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Friday, September 28, 2007

Blogging Africa into the 21st Century

Discussion on Africa’s development is taking a new dimension. Bloggers have joined this debate and are employing new ways to initiate dialogue about Africa’s development round the world. The latest craze that seeks to use technology to push Africa into the 21st Century is the Carnival of Africa Enterprising. This is basically a traveling web magazine or blog that discusses business in Africa. Centered around a concept mooted by Blog Carnival, it spurs dialogue amongst African bloggers and other leading thinkers; and provides a forum for web publishers (such as bloggers) to discuss common topical and development oriented issues.

There are many variations, but typically, someone who wants to organize a carnival posts details of the theme or topic to their blog, and asks readers to submit relevant articles for inclusion in an upcoming edition. Based on this model, interested participants submit content (mostly links) to a carnival manager who then publishes them in an easy to read format. Writers who submit their articles to carnivals are rewarded with traffic if the host decides to link to their original article or give a positive review to the submitted content.

Blog carnivals are a great way for web publishers to recognize each other's efforts, organize articles around important topics, and improve the overall level of conversation through the internet (specifically in the blogosphere). Carnivals come in edited "editions" as in magazines or journals. The fact that carnivals are edited (and usually annotated) collections of links lets them serve as "magazines" within the blogosphere. Carnival hosts can earn their readership by providing high quality collections.

Since blog carnivals include lots of posts on specific topics, they also serve as a place to connect with experts (or at least highly opinionated!) and those who are interested in that field.

Many carnivals have a principal organizer, who lines up guest bloggers to host each edition. The carnival therefore travels and appears on a different blog each time. The Carnival of African Enterprising, which is hosted on Blog Carnival but managed by ambitious youth interested in shaping the future of Africa, is only four editions old. Nevertheless, based on topics discussed so far, it’s among top Blog Carnivals that really seek to answer to Africa’s call to development. Some of its past editions have discussed:

1. Doing business in Africa (1st edition - hosted on African Path June 6th 2007)
2. Foreign aid, trade, business and entrepreneurship with focus on the African continent. (2nd edition- hosted on African Loft July 6th 2007
3. African business and economy (3rd edition hosted on White African August 5th 2007)
4. African business and economy (4th Edition hosted on nubian cheetah September 12th 2007)

The African Executive will host the 5th Carnival of African Enterprising from the 10th of October 2007. The topic of discussion will be: “Positioning Africa in the 21st Century.” Drawing from success stories from the West and emerging Eastern economies, the October carnival will analyze the cause of Africa’s stagnation; explore ways to steer the continent to development and chart a way forward to positioning Africa on the global agenda in the 21st century. This special edition of the carnival will also be featured in the annual Africa Resource Bank meeting, which will be held in Tanzania from the 11th to 14th November 2007.

It is only a matter of time before we find out if we can successfully use the blogosphere to front the African Agenda.

(For anyone who is interested in airing their views about Africa in the 21st Century via the 5th edition of the Carnival of African Enterprising please submit your articles HERE.)

1 comment:

benin said...

Branded:

Hi, thanks for the kind words and the support. Yes, my Dad is sorely missed. But I am happy that his legacy will live on, through me, my siblings, his friends, colleagues, and through his countless pupils.

I consider myself very blessed to have had such a wonderful father and a good relationship with him. I will labor to make sure that his name gets the proper recognition deserved in the history books. At the memorial service, I spoke with my father's mentor. He casually said that my father was the father of nanoscience. This was something which not many people, including myself were aware of...

But in my heart my Dad will be remembered as the one who planted a seed within my heart. Africa has for millenia had powerful scientists and engineers; but my Dad sought to thouroughly publicize this to a people outside of the continent who were largely oblivious to this fact.

Man, I am grateful.

Let's have a wonderful carnival.