Video: Fill the Gap 8: African IT entrepreneurship
Fill the Gap, organized by Dutch development organizations Hivos and IICD, is an annual ICT for Development networking event held in the Netherlands. In 2011 the event’s theme was IT entrepreneurship in Africa. Keynote speakers were Google Ghana’s Country Manager Estelle Akofio-Sowah and local Kenyan IT entrepreneur Kamal Budhabhatti.
Notes from the video:
- Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Google Ghana Country Manager: Why Africa? More like “why not Africa?” Why wouldnt Google/IBM/Microsoft/Facebook be going to Africa, the last frontier, the last online marketplace?
- manypossibilities.net undersea cable map: > 1 billion people, 120Gbit/s >> 15,000Gbit/s, prices are dropping
The keynote was streamed live on Ustream, but only 9 people tuned in. Fortunately, an interview with Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Google Ghana Country Manager, suggests how major global IT companies in Africa can learn from local African IT entrepreneurs:
- As barriers are removed and cost of access decreases, businesses will become online.
- The importance of teaching through video.
- Mobile: >50% growth in subscriptions over the past 5 years.
- Growing community of developers, but how will they earn money?
- Google in Africa is about building an eco-system – Every sector needs competition to drive innovation.
- Partnering with smaller businesses is important to larger companies.
- Local companies can teach larger companies (ie. Google) the needs of the people.