Sunday, October 19, 2008

Africa America Institute Events

Between 1994-1996 I was sponsored by the USAID to study for a Masters in Agric. Economics at North Carolina Agric and Technical State University. While in the US, PERT and Africa American Institute (AAI) managed resources for my training. I returned to Tanzania in Agust 1996 and continued working at Mzumbe University, Tanzania.

In 2007, an online research by
AAI identified me as one of successful alumni in Tanzania and I was invited to attend the 2007 gala organised by AAI in which Tanzania was recognised for its efforts to bring about socioeconomic development by achieving a significant progress in education, environmental conservation, and in creating a business-friendly environment for entrepreneurs and investment. The theme of 2007 was: Tanzania: Educating for a Sustainable Future—which highlighted the increasingly important role that a multisectoral commitment to capacity-building at all levels of society plays in Tanzania’s continued success.

The black-tie Gala, held on Sept. 19, 2007 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York, was chaired by American financier and conservationist Paul Tudor Jones II and Reginald Mengi, CEO of Tanzania's IPP Limited. The gala was attended by more than 500 distinguished U.S. and African leaders and top diplomats from all parts of the world. During the gala HE President of the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) accept the
AAI African National Achievement Award on behalf of the people of Tanzania.

I had a privilege of meeting the President during the event.

On the following days I was able to visit a few organisations in New York as well as some tourist landmarks such a World Trade Centre (WTC).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

E-tourism Conference in Nairobi

East Africa Electronic Tourism
The East Africa Electronic Tourism Conference took place in Nairobi on October 12 - 13, 2008 and was followed by a three days workshop on how to develop tools such as websites, video, podcasts.

I attended the conference and I was delighted to meet a number of people whose work has informed and educated me on the sub-discipline of Electronic Tourism. One of these names is Peter Varlow. I have to admit that I have read a number of publications by the TEAM Consulting.
Fascinating presentations from global companies leading in areas of tourism and travel technologies also were very informative. Examples of these companies include Eye For Travel, Expedia, Nightbridge, Technology Evangilist, New Mind,, Digital Visitor, Google, Tripadvisor, VISA and Eviivo Front Desk. Other presentations were from Africa based companies and organisations such from SA Direct TV, Hill Consulting,, Africa Point, ICT Consultants Kenya,, Kenya Wildlife Service, AIG Insurance Kenya, Johannesburg Tourism Company, E-Tourism Africa (the host of the conference), and Safaricom on M-pesa.
Presentation on M-Pesa ellicited a lot of discussion which demonstrated the way mobile phones are being used to provide financial services to all areas, particularly in rural areas where traditional financial institutions have been conspicously absent.
On the other hand, from a purely public sector side, Kenya ICT Board CEO's presentation was highly informative highlighting the extent Kenya people have determined to place information and communication technologies (ICTs) to the fore of their socioeconomic agenda. The CEO was optimistic that once the three undersea fiber optic cables under construction land at the coast, Kenya is already to make problems of limited bandwidth history. To him, it is a matter of few months and luckily internal infrastructure will be in place.
At a personal note, the conference enabled me to meet like minded experts in e-tourism. I was able to sell some copies of my book entitled "E-commerce for Development: eTourism as a Showcase." I was also honoured by BBC Swahili Service who conducted an interview which was was broadcast several times. Thanks to mobile phones, a number of people in East Africa sent some text message to inform me that they had listened the broadcast which presentation my perspectives on how East Africa can harness ICT tools to enhance tourism business.