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Remaking Africa

"Africa was a mess. Africa was always a mess."

In Bruce Sterling's seminal 1988 novel Islands in the Net, the characters sometimes play with a planetary simulation called "WorldRun" -- imagine a mix of SimCity, Civilization, and Google News -- allowing them to model various political and economic approaches to solving global problems. Although I wait patiently for a version of WorldRun to appear for OS X, it has always bothered me that "Africa was always a mess" in the fictional simulations. I hate seeing futurists giving up on an entire continent.

There are some good resources out there for those of us who still think that it's possible for Africa to no longer be a mess. In many ways an Africa-focused sibling of WorldChanging, Emeka Okafor's Timbuktu Chronicles is a blog which identifies and discusses the intersection of technology, sustainability and development in sub-Saharan Africa. Reading over the site's archives is like reading a checklist for leapfrog development. (Thanks, Emeka, for telling me about this site. Great work!)

More of a traditional news site, AllAfrica.com aggregates headlines and information about the continent in both English and French. The main site covers general news, but it also has three subsections: Biztech (focusing on building up Africa's business and technology infrastructure), Peace Africa (covering military and peacemaking issues), and Sustainable Africa (encompassing water, energy, health, agriculture, and the environment). Like Timbuktu Chronicles, the headlines on the various AllAfrica pages are a good reminder that the tools and ideas for building a better world are here, and we need to make use of them.

Comments (3)

Bjorn van der Meer:

Nice. The RSS (atom) feed is actually active, there just isnĊ½t a link to it on the site.

The feed is at


Cheers, B.

AllAfrica also hosts a section called BlogAfrica, which it maintains in conjunction with the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School. The section features headlines from over 150 blogs maintained by Africans and Afrophiles. Anyone blogging from or about Africa is welcome to register their blog with us - we feature half a dozen posts a day from the registered blogs on the BlogAfrica feed, which is available via RSS...


The rapid descent of Zimbabwe is not a hopeful sign. Robert D Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" describes the decline of a few once thriving west african nations such as Ivory Coast. Africa is suffering from maladies far worse than post-colonialism.


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