Tag Archives: Technology

An Apologetic African

If you had read a blog which I had written in 2015, July you would have known that I would have eulogised Dr Umar Johnson to some degree, thankfully my blogs on people dont get read but I am learning since the UK left the European Union how well supported black people are in the UK. 

The piece had as follows:

“So I discuss Dr Umar Johnson, he for me is a genius, maverick and leader, a leader in my opinion and reading is the following:

Honesty

reliability

Communication

Confidence

Commitment

Positivitiy

Intuition

Ability to inspire”

The person in question has some of the qualities of a leader but is not a leader rather a good orator. Lets start with the qualities he doesn’t have, which I have realised over the last year or so. Reliability, honesty, commitment and positivity, starting with reliability, it has been 2/3 years since the crowdfunding campaign started and as yet he hasn’t provided plans or updates, which is well documented. Commitment, this was deemed null and void in his claims to be a pan African after the Brexit vote since he like other black Americans did not care for black people in the UK, just a one way relationship – taking. The other is positivity, which broke the camels back (with me) since he responded to silly argument, which wasn’t that bad and exposed his bad personality.

He has communication as a great orator, ability to inspire as he can motivate or at least energise people with his speeches and is over confident – I.e conceited. I would say that he will build a school but it wont be on the grand scale and questions should be asked as to why he has asked for more money. I have some private thoughts on what might be happening with the money but I will comment further on this at a later point.

The intuition part i suppose is not valid after revisiting this aspect 18 months later Though since brexit I have decided that most Black Americans over 75 have no advice or information for black people around the world and its a lost cause so I’ll look toward Africa and other place where blacks live. He is a genius alright the scam artist type, maverick in regards to his talking rubbish and leader of people who he wins over with his Leo (but no substance) charm.

But being a Capriquarious (Capricorn leaning Aquarious) I apologise for the blog I wrote and will update further on this matter, for those interested.

Further Information

Leadership Qualities Blog

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Uplifting the Diaspora

As a guy who was interested in international development, volunteered in a developing country and worked a admin job at a international development department in the government at one time and wanted to study international development but found it an expensive process just to volunteer with a Non governmental organisation. I am interested in the process in Haiti.

I remember being interested in working for some of the charities (known as third sector organisations), but I did no get into these organisations as I was black and working class, without a masters degree.

I learned that international development can only be undertaken by those who are from the place or diaspora around the world through remittance and knowledge of social, political and economic development.

The different international development charities are sending aid to countries as a form of diplomacy to lay the ground work for private and external government agencies to come and take minerals. Most of the mainstream charities are on the surface not truthful, with where the money goes. Much of the money you donate can be spent on administration and consultants.

Charity directors, consultants and office staff get paid a lot and so only a fraction of the money you donate to a charity gets to go to people on the ground. If you want to donate to a organisation look for a group from the country who is working on the ground, buying supplies or actually building things.

This is not to say charities do not do nothing its just they are not the most efficient at using donations or funding and so you will find your funding someone’s “busman’s holiday”.

Further Information

International Development Meaning (Wikipedia)

Relief Website (International Development) – (Reliefweb)

 

Economy Of Knowledge

In the 1980’s and mid 1990’s (if your old enough to remember) there were people who were working in factories and mills. This was the case until the UK economy had moved towards a service economy (banking, customer service, technology based – IT and computer programming).

The aim of the government moving towards this economy was to maintain and create enough jobs for the current labour market, who were losing jobs as a result of moving away from a industrial towards a more knowledge based economy.

The movement should have been towards a entrepreneurial based economy and education system (in the UK). Since the education system was designed to prepare you for working in a bricks and mortar industry. The education system was slightly modified for the service economy as they thought they could up skill all the workers to work in the service jobs, as a result of getting a degree.

To get to this the national and local government looks at attracting investement and companies into regions, cities and towns as a way of providing more job opportunities. This is a good idea, which is why you see state of the art buildings being constructed around the place, as a place where businesses can set up or warehouse or industrial units built in the outskirts of towns and cities.

This in theory works but in practice the results are mixed since, many of the roles that these companies offer are menial as only low skilled tasks might be undertaken by that regional branch. Usually the research and development departments (the place where the more skilled vacancies are) are usually in the headquarters or home country.

The history of those born in the early 1970’s to late 1980’s being encouraged to join the knowledge economy was due to a skills shortage for high skilled jobs in the late 1980’s. In the late 2000’s there were more qualified people than jobs to match the skills.

This is evident today as black people who were adults in the late 80’s early 90’s with children did not prepare them for what was coming, instead of keeping hold of businesses we sold many of them of (with a few remaining) and told our children to join the knowledge economy in the late 90’s early 2000’s.

The economy is now changing from a knowledge based one to a entrepreneurial one, with the need to have more than one income. If the next generation and this one (18-40) do not have more than one income or at least access to one then we will not fare well as jobs are becoming less and less.

The government is attempting to get people skilled in technological areas such as computer science and sciences. It is great theses areas are looked at but as a people, we need to first and foremost look at developing business running skills, having an idea, developing it and then looking at many ways you can get income from this idea.

Further information

Knowledge is a myth (www.theguardian.com)

Knowledge Economy Myth (www.theweek.co.uk)

Using the sun to power us

There is much discussion in the black community about Akon and him providing solar power to 600 million Africans. My viewpoint is its a great initiative with some wider considerations.

I have previous experience and a interest in solar power, back in 2006 I had travelled around south Africa for 4 months and had come into contact with solar powered street lights, houses (and in some cases) houses. The solar power on the streets were provided by local community and national agencies, which would work by charging up during the day through a battery and at night or during power cuts the battery would discharge the power to the street or indoor lights. There were also solar showers, which differ in relation to how you feel, I felt as it was different to having a conventional shower.

