On Friday and mostly on Saturday, April 13-14, 2012, Columbia University's School of International Policy held the 9th Annual African Economic Forum. Nick Tattersall, Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism at Columbia University, introduced t he first keynote speaker: Sanusi Lamido Sanusi , Governor of Nigeria's Central Bank. Mr. Sanusi hails from Northern Nigeria; on Wikipedia , he is called "Mallam" (" learned " or "teacher," from the Arabic language), as he is also an Islamic scholar---probably a rarity in the banking world! He spoke softly (a little too softly for some of us, as the microphones were not working too well on the first day of the Forum) and couched his words carefully; however, his goals for Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular were quite clear: self-sufficiency leading to prosperity, and independence from foreign economic interests. I cannot, of course, provide here the full speech; howev
Ayse, Bibi, and daughters Bibi Seck is an industrial and product designer of Senegalese and Martiniquais descent, introduced from afar by Fatimata Ly, a Senegalese ceramics designer I wrote about last year. As a matter of fact, I had been hearing about him and his spouse, Ayse Birsel, for a while already: the New York African design community is not that large, and especially an African married to a fellow Middle Easterner (Turks are Middle Easterners as well as Europeans, with literally a foot in both worlds; and of course we had the Ottoman Empire for six centuries!). Moroso-M'Afrique collection Bibi’s stools, made in Senegal, of recycled plastic, are currently exhibited at the Museum of Art and Design’s Global Africa show. I interviewed him last week to find out what his path had been to this point. Bibi was raised between Europe and Senegal.He had planned on studying architecture at first, but then found his true vocation in Industrial Design at the Ec
In various parts of Africa, there are informal organizations, called "tontine," in French-speaking Cameroon. I looked up “tontine” in the English-language Wikipedia , and the definition is not the same; however, there is a link to the word “ likelamba ,” which describes the everyday African tontine. Two types of tontines The usual system is that all the members of a tontine—usually tontines are all-male or all-female—contribute a set amount of money every month to a common “pot,” and every month a different person takes the entire sum, usually to take care of a large expense they couldn't otherwise afford: tuition for a child, household equipment, etc. It is very difficult to save money in Sub-Saharan Africa for all but a fortunate few. Everyday needs are pressing, and there is never enough money; even if there is, a family member may have an urgent need, and there goes any money that was left over! In Cameroon, there is yet another tontine system, called the "