Saturday, 21 August 2010

Ghanaian entrepreneur Bright Simons speaks at TEDxEuston

Can technology drive a renaissance on the continent. Many say that this has already started.

Across the continent, more than 30 percent of malaria medicines are estimated to be fake, and many look identical to the real thing. Counterfeit medicines are reckoned by experts to kill at least 2000 people daily in the developing world and can constitute more than 40% of all medicines on sale in some countries. A new project called mPedigree lets consumers send in a code via text message that lets them check if their drugs are genuine. It was recently adopted in Nigeria, with plans for wider use elsewhere in Africa. Last month, the Nigerian government decided to introduce the technology for all medicines in the future, not just anti-malarials.

Customers send a text message to a central hotline with the code and instantly get an "OK" response telling them if the drug is registered and thus real. It also sends them additional information like the drug's manufacturer and expiration date. If the drug isn't registered and potentially fake, people receive a text message that says "No. Please recheck code." The system is free for consumers and is paid for by pharmaceutical companies and governments. It is such a powerful example of how Africans are coming up with innovative solutions to challenge conventional wisdom on the continent. If we can put information in the hands of the consumers then we will be able to hold our governments, companies and ourselves t account.

Ghanaian entrepreneur Bright Simons developed the mPedigree system; and he will be speaking at TEDxEuston 2010. 

Bright B. Simons is a technology innovator, development activist and social entrepreneur. As an Executive at accra-based think tank IMANI (, he contributes to activities that challenge received wisdom about Africa's development challenges. Bright is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Councils and Technology Pioneers Community. He is also an Ashoka Fellow, TED Fellow, Tech Museum Laureate and a Brain Trust member of the Evian Group at IMD, widely considered Europe's foremost business school. His work has led to speaking engagements around the world and consequently to numerous citations in the international press, ranging from the Economist, New York Times, the Financial Times, BusinessWeek, Asian Times, and the BBC, where he is a regular commentator for the World Service. In 2010, he was conferred with an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Award by the African Leadership Institute.

When asked on the TED Fellows home page...besides work, what is he passionate about ...he responded.....

I worry about the pace of African growth, and I am fanatical about the need to inject some urgency into the transformation of the continent. what is peculiar about the African condition is that resource-rich nations like Congo and Angola and resource-poor nations like Mali and Benin, fast-reforming countries like Ghana and Tanzania and fast-retrogressing ones like Zimbabwe and Guinea, all huddle together at the bottom of the global development heap. I am enamored of projects like My Heart's in Accra and the Timbuktu Chronicles that shift our collective focus from the high-minded effusions of ideologues to the epic wave of change gathering within the donor-driven and elite-governed continental political and economic programs.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Kemi Adegoke speaks at TEDxEuston

We are proud to present one of our fascinating speakers at TEDxEuston 2010; Kemi Adegoke. 

Kemi is one of the "famous five" people of Nigerian extraction that stood in the April 2010 parliamentary elections in the UK. 

Kemi Adegoke works as a systems analyst within the RBS Group. She studied Computer Systems Engineering (M.Eng) at Sussex University, graduating in 2003, and is also a Chartered Member of the British Computer Society. In June 2009, she completed an undergraduate. degree in Law at the University of London (Birkbeck). 
She is also on the board of Charlton Triangle Housing Association. She was born in London, although she lived in Nigeria until the age of 16, and now lives in Herne Hill, South London. Before her selection as a candidate for Parliament under the Conservative Party, she was the Deputy Chairman of the Dulwich and West Norwood Conservative Association, and worked as a project leader for the Conservative Party Globalisation and Global Poverty Policy Group in 2006 and 2007. She was selected as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate, running against Tessa Jowell in the Dulwich and West Norwood Constituency in the 2010 Parliamentary election.

Kemi was widely celebrated in the Nigerian press. 234Next led with a story rightly titled Kemi Adegoke blazes trail in UK politics called her the "feisty, outspoken Conservative candidate"....In the article she describes her challenges in winning the votes of Nigerians living in her constituency ....describing the response of one particular man during her campaign as "E ba ti lo si party to favour foreigner...” asking in a mixture of Yoruba and English, why she didn’t choose a party that was sympathetic to foreigners. On the other hand, in this article in the Mail online, she is described as one of David Cameron's "cuties". The paper goes on to suggest that Kemi, with the other "cuties" were chosen for the wrong reason: to carry David Cameron's message that the Tories have changed. Not changed their principles, but their appearance.
Photo credit Daily Mail 
But what does Kemi have to say herself about her experience in British politics? On the challenges and the joys?. On the campaign trail, walking the pavements and shopping centres speaking to people. What does she want to share with us on the joys and pains of seeking public office? What is her take on African politics, knowing that in most countries, the chances of a bright young lady like her standing for office would be almost unheard of ?

Kemi challenged conventional wisdom in many ways - smart, young, female, black and conservative. 

