In recent years there has been real progress in efforts to improve livelihoods and fight poverty and disease. Although affected by the global recession, African economies bounced back quickly and are amongst the fastest growing in the world.
But despite this progress, too many still live in extreme poverty. And even those who don’t fall within the technical definition of poverty often suffer as a result of poor governance and a lack of opportunity.
Yet balanced against these challenges are real signs of hope.
Rapid advances in technology – together with our greater understanding of how to harness it – are accelerating the ability of citizens to demand improvements in the services their government provides, just as they are enabling governments to improve the supply of services to their citizens.
New technologies are also enabling other progress: entrepreneurs can expand their markets to reach the most marginalised people, and the most remote producers can sell their goods at fairer prices because their mobile phones allow them to find out the real market rate. And with these developments come the hope of a more equitable form of growth in years to come.
It is within this context that ONE will be hosting a dynamic discussion on the role of transparency and technology in promoting and driving economic development in Johannesburg on 15 February. The ONE Africa Symposium 2011 will feature several speakers in short inspirational 10-minute presentations about ideas that will help shape ONE’s work.
We will hear from students, policy makers, technology experts, academics and creatives, from all over Africa. Together we’ll highlight innovations that can drive increased transparency and accountability in governments and corporations. Throughout the symposium, we hope to amplify ideas that can inform policy makers and inspire entrepreneurs and activists. These ideas could ultimately transform Africa.
I’ll hope you join us and follow the conversation on Twitter via the #ONEsymposium hashtag.[/EXPAND]