Iqbal Quadir is an advocate of business as a humanitarian tool. With GrameenPhone, he brought the first commercial telecom services to poor areas of Bangladesh. Partnering with microcredit pioneer GrameenBank in 1997, Quadir established GrameenPhone, a wireless operator that provides phone services to 80 million rural Bangladeshi. The company has become the standard for a bottom-up, tech-empowered approach to development.

In his TED Talk, he first questioned the way that rich counties sent aid to poor countries to fight poverty. And also, even though he did not find much evidence to support the idea that connectivity can really increase productivity, he presented research done by the International Telecommunication Union showing the positive effects it has. The impact of one new telephone to richer countries’ GDP is very little, however, one new telephone has a huge impact on the GDP of poorer countries.

“Mobiles have a triple impact,” Quadir says. “They provide business opportunities; connect the village to the world; and generate over time a culture of entrepreneurship, which is crucial for any economic development.”

– Caiqing Jin(Kelly)

Source: TED Talk

Elizabeth Pisani is an assumption-busting independent researcher and analyst, who has worked in the field of HIV for 15 years in four countries. She believes that the world is failing to understand and manage the realities of HIV. She also shows how politics and “morality” have hogtied funding, and advocates for putting dollars where they can actually make a difference.

In Pisani’s TED Talk, she firstly points out an idea that people get HIV not just because they do stupid things. For most of them, when they are doing stupid things, they have perfectly rational reasons. We both know there are two major ways to spread HIV; sex and drugs. Pisani leads us to see problems behind the sex and drugs. Most of the people in Africa know sex and blood can transfer HIV. They also knowwhere to buy clean needles, but because of gender inequality and poverty, sometimes people choose to “rationalize” things even though they know there is a great chance that they may get HIV. At the end of her speech, she tells us a story about a transgender hooker on the street of Jakarta named lnes. She quotes Ines saying “why is prevalence still rising? It’s all politics. When you get to politics, nothing makes sense”. She believes that everyone has a duty to demand our politicians to make policy based on scientific evidence and on common sense.

-Caiqing Jin(Kelly)
Source: TED Talk

Medical doctor and PhD candidate at University College London, Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, is dedicated to the study of HIV drug resistant viruses and seeks to better understand the mechanisms of drug resistance. When she did the research in Africa, she found that there are so much we need to do to protect participants who are in HIV research.

In Titanji’s TED Talk, she mentions a story about a HIV research participant and how this gave her ideas to think about what we need to protect participants’ rights and how it is important that we should talk about ethical riddles in HIV research. Titanji also brought up four areas that need to be improved in the clinical trial in developing countries to protect participants and to be more ethically acceptable.

The first point is informed consent which means participants must be given relevant information. The second area is the standard of care provided by any clinical trials. After the research ends, they should take responsibility for their participants. What happens to participants once the clinical trial is completed needs to be decided before the clinical trial. Thirdly, local governments should pay more attention to the ethical review of research even before the trial has started. And the final point is that all clinical trials should have clear plans about what happens to all the participants when research is completed.

-Caiqing Jin(Kelly)
Source: TED Talks

Leslie Dodson: Her TED Talk on Do Not Misrepresent Africa
Leslie Dodson has reported throughout the world for Reuters, NBC and CNN, among others. She has worked extensively in South America covering politics, economics, and international finance organizations.

In her TED Talk, she talks about how to present stories objectively and fairly to the rest of the world when we get information from Africa and how important that is. At the end of her talk, she stressed, “Africa is not a country, it is a continent with 54 countries”.

– Caiqing Jin(Kelly)

Source:TED Talk

Mitchell Besser’s TED Talk on Mothers Helping Mothers Fight HIVIn South Africa, Mitchell Besser tapped a new resource for healthcare: mothers themselves. The program he started, mothers2mothers, train new mothers to educate and support other moms. Mothers2mothers employs HIV-positive moms themselves to complement the work of doctors and nurses. After a two-month training, mentor mothers work with other moms with HIV to help them understand how to keep from transmitting HIV to their babies. In his TED talk, he suggests that doctors, nurses and mothers should work together, and mothers should help each other, building up the communities to fight HIV together and after all, mothers care about mothers.“There is hope, hope that one day we shall win this fight against HIV and AIDS.”