Don't miss her talk at TEDxEuston. To register, get in touch with us through our website at or by emailing 

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Registration opens for TEDxEuston 2010

We are excited to open registration for TEDxEuston 2010! 

After the very successful first event in 2009, we again offer you an opportunity to share ideas and ideals that will shape our future and the future of our continent. Registration is open until the end of August at a specially discounted fare. 

We have another fascinating line up of 12 thinkers and doers that will share their "ideas worth spreading" about their engagement with the continent. The speakers will be sharing with us their experiences about some of the big issues confronting our generation: themed around "OUR destiny in OUR hands" - how new ideas are shaping our interaction with Africa"

  • Father Matthew Kukah, Nigerian Catholic Priest and social commentator who has fascinating and bold ideas on public sector leadership. 
  • Moky Makura, Nigerian-born South African actress and presenter. Her book 'Africa's Greatest Entrepreneurs' tells the success stories of the top entrepreneurs on the continent. 
  • Petina GappahZimbabwean writer and her beautiful book "An Elegy of Easterly" tells  stories out of Zimbabwe that offers a completely new  view of the country.
  • Professor Pat Utomia founding Senior Faculty of the Lagos Business School (Pan African University). He has served in senior positions in government and in the private sector. He was a candidate for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2007 general elections and leader of the shadow cabinet of a rainbow coalition of political parties.
  • Kemi AdegokeNigeria-born British Politician. She parted with conventional wisdom and stood for Parliament under the Conservative Party during the last elections in the UK.
  • Bright Simons - Ghanaian  technology innovator, development activist and social entrepreneur. As an Executive at Accra-based think tank IMANI (
  • Hannah Pool is, in her own words, British-Eritrean, Eritrean-British. She recently embarked on a journey back to her origins, which she recounts in her fascinating book titled My Fathers’ Daughter.
  • Paul Onwuanibe, Nigerian Entrepreneur who has spent the last two years growing his business in Africa with hubs in Lagos, Johannesburg and Nairobi. 
  • Michela Wrong, British writer who has spent the last 16 years writing about Africa.  Her most recent book,  “It’s Our Turn to Eat”, tracks the story of Kenyan corruption whistleblower John Githongo. It has been described as reading “like a cross between Le Carre and Solzhenitsyn”.
  • Muhtar Bakare, Nigerian Publisher who retired from banking after 12 years, in June 2004, to launch the publishing house; Kachifo Limited. Because of Bakare's vision, writers are energised and Nigerians are beginning to see literature as viable again.
  • Richard Dowden, British journalist and writer is the Director of the Royal African Society. His book: Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles was published by Portobello Books in September 2008 . 

Date: Saturday November 27

Time: 12 noon - 7.30 pm

Venue: UCL London 

TEDxEuston is an invitation only event. If you want to attend the event get in touch with us by filling out this short form."I AM INTERESTED IN ATTENDING TEDxEuston"

The event last year sold, this year's will. If you plan to attend, don't leave it late.  Register now!

For more details on TEDxEuston go to
To find out more about TED go to

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Continuing the conversation

Following TEDxEuston members of our emerging "community" suggested that we meet up again soon to re-live and continue some of the conversation of TEDxEuston over drinks yesterday we did precisely that!

In the "Red Room" of the Cicada restaurant in London about 40 of us met for drinks, canap├ęs and a couple of TED talks to go.

We watched two short films showing William Kamkwamba...amazing stuff. If you have not - go to and watch his talk - you will see the world differently...promise. If you want to read his entire story - buy his book "The boy who harnessed the wind"

Watch out for the date of the next TEDxEuston to be announced soon. The buzz has already begun!

A few other updates...
  • Read Funmi Iyanda's post on her experiences at TEDxEuston on her blog.
  • Read Chika Unigwe's fascinating essay on "How to be African" here. 
  • Watch Nuhu Ribadu on CNN here 
  • Watch the talks from TEDxEuston  here.

View all the other pictures  HERE.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

TEDxEuston - Pictures and Video now online

The talks from TEDxEuston are online!
Every time you listen to them they seem more profound. The first batch of 6 are now on our website here:
Watch again, rate the talks, make comments on them, send them round to your contacts. People often use the term "talk shop" in a derogatory manner. But think of all the people we regard as heroes. From Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela to Barack Obama. What did they all have in common? They had an extraordinary capacity - not just to do the great things they did in their lives, but also to inspire a whole generation of others to believe in their vision of the world as it should be. 
So listen again to Funmi Iyanda's stories of hope from the most deprived areas you can imagine. Listen to Nasir El Rufai share his vision of the role of cities in development and how his vision transformed a Abuja, listen to Bola Olabisi share with you her relentless drive to put a face on the millions of women that invent stuff we use day-to-day. Listen to Onyekachi Wambu challenging conventional wisdom of our attitude to leadership and Lawrence Mbugua on how private investments are driving growth on the continent. Cap it all up with the smooth tunes from Aletia Upstairs. All for you @
All the pictures are still available here.