Thursday, February 27, 2014

EUROPEAN MIS-EDUCATION: "Morally Bankrupt" - Questioning The Relevance Of Western Education!

February 27, 2014 - AFRICA - There is something astounding about education in that the more you have of it, the more ignorant you become, and the less relevant you turn out to be to your community.  It is really amazing how many learned ignoramuses abound in this world. Yes, you may pride yourself in being educated, but as long as what nourishes your ego is Western education, then you may be as irrelevant to yourself as you are to your community. You may question yourself today whether what has catapulted you to your current status is your level of education or ingenuity or lack of it. Can you really say your grandmother or great-grandmother is uneducated and thus lacks knowledge?

Many black children reject education because what is being taught to them is not reflective of who they are

It is worrisome sometimes to know that a nation may invest vast resources in individuals who may not even be worth it in the end. A case of investing on redundancy, which is usually admired by those perceived to lack it. How much really does a Western educated person know?

This vexing situation is what Jean-Marie Medza, the protagonist in Mongo Beti’s “Mission to Kala” (1957) finds himself enmeshed in. Having failed the oral in his baccalaureate exams, Medza returns home with a bruised ego. “I was ploughed,” he admits, but as one who is conceited by virtue of being at college at a time when only a sprinkle of Africans have such blessings, the protagonist boasts of his “evil genius” and calls himself “The Conqueror”.

But, as he walks home, it dawns on him that the whole village has picked it from the wind that “he had been failed”; he is also aware of the ugly confrontation that awaits him in the form of his father.

Meanwhile, there is an urgent issue that has to be attended to, which affects the entire community; his cousin, Niam’s wife has gone back to her people, in Kala, a village which is considered to be rather backward, about 50km from their own. Someone has to be sent on a mission to fetch her and the whole village, at the behest of the patriarch, old Bikokolo, settles on Jean-Marie Medza because of his knowledge of the Whiteman’s ways through Western education.

Beti creates humour through the use of the first person singular narrative technique, as Medza is given a chance to expose himself when he is apprised of his cousin’s predicament and the community’s worry. “Have any of you the least idea what preparing for an examination and sitting it entails? Gentlemen, try and imagine something worse, far worse, than working in a plantation with a machete from dawn till dusk-?” he challenges them.

However, in the absence of his father who has gone on a visit, the protagonist, in spite of having his uncle and Amou, his aunt, in his corner, finds himself at the mercy of the elders. Using a potpourri of legend, national myth and confusing facts, old Bikokolo manages to cajole “the boy” who is only “a congenital simpleton” to agree to bring their lost pride back. The old patriarch coaxes him: “When the story is recited after my death, you will be its hero. You are that formidable man; you speak with the voice of the thunder . . . Shall I tell you what your thunder is?” He plugs it home, “Your certificates, your learning, your knowledge of White men’s secrets”.

Spurred on by his ego, despite his tender 19 years, Medza descends on Kala whereupon he realises that “the Bushmen” are not really idiots after all. They are even more sophisticated than he is, though in their own traditional way.

Medza’s introduction to the youth of Kala, by his cousin, Zambo sets the wheel in motion. “You could search the whole district round for two, three, four, five, hundred miles, and I wager you wouldn’t find a man, White or Black, as learned and knowledgeable as he is”, he boasts.

Though this is a deliberate exaggeration, it puts Medza in high esteem in the eyes of the villagers, as one of the youths, Duckfoot Johnny, in his drunken stupor tells him: “You’re Godalmighty”.

Set in colonial Cameroun, the book explores the tragedy of a continent whose hopes are intertwined with individual aspirations where Western education is accorded undue prominence. The educated elite, who should be the community’s visionaries, are simply swallowed into the colonial system of oppression and capitalism. Because they are esteemed, they use societal myopia to impoverish their own people, yet at the same time are unable to offer any meaningful contribution to their communities. Education becomes not only a tool of oppression but an extension of imperialism.

The conceited, rude and arrogant Medza embodies this kind of redundancy in African communities as he is escorted around the village “like an American diplomat under the protection of his private eyes”, on his daily excursions around Kala. All and sundry jostle for his attention and parties are thrown in his honour; presents in the form of livestock strewn at his feet – simply because of his perceived knowledge, knowledge that in no way improves the situation of the lot of the villagers.

Medza’s foibles, at his own admission, are exposed through the intelligent questioning that he suffers at the hands of his audience. His first encounter with the reality of his lacks, comes when he is asked whether Whites were “cleverer than (him) in class?” or “learn quicker”.

Western education.
When he flinches, to his surprise, one man comes to his defence when he says: “it’s perfectly reasonable to suppose that White children learn faster than Blacks. What are they being taught? Their ancestral wisdom, not ours, isn’t that so? Now if it was our ancestral wisdom that was taught in this school, it would be normal to expect coloured children to learn faster than Whites, wouldn’t it?”

The seemingly ignorant villagers also tell him that “it’s by no means certain that it was the Whites who invented cars and aeroplanes, and all that”.

The protagonist’s failure to convincingly expound to his audience what they are taught at school and what it really is and how it would help him and his people, blows his bubble. His failure to give them a convincing definition of Geography in the vernacular and his use of examples drawn from New York, lays bare the folly of Western education. His realisation that “knowledge” should be put to test “by genuine circumstance not under the artificial conditions of an examination room” as he “had already discovered vast gaps in the frontiers of (his) tiny kingdom”, exposes the fallacy of any educational system premised on inflexible set syllabi.

Going out of the norm, Medza uses the Russian experience with its communism, and it is this that elates his audience which yells: “These people are very much like us at the bottom. They’ve got a sense of solidarity.”

Beti highlights the hypocritical inclinations inherent in the so-called educated elite through Endongolo, the young man who drills Medza on what nature of job he would partake after leaving college. The artist adeptly uses the stream of consciousness technique to examine the inadequacy of Western education systems as the hero asks himself: “Yes, indeed: what would I do when I (finish) my studies? And where (do) those studies lead”. But he dreams of becoming a teacher, doctor, lawyer and the like.

The narrator’s desperate situation is further compounded by one woman who could see through this thin veil and challenges him: “When you get the kind of job you’ve mentioned, will you make plenty of money? You will, won’t you? That means you’ll live like White men? Where do we come in to all this?” He is only saved from further assault when someone offers him American whisky which makes him escape from his inadequacies as he is able to give “explanatory remarks loaded with all manner of convincing details” after imbibing, which may suggest that like alcohol, Western education is just a temporary illusion.

