Current Trends in the African Maker Movement

At the Maker Faire Africa 2012, where I exhibited RoboArm, I met Anna Waldman-Brown (MIT, Fulbright Fellow, Ghana Fab Lab), Bilal Ghalib (Global Entrepreneurship and Makerspace Initiative) and Juliet Wanyiri (Nairobi fab Lab, Ihub, Stanford Fablearn Fellow, now MIT) all of whom were doing important work related to the Maker Movement.

Subsequently, I discussed with Anna about evaluating the impacts of the maker movement in Africa on development. We reached out to Bilal and Juliet and they agreed to co-author.  In evaluating this we started out by researching entrepreneurship and activities in hubs and maker communities across Africa.

A questionnaire was developed evaluating the following metrics: type of organisation;  length and location of operation; mission; number of people; organisation activities, influence of external factors such as policy structures, infrastructure, and institutional provisions; attitude to patents; resultant companies and/or employment opportunities; resultant patents, designs, products or software applications and their possible commercial status.

The following images are from the questionnaire. We used different question formats including scales and check-boxes depending on the metric being evaluated.

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A Poster with results from seven respondents from four countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Kenya was presented at the Fab10, The 10th International Fab Lab Conference in July 2014 in Barcelona.

The Poster presented can be found here.

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