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Top 100 global thinkers of 2010

December 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Charity, Featured, General, Politics

Foreign Policy Magazine has named their top 100 global thinkers of 2010. The list, which I’ve outlined below, is a mix of policy makers, advocates, and media professionals among other global influencers. A special congratulations goes out to Rosa Whitaker (#53), Ory Okolloh (#59), and Ethan Zuckerman (#81), all of whom  I’ve had the pleasure of connecting and sharing ideas with. View the full list below, and read the full story on the Foreign Policy website:

Beginning with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (1), who teamed up to prove that even in tough times great new ideas can emerge, to forecasting economist Nouriel Roubini (12) to political leaders Barack Obama (3) and Angela Merkel (10), FP presents more than just their big ideas. Once again we took a unique survey of this very smart crowd. Nearly two-thirds participated to give you insight into their thinking on everything from how Obama’s doing to their preference in new-age reading device (iPad, by a lot). But don’t take our word for it — take the same questionnaire we sent to our FP 100 and see how your answers match up against theirs. – Foreign Policy Mag.

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Why Africa aid campaigns FAIL (free ebook)

May 19th, 2010 | 4 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Charity, General, Politics

On April 27, 2010 the popular website Mashable ran a post titled 1MillionShirts Leverages Social Media to Help Clothe Africa. The post was about a new charitable campaign launched by a pair of US-based social media marketing professionals whose goal was to get everyday consumers to “Help us send one million t-shirts to the people of Africa”. As the Mashable author wrote

The 1MillionShirts project, launched this month, is asking for used (but decent) T-shirts to be sent in with a one dollar bill to help with container costs. The shirts will then be shipped to Africa to help clothe folks in need.

The mis-guided campaign team set out to use social media tools to spread the word,  encouraging supporters to use the #1millionshirts tag in comments about the campaign on Twitter. Within hours of the #1millionshirts tag appearing on Twitter a heated debate ensued between the marketers and the African development and aid professionals with both sides writing online, talking on Twitter, and even getting on an international conference call. In 24 hours what started out as a typical American-lead Africa aid charity campaign had fueled a full blown debate on the merits of such efforts, and how campaigns such as these negatively affect African communities and the aid industry.

To further the open discussion, and educate other would-be Africa aid campaigners, I have tapped the wisdom of the crowd to produce a case-study document titled “No Tees Please: Why Africa aid campaigns #FAIL”. The contributors to the eBook have shared their perspectives on this and other Africa aid campaigns and the hard lessons which can be learned when they miss their mark.

Feel free to download and distribute the eBook embedded below freely to anyone you feel can learn from the diverse perspectives on smart aid and foreign-lead African development initiatives. A special thanks to the numerous contributors and my co-editor Raquel Wilson for helping get this project out the door in a short period. Leave your comment below or follow me on Twitter (@GKofiAnnan) to join the ongoing conversation.

No Tees Please: Why Africa aid campaigns #FAIL

If you can’t see the embed above go here to view or download

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Bill Gates: Mobiles not PCs for global health in developing markets


via mobihealthnews.com

Microsoft Chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates recently sat down at UC Berkeley to discuss the need for personal computers versus cell phones in so-called developing markets.

Celebrity colonization of Africa (infographic)

Much has been said of celebrities taking an interest in Africa. Celebrities like Oprah, Madonna, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Danny Glover and, of course, Bono,  have pusued a wide range of Africa-related causes and initiatives to mixed response here and elsewhere in the media. For their March/April issue Mother Jones magazine has put together a fun interactive map outlining which American celebrities have been most involved in which African countries. The Mother Jones feature also contains a mini timeline of celebrity involvement in Africa. Click on the infographic below to access the full interactive map.

celebrity_colonize_africa

Ego Trips: What can Africa do for you? (via Mother Jones)

“My life changed, really, there.” —Bono

“Totally changed my life.” —Alicia Keys

“It’s changed my life.” —Country singer Michelle Wright

“This trip has changed my life.” —NFL player Reggie Bush

“One of those things which will sort of change your life.” —American Idol‘s Simon Cowell

“It truly was a life-changing experience.” —The OC‘s Mischa Barton

“It was truly a life-changing adventure!” —Disney teen star Selena Gomez

* h/t @kenyanpundit *

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Liya Kebede stars in Somali supermodel Waris Dirie’s biopic

Supermodel Waris Dirie’s book Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey Of A Desert Nomad, published in 1999, helped fuel the open discussion of female genital mutilation in her native Somalia. After spawning two follow-up books, Desert Dawn and Desert Children, the original book is now premiering as a feature film starring another supermodel, Ethiopian Liya Kebede. Watch the trailer for the new movie “Desert Flower (“Wüstenblume” )” below. More about the movie here.

If the video is not visible below click here.

(via Africa_Visual_Media)

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Designer Ozwald Boateng on dressing President Obama and his Made in Africa wealth initiative

August 31st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in Art, Business, Charity, Events, Fashion, Film/Television, Politics, Travel

In this three part series fashion designer Ozwald Boateng talks with CNN about outfitting President Obama for his recent Ghana visit and the designer’s new initiative “Made in Africa”.

Part 1: Tailoring for the President
CNN’s Monita Rajpal talks British-Ghanaian tailor Ozwald Boateng about his rise to fame and tailoring for President Obama’s Ghanaian visit.

Part 2: Made in Africa Ozwald Boateng talks about ‘Made in Africa.’ An organization designed to promote wealth and self sufficiency in Africa

Part 3: Designer to role model
British-Ghanaian tailor Ozwald Boateng explains his plans to help tailor Africa’s image problems.