The dynamics of culture also find prominence as the writer exposes the Kala culture, which, though untainted by Western influences, seem to be morally bankrupt. Though Western education may be irrelevant in some aspects, it seems to be necessary in moulding the individual as is evident in Medza’s shift of character. He leaves Vimili a teetotaler and a virgin, and loses it all in Kala. Therefore, there is need for integration of cultures through interacting African and Western education systems.

Medza emerges from Kala with Niam’s wife in tow, a more enlightened young man who is able to tell his oppressive father: “I am not going to college anymore – I am through with all this nonsense”. His rebellious nature is suggestive of resistance to colonial rule through the creation of interfaces between Western and African values. When he eventually goes back to college, he passes his oral without even studying for it. Education really sometimes comes naturally.

In Jean-Marie Medza’s own admission, he, “discovered many truths” in Kala, as the tragedy of Africa is its dependency on “a man left to his own devices in a world which does not belong to him – which, he neither understands nor has made”. - African Globe.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

EUROPEAN INJUSTICE: "Our People Can't Take Much More" - Minister Louis Farrakhan Says African-Americans Should Have Their Own Justice System!

February 25, 2014 - UNITED STATESNation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan told a crowd of 18,000 in Detroit on Sunday that African-Americans should set up their own courts after being failed by the U.S.' own justice system.

Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, speaks at a press conference near U.N. headquarters on June 15,
2011, in New York City. Farrakhan expressed support for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and condemned the NATO-led
military strikes in Libya. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark also called for an end to the strikes at the event.
(Mario Tama/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“Our people can’t take much more. We have to have our own courts. You failed us," Farrakhan said during the keynote speech of 2014's annual Nation of Islam Saviours' Day convention, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“How long must we let people stand their ground, shooting us and getting away with it while we don’t get justice?” Farrakhan told the crowd, referencing stand your ground laws in several states. “We want justice. Equal justice under the law. We want the federal government to intercede to see that black people get justice in accordance with the law. Otherwise, I’m going on record with this today … we have to have our own courts.”

Standing on stage in front of U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, Farrakhan told the crowd to look to the Quran and the Bible for guidance in setting up separate courts that would be more fair to African-Americans.

The Nation of Islam (NOI) religious movement, founded in Detroit in 1930, calls for uplifting the condition of African-Americans. The separatist group has been accused of being "deeply racist," anti-gay and anti-Semitic; the group's beliefs and practices are not embraced by traditional Muslims.

The Nation of Islam's "Muslim Program" calls for equal justice for African-Americans under the law. But it also calls for NOI followers to establish their own state under the law to be subsidized for 20 years by "our former slave masters;" an end to taxation on African-Americans if a separate state is not created; "separate but equal" schools divided by race and the release of all NOI followers from prisons and jails.

"We want an immediate end to the police brutality and mob attacks against the so-called Negro throughout the United States," a list of demands posted on the Nation of Islam website reads. "We believe that the Federal government should intercede to see that black men and women tried in white courts receive justice in accordance with the laws of the land–or allow us to build a new nation for ourselves, dedicated to justice, freedom and liberty."

During his Saviours' Day speech Sunday, Farrakhan also compared himself to inventor Henry Ford, another famous Detroiter, and one with notedly anti-Semitic views.The Nation of Islam leader championed Ford's success in improving the living conditions of his employees, saying Ford was "a great man who was called an ant-Semite," the Associated Press reported. Addressing accusations that the Nation of Islam is also anti-Semitic, he quipped, "I feel like I'm in good company," but added, "I don't hate Jews. What I hate is evil." - Huffington Post.

EUROPEAN RACISM: American Economic History - How Slavery Led To Modern Capitalism!

February 25, 2014 - UNITED STATES -  When the New York City banker James Brown tallied his wealth in 1842, he had to look far below Wall Street to trace its origins. His investments in the American South exceeded $1.5 million, a quarter of which was directly bound up in the ownership of slave plantations.

A slave being auctioned, 1861. Source: Sketch by Thomas R. Davis, Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Division

Brown was among the world's most powerful dealers in raw cotton, and his family’s firm, Brown Brothers & Co., served as one of the most important sources of capital and foreign exchange to the U.S. economy. Still, no small amount of his time was devoted to managing slaves from the study of his Leonard Street brownstone in Lower Manhattan.

Brown was hardly unusual among the capitalists of the North. Nicholas Biddle's United States Bank of Philadelphia funded banks in Mississippi to promote the expansion of plantation lands. Biddle recognized that slave-grown cotton was the only thing made in the U.S. that had the capacity to bring gold and silver into the vaults of the nation's banks. Likewise, the architects of New England's industrial revolution watched the price of cotton with rapt attention, for their textile mills would have been silent without the labor of slaves on distant plantations.

The story we tell about slavery is almost always regional, rather than national. We remember it as a cruel institution of the southern states that would later secede from the Union. Slavery, in this telling, appears limited in scope, an unfortunate detour on the nation's march to modernity, and certainly not the engine of American economic prosperity.

Yet to understand slavery's centrality to the rise of American capitalism, just consider the history of an antebellum Alabama dry-goods outfit called Lehman Brothers or a Rhode Island textile manufacturer that would become the antecedent firm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Reparations lawsuits (since dismissed) generated evidence of slave insurance policies by Aetna and put Brown University and other elite educational institutions on notice that the slave-trade enterprises of their early benefactors were potential legal liabilities. Recent state and municipal disclosure ordinances have forced firms such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wachovia Corp. to confront unsettling ancestors on their corporate family trees.

Such revelations are hardly surprising in light of slavery’s role in spurring the nation’s economic development. America's "take-off" in the 19th century wasn't in spite of slavery; it was largely thanks to it. And recent research in economic history goes further: It highlights the role that commodified human beings played in the emergence of modern capitalism itself.

The U.S. won its independence from Britain just as it was becoming possible to imagine a liberal alternative to the mercantilist policies of the colonial era. Those best situated to take advantage of these new opportunities -- those who would soon be called "capitalists" -- rarely started from scratch, but instead drew on wealth generated earlier in the robust Atlantic economy of slaves, sugar and tobacco. Fathers who made their fortunes outfitting ships for distant voyages begat sons who built factories, chartered banks, incorporated canal and railroad enterprises, invested in government securities, and speculated in new financial instruments.

