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What did they say? African tech quotes from March 2012

April 3, 2012  »  UncategorizedNo Comment

As we sifted through news stories about African technology last month, we made note of some poignant (and often humorous) quotes made by leaders in the African tech space. Seemingly everyone – from president to executive to academic to blogger – had something to say about how Africans are interacting with technology. We’re excited to find such a diverse selection of opinions on the subject. The cream of the crop are listed below. Please feel free to share these!

Are you hearing me? Are you receiving me? Are you seeing me?” – Chadian President Idris Deby to an ambassador in Yaounde during a fibre cable inauguration ceremony

Every Zimbabwean child should be computer literate.” – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

The greatest that brings all elements of communication technology, social, internet, political, cultural and business is the mobile phone.” – Prof Henry Thairu, Vice Chancellor, Inoorero University

It is high time Tanzanians woke up and registered some of the stated domains under the .tz.” – Tanzania Domain Name Manager Engineer Abibu Ntahigiye

We found that every time we saved money on telephony (for the consumer) it went on food.” – Bharti Chairman Sunil Mittal, to Mobile World Congress

When Moses came down from the mountain, he brought two tablets. Today, I have a tablet, not directly from God but one that God sent to transform our lives. This tablet contains tonnes and tonnes of information.” – Zimbabwe IT Minister Nelson Chamisa

If you have to regulate, try to regulate the outcome, not the technology. If there’s an outcome you don’t like, don’t specify in law a specific technology because the technology moves forward.”Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman

We shall do what it takes to protect Kenyans from offensive material including working with established social media like Twitter.”Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Kenyan Ministry of Information

Having a local YouTube domain makes the user experience locally relevant, so you don’t log on and find a video about Lady Gaga when the country is in the middle of a crisis.”Maha Abouelenein, spokeswoman for Google Egypt

…Before we can make to a cashless society, we have to make sure that there is super connectivity that is available 99 per cent of the time.”Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Kenyan Ministry of Information

We believe the department of communications needs to consider the future of broadband penetration and to place a deadline on the deployment of copper.” – FTTH Council Africa CEO Juanita Clark

If you don’t use it, we’ll take it back.”Stephen Mncube, chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), on spectrum

We have to find creative ways to bridge the online citizen journalism with on-the-ground citizen journalism.” – Sudanese political commentator Mustafa Abdelbagi

The sad news is that there are some people that have been digging the cable in order to cut the cable as they think it is a copper wire.” – Engineer Peter Phillip, Assistant Director of IT-Technological Systems Development and Services in the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology (Tanzania)

Access is about getting people online, and once people are online we want the Internet to be relevant and useful to them.”Julie Taylor, Google’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs for SSA

How many bloggers are you aware of who promote one of the most spoken languages on the continent?”Jean Patrick Ehouman, on the lack of online coverage of non-English languages in Africa

I think that the richest companies in the world, who profit tremendously from IT, have an ultimate responsibility to deal with the consequences of all the things they’ve brought to us.” – Computer Aid’s CEO Tom Davis

A revolution will start this year and it will focus heavily on connectivity, smartphones and social media. We already have decent connectivity, but at a price.” – World Wide Worx founder Arthur Goldstuck

We see rural telecoms not as a social responsibility but as an investment because our franchisees can make profits in these under-served areas. This is a far better motivator for getting more people connected.”Rolf Stucky, co-founder of Jenny Wireless, a rural mobile provider

Uganda is not in conflict. Uganda is a modern, developing country which enjoys peace, stability and security.” – Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi in response to the Kony 2012 video

Internet, what is it all about? We did not learn it at school. Perhaps it is because we did not study physics.”Bernard Sifuyo, a Form Four graduate from Mundere, a village in Budalangi district on the Kenya-Uganda border

There is a thin line between privacy and security, but we have thought about how this can be anonymized, such that we do not see who it is that is online.” – Dr Catherine Getao, Director, E-government (Kenya)

The enormity of the socioeconomic impact of the mobile sector in Africa cannot be over emphasized.” – MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa

Why can’t we in Africa just use prisoners to dig the trenches? Some of their crimes aren’t very serious. Why can’t we do that?”Bill Hearmon, Chairman of Africa Broadband Forum, employing rhetoric at the Innovation Africa Digital Summit in Ethiopia

The next killer feature will be video apps – especially in the African market space. Highly localized apps will also be a winner.”Shiv Shivakumar, Senior Vice President IMEA, Nokia, at the Innovation Africa Digital Summit in Ethiopia

With access to the internet becoming easier and more cost effective, the overall online shopping experience is viewed positively and people are gaining trust in online security.”Anna Jones, general manager MasterCard Worldwide, on global e-commerce

Note: All quotations include a link to the source that originally cited the speaker. None of the quotes came from Twitter (for now, at least).

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