George Weah during the presidential inauguration ceremony
(Originally published in the Columbia/SIPA Journal of International Affairs)
A coastal, West African country, Liberia was once infamous for civil war, so-called “blood diamonds,” and public health crises like the recent Ebola humanitarian crisis. But, soon, Liberia will be known more for its data transparency, management, and sharing than any of its past ills.
Since 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa and a Nobel laureate, has presided over the restoration of constitutional government and the consolidation of a lasting peace. Soon after her election, she started in on her promise of transforming the country into a more open nation, accountable to its people. To this end, the Liberian Anti-Corruption Act and the Freedom of Information Act were introduced. New public institutions were established, such as the General Auditing Commission (GAC), to ensure that Government accounts for public resources, and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), to prevent corruption and promote good governance. In 2008, the Government of Liberia joined the Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (EITI), bringing transparency over payments and revenues procedures to the mining, timber, agriculture, and nascent oil and gas sectors.
The e-Liberia office at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MoPT)
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.
Infrastructure as a basis of the Internet
(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.
The AfriBox Initiative
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.
Harvard metro station in Cambridge
I applied to the Berkman Center fellowship program for the academic year 2015-2016 with the following subject: Building a Developing Country Open Government Initiative. Bellow is my personal statement that I submitted to the Berkman Center. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Continue reading
The Geekcorps truck in the Sahara desert
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.
French Institute of Conakry
I spent one week working in Conakry on a consulting assignment for the French Institute. I had to study the National Research and Education Network (NREN) in Guinea and I had also to find eLearning solutions to improve French learning in Guinea. It was an intense week as I had to find time to meet with colleagues from the French Institute, Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the University of Conakry, local telecom providers and the French Embassy. Continue reading
The Solidays’ truck
Solidays is the biggest music festival in France and take place at the Longchamp Racecourse, a 57 hectare horse-racing facility, located on the banks of the Seine River in Paris. The event brings together more than 150 artists and 170,000 festival-goers for three days. The proceeds from the festival are donated to organizations fighting against AIDS, especially for those focusing on the African continent. Continue reading
IRD/Cirad office in Cotonou
I have been involved for the last couple of months in designing an ICT program for Benin that is the fist step for a National Research and Education Network (NREN). The request came from the government of Benin who would like to get their universities connected to the rest of the world. Continue reading
La Source at the Bamako main market
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