions in uncertain economic and political times globally, as technology has created more aware and educated population that is dominated by young cohorts, says a WEF report.
However, even though civil society is dynamic, vibrant and influential, it is also "selectively restricted", said the report, 'The Future Role of Civil Society', released today.
'Technology and demographics have created more aware, better connected and increasingly educated populations often dominated by younger cohorts. These populations are demanding social justice and accountability from all institutions in a time of economic and political uncertainty," the World Economic Forum (WEF) said.'" READ MORE
Closing the Internet Gender Gap
“There is no doubt that over the last decade, the Internet has created a revolution. Never before has information been so widely available or people better connected to one another. The Internet can be a great equalizer. And yet, access to it is not equally distributed. Notably, Internet access for both men and women in North America is nearly five times that of Africa.
The gap in Internet access is even more salient for women, particularly in developing countries. Because the Internet can provide enormous economic, social and professional value, the gender gap in access has very serious consequences for women. To better understand this gender Internet gap, Intel commissioned a study, "Women and the Web," in consultation with the U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Women's Issues, UN Women and World Pulse, a global network for women.” READ MORE
“Monitoring social media for digital humanitarian response can be a massive undertaking. The sheer volume and velocity of tweets generated during a disaster makes real-time social media monitoring particularly challenging if not near impossible. However, two new studies argue that there is ‘a better way to track the spread of information on Twitter that is much more powerful.’
Manuel Garcia-Herranz and his team at the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain use small groups of ‘highly connected Twitter users as ‘sensors’ to detect the emergence of new ideas. They point out that this works because highly co-nnected individuals are more likely to receive new ideas before ordinary users.’ The test their hypothesis, the team studied 40 million Twitters users who ‘together totted up 1.5 billion follows’ and sent nearly half a billion tweets, including 67 million containing hashtags.’” READ MORE
Democracy in Africa
Reflecting back, Looking forward: Caroline Kende-Robb
“To mark the new year, Democracy in Africa has asked key groups and individuals to reflect on developments in Africa during 2012, and look forward to 2013. We have invited them to share with us their insights and predictions, their hopes and their fears. Here, we speak to Caroline Kende-Robb. Caroline is the Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel, a group of distinguished individuals, chaired by Kofi Annan, dedicated to encouraging progress in Africa.
1. Could you briefly describe the work that APP does?
The Africa Progress Panel , set up in 2007 and chaired by Kofi Annan, is a group of ten eminent personalities who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable economic, political and social progress in Africa. Advised by policy experts, the Panel monitors Africa’s socio-economic development and offers evidence-based recommendations for better policy. As individuals and as a group, the Panel influences policy so that Africa’s economic growth translates into more prosperity for Africans.” READ MORE
“To have an impact in a world that is overflowing with information, you have to shout very loudly with one voice. That is why 100 of the UK’s NGOs and faith groups have got together for the biggest joint campaign since 2005′s “Make Poverty History“.
But the If initiative to end world hunger needs more than just attention, it needs people to understand and act.
The Kony2012 campaign was heard because it got over 100 million views on YouTube. But they didn’t catch Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the guerrilla group in Uganda, and it might well have set back both attitudes to Africa and the idealism of those who clicked on the video but didn’t get a real world result.” READ MORE