Monday, August 17, 2009

Maker Faire Africa '09 ends in Accra

Maker Faire Africa '09 ended yesterday at the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT. MFA 09, a celebration of ingenuity,innovation and invention was the theme of the faire which was the first of its kind hosted by Ghana. The 3-day novel technology event had been running in Accra from the August 14th-16th bringing together makers and inventors from Kenya, Liberia, USA, Nigeria, India,Tanzania and many other countries.

The aim of the Maker Faire Africa event is to create a space on the continent where innovations, inventions and initiatives can be sought, identified, brought to life, supported, amplified and propagated. According to the organisers, "while the ICT space has developed a head of steam in some parts of Africa, a “maker philosophy” is yet to occur".

Speaking to NewsAfricanGhana, a member of the organising team Emeka Okafor said, "technology goes beyond the computer, we are bringing together people who can create and fabricate things, this is what Africa needs."

Participating in the faire,it is obvious that Africa has talent that is untapped, most creations were targeted at solving basic problems. Amongs the exhibitors was Tei Huagei, an artist who uses waste polythene to manufacture rubber clothes, a project he calls not-a-waste-recycle-art. Tei talks about how his work his a loud statement against waste polythene in Ghana. His works are bought and resold at BlackHat Studios in Mexico.

From the Accra Polytechnic campus, a group of young men put together a radio transmitter of 150watts which they built to broadcast live on fm 101.7mhz to about 3km from the faire grounds. Their station slogan was "the power of NSBE". NSBE they said, meant, National Society of Black Engineers. "if you are a black man or student like me,then you automatically belong to this society" they said.

The next MFA has been penciled to take place in Kenya next year but the date is yet to announced.

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