Friday, May 16, 2008

TED Africa 2008 - Canceled

Okay - well I will be the first to admit that I am completely biased towards anything positive and exciting about Africa. After all I am an African and grew up on the continent. After 15 years of living in the USA I will be returning to explore opportunities, to enjoy the sun and to relax on the beach all while ingesting the loveliness and magic of the African soil.

So, it was with a very sad heart that I saw this blog post from one of my favorite African bloggers - TED Africa Canceled. The reasoning appears to be pretty vague - something about the delay in getting licenses sorted out. I am not sure - I wish I knew more about why because I would gladly donate my time to getting the conference to happen.

For those of you that have not heard of the TED Conferences you should most certainly check out there website. The original conferences happened in Monterey, California and have brought together some of the most exciting and greatest minds in a broad range of fields - technology, arts, academia and more. There conferences are legendary and I have salivated (as has my wife) thinking about having the blessing of attending one of these workshops.

In true form to the basic motto or goal of the TED conference: "Ideas Worth Spreading" they hosted a TED Global in Arusha, Tanzania in 2007. This was a very successful conference and everyone was excited about a followup in another part of Africa. Perhaps it would be better to host it again in Tanzania, after all they already have the know-how and have done it before.

I am South African and would love to see it hosted in SA - but I would rather see it happen in Africa this year then it not happening at all. Who knows, perhaps something miraculous will happen and it will be pulled together. In the mean time other efforts will continue I am sure.

I think what this all points too is the growing importance of the "emergent economies" of the world. (Yes, emergent and not emerging - think about it and let me know if you have a question about the use of the term). These economies in Africa, Asia and S. America are going to reshape the world over the next 20 to 30 years. The odds are shifting - you can feel it in the air (or at least I can) - and these places are where so much ingenuity and creativity is going to explode into the global scene. This time, I hope and I pray, that the "forgotten" part of the world will actually prosper and benefit and show how it can all be done differently.

Hopefully the NextEinstein will be from Africa!! I am almost certain that he/she will.

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