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Crowdfunded Afrimakers To Bring Arduinos, Raspberry Pis To African Tech Hubs 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the hands-on dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There's a chronic shortage of tech savvy teacher all over Africa, and at the same time a strong belief that the tech economy is vital to growth. Enter Afrimakers, a crowdfunded project to visit tech hubs in seven continents and leave behind Arduino boards, Raspberry Pis, soldering kits and — most importantly — the smarts to use them. The Indiegogo fund opened up a week or so ago, and they've managed to raise enough for the first two countries so far."
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Crowdfunded Afrimakers To Bring Arduinos, Raspberry Pis To African Tech Hubs

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    There be jobs in Africa!

    Good luck getting past the TSA.

  • by kriston (7886) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @12:54AM (#45605289) Homepage Journal

    The Raspberry Pi is great for software hacking.

    The Arduino is great for both software hacking and hardware hacking.

    The Pi can be expanded to add effective hardware abilities, but it's more of a software platform. The Arduino is much better for hardware hacking.

    I'm glad to see they are both being offered. Just don't offer a soldering iron kit with the Raspberry Pi. That's for the Arduino.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't say that, the arduino is not at all good for software anything. They are far too limited when it comes to memory. For hardware hacking the arduino is indeed superior because it has an ADC and is realtime and the pi is not. However, I think if you are looking for an all in one device the Pi is it. If you want the whole shebang, get both and connect them through a logic level converter UART to UART. Then you have a Pi with an ADC and all the extras.

  • by Barny (103770)

    "...visit tech hubs in seven continents..."

    When did Antarctica get a tech hub?

  • ---There's a chronic shortage of tech savvy teacher all over Africa

    Apparently there is also a shortage of English teachers.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, teacher is singular. There's only one tech savvy teacher who travels all over Africa to teach.

  • Not another "technology will save 'Africa'" story - as though 'Africa' was a monolithic entity.

    It's possible that this program will produce some enthusiastic and talented programmers in Africa... but when those programmers realise that it's frustrating writing programs when there's only a few hours of power a day, internet access is flaky, corrupt and predatory government frustrates their efforts to set up a business, and some big company overseas beckons them to work, they probably won't remain in Africa

    • Fortunately Afrimakers isn't that kind of story. The guys behind it were invited to try and visit by the people who run tech hubs all over the continent - the only reason it's 'Africa' rather than individual countries is that there is a pan-continental network of hubs that work together to try and do exactly those things you mention. They've asked Afrimakers to visit to supplement that work they do around entrepreneurship etc. As for developers leaving the continent - there is also an opposite effect takin
      • by axlash (960838)

        Fortunately Afrimakers isn't that kind of story. The guys behind it were invited to try and visit by the people who run tech hubs all over the continent - the only reason it's 'Africa' rather than individual countries is that there is a pan-continental network of hubs that work together to try and do exactly those things you mention. They've asked Afrimakers to visit to supplement that work they do around entrepreneurship etc. As for developers leaving the continent - there is also an opposite effect taking place. Diaspora who've gone overseas, learned skills, and are returning to set up social enterprises [htxt.co.za] or take advantage of the big growth rates and start businesses.

        Thanks. I read the original article, and I got the impression that there was more emphasis about teaching tech to children than working with would-be entrepreneurs to help with their businesses.

        I know that there are Africans who have worked abroad returning to their home countries, but sadly, there are far more Africans remaining abroad, or worse still, seeking to leave. But perhaps it doesn't matter - you only need a few enterprising souls to kickstart something good.

        • Thanks. I read the original article, and I got the impression that there was more emphasis about teaching tech to children than working with would-be entrepreneurs to help with their businesses. In my mind it's hard to separate the two. What's emerging is a movement that includes things like Afrimakers and takes in both ends of the scale. It's different to the way a lot of governments and businesses are approaching the problem, which is to try and start teaching people after they graduate - which is too la

          • ^^ Gah - managed to strip all the formatting out of that last comment some how, apologies.
          • by axlash (960838)

            Then again, reading some of the other comments here, I think I may need to do more explaning in future articles about just what's happening in many countries now. A lot of views seem to be about 30 years out of date...

            I wouldn't bother, really. The holders of those views hold them more for emotional than logical reasons.

    • My opinion on Africa is that the currently-modern countries are fine; the starvation-level countries need feudalism in the short term; and the type of technology to deploy in many of these places will be different than what we use here. That is to say: more sustainable, self-sufficient technology that needs less infrastructure will suit underdeveloped countries in that region better, but porting that same tech here would just get lots of greenie-weenie gum-flapping and high implementation fees to little

    • by Monsuco (998964)

      It's possible that this program will produce some enthusiastic and talented programmers in Africa... but when those programmers realise that it's frustrating writing programs when there's only a few hours of power a day, internet access is flaky, corrupt and predatory government frustrates their efforts to set up a business, and some big company overseas beckons them to work, they probably won't remain in Africa for very long.

      Not all of Africa is impossible to do business in. Kenya's government, while not good, is at least stable and mostly functional. Botswana has seen very dramatic economic growth and is starting to emerge in the global markets as a viable place to do business.

      Sure, Somalia's too unstable, Nigeria's too factional and Zimbabwe is too corrupt, but there are parts of Africa that could potentially benefit from better tech in schools.

  • That's nasty

  • More 419 scams from Nigerian princes and Craigslist ads wanting to pay top dollar for iPods, iPhones.

  • Sadly tech these tech pushes in Africa inevitably end with scams, fraud and various other forms of internet crime. Although cheap hardware allowed countries such as India to rise to the top of the software tech world, Africa has notoriously high levels of crime.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I really don't think so. I can give you so many case studies in hubs like Angola, Tanzania, Kenya or South Africa where this isn't the norm. I am Kenyan so I get heavily biased...lol but I think projects like Mpesa, Ushahidi, Brck that are encouraging. Tech hubs and spaces like mlab, 88mph, Google ventures for africa e.t.c can't be that bad for the region.

      I think some of the tech especially in the government and economic sector push for more transparency more than anything that why most governments fight to

  • I don't mean to piss on this girl's project but, unless she's going to do this in places like Goma or Juba, she's not doing anything new or particularly special in Africa.

    Many African countries have had successful domestic tech scenes for longer than most people realize. That includes robotics communities, network operator groups, Linux user groups, ICT associations, and more. There are a lot of incredibly talented and dedicated people here who have been tirelessly building these communities for a very l

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

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