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Recent events bode well for Togo’s techpreneurs

December 22, 2012  »  ICT PolicyNo Comment

A recent Barcamp, a new blog, a tight-knit community, and a draft legal framework bode well for Togo’s techpreneurs.

The past week has seen quite a few exciting events in Togo’s growing tech space.

Leading off, on December 15th, Google (among other companies) sponsored the annual Barcamp Lomé event. The event, held under the theme “Internet in Togo: connectivity, accessibility and content,” attracted dozens of participants (photos can be seen on Pinterest). The topics covered everything from creating websites to using Google tools to simply having the chance to discuss Internet accessibility in Togo. The day could not be better suited for a country like Togo that is in need of a greater web presence.  Events like this will continue to gain much-deserved attention for innovators in Togo who have less press exposure, less tech funding, and less ICT infrastructure than neighboring Ghana or Nigeria. Additionally, the use of a Twitter hashtag (in this case #tgtech) helps build community. Just think what #civtech does for Cote d’Ivoire and how #sentech has been a cohesive factor in Senegal.

What’s more, Cina Lawson, the current Minister of Post and Telecommunications of Togo, has launched her own blog. The site is a clear step to promote government transparency and to encourage public-private Togolese interaction. On her website, Ms. Lawson, recently announced that a draft law on electronic communications has been adopted by the National Assembly. If enacted, the bill will improve access to electronic communications, will promote the development of broadband, and will allow healthier telecommunications competition (ie. new service offerings tailored to the needs of the Togolese people). Ms. Lawson concedes that the Togolese government faces a long road in advancing the telecommunications sector. Certain issues will take some time:

  • Remote areas need broadband
  • An independent regulator is needed
  • Computers are needed to democratize access to the network

Still, Ms. Lawson conveys optimism that the Togolese government is focused on modernizing the country. And we have to agree. The good intentions (in addition to quality) of the site suggests Togo is about to enter an era of much needed ICT advancement.

Expect 2013 to be a year of sustained growth for the Togolese technology and telecommunications scene. Togolese developers may not yet have created well-known products or apps, but that is soon to change. Please be sure to keep abreast of all #tgtech happenings – these guys (and girls) sure know how to combine fun with innovation!

Barcamp Lome (Togo) 2012

Barcamp Lomé 2012. {Twitter: @aabaglo}

Next up: BootCampLomé from 27-29 December.