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Can Africa create its own Silicon Valley?

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • February 25, 2013

Have you heard of the Barrosos Well effect? It refers to the strategy of focusing attention on areas where things are already happening spontaneously. For example: Focus your attention on an oil well that spurts into the sky with no technological assistance rather than a well that shows no such excitement.


Based on this, are there examples of spontaneous tech successes in Africa? Yes. Ushahidi, based in Nairobi. Jobberman in Lagos. Mxit in Stellenbosch. Desktop Dragons in Cape Town.


One extra factor to consider is cultural complexity.


Your country’s cultural complexity determines what industries you can excel in. The most creative industries require the greatest cultural complexity. Games are at the far end of the creative scale, which explains why France and USA are leading this industry…


Is any geography in Africa sufficiently culturally complex to compare with France or America? If so, we can compete with the Valley, if not, we can’t.