Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Africa, the World Leader in Sustainable Tech

From the eco-tech perspective, the most interesting continent is Africa. Ill-equipped for the profligate consumption of nearly every resource, Africa is a study in efficiency, where leadership and ingenuity seem to naturally spring forth; witness, et. al., the solar and pedal-powered phones for Uganda, the South African phase out of incandescent bulbs started over a year ago, the Design for Africa movement.

In a society where the work being done by every electron is compared carefully to the sweat-of-brow alternative, it's interesting to review what tech gadgetry is accepted. And, what is not. This is particularly so when one realizes that there are a billion Africans to support, with only 4 percent of the world's electricity supply. So, what is appropriate; cell phones seem to be, as nearly every African that wants one has one. And with the exception of South Africa, used computers seem to be accepted as well. This seems strange, as these are typically power guzzlers; could be just a good idea, but perhaps some basic human needs are involved.

Unlike more developed counties, where one finds justification for a new 3D operating system or shortened hardware/upgrade cycle under every rock, it's refreshing to explore a model where the rubber on road translates directly into real world solutions in short order. Watch for more bright lights from the dark continent. :: All Africa :: Economist

1 comment:

PC said...


This is a very interesting blog. I wonder what you think about efforts to spread computing and internet access to the developing nations-- such as the "One Laptop per Child" and the "Buy One Give One" program. If you are unfamiliar with this, take a look at their web site at .

OLPC is a non-profit of course, but some have questioned the focus on giving away laptops rather than working on more basic needs like clean water, agricultural assistance, etc.