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Djimon Hounsou narrates How Not to Write About Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina (video)

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Obama and Hillary Clinton visits a boom or bust for African business

August 17th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Charity, Events, General, Politics, Technology

hillary_clinton_congo_africa

As President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both prepared to make visits to Africa recently there was a sense of excitement and anticipation. While the excitement was primarily within the African diaspora, other communities around the globe also began to share in the excitement. But as Obama and Clinton have come and left the continent, many have questioned if the “historic event” had a big enough effect on investment and perception the African continent. It may be too soon to tell but if the statistics are any indication, heightened global interest in Africa may already be starting to wane. So might African countries have missed an opportunity to move the continent’s re-brand efforts to another level and capture global attention in a BIG way?
africa_tv_mentions

According to Snapstream.com’s TV trends tracking service, between October 2008 and the months up to Obama’s visit to Ghana, the average mention of the word Africa on the primary American television networks was about 20 to 30 mentions per day with mentions reaching the highest of 169 in any one day. In the first two days of Obama’s arrival in Ghana, mentions of Africa on US television jumped to about 719 mentions on July 11th, the day Obama gave his speech in Ghana. Also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recently concluded tour of Africa and the momentary controversy in Congo, has kept Africa in the news for the second month straight in 2009.

By all standards, and considering the context, these are enormous global opportunities where African countries could heighten awareness and promote any partnership opportunities they have. While some might say that the attention was only regulated to political forums, an analysis of the overall mentions of Africa across social media media platforms shows the contrary.

An analysis of Google search trends shows that global search for terms associated with Africa have begun to climb as the continent stays in the news. As both President Obama and Sec. of State Clinton went on tour in Africa, the countries they visited have seen an increase of search activity, another great opportunity to the tourism industries.

obama clinton africa trends

But with all the possibilities of global business, I still wonder how much sustained business opportunities are really being made available for African entrepreneurs and non-governmental businesses.

In their reflection of Obama’s visit to Ghana the Daily Kos writes

In Cape Coast where the Obamas visited the slave fort – Cape Coast Castle, and the palace of the Oguaa Chief (of Cape Coast), the crowds were similarly excited yet disappointed that they had no opportunity to see President Obama’s remarks given while there. Nevertheless, the mood remained upbeat with local residents stating that they understood the need for all the souped up security arrangements for this particular US President. At the airport later in the early evening, prior to departure, the crowd that gathered there did finally get the chance to see and hear Pres. Obama. Everybody else simply stayed glued to their teevee sets all day. My other beef was that not a single local Ghanaian journalist was granted an interview with President Obama, yet Anderson Cooper of CNN gets one. Yes, Obama had an interview with AllAfrica.com prior to his arrival in Ghana, but a local interview would have helped cut through the physical security cordon and enabled the US president to directly hear from the local media that he praised so much in his speech for their critical work in advancing democracy in Ghana.

Certainly tourism to Ghana and possibly Africa in general is going to rise as many in the west will associate the country with a presidential visit, stability, and democracy, but will that be the end result? Could the Ghanaian government have done more to secure long term more widespread attention to Ghana? Could Secretary Clinton’s visit have been more impactful to everyday Liberians or Kenyan’s beyond the prestige factor? Neither Obama’s or Clinton’s trips were merely for entertainment and there are policies in the works, but if Africa is to truly benefit from them the attention and information exchange must be sustained by Africans over a longer period of time. Only through synchronized planning between African entrepreneurs and governments, could such high profile events truly be maximized for the rapid growth of African countries.

What do you think? Were the President Obama and Secretary Clinton visits a boom or bust for African business?

According to Snapstream.com’s TV trends tracking service between October 2008 and the months up to Obama’s visit to Ghana, the average mention of the word Africa on the primary American television networks was about 20 to 30 mentions per day with mentions reaching the highest of 169 in any one day. In the first two days of Obama’s arrival in Ghana, mentions of Africa on US television jumped to about 719 mentions on July 11th, the day Obama touched down in Ghana. Also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recently concluded tour of Africa and the momentary controversy in Congo, has kept Africa in the news for the second month straight in 2009.
By all standards, and considering the context, these are enormous global attention opportunities where African countries could heighten awareness and promote any partnership opportunities they have. While some might say that the attention was only regulated to political forums, an analysis of the overall mentions of Africa across social media media platforms shows the contrary.
An analysis of Google search trends shows that global search for terms associated with Africa have begun to climb as the continent stays in the news. As both President Obama and Sec. of State Clinton went on tour in Africa, the countries they visited have seen an increase of search activity, another great opportunity to the tourism industries.

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A Place of Refuge: A music artist from Sierra Leone helps Brooklyn NY kids (video)

July 24th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Charity, Film/Television, General, Music

Chosan, a hip-hop artist from Sierra Leone, for years has spent  his time  away from the microphone working with kids at a local school in Brooklyn, NY. The upcoming documentary "A Place of Refuge" documents the interactions and cross-cultural experiences between Chosan and the children. Watch below.

Trending Africa July 23, ’09: E. Africa gets hi-speed internet, TEDGlobal, etc.

• Big news of East Africa finally getting high-speed internet with the launch of SEACOM's fibre optic cables; and some reactions

• The Gates Foundation and Peace Corps open up Africa Rural Connect, encouraging everyone to send Ideas on how to help rural Africa

• Investors are seeing growing fields of opportunity across Africa

• As the new high speed cable is launched, experts speculate that internet use in Asia, Africa, and Mid-East is set to soar

• Google is extending services in Africa

• If you're not one of the lucky ones attending TEDGlobal 2009 this week, head over to the official blog for exciting updates and videos

• While we're on the topic of TEDGlobal 2009, make sure to listen to Jon Gosier's presentation about his mobile phone search service for Uganda

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