Dakar. It's hot. Lots of goats. In 2-5 years, it could be a major tech hub -- sooner with some policy and infrastructure changes, but the core is there, from VC4Africa hosting meetups at co-working/social change hubs like JokkoLabs to a budding online community of drupal hackers. The infrastructure seems to remain a daunting challenge, with mobile internet lagging behind, banks not being innovative, and a fragile power system reliant on imported oil.
I spent just under two weeks working with Ashoka fellow Hamadou Tidiane SY, who was elected in 2009 to the News and Knowledge program of the fellowship. He has grown Ouestaf, a small independent news site to almost a household word in francophone Africa through amazing dedication to professionalism in journalistic standards and solid coverage of core issues, avoiding sensationalism. News and Knowledge director Keith Hammonds has a blog post on the model.
How to Build a News Website in Seven Days
So, I've been beating this drum for a while - oppressive governments are increasingly quick and intelligent in responding to protests that use mobile and new media to organize and get the word out. So, join us in July (http://www.meetup.com/intlrel-76/events/23103221/) to hear from an amazing panel and discuss the next steps in this cat and mouse game:
The Twitter Revolution. The Cellphone Revolution. The Facebook Revolution. While the "Arab Spring" uprisings succeed based on real-world organizing, protests and democracy-building, it's no secret that mobiles and social media provided tools to broadcast, coordinate and amplify these movements. Oppressive governments are responding both faster and smarter to these digital tools.
Please join our panel of experts discussing the role of online activism going forward. What are the next steps in information empowerment in a more hostile environment for online activism? What is the role of mobile and new media in affecting change in government, and what are the risks?
We will begin with a discussion by the panelists, then move into an open question and answer session. Afterwards, we'll transition to a happy hour at Circle Bistro.
Online Activism after #ArabSpring : What's Next?