Connected Africa

In September, after months of planning, I went to East Africa to report on the region’s hopes to make a great leap forward using technology. In a project called Connected Africa we went first to Mombasa to see the landing point of the Seacom cable bringing broadband to the coast for the first time, and then looked at the impact the first fast internet connection might have on everything from schools to farming.
The Landing Station
It was a fabulous trip – getting to see the kind of places you’d never visit as a tourist. Like a small farming settlement down a bumpy track through a Mombasa ghetto and out into the countryside. The farmers had mobile phones but no running water or electricity. We were shown around a home which was really a mud hut with a thatched roof – and then sat outside logging on to the internet via a 3g mobile connection. It was hard to work out just which century we were in…

Online from the farm

Online from the farm

We shot a five minute film in Kenya for Africa Business Report, a new programme, and a cut-down two and a half minutes for BBC World and the domestic news outlets. Then we did 19 lives on radio and TV, from the landing-station – all using the broadband cable.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Kenya Gets Connected“, posted with vodpod

From there we went on to Rwanda to shoot a piece – which will be broadcast in late October – about that country’s attempt to move from the 19th to the 21st century in a decade using IT. We also made a radio programme for World Service there. There too we got access to the kind of sights a tourist would never see – waiting in the Ministry of Information for a man called Desire to sort out our $200 permit to film, being greeted by a village choir in a settlement down a red dustry road through some stunning countryside, hanging out with a bunch of smart young geeky Rwandans who now seem to be running the country – or at least its ambitious plan to be a high-tech hub. But there was also a sobering visit to the museum commemorating the genocide – and the realistaion that just 15 years ago around a tenth of the population was slaughtered and the roads we were travelling would have been littered with corpses.

Anyway, I’m going to use this post to collect together all the material we produced – from broadcast TV, to radio, to blog posts, to videos shot on my iPhone. Like this one, from Rwanda:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “A Rwandan Choir“, posted with vodpod

And if you go here you can see some of the photos we took on phones, an SLR and a compact camera.

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