Tuesday, 31 December 2013

What does Development Mean to you?... Never miss the VALUE for the money


Most of Africa's youth are unemployed. Reportedly, 60% of the Africa’s unemployed are aged 15-24 years, and underemployment is pervasive among rural youth and growing among urban youth. 


"Young Academics Mutating into Farmers"...
Smiling over a small garden I share with a friend
in the town on Norton, Zimbabwe. In background,
is a small portion of potatoes growing in sacks,
an Israeli technology that is growing
fast as a form of urban farming in Zimbabwe.
The technology allows for a larger number of
plants per unit area and improved management
and efficiency of input use.
Earning a University Degree, is really an envied achievement in Africa, but recently, in some African countries like Zimbabwe, the rate of unemployed graduates has soared and young people are desperate for jobs even if they do not understand the job description! What some youth are looking for, is just... a job. In the midst of the crisis a remnant of the resilient are mutating into entrepreneurs. But in this post, I want to talk about the Job and Money System and the implication it has had on African Development, of which I am very passionate about.


An article in a Zimbabwean Newspaper reads, "Each year, Zimbabwe churns out close to 10 000 graduates. But... few of them have any real chance of a job"

On the backdrop of a collapsing private sector, jobs in the non-governmental/non-profit making sector (NGOs/NPOs) are a lucrative landing for most young Zimbabweans. Some are even quickly starting their own NGOs to hopefully find a donor and at least make a living. Some have ventured into NGO or NPO through genuine passion, but the line between the authentic and inauthentic is increasingly becoming difficult to draw. 



While aid has played and will continue to play a crucial role in cushioning the impacts of poverty and vulnerability to external shocks, experts agree that it is not proving to be the answer for poverty eradication. I just read an article by David Bennett on "African Agriculture needs Trade not Aid"... and I it just confirmed the need for sustainable, practical and working solutions.



While I came across the gloomy Zimbabwean article on unemployed graduates, I then bumped into an interesting Post by a Forbes member of staff on "10 jobs that did not exist 10 years ago"! Really interesting, but in between these two observations, I began to remember reading a book by Calum Roberts entitled the "The Wealth of Nations, Timeless Concepts for Today." As I remembered this book, my memory was brought to a section where the author explains how "markets can be manipulated" and that innovation, is at times limited to a system already created, and that innovation does not always naturally create markets. In the Job Market sense, I then presumed that this might mean that "not all jobs created necessarily address specific needs" because we end up consumed by the system and miss the ultimate purpose. 



Today, I would want to believe that so many donors and African governments have a lot of financial resources. Additionally, it is not a mystery where those resources should be channeled to or in what they should be invested in to eradicate poverty. There are also so many people, young and old who have great skill and knowledge and it is also not a mystery how that skill and knowledge can be utilized to drive transformation. However, these financial resources, skills and knowledge are are not put in the right places because of impeding systems and bottlenecks.



Anyway, intuitively, I began to ask myself a day ago, do we really need some of these new "jobs" (I mean new descriptions of titles) that are emerging? What does it all add up to? For instance, let us take a look at agricultural development in Africa, I choose that because that is my profession.We could ask ourselves, "What is Development all about?"... Well "If development in poor countries is about lifting the poor people out of poverty, then all development interventions (regardless who is driving them) must be linked directly to the specific needs of the poor people. Whatever a development intervention is bout, it should automatically focus on things that make the currently poor more self-reliant rather than dependent in the near or distant future. 



I believe that some African and non-African approaches to development have failed because they have been manipulated as markets that have to create and/or sustain certain jobs or systems even if it means that "the poor remain poor or even become poorer." 



Well we all know that at a higher level, there is always a conflict of the ideals of power, governance and money between various parties while at a lower or operational level there is the hunger to find and keep employment by always pleasing our clients or partners, even when we do not necessarily have to. At the end of the day, the net effect of the forces tends to pull towards fuelling poverty and hunger instead of eliminating it.


What is your role in development? Are you an Entrepreneur... Development Practitioner... Donor... Government Officer... Student... Researcher... Consultant... ?

Are you not missing the "forest for the trees" by shortchanging long term gains for short term benefits?

Trust your instinct,
Do the right thing,
I have always said... "Never Miss the value for the money"

Chao!


oh, by the way, keep on the look out for my new magazine coming soon. just follow this blog by email or RSS feed and you won't miss out! 

Monday, 30 December 2013

Celebrating the Year of Agriculture and the Year Family Farming the BAREFOOT Way!!!

