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A Ship Full of Tech Start-ups to Address Africa's Greatest Challenges

By Kobi Ansong

Atlanta, June 10, 2012—Last February, I was blessed with the opportunity to revisit Ghana, my father's birthplace. During a meal at a small restaurant, the fans quit spinning and the room darkened. I was puzzled. There were clear skies and no storms in sight.

My cousin explained that power outages are very common in Ghana (a fact I came to know very well before I left). Increased demands for electricity and recurring dry seasons have made the Volta Dam inadequate and disagreements amongst opposing regimes have left the issue unsolved.

Unreasonable at Sea believes technological entrepreneurship can solve Africa's grandest challenges from education to malnutrition, while uniting the great continent with the rest of the world.

In Spring 2013, Unreasonable at Sea will bring a ship full of tech start-ups to the African continent.

“The companies we work with will be leveraging technologies to address massive social and environmental challenges, such as inadequate access to healthcare, poverty, failing education systems, climate change, or the need to democratize information,” said Daniel Epstein, Unreasonable at Sea's founder. “We only want to work with tech entrepreneurs who are convinced their technology will change the world and we want to do this in parallel with the international learning environment of Semester at Sea.”

The African ports include Ghana, South Africa, Morocco, and Mauritius. At each country, the entrepreneurs will explore the local economies and network with politicians and venture capitalists.

Technology is shrinking the world. Social networks, mobile communications, and other groundbreaking advances are globalizing the world at an unbelievable rate.

Last week, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) met in Cape Town, South Africa to discuss information and communication technology of Africa.

In the article “Technology for Africa” Edward Marek noted, “Much of the African scientific community is being impeded from interacting with the global scientific community because of poor communications.”

In the conference, ADEA encouraged African businesses to utilize technology in order to be more competitive in the global economy. In addition, entrepreneurs are advised to establish cross-national alliances to learn about the latest technological innovations.

Technology and entrepreneurship can provide solutions to development problems, stimulate African economies, and provide a platform for Africa to interact with the global society.

Unreasonable at Sea's ultimate goal is to unite technological entrepreneurs with connections in Africa to establish relationships that are beneficial to the whole continent.

African Unreasonable at Sea sponsors include App Africa, Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, Affrinova, and m-lab East Africa.

Kobi Ansong
Kobi.ansong@gmail.com