Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Strategy in Africa Part IV: Looking Toward the Future

No matter how much resources Google, or any other company, pours into Africa, our bets will never pay off unless we keep an eye out for the long term. How can we help develop not only an Internet ecosystem in Africa, but also one that's sustainable? In this final installment of my series on Google's strategy in Africa, I'd like to put the spotlight on one specific initiative that's been underway for many months aimed at achieving this very goal: Google's G-Africa events, run by none other than my friend and colleague, Bridgette.

Since September 2009, Google has been holding conferences known as G-Days across Africa. There have been eight thus far, and we will continue to hold more in the future. These conferences are generally split into two halves, one geared at technical folks like CS students and software developers and the second half geared at business leaders and marketers, each with its own unique objectives.

The first half has a double purpose; while we do spend a good portion of the day educating software professionals and students about Google developer tools, our other goal is just as important: to create communities of techies throughout Africa. Some time ago we realized that there were technologists across Africa, but for some reason they weren't talking to each other. In this vein, we leave a fair amount of time for networking, and also encourage the creation of Google Technology User Groups to keep people engaged long after the event is over. The second half, aimed at businesspeople, is all about how they can get the most out of the Internet. We hope that these events, in conjunction with a host of smaller ones we do, will spur an active and enduring community of developers and Internet savvy businesses.

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