African tech hubs put on the map
A crowd-sourcing initiative to map all of Africa's tech hubs has been started by a group of Zambian-based technology enthusiasts and entrepreneurs.
BongoHive is a technology and innovation hub, in Lusaka, that uses the Kenyan-made Ushahidi mapping Web site software to track major technology centres in Africa.
Visitors to Africahubs.crowdmap.com (https://africahubs.crowdmap.com/) can make a submission to list a tech hub on the map using the Web site's feedback form, sending an e-mail, making a posting on its Facebook page, or even sending a tweet.
Currently, the Web Site has 15 hubs in 13 African countries, ranging from Nairobi's iHub to Nigeria's co-creation hub. Tech centres are divided into different categories, such as business incubators, hacker spaces (technology hubs that do not necessarily fall into any particular categories), university tech labs and technology hubs, also commonly known as innovation centres.
BongoHive founder Lukonga Lindunda says members of BongoHive decided to create its technology hub map to show people what is happening on the continent's technology scene.
“The whole goal of this is to show that Africans are actually active, and they're making stuff, they have meeting places, they are building their small businesses, they have spaces where they can do their small business,” said Lindunda.
“What's most interesting is how hubs are willing to share information about where they are and what they're doing, and they are not competing,” he said.
Lindunda has set a goal of having at least 50 tech hubs on the map by then end of this month. West African and East African centres of technology currently dominate the map, while very few Southern African hubs have been added to the list.
“There's still other incubators or hacker spaces in SA that have yet to be on the map,” said Lindunda.
“I would expect much more from Southern Africa, but we don't see that, whereas West Africa and East Africa are quite active, even Ethiopia,” he said.