Coding in Country

A fast paced question and answer session with Chinedu Okonkwo, software engineer.

chinedu_phoneWhat do you work on at Esoko?

I work on the API (Application Programing Interface) of Esoko. The back end of the application. I mostly code in PHP & PL/SQL.

What led you to software development? 

First and foremost, I’ve always had an interest in creating things–programming and computing let you make things happen in real time and you can see them happen right in front of you. I can bring things to life this way. It also feeds a hero’s complex….I’m hoping that what I make can solve some of the problems I see around me.

Does it matter if software is made in Africa or in the West? What’s the difference?

I believe that there are cultural dynamics between Africa and the West that are largely different. One example of this is that African culture is more passive, so your software has to assume that and be the active part for it to be effective. Esoko fits into this with with price alerts and bulk SMS – ‘push’ elements are super important. Reaching out to a user instead of a user reaching into the system.

We as Africans tend to go our of our ways sometimes to just copy the West, and it’s much more interesting to use the same coding languages as the West but built things here, according to local needs.

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Local Needs, Local Development

By Kwesi Acquah, Esoko Communications Officer

team esoko

Esoko, 2011, Accra.

The mere mention of technology brings to mind names like Berlin, Singapore, Basel, Bangalore and the famous Silicon Valley, to name but a few. Most of the world’s best technologies were conceived and brought forth in one of these hubs, and quite obviously the consumption of these technologies has also not been limited to only these areas or the countries in which they were developed.

Developing countries like Ghana have benefited immensely from technology transfer from these tech hubs. We use technology to help organize our lives, have fun, be inspired, communicate, and it has become a definitive part of life in our cities.  In rural communities, mobile rates are rising so quickly that no one can keep track. Without even needing statistics, the fact that most of our grandmothers have called us on a mobile phone tells the story of change.

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