Volume 1, Post 1
"Qouted from Prof Mandi Rukuni"

As we are knocking on the door of 2014 which will be the Year of Family Farming at the FAO and the Year of Agriculture and Nutrition/Food Security at the Africa Union, I have decided to dedicate this blog to celebrating Agriculture. By the way, I have also changed the sub-domain name of the blog from beatzw.blogspot.com to barefootagri.blogspot.com, "so don't get lost". This post also unveils the first Post, under the title of "The Barefoot E-ssue Vol. 1." So let's enjoy the ride and see how far we go with this Volume.

Specifically, as we discuss and deliberate on agricultural issues on this e-ssue, it is my hope that we will in 2014, bring to light the type of agriculture that will create a pathway out of poverty for hundreds of millions of Africans.

After learning of so many farming and agriculture models as a young African student; I have received, during my time working with the Barefoot Education for Afrika Trust (BEAT),  additional education on an "alternative" farming model. This model is actually more than just a farming model but rather a "renaissance of an Afrikan lifestyle". Yep, I’m talking about “Barefoot Agriculture”.

(Without really seeing the expressions on the many people reading this post right now, I know that this kind of a "farming model" will likely be received with some grumbling and a little bit of resentment.) I mean, "who in this day and age of shoes with different styles and sizes would be still interested in doing anything "barefoot"???!!!. :))

BUT... Hold your horses and don’t fire! (as yet). 

Let me explain... When I say “Barefoot Agriculture”, I do not imply or advocate for stagnating progression of farming and entrenching rural people in poverty and an underdeveloped or less mechanized subsistence-oriented farming; certainly not. I will discuss in subsequent posts in this e-ssue how I strongly believe that technology, urbanization and modernization all form a central part of the future of Barefoot Agriculture.

I believe (and these are my thoughts, no theory from a Professor, or what, But just basically how I have understood these issues during my junior career):
"By 'Barefoot Agriculture', we envision  an 'open' agriculture with equal opportunities. An Agriculture that appreciates grass roots knowledge and wisdom and embraces co-creation rather than imposition. 
Barefoot Agriculture seeks to further open up the markets of technology, knowledge and even products which allows each people and culture to identify their niche in the current complexity of global challenges and how each culture and people can supply and uniquely contribute to a better and more food secure world. 
A Picture a relative's family farm in the area of Ruwa, Zimbabwe.
As you can see family farms are transforming rapidly in Zimbabwe,
a high level of resilience and entrepreneurship is being exhibited as family
farmers start thinking "beyond grain", diversifying into ventures like
horticulture.They ingenuously find ways of getting the right technologies
to compete in supplying growing and diverse
rural and urban markets, and it works!!!
Barefoot Agriculture removes the psychological barriers that have hindered the success of many African countries in solving even their own problems. In essence Barefoot Agriculture is about opening up the markets "psychologically" rather than in conventional trade theory terms. Practically, the ground we can never level the ground, but we can raise the level at which we Africans view ourselves in a competitive world. 
Barefoot Agriculture restores the confidence of African agriculture and food brands while appreciating the need for Africans to “up the game” and meet the standards of competing in an aggressive global market.
Barefoot Agriculture allows Africans to change from just “adjusting to become faithful servants and followers in the agri-food markets” to “adapting to compete threatening rivals in agri-food markets”
BAREFOOT AGRICULTURE IS TELLING AFRICANS THAT THEY CAN DO IT!"  
I believe that as we celebrate the 2014 Year of Agriculture and the Year of Family Farming; it is time that we as Africans call for aggressiveness towards agricultural development. Where we are willing to stand the heat without losing, but rather, making the most of our uniqueness. Like my good old Professor, Mandi Rukuni says:

“Modernize, Don’t Westernize or Easternize African Agriculture” 

Chao!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sustaining Agriculture Momentum in Africa... The Story of Youth and Agripreneurship in Zimbabwe


The greatest thing that has ever happened to Young People, Agriculture and Entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe... The Agripreneurship Summit 2013!

