W.TEC‘s Programme Manager, Modupe Darabidan recently,(November 2016) was at Marrakech Palmeraie Resort, Morocco to participate in the inaugural Africa 4 Tech summit. The 3-day summit was a convening of young innovators, entrepreneurs and blockchain experts to discuss how the African continent would advance by getting innovative and creative with the internet.
Our Programme Manager, Modupe Darabidan did us proud at the summit, during the pitching segment, where she pitched articulately, W.TEC’s ”She Can With ICT” project to participants of the summit. She shares with us her experience at Marrakesh.
The Future of Digital Innovation is Africa! – Modupe Darabidan
Africa4Tech gave young Africans a platform to meet, debate, share, brainstorm, co-create, code… and contribute to reinventing and reimaging tomorrow’s world.
– Dr. Stephan-Eloise Gras (CEO & Cofounder) & Gilles Babinet, Cofounder
The energy was real! 3 days with 200 young innovators – 40 finalists from more than 15 African countries in the health, agriculture, energy and education sectors came together all in one place to cause a paradigm shift, in the heart of Marrakech, Morocco. And Africa should be ready for the surge this energy is about to unleash on the continent and world all around; it promises to be disruptive in a good way.
The agenda of the Africa4Tech community was to create a level-platform that showcases the continent in light of disruptive innovations championed by young people albeit in small doses, and to ensure that there is a call unto greater depths of things yet to come. This grand agenda can conveniently be tagged – African Development: Disruptive solutions made in Africa for Africans to revolutionize the sectors of Education, Health, Energy and Agriculture; which are the nerves of a sustainable community built for progressive development.
Yes, it was awesome being part of this community of passionate, dynamic and young African men and women, who are ready to take the continent by storm, not leaving anything to chance. I met young intelligent folks who created solutions for their communities, the desire to make a difference could be seen – mostly not for profit, at least not at the initial stage. They moved their prototypes across the Atlantic sea and Sahara Desert to showcase their works to the world represented at the Africa4Tech conference, they were that confident of their innovations and the solutions they have brought to their communities and were not afraid to talk about it. I felt the passion which ignited greater passions in most of us and determined to take the continent to the next level in our little spaces… and for those still asking How can this be? – we all left Marrakech knowing the answers to this question in varying dimensions.
And did I connect on a deeper level with self and technology? Yes! I was a member of a 2-man team in creating roadmap for digital literacy in schools in rural communities in Africa. The drive to ensure that we have a roadmap in 2 days helped us overcome our first huddle – Language barrier! I have spoken my native language – Yoruba, and English for as long as I can remember in communicating that I can’t remember ever being at a loss of being understood until …Africa4Tech! I was paired with a Francophone-only speaking partner, Obin Guiako (BabyLab, Founder) – we just didn’t understand each other, we were both at a loss even though we had the right drive and dosage of passion for our work. And did technology come to the rescue? You bet! I suggested Google translator, and we were fine for a couple of minutes typing and peeping into each other’s system back and forth to read the translation and get a response across, but being the vibrant persons we are, we just had to figure out a better way to communicate in order to get our work done in good time. So, we thought to use skype instead, and while I was trying to figure out the language translator on there, he asked that I install a real-time language translator API on skype: Clownfish for Skype – voila! And we worked together for the next 2 days – different languages notwithstanding. This goes to show how beautiful the African mind is – we can do anything we set our minds on! We make things happen! And we make a difference!
After 3 days of digital disruptiveness at the High talks, Round-tables talks and Challenges workshops, it all didn’t come to an abrupt end – we went to town to see the ambience of Marrakesh, and we made it to the market, and I had my fill of road-side food – Moroccan bread with some fried fish. Even when we all returned to our different countries, we still continued in the spirit of Africa4Tech by creating a community on WhatsApp to keep us in touch with one another – it’s been lit! All the information and constructive banters that have crossed borders in the last couple of days must have caused a type of disruption on WhatsApp exchange servers! And we hope to keep it that way for a long time…