“Mention the word Africa and what comes to mind? Think quickly, you’re not hurting my feelings, come on? Jungles, safaris, kids with flies on their faces and starving bellies”
That was part of a conversation I had with an old college friend of mine. Truth is, this is the image most people have of Africa. The savannas, safaris, wars, famines, diseases and indigenous people are often the only images associated with us. An image crafted on our minds through the media. I asked Matt if he was aware of ancient universities in Timbuktu, or if he was familiar with the birthplace of mankind, or the great architects of the pyramids, the first practitioners of chemistry and mathematics?
So much knowledge and technology came from Africa in the ancient days; you would expect us to be the leaders in computer programming for example. Yet our youth and those aspiring to excel in those areas are faced with insurmountable challenges. Stable power supplies, slow/scarce Internet connectivity, low-income and the lack of basic infrastructure amongst others. But despite these issues there is hope. This is the story of Africa, survival and transformation. African developers are eager to learn, eager to be given a chance to advance and get past these stereotypical shackles that have been impeding their progress.
As I walked through the bustling streets of Accra, the capital of Ghana, I could not help but notice the amount of people with mobile phones in hands, pockets and to the ears. At a busy intersection, I was even stopped by a peddler begging for some money. I reached into my pocket to retrieve the little change I had and gave it to him, only to notice him reach into his rag torn shirt and retrieve a mobile phone to place/answer a call. I have been had I thought. Then it occurred to me that this was merely the growth of technology and mobile usage in such an unprecedented manner that it left me baffled.
Let’s look at some staggering facts:
-67% of the world population are cell phone subscribers
-more mobile users are socializing on their mobile web (91%), as opposed to using their desktop (79%)
-mobile users are 1.4 times more likely than their desktop counterparts to rally support for a cause (67% to 47%)
In West Africa alone we have a growing number of issues- linguistic, cultural, health or any kind of divide you can think of that can/are being solved through technological and mobile solutions. This is one of the greatest field opportunities currently for African developers to strive in.
Take for instance the story of Ghanaian programmer Eyram Akorfa Tawiah co-founder of Leti Games. Even though all these issues face him, he was very successful at building games for the iPhone and other gaming platforms. In a recent interview, he spoke about his love for coding and sharing. "Sharing your code helps you know more, the more you share, the more you know" –he alluded to. His success story started out with a passion for programming, and this should be the ambition of most coders –the love for the art.
You see, Africa has the potential to be a leading innovator, but to do so we must reinvent the way we educate our software developers, and technology professionals across the continent. Our programmers are at a competitive disadvantage with their peers elsewhere in the world, and behind the curve for the skills that will be demanded when the next wave of electronics innovations begins to break.
Sooo....I know you are asking yourself ‘and just how do you plan on doing this Mr.?’ Well, this is where Coders4Africa comes in…*drums roll*. We are the original source that provides African programmers and developers a gateway to free high quality training and certification in the main technologies and platforms that currently dominated the software development industry. Yes, I said FREE. That’s capital F R E E. The main objective is to train for free 1000 West African Software developers and programmers by the year 2016. One of our end goals is to create a community of African programmers that share and transfer knowledge among themselves and to future generation of programmers. This end goal is our way to remedy the problems facing African software developers.
This is where you fit in the equation. If you are a developer interested in taking your coding skills to the next level, we want to hear from you!