Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Simple African Wishlist to Larry Page of Google

Hi Larry, I must confess to you that it came to me as a little shock that you'd taken over the reigns of governance back at Mountain View. Of course it's your baby here we are talking about- that huge gorilla of a company that you and your friend founded a little over a decade ago.

You see Larry, aside all my healthy suspicions of huge companies like your own (Amazon vis a vis Wikileaks), I still really do admire Google. Heck, my friends call me a Google fanboy because I keep evangelising every single Google product to them; from Chrome (yea, not Firefox), to Gmail, to Youtube to Trader

My personal life has been enriched enormously by the massive array of splendid products that you give out for free- of course in the hope of making some ad money. Since you now are at the helm of affairs, I'd like to put to you this simple wish-list of mine with regards to my continent Africa.

First on that list is that you work with both handset makers, hopefully in China, and network operators here to bring Android powered smartphones to the masses. With a sizable number of my people accessing the internet through their mobile phones, you will appreciate the immense value affordable smartphones will bring to their lives. 

Think of the possibilities that such a move will open up to the everyday people here, not to talk about strategically bringing Android to a market of close to 1 billion people.

The second wish on my list to you Larry, is that you find a way of working with our universities here to make computer science education more accessible, 'learnable' and in line with current developments in that field. You see, I personally don't have any formal education in computing. I really wish there was more of our public universities and the private but affordable ones offering computer science/engineering courses. With your massive engineering talent, Google sure will know how to impart that into the heads of young, eager to know Africans like myself.

There are so many ways you can achieve this second objective. One of them can be that you extend the CSHS program in the future to include universities here. There is only one future for everbody- one where computing plays a paramount and dominant role, I would love you to help my continent not be left behind. 

Finally (yes I have only three wishes Larry), please avoid African governments. Don't ever channel any initiative through them. As Google was able to find a way to save itself billions of Dollars in tax avoidance, similarly do find a way to help everyday Africans like myself without going through the governments. If you insist on going through them, then you might as well keep your money because not a dime of it will achieve its purpose if you work through those mammoth vampires.

I could go on and on Larry, but will like to end here. I'll be writing to you again in the near future. But for now, these are my wishes to you as the new (OK not so new) bus drive of Google Inc. You are a company that stands to improve the lives of people in Africa, take that chance and you will be rewarded with dominance in a market that is spat upon by the rest of your competition.

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By Seeraj Muneer with No comments

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