Improving international connectivity in Comoros

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Comorian ICT regulator

I arrived in Moroni, the capital of Comoros, after a long trip which started in a Bostonian snowstorm, then a stop over in Paris to drop my winter clothes and take my scuba diving equipment, another stop over in Amsterdam, Nairobi, Dzaoudzi and finally the airport of Moroni. Right after the landing in Moroni, I went straight to my hotel for a fifteen minute rest then I went to meet my colleague Kas Kalba who was also there for a couple of days to work with me on the improvement of the international Internet connectivity in Comoros. I was glad to be in Comoros even if I was exhausted by this long journey. It was my first assignment under a World Bank grant and I am sharing the responsibility, with my local and international colleagues, to reduce the digital divide in Comoros.

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The AfriBox Initiative

The AfriBox Initiative

The AfriBox Initiative

During my last trip to Mali, fellow technologists and I decided to create an adapted computer named Afribox, based on a single-board microcontroller such as Arduino or Raspberry pi, to bring digital educational content and games to kids.  Indeed, access to education is still a big issue in West Africa and we saw the promise of inventing a kind of « old school » Nintendo Entertainment System for rural Africa. This computer could be played with pads, and used on a TV screen or a pico-projector.  Below is the concept note of the AfriBox Initiative.

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Setting up radio stations in West Africa

The Geekcorps truck in the Sahara desert

The Geekcorps truck in the Sahara desert

I spent two years working for Geekcorps in Mali, from 2005 to 2007, a Washington DC based NGO specialized in ICT for development. I was the Country Director and I had to manage an exiting one-year project named the Community Mobilization through Radio Technology Program funded by USAID.  It aimed to set up five renewable energy community-based radio stations in the north of Mali and I spent my first year managing the program, building with my team OpenFM transmitters, building local solar panels, designing mast antennas and organizing training sessions for northern Mali communities.

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Writing a National Open Source Policy, Strategy and Action Plan for Mauritius

National Computer Board  reception

Mauritian National Computer Board reception

I have been lucky enough to spend six weeks in the beautiful island of Mauritius to work on their National Open Source Policy, Strategy and Action Plan. My colleague, Andrej Kositer, and I were based at the National Computer Board (NCB) in Port Louis.  The NCB was set up in 1988 to promote the development of ICT in Mauritius and they expect to be the key enabler in transforming Mauritius into a cyber island and a regional ICT hub. Continue reading

Building a photovoltaic central at the Casablanca’s Technopark

50Kw photovoltaic central on the roof of the Casablanca's Technopark

50Kw photovoltaic central on the roof of the Casablanca’s Technopark

I have been involved in building the first photovoltaic central in Casablanca.  It was at the Technopark which supports the creation and development of businesses in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) areas.  The Casablanca’s Technopark hosts about 180 companies and they started to turn green with this first public/private partnership focus on sustainable development.  The consortium was composed of EnRafrique, ISEEP, Technopark and Sunset Solar. We spent five months building the 50Kw photovoltaic central on the roof of the Technopark.  I also participated in giving workshops on smart energy and legal frameworks to government officers.

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Improving eLearning and building the National research and education network in Guinea

French Institute of Conakry

French Institute of Conakry

I spent one week working in Conakry on a consulting assignment for the French Institute.  I had to study the National Research and Education Network (NREN) in Guinea and I had also to find eLearning solutions to improve French learning in Guinea.  It was an intense week as I had to find time to meet with colleagues from the French Institute, Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the University of Conakry, local telecom providers and the French Embassy. Continue reading