I was sitting in a building called The Engineering Workshop at Zimbabwe’s Harare Institute of Technology. However, at the same time, I was surrounded by the aura of a Grandeur Arena similar to that of a place of great authority such as a Kings Palace; where every word spoken seems powerful beyond measure; where one can actually touch and feel the power that resonates in words of confidence and words of great vision. Yes it sounds irregular and unconventional, being in an Engineer's Workshop and feeling the proud and electric energy of young agricultural leaders and entrepreneurs resonating in the background. Sitting in that environment I knew and I felt that the future belongs to the youth of Africa. Believe me, there is nothing conventional about what I am talking about; nothing is, nothing has been, and nothing ever will be conventional about the Agripreneurship Summit! You don’t even find the word “Agripreneurship” in the dictionary and that’s just what makes it!

From the 10th to the 12th of December 2013, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union has been running the inaugural Youth Agripreneurship Summit 2013. By the way, ever since I have opened this blog, I have changed the name of the blog a dozen times to try and explain what it is we really want to achieve. After a variety of names came up, I realized at the end of the day, that all the issues I am discussing, all this Barefoot mindset and philosophy we have been working on with other scholars at our organization, BEAT, for years is all about ways of finding or defining the sustainability of development in Africa, and hence from today, I have called the blog, “A Long Walk to the Sustainability of Development in Africa… The Barefoot Principle”. And of course, I have been inspired by the courage, boldness and resolve of the Great African legend Nelson Mandela's "Long Walk to Freedom." May he rest in eternal peace.

Refocusing on the Agripreneurship Summit, the Barefoot Education for Afrika Trust (BEAT) was invited to the Youth Agripreneurship Summit as a strategic and potential knowledge partner. Barefoot Professor Mandi Rukuni gave the Keynote Speech and the atmosphere was electric as young people itched and boiled with the eagerness to take on the challenges of agriculture and entrepreneurship. BEAT believes that partnering in any way, with initiatives that engage the Youth effectively into agriculture is essential to completing the Long Walk to the Sustainability of Development in Africa, and hence a crucial part of the Barefoot story. 

One of the most radical things about the Summit, is the unconventional and non-traditional way that the Agripreneurship Summit has been launched and organized. Of course, a few bolts and nuts will need to be tightened but this is the first time ever, I have seen the youth in Zimbabwe keenly involved and enthusiastically engaged in agriculture, with a voice that is shouting, “We wanna do this!!!” The use of Open Space Technology gave young people the room to say their views and feelings unapologetically. 

The overall theme of the Summit was, “Breaking the Barriers” and the first barrier that has been broken in Zimbabwe over the past few days of this summit is the socio-cultural misconception and barrier of inequality that has always side-lined the voice and opinion of young people and especially young women. It was a touching and eye opening experience as young girls talked about their challenges regarding critical issues such as access to land and capital.

Perhaps most of our readers and followers might not understand, but it is not conventional in Africa and more evidently in Zimbabwe, for the young people to confidently voice their opinions with regards to strategically important issues such as agriculture and in particular land. Well to “statisize” this statement, the Human Development Reports over the years assert that the rates of inequality of income, resources/assets, health and education in Sub Saharan Africa are among the highest in the world. In 2010, the ten countries in Africa with the highest Inequality adjusted Human Development Indicator (IHDI) were: Gabon, Tunisia, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Namibia, Congo, Swaziland, and Kenya. It is glad to note that Zimbabwe was among the ten countries with the lowest IHDI in the same period and the Youth Agripreneurship has been testimony to this.


I will not take the limelight from the Young Farmers’ Agrpreneurship Summit. For more information, visit their Facebook Page by simply clicking this link https://www.facebook.com/ZFUYoungFarmersClubs 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

What is Barefoot Education? A Word from a Barefoot Professor...






"The Barefoot Education for Afrika Trust (BEAT) was established in 2009 for the purpose of promoting ‘barefoot’ education—referring to community and family education. 

Formal education in Africa has failed to transform people’s lives directly. In rural communities, families invest in ‘educating’ their children so that they can leave the community and go elsewhere and find a job—working for government and so on, as a way of escaping their own community and family who are bound to be trapped in poverty for the fore-seeable future. The idea is to build the capacity of rural and poor people to learn for themselves—as a way of life. 

Development in the end is about people- equipping people to fulfill their own potential and their on dreams. 