This recognizably modern capitalist economy was no less reliant on slavery than the mercantilist economy of the preceding century. Rather, it offered a wider range of opportunities to profit from the remote labor of slaves, especially as cotton emerged as the indispensable commodity of the age of industry.

In the North, where slavery had been abolished and cotton failed to grow, the enterprising might transform slave-grown cotton into clothing; market other manufactured goods, such as hoes and hats, to plantation owners; or invest in securities tied to next year's crop prices in places such as Liverpool and Le Havre. This network linked Mississippi planters and Massachusetts manufacturers to the era's great financial firms: the Barings, Browns and Rothschilds.

A major financial crisis in 1837 revealed the interdependence of cotton planters, manufacturers and investors, and their collective dependence on the labor of slaves. Leveraged cotton -- pledged but not yet picked -- led overseers to whip their slaves to pick more, and prodded auctioneers to liquidate slave families to cover the debts of the overextended.

The plantation didn't just produce the commodities that fueled the broader economy, it also generated innovative business practices that would come to typify modern management. As some of the most heavily capitalized enterprises in antebellum America, plantations offered early examples of time-motion studies and regimentation through clocks and bells. Seeking ever-greater efficiencies in cotton picking, slaveholders reorganized their fields, regimented the workday, and implemented a system of vertical reporting that made overseers into managers answerable to those above for the labor of those below.

The perverse reality of a capitalized labor force led to new accounting methods that incorporated (human) property depreciation in the bottom line as slaves aged, as well as new actuarial techniques to indemnify slaveholders from loss or damage to the men and women they owned. Property rights in human beings also created a lengthy set of judicial opinions that would influence the broader sanctity of private property in U.S. law.

So important was slavery to the American economy that on the eve of the Civil War, many commentators predicted that the North would kill "its golden goose." That prediction didn't come to pass, and as a result, slavery's importance to American economic development has been obscured.

But as scholars delve deeper into corporate archives and think more critically about coerced labor and capitalism -- perhaps informed by the current scale of human trafficking -- the importance of slavery to American economic history will become inescapable. - Bloomberg View.

EUROPEAN VAMPIRISM: A New Form Of Colonialism - European Scientists Descend On Africa To Promote Genetically Modified Crops!

February 25, 2014 - AFRICA - Africa is expected to be the next target of GM food companies, as European scientists and policymakers travel to Ethiopia to boost the prospect of growing more of the controversial crops on the continent.

GM opponents say the talks are a thinly veiled attempt to promote biotech farming at the government level in Africa.
Photograph: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Anne Glover, the chief scientific adviser to the European commission, and other prominent pro-GM researchers and policymakers from European countries including Germany, Hungary, Italy and Sweden will this week meet Ethiopian, Kenyan, Ghanaian and Nigerian farm ministers as well as officials from the African Union.

The British environment secretary, Owen Paterson, who said last year that the UK would be acting immorally if it did not make GM crop technologies available to poor countries, pulled out of the conference in Addis Ababa, organised by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (Easac).

According to an Easac spokeswoman, the meeting is intended to help EU and African scientists collaborate to allow the crops to be grown more easily on the continent. "EU policy on GM crops is massively important for Africa," she said. "A lot of countries are scared to do any research. They fear they will be punished by EU restrictions. They depend on the EU for their exports."

Critics, however, said the meeting was a thinly disguised attempt to promote GM farming at a governmental level, whether or not it was good for local farmers.

"The meeting has the appearance of giving the European stamp of approval on GM crops, even though the majority of EU citizens oppose GM in food," said a spokeswoman for GM Watch, a UK-based NGO.

The talks take place as industry data shows the increase in the planting of GM crops has practically halted in the US and as G8 countries, led by the US and Britain, press African states to liberalise their farming as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative.

The New Alliance is intended to accelerate African agricultural production, but farmers have widely criticised it as a new form of colonialism.

Olivier de Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, has described Africa as the last frontier for large-scale commercial farming. "There's a struggle for land, for investment, for seed systems, and, first and foremost, there's a struggle for political influence," he said.

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (Isaaa), South Africa grows GM food crops, and Burkina Faso and Sudan cotton. Seven other African countries – Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda – have conducted GM field trials. The first drought-tolerant genetically modified maize is expected to be grown on the continent in 2017, it says.

Annual figures from Isaaa show that US farmers planted 70.1m hectares (173m acres) of GM crops in 2013, less than 1% more than in 2011 and 2012. Latin American and Asian farmers grow more than half of the world's GM crops, mostly for animal feed or cotton production.

The latest figures show that 77% of the world's GM crops are grown in three countries – 40% in the US, 23% in Brazil and 14% in Argentina – with plantings in Europe and Africa negligible, and concern growing worldwide about the emergence of herbicide-resistant "superweeds". - Guardian.

Monday, February 24, 2014

EUROPEAN VAMPIRISM & RACISM: Taking A Stand Against The Pervasive And Systematic Emasculation Of The Black Male - Ugandan President Museveni Signs Anti-Gay Law Threatening Life In Prison; After African Medical Experts Presents Report Stating That Homosexuality Is NOT GENETIC, But A Social Behavior!

"Homosexual patterns of behavior are simply expressions of male self-submission to other males in the area of "sex," as well as in other areas - economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, and war. Oppression is defined as forced submission, homosexuality as a sign of weakness. 'Primary effeminacy' and 'secondary effeminacy' are definitions used to distinguish white causes of homosexuality from black ones. 'Primary effeminacy' is a self-derived response by whites to their genetic insufficiency, causing a negation of self-reproduction due to disgust with their own genetic weaknesses. 'Secondary effeminacy' (black male homosexuality) is consciously imposed on the black man by the white man for the purpose of destroying the black family." - Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.

February 24, 2014 - UGANDA - Uganda's leader has signed into law a bill toughening penalties for gay people but without a clause criminalising those who do not report them. A proposed sentence of up to 14 years for first-time offenders has also been removed.

Gay activists say they will challenge the new laws in court.

US President Barack Obama had cautioned the bill would be a backward step.  Mr Museveni had previously agreed to put the bill on hold pending US scientific advice.  Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda.  In December, a gay rights campaigner spoke of her fears about the legislation. 

The new law allows life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of "aggravated homosexuality" and also criminalises the "promotion" of homosexuality".  The bill passed by parliament in December made it a crime not to report gay people - in effect making it impossible to live as openly gay - but this clause has been removed from the legislation signed by the president.

WATCH:  Museveni to sign anti-gay bill Monday.

