We had a great start to our day in Nairobi — we met an inspiring group of Kenyan media and technology entrepreneurs who are the driving force behind Kenya’s blossoming technology community.
Silicon Valley, watch out. This group of entrepreneurs is forging the next frontier in digital media and mobile based technology. From mobile banking and SMS crowd sourcing technology, to mapping slums and watch-dogging government, I’m convinced these are the kinds of transformational actors that are driving Kenya’s future – and Africa’s future.
They’re the likes of Ory Okolloh, founder of Ushahidi and Mzalendo; Joseph Macheru from Google Kenya, Karanja Macharia, founder of Mobile Planet, Kwame Nyongo, founder of Animations; Mike Rabar, founder of Home Boyz Entertainment and Salim Amin from A24. They’re just a sample of a much broader community of entrepreneurs whose influence and impact is building across the continent.
One of many highlights: a project to map Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Despite its size and renown, Kibera had always been a blank spot on the map — there was no information on its basic geography or where to access basic services like schools, medical facilities and water sources. No longer. Thanks to this community, and a group of highly motivated young people, a map of Kibera was created using GPS and satellite imagery. Just like the web-based maps we now take for granted in the States.
This is just one example of what a small community of creative and innovative entrepreneurs can achieve. USAID needs to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit, support their efforts and help them scale.
I encourage you to check out some of these efforts – and I want to hear about others like them, wherever they are. Leave some comments.