– Caiqing Jin (Kelly)

Source: TED Talk

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s TED Talk on Doing Business in Africa
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a director of the World Bank, was Nigeria’s Finance Minister and then briefly Foreign Affairs Minister from 2003 to 2006, the first woman to hold either position. During her tenure as Finance Minister, she worked to combat corruption, make Nigeria’s finances more transparent, and institute reforms to make the nation’s economy more hospitable to foreign investment.

In her TED Talk, she told many stories about changing Africa and how African people say no to corruption and everyone outside Africa should give more credibility and invest more in Africa.She stressed that we should do more business in Africa instead of just aiding Africa. And also, Africa should pay more attention to expand privatization and the government should increase more financial management and democracy.

– Caiqing Jin

Source: TED Talk

Hans Rosling
Hans Rosling, a professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world, which he points out is no longer worlds away from the West. In fact, most of the Third World is on the same trajectory toward health and prosperity, and many countries are moving twice as fast as the West did.

The statistic of the world has not been made properly available, because of that we still have the old mindset of developing and industrialized countries, which is wrong. According to Hans, Africa has done a great job and it has done better beyond our thinking.

And there are some wrong ideas. Many developed countries say now the problem is that the emerging economies are emitting too much carbon dioxide. The minister of the Environment of India said, “Well, you are the one who caused the problem.” The OECD countries, the highest income countries, were the ones who caused the climate change. So we need to have the right opinion about emerging economies and developed countries.

We can get out of poverty. Rosling spent 20 years researching African farmers who were on the verge of famine. “When you are in poverty, everything is about survival, it is about having food.” To get out of poverty, they need technology. “We hate this mortar to stand hours and hours,; get us a mill so that we can mill our flour then we will be able to pay for ourselves”.

Technology will bring us out of poverty. But there is a need for market to get away from poverty. His 20 years’ experience in Africa has convinced him that “the seemingly impossible is possible”. Africa is not done badly. In 50 years they have progressed from a pre-medieval situation. Africa has a bright future. Even though we are facing many obstacles, “seeing the impossible is possible” if we work together. Then we can make a great Africa.

– Caiqing Jin(Kelly)

Source: TedTalk

Emily Oster
Emily Oster, a University of Chicago economist, uses the dismal science to rethink conventional wisdom, from her Harvard doctoral thesis that took on famed economist Amartya Sen to her recent work debunking assumptions on HIV prevalence in Africa.

Emily Oster re-examines the stats on AIDS in Africa from an economic perspective and reaches a stunning conclusion: Everything we know about the spread of HIV on the continent is wrong.

She brought up an opinion that more exports means more AIDS and that effect is really big, by testing new data and information about prevalence over time. The data that Emily Oster offers suggests that if you double export volume, it will lead to a quadrupling of the new HIV infection. And this has important implications both for forecasting and for policy. From a forecasting perspective, if we know where trade is likely to change, we can actually think about which areas are likely to be heavily infected with HIV and we can go and try to deploy pre-emptive preventive measures there. Likewise, as we are developing policies to try to encourage exports, if we know there is this externality, we can think about what the right kinds of policies are.
But it also tells us that even though poverty is linked to AIDS in the sense that Africa is poor and they have a lot of AIDS, it is not necessarily the case that impoving poverty in the very short run is going to lead a decline in HIV prevalence.

And she also questioned the HIV prevention case in Uganda, the only country in Sub-Saharan Africa with successful prevention. It is true that there was a decline in prevalence in Uganda in 1990s and they had an education campaign for it. But there was actually something else that happened in Uganda in that period. Their exports went down a lot in the early 1990s and actually that decline lines up really closely to HIV infections at that time, according to Emily Oster.