Lesbians are covered by the bill for the first time.   Gay activists say they will challenge the new laws in court.  The bill originally proposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts, but that was later removed amid international criticism.

'Very scared'

Government officials clapped after Mr Museveni signed the bill at a news conference at State House. The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga, in Uganda, says it is rare for the president to assent to bills so publicly. But the anti-gay bill has become so controversial that the media were invited to witness its signing, she says.

Earlier, government spokesman spokesman Ofwono Opondo told the Reuters news agency Mr Museveni wanted "to demonstrate Uganda's independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation". The sponsor of the bill, MP David Bahati, insisted homosexuality was a "behaviour that can be learned and can be unlearned".

"Homosexuality is just bad behaviour that should not be allowed in our society," he told the BBC's Newsday programme. But a gay rights activist in Uganda told the programme that he was "very scared" about the new bill. "I didn't even go to work today [Monday]. I'm locked up in the house. And I don't know what's going to happen now."

Our correspondent says although Mr Museveni had been apprehensive about signing the bill, he could not convince his party, religious groups and many of his citizens that it was not needed. His signature is an apparent U-turn from a recent pledge to hold off, pending advice from the US.

In a statement, Mr Museveni had said: "I... encourage the US government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. "When that is proved, we can review this legislation."

President Obama described it as "more than an affront, and a danger to, Uganda's gay community. It will be a step backwards for all Ugandans." He warned it could "complicate" Washington's relations with Uganda, which receives a reported $400m (£240m) in annual aid from the US. - BBC.

ABORTION HOLOCAUST: Endangered Species, Racial Targeting and Black Population Control - Black America, It Is Time To Reclaim Our Dignity By Ending Abortions!

February 24, 2014 - UNITED STATES - African-Americans are a people with a collective identity. We march in the streets for a slain teenager because his pain is ours. We rally around the television to watch a young Olympian leap because her gold is our victory. We rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

However, when it comes to abortion, we’ve failed to identify with our unborn brothers and sisters. Where are the tears for the 16 million black unborn who never entered into daylight? Where are the cries for their justice? We, a people who raised our fists through history, refusing to let our nation forget us, have seemingly forgotten our own children.

The Hebrew Scriptures tell the story of a man named Cain who, motivated by envy, murdered his brother, Abel. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bellowed from heaven, “Where is your brother?” To this Cain replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Yahweh, to whom nothing is hidden, responded with these words: “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10).

Bloodshed at the hand of a family member is a horrible betrayal. From the whips dealt by the plantation owner’s lash to the beats borne on “Bloody Sunday,” blacks have shed their blood at the hands of strangers. Yet when it comes to abortion, we, like Abel, are victims of bloodshed through the acts of our family members.

In “The Negro Mother,” Langston Hughes writes:
I am the child they stole from the sand
Three hundred years ago in Africa’s land.
I am the dark girl who crossed the wide sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
No safety, no love, no respect was I due.
Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth.
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I’m reaching the goal.
Now, through my children, young and free,
I realize the blessings denied to me.
A mother is called to protect the seed she carries within. A father is destined to fight for his children. Parents have the privilege to nurture the young and defend the weak. The black community neglect this privilege when we terminate our children.

We’ve swallowed and digested the propaganda of “my body, my choice.” Being poor students of history, we remain ignorant of the racist agenda found in the writings of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Desiring progress, we run forward, unaware that millions are missing from the lanes. Untold millions who never got the chance to start their race.

It’s easier to point the finger at our former and present captors than to hold ourselves accountable. Pastors, who demand justice for our people, should sit in silence and ask themselves if they’ve been their unborn brothers’ keepers. Political leaders should fight to protect the unborn, our most valuable assets. We, a people thought to be against abortion, must stop supporting leaders who act as puppets for the billion-dollar abortion industry, Planned Parenthood.

Black believers have a duty to put their faith into action on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. It’s comfortable to shout and praise in congregations with climate control and cushy pews. It’s challenging to leave those places and stand on corners outside abortion clinics. We must accept this challenge.

Are we willing to see women rushed in like cattle, with the light gone from their eyes? Will we behold the steady stream of black men who escort their ladies into clinics to eliminate their problems? Will we open our ears to hear the silent cries of millions of unborn children who are sentenced and executed for crimes they never committed? If we want to fight for our people, this is the face of injustice in black America.

Black America has surrendered its dignity with the death of our offspring through the insidious act of abortion. Until this evil is overturned, we stand condemned by the weight of our history. We, a people who championed self-respect, neglect to give it to ourselves and our children. Are their answers for this atrocity? Yes, we have them.

Every person, regardless of his or her occupation, can play a role in righting this wrong. Before we can act, we must be awakened by the alarm. We must commit to the cause of life. Refuse to make peace with the act of abortion, for it goes against all we’ve stood for as a people. - Live Action News.

TECHNOLOGY AFRICA: Congolese Engineers And Inventors Develop Solar Powered Robot Cops - Humanoids Take Over Kinshasa To Tackle Traffic Chaos! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

February 24, 2014 - CONGO - How do you solve the problem of choking road traffic in one of the world's bustling megacities? You bring in the robot cops.

In Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, two humanoid robots have been installed in high-traffic areas to regulate the flow of vehicles and help drivers and pedestrians traverse the roads safely.

The goal is to ease the traffic woes of commuters and cut the number of road accidents in the center of Kinshasa, a city of some 10 million people.

"It is an innovation about road safety," Vale Manga Wilma, president of the DRC's National Commission for Road Safety (Commission Nationale de Prevention Routiere), told CNN.

"The traffic is a big problem in the rush hours," he explained. "With the robots' policemen intelligence, the road safety in Kinshasa becomes very easy."

Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has installed two robots to help bring order in the city's
hectic traffic.  The eight feet-tall machines are designed to help drivers and pedestrians traverse the roads safely.

Powered by solar panels, the robots are equipped with cameras that record the flow of vehicles.  The humanoids
are also programmed to speak, telling pedestrians when they can cross the road or not.

The robots are always on duty, working day and night.

"The traffic is a big problem in the rush hours," said Vale Manga Wilma, president of the DRC's National Commission
for Road Safety. "With the robots' policemen intelligence, the road safety in Kinshasa becomes very easy."

 Authorities say that this is a DRC-made technology, designed and built by an association of Congolese engineers.

Standing eight feet tall, the robot traffic wardens are on duty 24 hours a day, their towering -- even scarecrow-like -- mass visible from afar. They are powered by solar panels and are equipped with rotating chests and surveillance cameras that record the flow of vehicles.

