I did an interview on Morning Joe. I can’t believe how early they are up every day. Props!

While the booming GDP growth rates for African economies this decade are certainly cause for celebration, the youth of Africa have remained mostly untouched.

From the chapter of the book on youth employment.

I submitted to “Ask Me Anything,” a quickfire interview series with the gracious team at Andrew Sullivan’s blog. Here I am talking about media perceptions of Africa.

Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, I am reflecting on my own reporting trip in 2011. In addition to a fascinating story of rebirth, I found that candid and sincere conversation about politics, development, and the aftermath of violence was not easy to come by. 
I concluded the silence in Rwanda has two sources: 1) an understandable reluctance to revisit trauma and 2) a troubling lack of free expression. 
These sources are intertwined; it seems the country has traded liberty for security. Betty Mutesi, who works at the Rwandan Ministry of Finance, explained, in a way: “If you are running away from something, will you run faster? I think so.” 
I parse all this in the last chapter of the book.

Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, I am reflecting on my own reporting trip in 2011. In addition to a fascinating story of rebirth, I found that candid and sincere conversation about politics, development, and the aftermath of violence was not easy to come by. 

I concluded the silence in Rwanda has two sources: 1) an understandable reluctance to revisit trauma and 2) a troubling lack of free expression. 

These sources are intertwined; it seems the country has traded liberty for security. Betty Mutesi, who works at the Rwandan Ministry of Finance, explained, in a way: “If you are running away from something, will you run faster? I think so.” 

I parse all this in the last chapter of the book.

African Schools Teach Entrepreneurship

Low-frills Bridge International Academies has disrupted the operation of basic education. At the African Leadership Academy in South Africa, I found pedagogical innovation:
The educators who designed the curriculum follow Anders Ericsson’s pedagogy of “deliberate practice.” For their first semester at ALA, students are required to keep a diary of their every waking moment — designed to instill time management skills. Over the next two years at ALA, students are required to commit a long-term social service venture, an “original idea” that is developed by students and nurtured throughout the year, or a student-run business. They learn accounting. They face audits. They get out into the world and test their ideas. “The best way to develop as an entrepreneur is through practice and experience, not through theory,” says Swaniker.
In TIME, I argue that American schools should take a page from ALA, and teach entrepreneurship as a high school subject:
Why reserve leadership and business training for budding MBAs, and leave team building exercises the domain of annual workplace retreats? By starting young, the ALA incorporates inspiration, motivation, and self-improvement into a more organic growth trajectory. In American schools, “deliberate practice” could also integrate practical training in relevant disciplines from computer science to photography — perhaps rescuing shop and home economics from the academic dustbin.
Thoughts?

One million dollars
Elo lo ma je ti n ba se si Naira?

From “Yahoozee,” by Olu Maintain—subject of my Rap Genius annotation of The Bright Continent.

(Source: news.rapgenius.com)

Took just 48 hrs in Japan to find the Sound Princess, star of my NYT op-ed on “fat” and “lean.”

Took just 48 hrs in Japan to find the Sound Princess, star of my NYT op-ed on “fat” and “lean.”

Leonard Lopate is the best! We talked about the book today

I wrote an op-ed that explains why we need to do away with the normative, empty concept of “developing countries.”

I wrote an op-ed that explains why we need to do away with the normative, empty concept of “developing countries.”

mocada-museum:

Not only is it Black History Month, it is also Black Future Month. Be sure acknowledge the people in your community and abroad championing our culture. Be sure to follow Chinaka Hodge’s Black Future Blog to get an idea of who is carrying on the Black Radical Tradition whether it is in the arts, activism, politics, sciences, academia, parenting, etc.

mocada-museum:

Not only is it Black History Month, it is also Black Future Month. Be sure acknowledge the people in your community and abroad championing our culture. Be sure to follow Chinaka Hodge’s Black Future Blog to get an idea of who is carrying on the Black Radical Tradition whether it is in the arts, activism, politics, sciences, academia, parenting, etc.

Tour de Bright

The Bright Continent arrives in 2 weeks!
Here is the schedule of events I’ll be doing around this time.

March 1: Harvard Africa Business
Conference
(Cambridge)
March 5: Zocalo Public Square (Los Angeles)
March 6: World Affairs Council (SF)
March 7: Book Passage (SF)
March 9: SXSW Interactive (Austin TX)
March 20: New America Foundation (NYC)
March 27: New America Foundation (DC)
April 3: Chicago Public Library

A more fulsome (and updated) list is here.

With the exception of Harvard and SXSW, all the events are in the evening.

If you live in one of these cities: Come on out! Lots to discuss…

"Kiva is a Scam"

"[B]y fooling people – especially young people – into thinking that poverty can be eliminated simply and easily through microloans, Kiva plays an important role in undermining the wider global struggle against poverty, deprivation and inequality. Kiva is a scam, and if we are to contribute to the welfare of the poor and restore any faith in the integrity of the U.S. financial sector, such players should be regulated immediately."

Shade thrown! I am certainly on board with the flavor of this critique, though am not familiar enough with Kiva’s financials to know if the specifics are substantiable. An important read.

Bonus background: NYT on the sky-high interest rates for many microloans.

What if you set “The Office” in Nairobi?

"The Samaritans" is a brand new sitcom about a dysfunctional NGO in Kenya. You can watch the trailer here. In the style of the “Office”, It’s a single-camera setup with a clueless white knight managing a diverse staff. The story seems to involve vague African problems, labyrinthine grant pitching processes, and development buzzword soup. 

I’ll be watching. The creator, Kenyan Hussein Kurji, has it right:

We know we’re critiquing a “big machine”, and we don’t expect the show to change anything overnight – but we’d like to start a dialogue, to get people talking and thinking about in what contexts aid works and for the organizations that are broken, how do you fix them? We’re also going to touch on scenarios and issues in the show that are beyond just NGOs, looking at broader issues around international development.

What if you set “The Office” in Nairobi?

"The Samaritans" is a brand new sitcom about a dysfunctional NGO in Kenya. You can watch the trailer here. In the style of the “Office”, It’s a single-camera setup with a clueless white knight managing a diverse staff. The story seems to involve vague African problems, labyrinthine grant pitching processes, and development buzzword soup.

I’ll be watching. The creator, Kenyan Hussein Kurji, has it right:

We know we’re critiquing a “big machine”, and we don’t expect the show to change anything overnight – but we’d like to start a dialogue, to get people talking and thinking about in what contexts aid works and for the organizations that are broken, how do you fix them? We’re also going to touch on scenarios and issues in the show that are beyond just NGOs, looking at broader issues around international development.

What a long, strange pause it’s been. I’m delighted to finally post that The Bright Continent is here! Copies of this sucker will be available on March 4, 2014.  

Whether you are a student or a skeptic, an investor, an entrepreneur, or a bleeding heart, I hope you will read this book because I am confident it will change your mind about Africa. 

You can get the book here. You can check out the US tour dates here.

I’m so excited to continue this conversation.

What a long, strange pause it’s been. I’m delighted to finally post that The Bright Continent is here! Copies of this sucker will be available on March 4, 2014.

Whether you are a student or a skeptic, an investor, an entrepreneur, or a bleeding heart, I hope you will read this book because I am confident it will change your mind about Africa.

You can get the book here. You can check out the US tour dates here.

I’m so excited to continue this conversation.

My book (which is, thankfully, on the production line) uses mapping as a metaphor for power. explore-blog gamely explores this territory, using the beloved US show, The West Wing.

(Source: explore-blog)