research innovation and development in East Africa

2 weeks ago, i gave a seminar on "Research, Innovation and Development in East Africa" at uct.

the slides are at:
and the full video is at:

the abstract follows:

Why did Google choose to set up its regional offices in Kenya and not in South Africa?  Is South Africa truly the sub-Saharan regional powerhouse in ICT research and innovation?  Do we understand enough about development in Africa to lead research in ICT for Development?  To answer these and similar questions, I spent a month traveling through East Africa to study how the ecosystem is similar and/or different.  What I found was a common culture across 4 countries in East Africa; but one that is foreign to South African norms.  While there is fierce competition within East Africa, this is not conceived as competition with South Africa, but as competition to establish an identity as the hub for ICT in Africa. Research is weak, innovation has varying quality and development is almost taboo; but there is an excitement that is all-pervasive.  This excitement, coupled with institutional and government support, has propelled ICT to the forefront of society.  A new African ICT-intoxicated society is rapidly emerging, but outside the borders of South Africa.  South Africa risks being marginalized as the agenda gets set elsewhere, unless we actively engage with the evolving notions of research, innovation and development, and their implications for universities, industry and society.

any comments are appreciated.

hussein (11 septemer 2013)