The humanoids, which are installed on Kinshasa's busy Triomphal and Lumumba intersections, are built of aluminum and stainless steel to endure the city's year-round hot climate.

 WATCH: Kinshasa traffic robot cops hope to tackle traffic along city streets.

Featuring green and red lights, Kinshasa's robot cops are designed to merge some of the functions of human officers and traffic lights. The anthropomorphic robots can raise or bend their arms to stop passing vehicles or let others pass, and are also programmed to speak, indicating to pedestrians when they can cross the road.

Manga Wilma said that this is a DRC-made technology, designed and built by a team of local engineers called WITECH ONG. - CNN.

Friday, February 21, 2014

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: "The Winds Of Change Are Massive" - Tech Innovator Calls African Diaspora To Come Back And Make A Difference!

"All innovators in the continent of Africa should be problem centric. What problems are we trying to solve and ask yourself, at the end, who is going to use it?" - Uyi Stewart, chief scientist, IBM Research Africa.

February 21, 2014 - AFRICA -  What do the Apollo space missions, laser eye surgery and sustainable cocoa have in common? These are just some of the historic breakthroughs that IBM research labs across the world have helped become a reality over the years.

But the prestigious tech firm had a glaring omission on their global map. Africa is now the fastest growing continent in the world, according a recent report from the African Development Bank. And yet IBM didn't have a single hub there -- until recently.

Last year, IBM opened its 12th research facility in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, its first in the continent. Spearheading this innovation center is Uyi Stewart, a Nigerian scientist who has spent more than 20 years overseas working on software answers to real-world problems.

Armed with this international experience, the researcher has now returned to the continent to help create innovative solutions for African everyday challenges.

"It's easy to talk about giving back but when the opportunity presents itself -- such as IBM Research Africa that allows you to create innovations in science and technology to begin to make a proper impact in the lives of more than a billion people -- I don't know what more can stop anybody," says Stewart.

Conquering the "new world"

As a teenager Stewart was interested in computer sciences. But his country's lack of infrastructure prompted him to look abroad as a way of" intellectual escape."

The bright Nigerian managed to secure a scholarship at the University of Cambridge in England and with only a plane ticket and bus fare he set off for, what he called, "the new world." After completing his education in England, Stewart moved to the U.S. where he began his career in software and services research.

Stewart went on to work in IBM's Services Innovation Lab -- an international program where he was responsible for the technical strategy at eight global facilities. Today, having returned to the continent, he wants to leverage the strong growth of Africa's emerging markets and continue IBM's longstanding tradition in research breakthroughs.

"As I build and design I have got to understand that the majority of my people live [on] under less than two dollars a day," he says. "[The] majority of my people only speak one language -- so think about those things -- that whole holistic view allows technological innovation to be relevant to the community. That is what we're calling Africanized solutions."

"Let's come back"

That approach is central to Stewart's work.

"All innovators in the continent of Africa should be problem centric," he says. "What problems are we trying to solve and ask yourself, at the end, 'who is going to use it?' If you ask those two questions then we can begin to talk about sustainability."

In recent years the Kenyan government has actively encouraged ICT development in the country. Christened the "African Silicon Savannah," the $9.2 billion project known as Konza City is an ambitious undertaking that could help Kenya become a technology and innovation hotspot.

The country's technological boom has also been spurred by a rise in the number of innovation centers, where young coders and aspiring entrepreneurs join forces, network and work on their trailblazing ideas.

Similar hubs have also mushroomed across the continent in recent years -- from Nigeria to Tanzania and Egypt to Madagascar. But while there is a boom in tech spaces across Africa, many of the apps created there often fail to take off. Stewart says tech entrepreneurs need to be cautious about starting businesses without any commercial foresight.

WATCH:  Tech innovator calls African diaspora to come back and make a difference.

"Sustainability of innovation comes from commercial viability," he says. "If you innovate for fun, then we wouldn't be where we are today and I think that is the kind of ecosystem we see right now."

After more than two decades abroad, Stewart is committed to reverse the continent's so-called "brain drain," the exodus of brilliant minds relocating to countries outside Africa.

"I am part of the diaspora and I am home," he says. "And I am saying 'let's come back, there is just so much'; the winds of change [are] massive -- let's come back and make a difference," adds Stewart. "There is a tremendous potential for skill of impact when you innovate." - CNN.

ANCIENT ADVANCED BLACK CIVILIZATIONS: Germans Vandalize And Desecrate The Great Pyramid At Giza To "Prove" Monuments Were Built By Aliens - Scientists Refute The Conspiracy Theories, And Declare With Clear Evidence That They Were Built By Ancient Egyptians!

"Everywhere the white man go to look for history of himself [or aliens], he finds that we were there first." - Dr. Phil Valentine.

"...we were very fortunate to enter the cave that a friend of ours had discovered a month before. We were the first to enter it. The rock art was totally undisturbed. It looked like it had been painted the week before. Beautiful stuff. You will find pictures of that in the book [Black Genesis, The African Origin of the Pharaohs] by the way. It was very clear that the people were black skinned. They were rather sophisticated. They wore jewelry. They lived in houses. They clearly had domesticated cattle. They had paddocks with cattle. They seemed to be very, very happy. Holding hands and dancing. Wonderful feeling. The question now was,... were these black skinned people the ones who kicked off the civilization in Egypt, and to cut a long story short,... the answer and the evidence is overwhelmingly in support of this hypothesis. The bottomline is that the civilization of Egypt, the origin, its very beginning, [was] a product of a black historic people that lived in the Sahara, for thousands of years before they came down to the Nile Valley about 3,500 B.C. with their cargo of knowledge, their astronomy, their cattle, their knowledge of construction,... and two thousand years later, we have got the pyramids. So, that is the whole story in a nutshell,..." - Robert Bauval, Occult Science Radio, 4th of August 2011.

February 21, 2014 - EGYPT - Two German men who visited the Egyptian pyramids in April 2013 now face criminal charges for their attempt to prove their "alternative history" conspiracy theories through vandalism. The men, Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann, were joined by a third German, a filmmaker who accompanied them to document their "discoveries."

The Great Pyramids of Egypt.

The men were allowed to enter the inner chambers of the Great Pyramid at Giza normally off-limits to the public and restricted to authorized archaeologists and Egyptologists. The group reportedly took several items from the pyramids, including taking samples of a cartouche (identifying inscription) of the pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops. Goerlitz and Erdmann, who are not archaeologists but have instead been described as "hobbyists," allegedly smuggled the artifacts out of the country in violation of strict antiquities laws, according to news reports.

