Dear GKD Members,

Its been a while since this was originally posted but in relation to
current discussions, I wanted to add this response to the original
comments by Femi Oyesanya.

The comments relate to the Interesting parallel between this Nigerian
government proposal and the Unity Center
<> concept that we
have developed through OVF, explaining how if it was done a little
differently, the Nigerians might just be able to pull it off.

These comments also relate to the recent post I made in relation to
Walter Rostow's Stages to Take-off.


On 12/03/2004, Femi Oyesanya <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> A recent Nigerian Newspaper article cited the Nigerian Minister of the
> Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasir El-Rufai, as saying that the
> Nigerian Government has given the approval for the building of a
> Technology Village. Nigeria will be building its own Silicon Valley on a
> 650 hectare property, located in a suburb of the Federal Capital city,
> Abuja.
> The Newspaper article quoted El-Rufai as saying, "we want to create a
> city of knowledge in Abuja. And on the way to the airport, we have got
> about 650 hectares of land we have reserved out of the Abuja
> master-plan. What we hope to do with the technology village, which is
> going to cost us between $300 to $400 million is to have the highest
> quality infrastructure attracting the best brains in information and
> bio-technology, pharmaceutical and Information Technology (IT) research
> to work in Abuja." (1)


Silicon Valley Story

The determination of such a center's success is not so much the
technology or the planning but the building of a framework of governance
from which financial, technological and social infrastructure can emerge
in a climate of trust and transparency.

Such a realization of a grand vision, necessarily involves the social
and cultural components of storytelling and myth-making. Silicon Valley
at its essence is a replaying of the modern American mythology of rugged
individualism. The story of Apple Computer being started in Steve Jobs'
garage is repeated again and again, so that it has become the classic
Silicon Valley success story. It is the story of hard working, highly
intelligent people who identify innovations and know how to make them
happen by working with other, often underappreciated innovators.

Ironically, though, the very necessary ingredients which led to America's
Silicon Valley success (and its overall success in modern times) are
being weakened from the pressures of a ruling class that eshews
accountability and transparency.


Pre-conditions to Take-off:

1. Such a center would ideally be organized to avoid any of the
transparency and corruption issues that plaque Nigerian civil society.
In this way it could be a model for a more decentralized model of
governance as an alternative to the nation-state model and therefore
putting Africa on the leading edge of post-industrial development.

2. Rather than seek to create one massive center it might be more
realistic to develop several prototype nodes that could experiment with
leading ICT as well as other leading sector innovations and then
integrate them to create new models of living that are suitable for
emerging markets. These nodes would be designed to be rapidly replicated
into surrounding regions, eventually forming a decentralized,
distributed grid that would facilitate sustainable commerce. This would
include communications, food production, consulting as well as ICT
related services.

3. Emphasis would be on an open source, community scaled and ICT
augmented development paradigm rather than a top-down proprietary model
that reinforces elite-periphery dynamics.


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