The demographic of people who had the solar power, were middle class persons. The reason being, solar power is expensive to purchase and install. The areas where the street solar power was installed, were either lower income or rural communities. The reason I add this about demographics is in many parts of Africa, there is a divide between those who can afford semi or mostly consistent access to electricity and those that cannot. The rural areas, where people have a lower income or access to amenities available in a city or larger town will have less access to a generator whilst those who have a higher income will have access to solar power or generators.

The challenge for getting 600 people access the solar power, will be how it is rolled out to the respective communities in Africa. As I have suggested it could be rolled out to the use of street lights as, there is commonly power cuts in many parts of Africa and in Ghana, they call it ‘lights outs’. This would make the scheme manageable rather than homes getting the power at first.

Reviewing this from a regeneration perspective, is this venture will be expensive to roll out and fair play to the funders, who are currently on board . The challenge is the governements and the municipalities in African countries agreeing and looking at rolling this out, whilst engineers would be trained up to install this. Is there enough national, regional and local support when looking at planning and determining the areas which get access to this first.

The initiative is great and I hope it works, though there are always political obstacles to overcome even in Africa, what happens if the local people do not want this and when considering what localities get this first, not from Akon but looking at the project being rolled out nationally and locally, will it be the lower income areas or will it be the higher income areas. Will there be enough money to pay for this to be rolled out and how will it be paid for, is there just a fund for a general roll out in terms of powering street lights or will houses get access to this too.

The one question I have is how will the maintenance of the solar power be managed and financed, will it be via the foundation which Akon has or will it be via the governments. Are these parties accountable and capable enough to ensure this is rolled out and the project reaches its aims, financially, socially and politically. Different countries have their own methods as well as communities so working with local people on this and asking them if they want this and how they want it rolled out locally will be important, if it is to be a success.

I applaud the initiative and hope he achieves this as Africa has 320 days at least of sunlight per year so its the best place to have a constant reliable source of electricity. The reservation I initially have is I hope it serves the simple agenda of providing greater access to electricity and nothing else.

Technological development

Recently I have been working with technology and attempting to (largely successfully) repair and take apart and reconstruct technological devices.  It lead me to think about how technology is consumed by the black community but is not repaired or created by us.

I am in the process of going back to a childhood hobby of fixing electronic devices. Though I have been in the last year undertaking a level 3 qualification in electronics, I am specialising in another area related to this.

I find that young blacks people even older young black people do not consider going into repairs as a feasible profession even though, we use and consume them at a high rate.

There is a thought that it’s not lucrative or that there is much maths and some people are more practical than others, plus there’s the viewpoint that it’s not lucrative and as straightforward as other industries.

This is true to a certain point though it must be considered that there is some money to be made but just a steady income and its a unique skill being able to fix things. I am still seen as a technician in my family and friends say if something breaks or is not working. As a kid I could tune TV’s and VCRs, build speakers, fix VCRs which weren’t working correctly,  know why a TV wasn’t working simply from watching my dad or technicians who came to fix things and know how to rewire a plug or test the voltage on a plug socket at age 7.

Despite being in my early 30s and gone down a project route I still feel useless unless I can fix something and have decided to go down the technical route. I would like to see more young black people go down this route rather than the knowledge economy as I feel our communities would be stronger as a result and it would in turn create fellow black citizens who can contribute to rather than just consume the technology.

The maths aspect is true to a certain point but only when looking at voltage and resistance, in some repairs. The practical side is important, but many people have this skill, but may look at making an easier living (like I have in the past). The importance is that if you like the aspect of problem solving and are practical then why not. Besides, technological shops make up 25% of black dominated areas high streets in the UK.

This is important for the younger generation to look at more and more as technological reliance increases, technological know how and mechanical expertise growth within the black community should be on the increase too. Me I just want to make sure Im still in tune with how current technology works.

Technological Hub

Recently, there has been much focus in the mainstream media on how technology has been used to infiltrate high profile companies databases and spread viruses. As a race our young people and experienced professionals work with technology and as I have stated before many of us do not know how to manipulate the workings.

We use it for different perspectives such as, working, marketing, social media, purchase smart phones and tablets but we don’t know how to fix or develop them yet we rely on someone else to undertake repairs or modifications, which we aspire to.

I am one of these people myself, though I have recently completed a level 3 engineering course with an ambition to undertake study on further mathematics and electronic device repair. More black people who are skilled at this should be promoting within the black communities or they should be seeking to obtain training so services and teaching can be passed on.

There are black professionals, who have data and programming skills, though many of them are working in the mainstream rather than providing services to black businesses and attempting to develop services within the black business community. There may be a feasible reason in countries like the UK, where black people are a true minority, though we should still be attempting to create a new perspective. In countries like America and where ever else there is a sizeable black community, we should be able to utilise these skills to provide a black service to our own people rather than going to another race, who may be looking at just developing their own race and ave no true identity with black people.

As a practical person, it’s easy for me to talk like this, though I’m looking from regeneration and socio-economic perspective as well as a technicians point of view on this topic. My long term aim would be to use all the experience and knowledge gained to work with other technically minded persons on a social conscious capacity, whilst teaching another generation of like minded individuals.

If black people followed the Indian example, of graduates and undergraduates going to San Francisco working in silicon valley and taking the experience back to their native countries, Africa could have like India had a Indian equivalent in Bangalore, sure there are arguments against this with power shortages etc. There is still a technological knowledge hub, which is allowing India to develop technologically.

The more information and experience we gain, the more likely it is we will be able to export this knowledge to Africa even if its through diaspora countries such as the Caribbean and central america, eventually, we may work together with africa as the countries and territories we derive from will not provide the same opportunity and scope as Africa.