In addition to the three Germans, six Egyptians are being held in connection with the case, including several guards and inspectors from the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry who allowed the men into the pyramid. Tourism, one of Egypt's most important industries, has dropped dramatically in recent years due to social and political unrest. Tour-agency owners including one of the men recently arrested in connection with this case are often willing to bend or break the rules if it means satisfying wealthy foreigners, news reports suggest. The German government expressed outrage over the acts, and categorically stated the men were private citizens and not in any way affiliated with its German Archaeological Institute.

Trying to prove a conspiracy

Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann who visited the Egyptian
pyramids in April 2013 now face criminal charges for their
attempt to prove their "alternative history" conspiracy
theories through vandalism. (screengrab, YouTube)
Goerlitz and Erdmann acknowledged their acts, and even went so far as to post photographs and videos of themselves vandalizing the archaeological sites. However, they claimed their goal was a noble one: to prove their "alternative history" conspiracy theory that the pyramids were not built by ancient Egyptians.

The men are apparently convinced the cartouche identifying Khufu as the creator of the Great Pyramid at Giza is a fake, and they hoped to do an analysis on the pigments to prove they were not as old as the pyramids themselves. In essence, they claimed, pharaoh Khufu simply put his name on (and took credit for) pyramids that had been built thousands of years earlier by people from the legendary city of Atlantis. They accuse mainstream archaeologists of covering up or willfully ignoring evidence pointing to non-Egyptian origins of the pyramids.

The conspiracy theories that Goerlitz and Erdmann endorse did not appear in a vacuum; instead, they have been widely promoted by best-selling authors such as Erich von Dniken, who wrote "Chariots of the Gods?" first published in 1968. Such authors claim the true builders of the pyramids were not ancient Egyptians but instead others, like extraterrestrials or residents of the legendary Atlantis.

While "alternative history" and "ancient astronaut" theorists such as von Dniken do not explicitly endorse vandalism of any Egyptian sites, Goerlitz and Erdmann's actions were clearly driven by belief in such theories. (Ancient-astronaut theorists propose, unscientifically, that extraterrestrials intelligently designed humans.)

The true pyramid builders

As physicist Wolfgang Pauli famously said about a ludicrous idea, "It's not even wrong." There are countless glaring fallacies in Goerlitz and Erdmann's wild theory, beginning with the fact that Atlantis never existed; it was first described in two dialogues by Plato the "Timaeus" and the "Critias" written around 330 B.C. The Atlantis discussed by Plato did not refer to any actual ancient empire, because the dialogues were fictional stories and fables. Suggesting that people from Plato's Atlantis built the pyramids is like saying people from Tolkien's Middle Earth built the pyramids, or inhabitants of Superman's home planet of Krypton built the pyramids it makes no sense, because they're fictional characters.

Aside from that, there's clear evidence that ancient Egyptians did, indeed, build the pyramids. Ken Feder, an archaeologist and professor of anthropology at Central Connecticut State University and author of "Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology" (McGraw-Hill, 2013) takes a dim view of such baseless ideas.

"Here's an archaeological shocker: Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids," Feder told Live Science. "Contrary to what some purveyors of fantasy maintain, the technological skills necessary to construct the pyramids were not unknown in ancient Egypt. In actual fact, the Great Pyramid at Giza was the culmination of a lengthy, multigenerational, evolutionary process."

Archaeologists have found several early, failed attempts to build the pyramids, Feder noted. "Early attempts at true, geometric pyramid burial monuments resulted in spectacular screw-ups, including a 'collapsed' pyramid (the slope of the face of the monument was too steep)," Feder said. "In another attempt, cracks appeared in the lower part of the pyramid, again because the slope was too steep and one corner of the pyramid was positioned on a soft, sandy base."

"Finally, the Egyptian builders were not above taking credit for their labors; workers sometimes actually incised dates onto pyramid blocks, and one piece of graffiti in a chamber in the Great Pyramid bears the phrase, 'We did this with pride in the name of our great King Khnum-Khuf,' another name for the Pharaoh Khufu," he added.

In the end, "There is no controversy concerning who built the pyramids," Feder said. "Anyone caught trying to rewrite this history through theft or subterfuge isn't doing archaeology. They're breaking the law and insulting the memory of the thousands of ancient workers whose labors produced one of the wonders of the ancient world." - FOX News.

TECHNOLOGY AFRICA: Introducing ZEduPad - Who Needs Textbooks, "Zambian iPad" Goes To School!

February 21, 2014 - ZAMBIA - Whether it's learning how to read and write or setting up your own farm, a Zambian computer tablet -- known as the ZEduPad -- is trying to open up the country's information highway.

The tablet includes educational information for adults on health, farming and financial literacy.

The brain child of British tech entrepreneur Mark Bennett, the ZEduPad principally teaches users basic numeracy and literacy skills, aimed at primary school children.

"It became clear that there was a huge need for this kind of technology," Bennett said, "particularly tablet technology, which has come a long way in Africa in recent years."

After arriving in Zambia 30 years ago under the British Aid Program, Bennett worked in the computer department at the country's national university for over a decade before deciding to go it alone.

"We can really do something very major for the first time," he said. "We've invested about $5 million to date... It's totally all-encompassing and quite prescriptive so we are aiming at being able to get to an untrained teacher in a deep rural area in the African bush."

Interactive learning

The ZEduPad is programmed in eight different languages native to Zambia with over 12,000 preloaded classes and lesson plans for untrained teachers in rural areas, according to Bennett.

Approved by the Zambian Ministry of Education, the educational tablet allows children to create a personal profile on its seven-inch screen to keep track of their progress as well as exposing them to e-mail and Wikipedia.

Bennett said the ZEduPad is set up to teach grades one to seven through interactive learning in every subject from math to PE, art and music.

The technology comes at a time when Zambia's educational system is undergoing sweeping changes. Since 2001, the government has increased primary school enrollment rates by 90%.

As a result, the World Bank has identified the landlocked southern African nation as having one of the most improved primary school education systems in the developing world.

The tablet is equipped with over 12,000 lessons in nine different Zambian languages. The tablet
teaches subjects including English, maths, design, art and music.

The ZEduPad costs $200 each and has a range of teaching
materials for educators in remote locations.

