Category Archives: tedglobal2007

TED Idea Search, Nairobi, February 2017

TED Global is returning to Arusha in August 2017 (August 27-30), ten years after initial African TED Global. They were seeking new speakers, so last Wednesday, TED held auditions in Nairobi. After the TED team put up a call, 200 applied and 20 were selected to speak at an audition, before an audience in Nairobi.

(Pic by Africa Knows)

Some of the fascinating new speakers included fresh talks from a diverse group including   storytellers using photography and podcasts, using robotics, stem cells, and mining techniques to rebuild human bodies, and conservation specialists who advocated new ways to create new interest in insects, birds and mammals, such as by getting people to track elephants instead of Pokemon.

Others talks were on facilitating the rise of African development through improving the business climate, anticipating & mitigating urban architecture problems that will come from rapid African urbanization, and using blockchain to tackle land corruption.  Some of the talks will get on the TED online platform and some speakers will be invited to present at TED Global in Arusha.

(Pic from Africa Knows)

The last time they had auditions in Nairobi they discovered young schoolboy Richard Turere who is considered the inventor of the lion light.

TED Global also has a fellows program which is open to enable others to attend at Arusha at reduced prices or even free if they are worthy but genuinely can’t afford to pay the attendance cost. The deadline for applications is February 17.

Missing the TED Party

The ongoing TED Conference in California makes me think back to remember TED Global that was held in Arusha, Tanzania in 2007. From the opening talk by Euvin Naidoo President to the last talk President Jakaya Kiwkete this TED conference was a unique event; it was a magical event full of euphoric, optimistic and inspiring moments. Links, networks and friendship were formed and the path was set out to open a new chapter for Africa, through business & investment, with diseases & poverty largely eradicated. Sadly, in 2009, not much has changed in the continent and even some of the shining economic models then like Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, have had politics overshadow and handicap their economic ambitions.


New tools
– Heard about Twitter in Arusha, but only signed up last month. It’s a bigger world than blogging, and fills in a lot of the gaps e.g. found something unique, but too small to post, or you just want to share in a second via mobile phone? Twitter’s the answer!
– Never has much interest in photography as a blog tool, but got a camera now, so fellow shutterbugs – Hash, Mental, Afromusing, Mweshi – your influence has rubbed off, and I’ll be throwing in random photos of travel and daily work events here are a few

forest near Kericho

I found the Ark

would you steal these hotel sandals?
Getting some love
– Bankelele is listed as one of the 100 best blogs to learn about Africa – not sure how the selection was made, but there are some interesting reads on that list 87 Bankelele. Banking and business are at the forefront of this blog written by a Nairobi banker.
– The best way to learn about blogs in other parts of Africa or the non-Western (US, Europe) world is through Global Voices. They have a post that mentions the top-ranked blogs in Africa with Bankelele (ranks 18) from Kenya who writes about baking banking, finance and investment in Kenya and Bongo Celebrity (ranks 20)
– The Business Daily ( a Kenyan financial newspaper) had a feature on blogging with topics like Blog post revolution hits corporate Kenya, Blogs command attention of corporate world, Blogs emerge as avenues for making money, Companies use online platform to monitor views from the public, Fibre optic cable to pave way for corporate blogging, Mounting lawsuits could sound death knell for social sites and What is likely to compete with the mainstream media which noted Some are born out of events like Bankelele, started in 2004 after the blogger attended a “very riotous AGM.” And he describes his blog as “ It’s my diary of financial events —and as a banker and investor. I use it to keep track of pertinent events.

Anyway, I hope to link up with some friends from TED and collaborate on projects in the future and that the Business Daily leads to more corporate blogging opportunities and ideas in this part of Africa.

New month, new hopes

seeking bloggers: Mediation talks are going on in Nairobi, and we hope for a better month than January. The last post I did was on winners – one of whom was Kenyans online who have been inspired by the political crisis to start blogging. I’d like to add new bloggers to the blog roll (the list on the right, below the advertisements) – an update of the list is long overdue and some blogs there have since become dormant. Regular readers are invited to submit any interesting blogs they have found (and which are likely to be running for the next few months at least) and I may do a write up of them

Other opportunities
most from the daily papers this week

TED Africa registration opens today

Import finance: the Government of Japan has through Kenya’s ministry of finance come forward with a 1.5 billion yen (884 million shillings) facility for Kenyan businesses to import raw materials and finished goods from Japan. Applications are on a first come, first served basis, minimum amount is 5 million shillings, maximum 40 million ($560,000) ; terms are down payment of 10% and finance is up to 90% to be repaid over 1 year and secured by a bank guaranteed. Info is from crown agents (

Ford foundation scholarships: The 7th round of the Ford foundation international fellowships program is up and running. 48 scholarships are available to Kenyans – details online and D/L is 7/3
– Credit analysts at Africa trade insurance company
Consolidated bank: branch manager, credit manager, credit admin manager, credit analysts. Apply though snail mail by 15/2
– Regional learning & development coordinator at Deloitte. Apply to
KCB: divisional director HR – apply through hawking associates by 11/2. Also investigators (frauds-forensics) and head of central services. Apply to by 8/2
Kenya Airways: Ramp Bus Operator,
Sales & Ticketing Agent, Multilingual In-Flight Attendant, Customer Service Agent, Qualified Pilots
Nimble Africa: industry experts (hospitality, financial, retail). Apply to by 10/2
Safaricom: Area sales representative, M-PESA new business sales officer. D/L is 6/2
Standard group: financial & commercial services director, group managing editor. Apply through PWC at by 15/2.
USIU; management accountant, financial accountant. Apply to by 15/2
– Independent financial advisors at Winton investments: Apply to

The Broadband Gap

Earlier this month I received (though the mail) a DVD pack of all the talks from the organizers of TED Global. This is the first time I have seen any TED videos – ever!

While they have been online all this time, it’s not easy to watch any videos online because of the slow speeds – a 3 minute video can take ¼ hour to download, and they you have to rewind it to watch .

Also as more and more local video content and jazzed up websites, go up online, it is unfortunately still not possible to for many intended viewers to access the content watch. Or even bother to try until speeds are fast enough.

I’ll save the links and wait till I find a place that has very goods speeds. Some have impressive free speeds but can’t concentrate and watch there, besides have to lug around a heavy laptop to enjoy them

More Connectivity

Great news that Safaricom are going to roll out video on phones, broadband speeds and a host of other goodies soon. They paid about ½ of what they did for their mobile phone license less than 10 years ago for a 3G license. Maybe I can see some TED video’s from my phones.

Strathmore University have rolled out a campus wide Wi Fi network at the Madaraka campus to enable students with laptops to access the internet from all over the campus. And next students will be able to access the network from their homes via the Kenya Data Networks (KDN)’s infrastructure.

TED Talks: Andrew Mwenda

Next up from TED Global Talks in Arusha is Ugandan editor Andrew Mwenda’s talk from TEDGlobal2007 who defined on of the themes of the summit with his calls for investment and trade opportunities and not for more aid for Africa. (Another great TED synopsis here from Ethan Zuckerman)

Unfortunately, Mwenda now appears to find himself wrong footed, when one of East Africa’s premier investors, the Aga Khan, chose to suspend him in a bid to appease the Ugandan government and ensure smooth survival of his business interests in the country.