– Caiqing Jin (Kelly)

Source:Ted Talk

Euvin Naidoo TED Talk on Investing in Africa
As president of the South African Chamber of Commerce – America, Euvin Naidoo works with leading corporations and governments to strengthen trans-Atlantic economic ties. In his Ted Talk, Euvin Naidoo focused on “Africa: the next chapter”. To separate the rhetoric from the reality and the fact from the fiction; to go to the actual data and statistics that exist about the actual things happening in Africa that make this continent a realistic investment opportunity and an option for all around the world.

He stated that investing in Africa is a broad term. Africa is not a country; it is made up of 53 different countries. And every country in Africa has a unique value proposition. You can win money here, and you can also lose money here.

Starting the talk about an investment opportunity, as a banker, Euvin Naidoo mentioned some macro-factors. The first sign is that Inflation is coming down across Africa while reaching double-digit figures in many other countries; he called it “Z.E.N. cluster”.

Zambia from 2004 to 2006 has moved from 18 percent in inflation to 9 percent; Egypt from 16 percent to about 8.4 percent; Nigeria from 16 percent to 8 percent – all in single digits. More fascinating, you have other countries, like South Africa, Mauritius, Namibia, which are also in single digits. And this is just part of the story.

Then he gave specific examples from some countries to illustrate his research.

Instead of focusing on South Africa’s gold, minerals, and its first infrastructure, Euvin Naidoo mentioned other important aspects. South Africa was recently voted as the top destination for the top 1000 UK companies for offshore call-centers. They have the same language, timeline, et cetera. Other big names that had reached Africa were Bain Capital and KKR, the big companies of private equity. Bain Capital’s acquisition of Edcon, a large retailer, is testimony to the confidence these famous names are beginning to place in the economy in what is going to be a long-term play.

Nigeria is clearly a hot spot. The new report, issued by Goldman Sachs, highlighted that, by 2020, Nigeria is going to be among the top 10 economies in the world. And also, without any sovereign backing, Nigerian companies are raising capital offshore.

In the oil industry, Africa provides 18 percent of the U.S.’s oil supply, while the Middle East offers just 16 percent. So, Africa can be an important strategic partner to America.

Finally, Naidoo concluded with Africa’s important position in the world economy because of its investment potential.

– Caiqing Jin (Kelly)

source: Ted Talk
Photo: WhiteAfrica


Africa produces some of the most brilliant artists, athletes, and activists worldwide.  From the media industry to the political stage, these African celebrities are working to improve lives.  The Borgen Project presents the top 10 African celebrities to follow.

1. Patricia Amira, Nigerian, TV Personality

Patricia Amira is a self-proclaimed “optimistic realist” and “closet artist.”  She is the “Oprah” of Africa and hosts one of the continent’s most popular talk shows.  The Patricia Show transcends national boundaries and identities.  The show focuses on achievements across Africa and aims to create social and cultural transformation. The Pan-African talk show is broadcasted in over 45 African countries and averages over 10 million viewers.  She currently serves as the Director of the Festival of African Fashion and Arts.  The festival encourages collaboration among designers and emphasizes the importance of artists.  Amira is also a spokesperson against human trafficking.

2. Nneka, Nigerian, Musician

Nneka is a soul musician of Nigerian-German descent.  Investigative journalism and philosophy inform her music, and she often writes about poverty, war, and and social justice issues.  Nneka emphasizes the importance of understanding balance and harmony.  “It’s important that you recognize yourself as part of the system, too, and that the only way we can make things work is by realizing we are part of the same entity,” Nneka said.

3. Didier Drogba, Ivorian, Soccer Player

Didier Drogba was a leading striker for England’s Chelsea football club and head captain of the Cote D’Ivoire national team.  His performance on the field is impressive, but he made headlines at the 2006 FIFA World Cup for something much greater.  Drogba begged on live television for a cease-fire on the Ivory Coast.  The warring factions subsided within one week.  The Telegraph reporter Alex Hayes noted that Drogba is “the face of his country; the symbol of a new, post-civil war Ivory Coast.”  He also created the Didier Drogba Foundation, a foundation “to provide financial and material support in both health and education to the African people.”  The foundation recently partnered with United Against Malaria (UAM) to help fight malaria.

