Monday November 17th.
Nearly 20 years ago two fresh faced eager young men were classmates in a prestigious university on the West coast of America. Both had wonderful plans to change the world and make their mark on society.
Rolling forward to today how have they fared? Fifteen years after they first met, one, an ex-Investment Banker decided to start sending computers to schools in Africa and the jury is still out on that one!
The other, Nick Nesbitt decided to set up, from scratch what is now one of the largest and most profitable Call Centre operations in Africa – KenCall (www.kencall.com). KenCall has survived the Kenyan elections, daily power cuts, and several close calls with bankruptcy
to stand as a company that currently employs 600 highly trained Kenyans in a state of the art facility on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Entrepreneurs who can build world class large scale businesses in Africa are rarer than the Black Rhino but ultimately Africa needs many more of them to pull itself up – safe to say this person has already changed the world for the better.
A visit was also made to Computers for Schools Kenya (www.CFSK.org), probably the largest home grown refurbisher of computers in Africa today. Six years old, they have seven centres around Kenya and carry out refurbishment in three: Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisimu (where the new President-elect’s family hails from). We discussed numerous areas of cooperation including sharing content (they are currently digitalising the Maths and Science curricula), recycling, ICDL Testing and Moodle. I was surprised to see how they are converting old
monitors into fully functional TV sets – just one of the things we can learn from Africa!
Finally a call on GeSCI (pronounced ‘Jessie’, www.gesci.org) a UN sponsored organisation promoting ICT in Education. Their offices on the 9th Floor of the Unga Tower are expected to be the location of Camara’s African HQ due to open early next year. The office has carpets on the floor, sun-light streaming through the windows, clean cups in the kitchen – but who needs all that when you have McGruders Pub next door!