Great technology from Africa for Africa and the world

I’m sitting at the launch of Highway Africa, the world’s largest gathering of African journalists. This year the theme is 2010, Development and Democracy and of course the focus is next year’s FIFA World Cup.

Last night MTN hosted us to a sneak preview of the Port Elizabeth stadium, which has not only already been completed, but makes an impressive aesthetic impression. It set the tone for a range of speeches that had the broad theme of: we’re going to show the world that we have talent; we’re going to dispel the lingering pessimism.

I must confess that during the past two days at The Digital Citizen Indaba, a precursor event to Highway Africa, I have certainly been impressed and (yes, I admit) surprised by the new technologies coming out of Africa. While the focus of the conference was the ‘citizen journalist’, I was impressed by the tools and skills outlined and the ways in which they can help African journalists tell Africa’s stories more powerfully and more effectively.

Here are my three favourites, all introduced in presentations by Brett Davidson, a media consultant who specializes in helping NGOs to develop communications and advocacy strategies.


Ushahidi is a platform for monitoring, mapping and mobilizing communities.


Frontlines is a free and open source messaging platform that has supported humanitarian, civic and public services around the world.


Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.