As BEAT we have been interested in the challenge that the agricultural extension system in most African countries is not effective and has struggled with issues of science and technological change, as well as in assisting farmers equip themselves with business and life skills. We then borrowed the idea of “learning circles’ from the Swedish Cooperative Center, who operate in many African countries. But the idea of ‘learning circles’ in itself in a universal one. Learning in traditional African society for instance, is in learning circles and discussion groups. Using learning or study circles as an extension tool has proved powerful. Adult learners form themselves into groups of 10-15 and commit to learning together and meet regularly. The group decides for themselves what issues they face and what they would like to learn about. We assist the learning process by providing learning material to the groups. The material is developed for self-directed learning in the absence of a teacher. It does take time to prepare these materials since experts are required to work with farmers on the curriculum development and in co-creating the written material so that it communicates directly to the intended audience. When the learning circle read these materials for themselves we find that they have a lot to discuss, learn and share. We also find that they are able interrogate new knowledge, add, subtract etc and co-create their own new knowledge that they are more prepared to apply. Study group members encourage each other and support each other in applying new knowledge. 

We believe therefore that knowledge exists only at the point of action. Before action one only has ‘information’ which still has to be translated to action through co-creation. That is in essence the power of ‘barefoot education’. 

These learning materials are also available in local language. Formal education is available only in English and other foreign languages and fails to incorporate traditional, cultural and indigenous knowledge. So as a semi-retired professor myself, and a former Dean of Agriculture at the University of Zimbabwe, I believe that we can re-introduce learning and education as a way of life for families and communities outside the formal education system, and cover all aspects of life including life skills, business and leadership. The idea of a barefoot university is because we realize that if these alternative educational models are not formally recognised, it takes us longer to get the support and impact that we seek since of course there are detractors for various reasons such as elitist mindsets, as well as exclusionary tendencies."

Excerpt from an Electronic Interview of Prof Mandivamba Rukuni, Founder and Executive Director of BEAT, with Rachel Zamzow, BS Doctoral Student, Neuroscience University of Missouri-Columbia

Go Barefoot!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

I've learnt a new spelling!! The "@" in "@gricultural revolution"

Watch this great and inspiring video from CTA!!!

The @gricultural revolution

Go Mobile, Go Social, Go Barefoot... and... Way to Go CTA!!!

Monday, 21 October 2013

And the Keyword is... PARTNERSHIPS!!!

Partnerships lead to measurable impacts for Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa

Loosening The Bottlenecks for Commercial Smallholder Farming in Afrika by "Just Adding a Little Innovation..." HELLO EcoFarmer!



"Go where the need is greatest and the help is smallest... EcoFarmer will transform agriculture... We must use technology to address every day challenges of ordinary people... This is what I mean, when I say, 'just add a little innovation, to what you do best.' "- Mr Strive Masiyiwa, Executive Chairman and Founder of Econet Wireless Group and Board Member of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

I am a strong Social Media follower of some of Afrika's most iconic leaders and transformers. But I must say as I read the words of Mr Masiyiwa on his Faceboook page recently, the spectre of highly risky smallholder characterized by low private investment is slowly coming to an end through ground breaking innovation, sustainable relationships and strategic partnerships. 

The Econet Wireless Zimbabwe website on the 26th of September revealed news of a "weather-indexed drought insurance service" developed by Econet Wireless. The product, which they are calling EcoFarmer allows farmers to "buy insurance for as little as eight cents per day, which is deducted from their prepaid phone account during the agricultural season. If the rain does not fall, resulting in a drought, the farmer will be given as much as $100 for every 10 kg seed pack planted." 

You can get more accurate information from the Econet Wireless Zimbabwe web page or follow Mr Strive Masiyiwa on Facebook or Twitter for more information. But here's a little lesson I would like to share from the Econet story:

There is great potential to grow businesses with the vast low-income majority, not through strengthening the bottlenecks, but rather eliminating them through partnering for greater collective impact... 

Cutting edge and transformational entrepreneurs, do not realize the vast rural majority as a source of cheap labor, but rather as hardworking and ready to commit producers and entrepreneurs with unique "barefoot" economic potential.

I am hopeful, that EcoFarmer will significantly contribute to making insurance and other financial products more broadly accessible to the rural farmers by risk-reduction and pioneering the elimination of more bottlenecks such as the distance, time and communication costs... and even language barriers and bottlenecks. 

Overall, thumbs up to EcoFarmer and we wish a successful roll-out and further scaling up that triggers sufficient public and private sector investment in a sustainable way for greater agricultural growth and prosperity to demystify commercial farming for the rural farmer... Yes, to Go Barefoot.

In light of this pursuit we should all share with companies like Econet Wireless of modernizing and commercializing smallholder farming in Afrika, there is a great need to capacitate and embolden the rural farmer to regain her confidence and level her reason and negotiating capacity to that of a variety of players she will meet in the dynamic market. 

