All eyes are on Kenya this week, as the nation awaits the results of an historic election. As such, this week we’re reporting on the progress we’ve seen in Kenya and across sub-Saharan Africa and how this election is different from the last.
“#KenyaDecides – Reflections from a Regional Fellow” by Rachel Gichinga on Acumen Fund Blog
Rachel, an Acumen Fund fellow and Kenyan national, writes from the ground in Nairobi. She, along with 86% of the registered voters in Kenya, cast her ballot this week for a candidate to take the country though the next five years. The next five years promise huge advances as The Economist describes below, just as we’ve seen since 2007. No matter the turnout of the election, this week Kenya has shown a love for elections and pride in their constitutional rights.
“A hopeful continent” on The Economist
This week, The Economist ran a special report on sub-Saharan Africa: Emerging Africa. It focuses on the improvements we’ve seen across the continent over the last ten years, and what we can expect to see over the next ten. Notably, GDP is rising on average at 6% per year, and we’ve seen an increase in per capita income as well. By now, we’re familiar with the revolution of mobile technology and the African tech start-up as well. Some other changes, which are on the main stage this week in Kenya, include a decline in violence and an increase in political activism.
“Uchaguzi: Full-Circle on Kenya’s Election” by Erik Hersman on White African
The well-respected Ushahidi platform was born out of the 2007 Kenyan elections. This time around, according to Erik Hersman, the Ushahidi team is proactively prepared. The Uchaguzi project is a Ushahidi deployment designed specifically to monitor the 2013 Kenyan general election. The goal is to provide a transparent platform to ensure that the election is fair, peaceful, and creditable. Anyone can text in or tweet messages to the system, meaning that the nation is crowdsourcing grassroots updates in real time. Check out the White African blog for more information on how it works, and check out the website to find out what’s happening on the ground in Kenya in real time.
“#kenyadecides hashtag mentioned 55,000+ times on election day” on oAfrica
We saw another sign of progress this past week on Twitter. With a huge turnout at the polls, the voters took to Twitter to discuss the election, expressing excitement, concerns, and Kenyan pride. This is a huge change from the last election, and with platforms like Uchaguzi, has contributed to a grassroots effort in transparency.