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David Smith writes about Africa’s Silicon Savannah in Kenya, where technology companies are beginning to establish themselves:

If there is such a thing as an African version of California’s Silicon Valley, the country that is arguably leading the race to the future is Kenya.

Household tech names such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia and Vodafone all have a presence here, and IBM recently chose Nairobi for its first African research lab.

Kenyans enjoy faster broadband connections than their counterparts in Africa’s economic powerhouse, South Africa. And the government plans to build a $7bn (£4.36bn), 5,000-acre technology city that is already being branded Africa’s “Silicon Savannah”.

How did Kenya – a nation that still has its share of poverty and ethnic conflict – get here? “It started as a joke,” said Dr Bitange Ndemo permanent secretary at the information and communications ministry. “We said we wanted to beat South Africa – and we did it.”


Greetings! My name is Jason Heppler. I am a Digital Engagement Librarian and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a scholar of the twentieth-century United States. I often write here about the history of the North American West, technology, the environment, politics, culture, and coffee. You can follow me on Twitter, or learn more about me.