Bennett told CNN that the ZEduPad will help children in Zambia learn vital technology
skills in a country where electricity and broadband is scarce.

Bennett added: "For years there was a problem with funding, education was not keeping up with population growth. Young people coming out of school and not being well suited or prepared to enter the job market.... We're trying to change that."

The ZEduPad gives children a grasp of vital technology skills in a landlocked country where broadband is scarce and only 18% of the nation's 14 million people have access to electricity, according to the World Bank.

In addition to following the national curriculum, the tablet also contains farming and health information designed for adults to help prevent the spread of killer diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

Outsourcing to China

The ZEduPad is currently manufactured, assembled and branded in China. The devices are then loaded onto a plane and transported to Zambia, where Bennett and his team install the software onto each tablet.

"It costs roughly $100 to have them made and landed here in this country," Bennett said. "We sell them to teachers and schools for $200 at the moment. We hope to bring that price down. One of the other things we're trying to do is provide significant tech support."

After teachers purchase the ZEduPad, Bennett said his team of experts go into schools and provide tutorials for staff so that they can maximize the tablets' functions while learning how to deliver lessons to pupils.

The ZEduPad is designed to offer every lesson through each grade of primary school
and to meet the requirements of the Zambian national curriculum, according to Bennett.

The tablet includes educational information for adults on health, farming and financial literacy.

Bennett said the tablet has, at one time or another, helped employ over 250 staff working in the development and distribution of the software from the company's base in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. He says he has approached the government over hiring assembly workers in Zambia but to no avail.

He said that at a time when few companies are manufacturing technology outside of the Far East, production in China is "the cheapest and most cost-effective thing to do."

'Huge change'

Looking ahead, Bennett doesn't want to stop at Zambia but hopes to roll the educational tablet out to a raft of other nations on the continent.

He believes that as countries in the developed world continue to transition from desktop computers to smart devices, Africa has a real chance to leapfrog ahead.

"I think the next big challenge is going to come from a lot of people who have got very cheap mobile phones. We'll gradually see Android smartphones coming out for $70 or so... Huge change is happening at the moment," Bennett said. - CNN.

MARKETPLACE AFRICA: No Cash, No Cards - Mobile App Revolution In Africa Lets You Pay With Just Your Smartphone!

February 21, 2014 - SOUTH AFRICA -  The aroma of rich coffee wafts through the air as Xolile Malindi leans behind the counter of House of Machines, a hip cafĂ© in the heart of Cape Town. Opposite him, a young customer approaches the bar, taking his wallet out to pay for his double espresso made of organic Arabica beans.

More than 720 million people across Africa have mobile phones, while the continent's smartphone
market is expected to double in the next four years.

"Have you ever heard of this program called the SnapScan?" Malindi, who is the coffee shop's day manager, asks quickly. "You pay with your phone," he continues. "A lot of places are using it in Cape Town -- it's quite amazing."

House of Machines is just one of dozens of stores here where customers can find SnapScan, an award-winning new digital mobile payment method developed in South Africa. The smartphone app, which is free to download, allows buyers to pay for goods using their phone, without having to worry about carrying cash or credit cards.

How it works

Each SnapScan-connected store has a unique code that is linked to their bank account.

When customers want to pay, they can scan the code with their SnapScan smartphone app, which then brings up the store where they are making the purchase.

Free to download, SnapScan was named App of the Year 2013 at the MTN Business Awards.

SnapScan is a South African app designed to help users buy goods with their mobile phones.

"All you do is you type in the amount and punch in the PIN and press send and it's gone -- it's all done," explains Malindi. "You've got your secret code (four-digit PIN), so if your phone goes missing for example, you don't have to worry about people using your phone," he adds.

The transaction is complete with SnapScan charging the customer's debit or credit card for the amount they are paying -- similar to a normal card payment.


Using your phone to pay for goods and services is nothing new in Africa, a continent where there are more than 720 million mobile phones. Services such as M-Pesa, the revolutionary Kenyan mobile payment system that allows people to bypass banks and pay bills, withdraw salaries and transfer cash electronically, have transformed the way people and business operate.

Meanwhile, Africa's smartphone market is expected to double over the following four years -- at the moment, South Africa is reportedly the biggest smartphone market in sub-Saharan Africa, with a 19% penetration.

Many businesses are keen to into the proliferation of mobile across Africa, following
the success of services like M-Pesa in Kenya.

Currently, SnapScan is only available at formal merchants in South Africa. Courtesy SnapScan

And as smartphones increase, the paying methods are also becoming smarter.

"If you look at mobile payments specifically, Africa is actually one of the leaders in this space," says Kobus Ehlers, co-founder of the SnapScan app. "SnapScan was developed in South Africa for the African market, so we try to find really local and relevant solutions and I think it's going to get a massive uptake," he adds.

Technology in general is going to get a massive uptake in Africa as we don't have those legacy systems," continues Ehlers. "People aren't used to using credit cards for example, they can skip right ahead and start using cutting-edge payment technology."

Cashless society

Right now, SnapScan is only available at formal merchants but the hope is that the e-currency could flow from the phones of customers to the accounts of informal merchants too. It can even be used to send remittances.

Ehlers says that the hope of a cashless society is possible for Africa.

"Quite a large portion of people have access to a smartphone and by leveraging that technology we can provide payments that were previously impossible," he says. "That really is an empowering thing for most people in Africa who haven't got access to formal infrastructure to provide those services."

John Campbell heads up the Beyond Payments division of Standard Bank, which partners with innovators such as SnapScan to create banking solutions. He says that lack of traditional infrastructure often leads to creative solutions.

Source: McKinsey Global Institute; Lions go digital: The Internet's transformative potential in Africa. 
Designed by Inez Torre/CNN

M-Pesa is a mobile money transfer service launched in Kenya in 2007.  TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images/file

"In other territories where that infrastructure was not available, that infrastructure has been leapfrogged by the use of mobile," explains Campbell. "M-Pesa in Kenya is a good example of that, where money goes straight to your mobile -- your mobile number almost becomes your account number, that's effectively what happens."

Back in the House of Machines, Malindi keeps on introducing the new payment method to his customers.

"It's way better as opposed to using your credit card or cash," he says, adding that he was surprised to find out that SnapScan was a tech company that started in South Africa.

"I thought it's one of the things that we get from overseas," says Malindi. "When I found out this is African-launched I was 'wow, here we go Africa, here we come, we're rocking the world!'" - CNN.