The small but powerful voice of the rural woman farmer could be strengthened by stronger networks and greater collaboration of communities which ICT platforms can also facilitate. 

With the right partnerships, technologies and other institutional enablers, farmers will not be left victim to shrewd middlemen or opportunists. 

Again, I believe EcoFarmer has taken a pioneering step to making things simple on the insurance angle... And Oh! With EcoFarmer's more accurate rainfall data, some of the ailing research, extension and advisory services challenges are addressed as well. 

Well done EcoFarmer! And a call to every interested player and stakeholder to "..ADD A LITTLE INNOVATION..."

Friday, 18 October 2013

THE WEB IS GOING BAREFOOT!!! WEB 2.0, SOCIAL MEDIA AND DEVELOPMENT

Hello Team!


The Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is holding learning opportunities on Web 2.0 and Social Media for Development across ACP countries. They are just completing one in Zimbabwe at the Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) and I have been privileged to be part of this one, the first in Zimbabwe and a really exciting opportunity. Probably two or more will run in Zimbabwe so keep watching this space for more information on Web 2.0 for development in your country!

From my participation in the course I have just learned that the web is gradually "Going Barefoot." Great News!!!

So closer are we to saying "bye-bye" to the technical jargon and complexities of "sailing in the digital sea of the internet." Through Web 2.0 and Social Media, not only the "webmasters" or "expert programmers" can publish content on the internet. Even a young black, barefoot boy sitting under tree can do so... as long as they have internet connection... And that's the magic word, "internet connection" and the reason why Afrikan governments and entrepreneurs need to start thinking really serious about ICT infrastructure. (Not taking away any of the great work being done in countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt. 

Through, blogs, vlogs, social media, netowrking, and mash-ups (a combination of various technologies on a single platform) the  ground to co-create knowledge is becoming bigger and the scope for collaboration is becoming much deeper, and the possibility of transformation more probable. Knowledge can grow to become a global public good unlike a "monopolistic product." The world is changing and let's face it. Information is power, but information SHARED is much powerful, that's why Web 2.0 presents the greatest possibility of achieving effectiveness in any area, #African #Agriculture #Development also included. 

As opposed to the one-way traffic of Web 1.0 kind of internet preceding Web 2.0; Web 2.0 allows paves way for the Web to "Go Barefoot" across four broad areas:
  1. connecting with other people via social networks like facebook, twitter or LinkedIn);
  2. collaborating and doing things with other people (even if they are in remote locations through applications like Google Drive and Wikis);
  3. creating and sharing content (e.g. blogging and vlogging); and
  4. finding, using, organizing and reusing content.
Through a more open Web 2.0, we can capture the power of people and communities we never imagined we could tap into. 

Nonetheless, there are challenges we need to look into and be able to overcome to get the best out of this technological evolution. This includes:
  1. The possibilities of overload and competition for attention
  2. Uneven distribution of resources, resulting in marked differences in challenges organizational and personal processes of sharing knowledge
  3. It is also difficult to change personal and organizational traditions and processes.

Anyway bloggers, I always say, "the only way to do a hard thing is to do it." The only way we can find solutions for all these challenges is to... FIND THEM!! Get thinking about the future, getting thinking about yourself, your organization, your country, the world... HOW WILL YOU CONTRIBUTE TO MAKING IT A BETTER PLACE? Get blogging we need your views...

Go Barefoot

Thursday, 17 October 2013

My Story about the BAREFOOT EDUCATION FOR AFRIKA TRUST... FOUNDATIONS AND FUTURE

In my own Words, Barefoot means, 
"simplifying every complex and exclusive system to solicit and harness the contributable value from a rich and broad range of stakeholders (for Afrika particularly the vast rural)… It is breaking the walls of class, language, race and even geographical location and creating new platforms of freedom, rebuilding confidence even in societies’ ‘least’ sophisticated groups. It is reengaging, collaborating, rebuilding capacity of rural Afrika to challenge contemporary knowledge based on the rich Afrikan experience and wisdom.” 

The basis of the Barefoot Principle is: "Knowledge Exists only at the Point of Action and Decision Making"

Now, about BEAT

In 2009, a long conceived idea of pursuing a “Holistic Afrikan Education Model” took its first step to life by the establishment of the Barefoot Education for Afrika Trust (BEAT). This was the beginning of a journey; a journey starting from a confluence of people and ideas of similar belief, values and a united envisaged destiny of an Afrikan “Barefoot” University.

