Demystifying Africa

 

This week on the wisinomad Dialogue Series we are joined by Victoria Wenzelmann. Vicky holds a Masters degrees in Cultural Anthropology and African Studies and is one of the co-founders of Global Innovation Gathering (GIG). Currently she’s pursuing a PhD. in Information Systems.

 

What is GIG? It’s a global network of 200 people from 45 countries, all doing social and tech innovation. They can be managers of innovation hubs, hacker spaces, innovation community spaces and also individual inventors and change makers – all focused on improving their communities. She got to be one of the co-founders of GIG because she went to Africa in 2013 with a group of European developers and web designers, specifically to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, to create partnerships and share knowledge with local tech hubs and institutions aiming to solve grassroots problems.

 

“The Africa she has witnessed is not of famine and war, but neither is it the new wave of “Africa Rising,” which she feels like glosses over the reality on the ground of socio-political and economic challenges, and turns Africa into a feel-good story, destined for greatness through the advent of technology.”

 

Remarkably, 2013 was not the first time she visited Africa. In fact, she has extensive travel experience on the continent. She spent two years conducting research as part of her Masters program. For her, she found the experience very enjoyable, despite prior reports of how unsafe travel would be, especially as a woman. She drove through rural South Africa, even into Mozambique studying traditional African systems.

 

And over the years, she has traveled back to Africa to other countries like Ghana, which she finds very different but also quite similar. This is also why she constantly fights the notion that Africa is homogeneous, as her travels have consistently shown that Africa is very diverse. The common refrain she has found is to ask people if Greece and Poland are similar despite being both in Europe. She finds it makes people rethink their ideas on Africa–which boasts of diverse economies, languages and cultures.

 

The Africa she has witnessed is not of famine and war, but neither is it the new wave of “Africa Rising,” which she feels like glosses over the reality on the ground of socio-political and economic challenges, and turns Africa into a feel-good story, destined for greatness through the advent of technology. However, she finds that the food is as spicy as everyone reports, a recollection that stings her mouth immediately (chilly). She does cheerily share her theories and anecdotes about dancing in Africa. But, there is a wide diversity in the music and dance all over Africa.

 

She sees a lot of positive regarding Africa, as knowledge of the continent spreads through immigration and general globalization. However, the story of economic development is still quite nuanced as nations like South Sudan, which ravaged by multiple wars, faces low growth rates. but when contrasted with Ghana, which has high literacy rates and stable environment has seen consistently high growth rates. Still there is a whole lot that worries her as most of the Africa economy is still extractive.

 

And to close off, Vicky shares her top challenges:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Internet Connectivity
  • Getting a visa if she wants to work in Africa for long periods

Her best reasons to work in Africa:

  • The real positive attitude she’s met and worked with in Africa, as opposed to cynicism back home

 

wisinomad is a great way to circumvent the challenges that Vicky highlights in the podcast. With a guaranteed hi-speed internet connection, with accommodation that is geared towards remote workers, wisinomad aims to offer the best experience as Africa becomes your next remote working destination. wisinomad avails all the necessary information to get your visa hassle-free.

To learn more about wisinomad, visit www.wisinomad.com, and send in your application

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