BLACK INVENTORS: 5 Black Inventors You Should Know!

February 21, 2014 - BLACK INVENTORS -  So many of the things that we take for granted, were invented by African Americans—everyday items and innovations, from the simple to the profound, that have permanently changed our lives.

Here are five Black inventors that have made the world a better place:

1. Dr. Patricia E. Bath (1942 – present)

Laserphaco Probe.

What it does: The laserphaco probe is medical device used in surgery to treat patients with cataracts.

Why it’s important: Dr. Bath’s invention has been used all over the world and is credited for giving people their sight back.
2. Lewis Latimer (1848 – 1928)

Carbon filament for light bulb.

What it does
: The invention helped make longer lasting light bulbs and was a cheaper method to making light bulbs.

Why it’s important
: More people had access to electricity because of the cheaper and more efficient filament.
3. Garrett Morgan (1877 – 1963)

: Safety Hood/Traffic Signal

What it does:
Safety hood would protect from smoke inhalation and toxic fumes . Morgan’s traffic signal had “stop” and “go” signs to help usher cars and prevented automobile accidents.

Why it’s important
: The safety hood would later on be developed into modern day gas masks and the traffic signal gave way for traffic lights.
4. Dr. Marc Hannah (1956 – present)

: 3-D Technology.

What it does
: Hannah is the principle scientist who engineered the computer software that companies purchase so 3-D artists can create special effects.

Why it’s important
: The equipment is not only used by film studios but is also purchased by engineering and medical research firms to create 3-D graphics in their designs.
5. Frederick McKinley Jones (1893 – 1961)

: First person to invent a refrigeration system for trucks and railroad cars.

What it does
: Keeps food transported long and short distance from spoiling.

Why it’s important
: Fresh food!

- African Globe.

TECHNOLOGY AFRICA: "I Feel That Africa Is Kicking Into Its Golden Age" - Young Ugandan Creates Business Management App Ffene For SMEs!

February 21, 2014 - UGANDA - Ugandan Titus Mawano is the 23-year-old entrepreneur behind Ffene, an award-winning business management platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that assists with accounting, customer and inventory management.

Ffene business management App.

After studying computer science in the US for three years, Mawano decided to cut short his university education in 2012 and return to Uganda to follow his passion.

“I thought that I had mastered enough skills to begin what I wanted to work on when I started my career – and that was creating a business management tool that would assist SMEs,” Mawano said.

“So I took the last year off and came back [to Uganda] and told myself that if my business idea doesn’t work out I will go back to studying. But it worked out.”

In less than a year of operation, Mawano was awarded a US$10,000 prize after Ffene was selected as one of three winners in the Apps4Africa 2012 challenge. Last year he won second place and $15,000 in the 2013 Anzisha Prize, a competition that recognises and celebrates Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs.

African SMEs Need To Improve Their Financial Records

“Both of my parents are entrepreneurs so growing up I knew what the challenges were for SMEs in Uganda,” explained Mawano.

One of the main challenges he believes limits many SMEs today is keeping adequate financial records. Mawano said those entrepreneurs who do keep records, generally store them manually in a book. SME managers, therefore, have to do their own calculations to determine profit or loss over a week, a month or a year.

“Just having a machine that does that all for you, it provides a huge advantage and the business awareness to help them make better decisions,” he emphasised.

Although Ffene is not even two years old, close to 600 companies are using the software today, which runs on both desktop and mobile devices.

Titus Mawano, the creator of Ffene.
According to Mawano, when he first started Ffene, he spent a lot of time and focus on trying to educate customers on using new technologies such as desktop or mobile apps. However, to his surprise, he found that using new technology was generally not a major concern for his customers.

“I learnt that when you are selling to consumers they don’t care what technology you use, they only care about what they can do with it.”

Ffene is sold for USh. 30,000 ($12) a month, although Mawano said they do offer certain payment plans and specials to SMEs, depending on their situations.

Looking Beyond Uganda

“So my future plans are twofold. One, we want to be the best in Uganda but we also want to be the best on the continent, not just in Uganda.”

To do this, Mawano believes he needs to spend more time fine tuning the analytical side of the platform, to add further value. “So for instance, we are looking at ways that we can integrate tax laws into the software so that you can provide automated tax position information.”

However, unreliable internet connection in Uganda and many places throughout Africa is still a major limitation to businesses and Mawano believes that a focus on developing offline tools is important for Ffene’s software.

He added that the award money he won at last year’s Anzisha Prize will go towards the research and development (R&D) of industry-specific products.

“We are also trying to create specialised products for specialised industries – farming, hospitality, medical and dentistry, that sort of thing. So most of the money is going to go towards R&D for that reason, and we also need to have some permitted for growing our team and hiring.”

Advice For Other Young Entrepreneurs

Mawano believes it is a myth that a person simply needs money and connections in order to be a successful entrepreneur. “It’s all about good strategy and it’s all about improvising with what you have. Really, the [best tool] is creativity. If you are a creative person, then you are going to figure it out,” he emphasised.

“If you are not a very creative person – and have your own distinct set of skills – then get someone who is creative on your team. That is the best value that you are going to get. It’s not the money, it’s not the networking. It’s really about creativity. If you have a very creative team around you then pretty much anything that comes your way you are going to be able to knock down.”

According to Mawano, entrepreneurs also have to have a certain amount of tenacity and dedication in what they are doing. Passion, he said, is essential in keeping entrepreneurs going through the all-nighters and long working hours that are typically needed in starting a company.

He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to start early. “And that doesn’t mean starting your own business early. It means thinking about the kind of industry you want to work in, analysing that market and just amassing information. Information is power and if you have a dream of starting a certain enterprise, it’s time to start researching that now.

“And I feel that Africa is kicking into its golden age. There is so much opportunity that there is enough for everyone… So I suggest they get started.”

Finally, he advises Africa’s young entrepreneurs to apply for this year’s Anzisha Prize and to make sure they show their entrepreneurial passion in their application for the award. “That is probably something you cannot fake,” he concluded.

The Anzisha Prize is the premier award for African entrepreneurs aged 15-22 who have developed and implemented innovative businesses or solutions that have a positive impact on their communities.

Applications for the 2014 Anzisha Prize are now open and aspiring fellows can apply directly online at or at the offices of any one of Anzisha’s 2014 country partners. Application forms are available in English, French or Arabic, and will be accepted until 1 April 2014. Follow the Anzisha Prize onTwitterFacebook and YouTube.


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