4. Wole Soyinka, Nigerian, Playwright

Wole Soyinka is a playwright, author, and political activist from Nigeria.  Soyinka entered the political stage after lobbying for a cease-fire during Nigeria’s civil war.  “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism,” Soyinka said.  This led to his imprisonment for 22 months.  He was released in 1969, and he began publishing again.  Soyinka became the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.  His novel The Interpreters analyzes the experiences of six different African intellectuals.

5. Neill Blomkamp, South African, Movie Director

Neill Blomkamp is a movie director known for his documentary, handheld cinema style.  He blends natural and computer-generated elements effortlessly.  Blomkamp co-wrote and directed District 9.  The film focused on extraterrestrial refugees in a South African slum.  The title derived from real events during the apartheid era at District Six, Cape Town. The film received international fame, and box office sales totaled $200 million.  Time magazine named Blomkamp one of the “100 Most Influential People of 2009.” 

6. Binyavanga Wainaina, Kenyan, Author

Binyavanga Wainaina founded the first literary magazine in East Africa, entitled Kwani?.  The magazine is known as “the most renown literary journal in sub-Saharan Africa.”  Wainaina created the magazine after winning the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing.  The Caine Prize is an annual literary award for the best original short story by an African writer.  He is known for authoring “How to Write About Africa.”  The short story is known as one of the most satirical pieces ever written about Africa.

 7. Genevieve Nnaji, Nigerian, Actress

Genevieve Nnaji skyrocketed from a middle class upbringing to Nollywood stardom.  She is one of the most popular African celebrities.  Nnaji grew up in Lagos, Nigeria as one of eight children.  Nnaji began her acting career at eight years old on Ripples, a Nigerian soap opera.  She is now one of Africa’s most popular actresses.  At only 32 years old, she has starred in over 80 feature films.  She is one of the best paid actresses in Nollywood—Nigeria’s feature film industry.   “I have always maintained that when they [Hollywood directors and actors] are ready for a young African woman to take part in a project that they will come looking for us,” Nnaji said.

8. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian, Writer

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of Africa’s leading contemporary authors.  She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun.  Adichie delivered a popular TED Talk after publishing The Thing around Your Neck, a collection of short stories.  She warns against judging a person or country based on limited information.  “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story,” Adichie said.  Nigerian history and tragedies inspire her literature.  She is one of the most notable authors of disaporan literature.

9. Rokia Traoré, Malian, Musician

Rokia Traoré became famous in 1997 with the release of her first album Mouneissa.  Malian singer Ali Farka Touré helped Traoré develop her sound, and she later earned “Best African Discovery” from the Radio France Internationale.  Traoré’s father was a Malian Diplomat, and she traveled extensively as a child.  Her travels in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, France, and Belgium influenced her music.  Traoré joined the 30 Songs/30 Days campaign in September 2012.  The campaign supported the Half the Sky movement, based on the book by the same name.  The movement focuses on sex trafficking, sexual violence, and female education.

10. Alek Wek, Sudanese, Supermodel

Alex Wek is a supermodel, fashion designer, and political activist.  Wek fled Sudan at the age of 14 to escape the civil war. She moved to London, England with her parents and eight siblings and was later discovered at an outdoor market.  Ford Models, one of the world’s top modeling agencies, signed her in 1996.  By 1997, she was the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle magazine.  Wek continues to model but is also a member of the U.S. Committee for Refugees’ Advisory Council.  Wek works with World Vision to combat AIDS.  She is also an ambassador for Doctors Without Borders in Sudan.  She belongs to the Dinka ethnic group

– Whitney M. Wyszynski

Source: Forbes