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Top ‘Brains’ Meet in Arusha to Set New Course for Africa

June 3, 2007 • Top Stories

They are all ‘geniuses’ some being outstanding scientists, others accomplished investors, researchers, politicians and think-tanks, not to forget entertainers. These ‘ticking brains’ are ‘setting camp’ in Arusha, where for a period of five days they will be setting a new milestone for the African continent.

But apart from the British born scientist, Dr. Jane Goodall, who is a Pathologist based at Gombe National Reserves, Tanzania does not exactly have much ‘representation’ in the TED conference, which is being held for the first time in Africa.

The event features more than 50 speakers, all of whom, being outstanding achievers in different fields, but coming from various parts of the continent. The other delegates will be assorted packs of geniuses from around the global. This landmark meet takes place in Arusha, as from Monday, June 4.

All the world’s ‘geniuses’ seem to be attending the conference. More than 1200 brain trusts, creative personalities, inventors and think-tanks, among them outstanding celebrities, are set to spend at least five days at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, situated in Usa River section of Arumeru, brainstorming on issues concerning the African continent as from the 4th to the 7th of June.

This is going to be the first TED (Technology Entertainment Design) biannual global conference, to be held on the African continent and will be running under the title, ‘Africa the next chapter.’ More than 50 distinguished personalities, inventors, scientists and other global achievers, including those from the continent, are expected to speak during the conference

An official statement from Ted-Global reveals a program line-up of over 50 speakers. These include, inventors, business-leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, artists, writers, activists, musicians, successful African in the diaspora and mavericks.

But all the delegates have something in common. They are all doing something valuable for both Africa and the continent’s future. “Their voices will inspire. And their ideas will spread”.

Over the past few years a growing number of people in the TED community have become passionate about Africa, a continent that appears to be at an important tipping point. Its problems and challenges are well known. These are all going to be addressed at the heart of the continent, in Arusha, a place believed to be exact center point between Cape-Town and Cairo.

“Less well known is that across the continent, change is afoot. Instead of relying only on development aid, Africans across the continent are beginning to take matters into their own hands. Ingenious solutions are being applied to tackle some of the toughest health and infrastructure problems,” Says the TED statement.

Various Businesses are being launched and these are capable of transforming the lives of millions. New communication technologies are allowing ideas and information to spread, enabling markets – and governments – to be more efficient. And the numbers suggest that incomes are starting to nudge up in some countries and real growth is on the way.

The world’ leading Internet search engine, Google, through its humanitarian arm, ‘Google.Org,’ is among the major sponsors for the Arusha TED conference. In recent years, the conference has added a strong humanitarian focus. This will mark the third year for the TED Prizes, which grant money and resources to three social entrepreneurs to realize a dream of their choosing.

Past winners have included Bono, the U2 fronts man, who used the platform to build a community of North American activists for Africa. Bono visited Tanzania in May 2006 as an ambassador for the continent’s war against Malaria.

Former US president Bill Clinton won this year, he was awarded at a TED session which took place last March, along with Nachtwey and Wilson. As in the past, when winners announce their plans, checkbooks will open to augment the gift and people will stand to volunteer their services.

Some of the African brains who are going to give brain stimulating speeches and lectures at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge of Arusha, include;Noah Samara, founder and CEO of the free-to-air, satellite-radio provider, Worldspace; Florence Seriki, the founder of computer manufacturing firm of Omatek; Patrick Awuah, Co-founder of Ashesi University in Ghana; Ted Kidane, founder of Feedelix the developer of non-Latin software script for Ethiopia, Hindi and Mandarin Cell phone users.

Also in the list is, Seyi Oyesola, physician and co-inventor of the “Hospital-in-a-box,” a portable operating theater that runs on solar power and the British born, Primatologist, Jane Goodall who does research work on rare scores of chimpanzees, at Tanzania’s Gombe National Reserve.

There is the Kenyan scientist and inventor Mosses Makayoto; The famous film maker, Raoul Peck; Geneticist and Anthropologist, Spencer Wells, who wrote “The journey of Man,” Patti Stonesifer, CEO of the (Bill) Gates Foundation and Ali Mufuruki, the Preeminent business leader, founder of the Infotech Investment Group, and Aspen Fellow, who argues that Africa can no longer “out source” its developmentOthers are the, Simon Mwacharo, CEO of ‘Craftskills an innovative manufacturer of renewable modular energy systems based on solar and wind power; Carol Pineau, journalist and producer of the documentary, “Africa Open for business.”

Also to be present is George Ayittey Economist and outspoken author of books that have helped redefine the agenda for African development, such as Indigenous African Institutions and Africa Unchained and Euvin Naidoo, President, South African Chamber of Commerce America, investment banker and passionate proponent of private-sector participation in industry and infrastructure development.
Chris Johns the editor-in-chief for the National Geographic, Daniel Annerose, founder of cell-phone service provider, Manobi; A Pulitzer-winning journalist; the novelist, Chris Abani and the founder of the Global Women inventors (GWI) and Innovators network, Bola Olabisi.

Artists will include the likes of Youssou N’Dour, the Celebrated Grammy-award-winning singer, songwriter and composer, Franco Sacchi, the Nigerian film producer, Newton Aduaka Maker of the award-winning film Ezra, about child soldiers in the Sierra Leone and Abenaa Frempong-Boadu, the soul/urban folk singer.
Even the African politicians, despite not having a ‘very’ good record in the continent, will be represented. For instance, Ngozi Okonjo Iwealla, the former Nigerian Finance Minister, a Fellow of the Brookings institute, and a charismatic advocate of Africa’s potential, is expected as well.

Also to be accorded audience are some of the continent’s, top ‘Bloggers’ like Ory Okolloh Lawyer, activist, and co-founder of the Mzalendo, “An Eye on the Kenyan Parliament.” Blogs as it has been discovered, have been playing vital roles as digital ‘platforms of advocating changes.’

Kenya will also be presented by Mosses Makayoto, A globally recognized scientist with a string of successful inventions, such as a pesticide for use in refugee camps, new technologies for processing honey and cotton, and a low-cost detergent made from local materials.

Source: Arusha Times


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