Getnet Assefa shuffled uneasily in his office seat and wondered aloud why he couldn’t connect to the internet on his laptop.
It was mid-morning on Tuesday (June 11), and even though he didn’t know it yet, it was the beginning of the latest days-long internet cutoff. Authorities in Ethiopia disrupted connectivity nationwide to prevent students from cheating in national exams. Social media platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram were restricted, SMS text messaging disabled, leaving banks, businesses and tech startups left in a quandary.
“I am young, ambitious and ready to transform my country, Ethiopia,” Selam Wondim announces to a conference room packed with high-profile executives and politicians in one of Addis Ababa’s most prestigious hotels. Read More
In Ethiopia, it is customary to confuse technology as a by-product of development. Unfortunately, it is not only the average Joe or Jane who holds this erroneous belief, but most government officials and policymakers along with administrators in the public universities. Yet, technology is a tool for development.
As climate change intensifies across the world, impoverished nations in Africa are taking the brunt of the impact. The reality is that they are among the most ill-equipped countries in mitigating its effects. The economy of many African nations, like the majority of Third World countries, relies heavily on climate-dependent activities such as farming and tourism. This reflects the historical inequity between developed and developing countries, which magnifies the impact of climate change on the latter.
When one is travelling to Paris for business, in one of the high tourist months, there isn’t much to write about the wonderful city. In a foolish attempt to cover all the attractions, you will run like a crazy dog yet unfortunately Paris is not just big, Paris is just like ‘Quanta Firfir’ hiding countless good stuff behind her common veil. Eventually, the business traveller will give up settling on the common sites. I was the very same business traveller who gave up after The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles and Le Marias.
“I DON’T think Homo sapiens-type people will exist in 10 or 20 years’ time,” Getnet Assefa, 31, speculates as he gazes into the reconstructed eye sockets of Lucy, one of the oldest and most famous hominid skeletons known, at the National Museum of Ethiopia. “Slowly the biological species will disappear and then we will become a fully synthetic species,” Assefa says.
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is sponsoring a nationwide innovation competition, “Solve IT!” for Ethiopian youth. “Solve IT!” promotes STEM, entrepreneurship and encourages a new generation of young Ethiopians to solve problems in their communities using technology, software and hardware. The competition is implemented by the U.S. Embassy in collaboration with partners iCog Labs and Humanity+.
For thousands of years, social inequality has been arguably the most important question in need of an immediate answer. Ironically the question that needs an immediate answer has been with us, unanswered, since the dawn of history. It is one of the major causes of humanity’s integral problems like war, crime, disease, racism, irrationality, etc. Name the problem and you will find inequality either at the root of it, or the fertilizer.