How is “Nairobi”, “Kenya”, and/or “Africa” invoked when data (sharing) is mentioned?


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Angela Okune's picture
October 26, 2020

The opening (copy-pasted below) from this IBM Research keynote talk by the CTO of Watson outlined why IBM has an optimistic view for "Africa" - because of projected growth in labor and capital, i.e. the two main factors of production in a capitalist economy. It is notable how the speaker collapses distinction between continent-wide scale vs nation-state at different points throughout his talk.


"And Africa represents to us an incredible, very exciting set of opportunities. And that's for many reasons, okay, not the least of which is the African economy is expected to be about two and a half trillion dollars by next year, by the end of next year, which is bigger than countries like Brazil, Russia, India, Australia. So we have a remarkable economic base here. But another statistic, which I find very exciting...I worry about demographics around the world. And one of the great things about Africa is, you're still having babies, you're going to have 1.1 billion young people in Africa, more than India and China combined by 2040. These are remarkable numbers and this represents hope, and future for our planet, and huge set of opportunities."

Angela Okune's picture
September 29, 2020
Something Kim said - about Nairobi being an important site to learn from given that many in the US may be forced to go into the more informal economy, etc. - reminded me of a twist of that point that has circulated a lot amongst the tech crowd - if it can work in Kenya, then it can work anywhere else...See this annotation I did recently... Obviously there is difference between what Kim was talking about and this idea that if it works in Kenya, it will work anywhere. But I think there is a sentiment among the techies that there is much from Nairobi that can be shipped out and useful in other contexts (and commercialized and monetized along the way).
(This article (2011) and this article (2008) that I annotated might be of interest because of this conversation also...)