After working with some of the people who have laid the foundations of BEAT, such as Prof Mandi Rukuni (Director) and Dr Mabel Hungwe (Chairperson) I have developed my own understanding of this Barefoot philosophy.

In a paragraph, I would say, "Barefoot" is the code-name for simplifying every complex and exclusive system to solicit and harness the contributable value from a rich and broad range of stakeholders (for Afrika particularly the vast rural)… It is breaking the walls of class, language, race and even geographical location and creating new platforms of freedom, rebuilding confidence even in societies’ ‘least’ sophisticated groups. It is reengaging, collaborating, rebuilding capacity of rural Afrika to challenge contemporary knowledge based on the rich Afrikan experience and wisdom.” 

It may be education, it may be technology, it may be agricultural research and extension, it may be business management and entrepreneurship… whatever it is, I believe it can go higher for Afrika by “going Barefoot” (a phrase I will constantly use on this blog).
So, here is the BEAT philosophy and how BEAT works…

BEAT Beliefs (taken from the BEAT Profile Document 2009)

BEAT operates on the belief that knowledge exists only at the point of action and decision making…  That is, the point where information is converted to knowledge.
BEAT operates on the principles of:
1. Action learning; 
2. Participatory approaches to developing content (be it technical content, policy content etc.); and, 
3. Co-creation of knowledge.

BEAT Activities

Over the past years BEAT has been growing steadily. The past two years however have shown great prospects for accelerated growth of BEAT and the “Barefoot Revolution” in the coming decades. The African Union declared 2013 "The Year of African Renaissance" indicating significant political will to “Go Barefoot.” In partnership with organizations such as the Swedish Cooperative Centre, BEAT has played a pivotal role in the establishment of peer-learning activities as a community development tool as well as for professional development. 

Fore more information on BEAT visit: www.BeatAfrika.org 

Go Barefoot! 


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

AFRIKA'S OWN STORY...AFRIKA AND THE INTERNET

While the use of the internet is spreading like a virus across the globe and the digital space is growing larger and larger by the day statistics released by Google a couple of years ago revealed that about 5% of information on Google is from Africa. Of the 5%, half is only from South Africa. The remaining 2.5% is dominantly from Francophone countries while the remaining 1% is shared among the rest of Africa. While, it may be 5 or so years since this was spoken, I know the situation has not changed much. There may be a lot of information on the internet about Africa, but very little of this information is from Afrika. Even the spelling of "Africa" is not "Afrikan" according to my good old Professor, Prof Mandi Rukuni. So who will tell AFRIKA'S OWN STORY?

The little amount if information about Afrika that we will find on the internet is not even in vernacular languages. If technological advancement especially through the web is a source of information; it's information for who? for what? Does the internet have a real purpose. I believe the internet is about information for the people, to help them make better decisions. Now who are the Afrikan people? The rural, the poor. No matter how much we don't like to hear this, this is true. These people are our majority and Governments of Afrika should start rethinking about celebrating technological development if they are not doing anything to ensure so that its vast majority do not remain excluded from this revolution. 

Academics, professionals, entrepreneurs, experts, the youth and all other people who do have much better access to the internet should start thinking about how we can Afrikanize the internet so that it can  change the face of the African continent. All Afrikans shouldn't be celebrating the expansion of the digital space as long as a minority of that space is occupied by Afrikans in a purely Afrikan identity. We need Afrikan scholars, researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, leaders and everyone else to start telling the Afrikan story in the Afrikan language in this "internet auditorium." 

We all need to stand up, stand tall and fight for our space. The good thing is that through developments such as Web 2.0 and Social Media, the platform to be speak heard is becoming more open and less constrained. (Of course there are risks, but we also need to see the opportunities and use them). Today, there are so many platforms to raise the Afrikan voice, you don't need any long profile or swollen bio to say your mind, to write more about Afrika, to write more in the Afrikan language, to translate what has already been written, and distribute it in the digital space. 

By so doing, Afrika will gain more and more digital territory and be equally empowered and poised like any other region in the world to benefit from the technological revolution.

Colonization, could have been our "silver lining." Now we know the former colonizers' languages and cultures so well, but we have also retained our own Afrikanness. There is no greater strength than knowing both your own strengths and weaknesses and also those of your competitors; and being able to blend your capacities with those of others for much greater impact and results. On this premise there certainly can be an Afrikan century.

If you think this is a serious issue Afrika should be thinking about: what do you think would help? how can it be done???