France is an old nation, which has been well known for luxury goods, French Riviera and its high standards education system provided in “Grandes écoles”. For a long time, these drive for excellence had an unexpected consequence because students learned there is no place for failure and want a secure job. This mindset is slowly changing because a job with a big company is not a guarantee of stability anymore and students have been encouraged to learn from mistakes. According to KPMG, a third of French students now say that they want to create or join a startup.
Building a Centralized Web Platform
Today, most of governmental bodies are online to provide information and services for their citizens. In most countries, citizens can pay taxes, request passports, birth certificates and ID cards using dedicated eServices. They can also access laws, legal notices or public datasets online.
Usually, public bodies, such as Ministries, Agencies and Commissions, have their own websites and eServices driven and maintain by their own IT or Information Department. Sometimes, they don’t have enough ressources to acquire skilled talents and buy proper infrastructures to work on their digitalization. Thus, how public bodies can handle websites and eServices development without in-house technical competencies?
A Centralized Web Platform will be an option for public institutions, which have a little web presence, to offer a common framework and hosting solution to these underprivileged institutions. This solution should help to increase security, visibility, accessibility and data processing in Governments while providing visitors with an improved online experience.
I spent 6 weeks in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, in November and December 2015 to design the eGovernment Web Development Strategy for the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MoPT). Liberia Faced 14 years of civil war until 2003 then they faced an Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015. Peace Nobel Prize President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf worked hard to put Liberia on the good tracks with the support of the international community and she is still in the office until 2017. There is not metropolitan fiber yet in Liberia or national fiber connecting key cities, but the ACE submarine cable is reaching Monrovia and should help to bridge the digital divide in this country.
(Orginally posted in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs)
The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs contacted me last october to write an article about open data especially in the international development context. We agreed on an article about the Impact of a Move Towards Open Data in West Africa and I spent a couple of days at the Berkman Center working on this interesting problematic. the whole article is bellow and on the Georgetown website.
I am Mitu, Co-Founder of Addis Ideas. This project is based on a mobile application that solely relies on African innovation and crowd sources African development ideas from African nationals and the African diaspora. Continue reading
During my last trip to Mali, fellow technologists and I decided to create an adapted computer named Afribox, based on a single-board microcontroller such as Arduino or Raspberry pi, to bring digital educational content and games to kids. Indeed, access to education is still a big issue in West Africa and we saw the promise of inventing a kind of « old school » Nintendo Entertainment System for rural Africa. This computer could be played with pads, and used on a TV screen or a pico-projector. Below is the concept note of the AfriBox Initiative.
I spent two years working for Geekcorps in Mali, from 2005 to 2007, a Washington DC based NGO specialized in ICT for development. I was the Country Director and I had to manage an exiting one-year project named the Community Mobilization through Radio Technology Program funded by USAID. It aimed to set up five renewable energy community-based radio stations in the north of Mali and I spent my first year managing the program, building with my team OpenFM transmitters, building local solar panels, designing mast antennas and organizing training sessions for northern Mali communities.
I have been involved in building the first photovoltaic central in Casablanca. It was at the Technopark which supports the creation and development of businesses in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) areas. The Casablanca’s Technopark hosts about 180 companies and they started to turn green with this first public/private partnership focus on sustainable development. The consortium was composed of EnRafrique, ISEEP, Technopark and Sunset Solar. We spent five months building the 50Kw photovoltaic central on the roof of the Technopark. I also participated in giving workshops on smart energy and legal frameworks to government officers.
I spent three months working for Internews in Haiti just after the January 12th, 2010 earthquake and it was a tough experience. Continue reading
I spent two years in Mali from 2005 to 2007 such as the Country Director of Geekcorps which is a non-profit organization that sends people with technical skills to developing countries to assist in ICT infrastructure development. At Geekcorps, we built a couple of innovative technical solutions such as an open FM transmitter, a CanTV, an offline wikipedia, a bottleNet, DIY solar panels, a rural information center named Cybertigi or a digital kiosk named la Source. We had a nice office located in the Bamako hippodrome district with a lab and six rooms to welcome fellow geeks. I was lucky enough to run the office after Ian Howard and Matt Berg who had already built amazing adapted ICT solutions for Mali. Continue reading