Africa Regional Media Hub
Conference Call on Aps4Africa
December 15, 2011
The United States is engaging with Africa’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and young leaders to address the challenge of climate change with the Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge Program. On Thursday, December 15th, Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Bruce Wharton and Founder of Appfrica and Senior TED Fellow Jon Gosier discussed this program with regional journalists via teleconference call.
The State Department is sponsoring Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge (http://www.apps4africa.org/), a series of three regional competitions to develop innovative, web-based and mobile technology solutions to local climate change challenges. These contests build on the outcomes of regional climate change adaptation workshops organized by the Adaptation Partnership, which includes the United States and more than 20 other countries. Apps4Africa targets young and entrepreneurial audiences and brings civil society, academic, and private sector organizations together with African technology innovators to develop applications that address local climate change adaptation challenges.
This program builds on the success of the 2010 Apps4Africa: Civic Challenge that ran in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Civil society groups and citizens challenged program developers to find innovative technological solutions to everyday problems on issues ranging from transparency and governance to health and education. The winning application – iCow - enables farmers to better manage breeding periods of their cows and monitor nutrition leading up to the calving day, helping farmers yield the most from their farms.
African innovators are taking control of their destiny, and making change from the bottom up. Are you interested in learning more about this program, and the innovators involved?
The winning applications were announced on December 7th at the U.S. Center at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Durban: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/12/178498.htm
September 15th Media Note: Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/09/172503.htm
About the Speakers
Bruce Wharton joined the Bureau of African Affairs in July 2009, and was promoted to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in 2010.
Prior to joining the Africa Bureau, Mr. Wharton served as Deputy Coordinator in the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (2007-2009). He has also worked as a senior-level career development officer in the Department’s Bureau of Human Resources (2006-2007), and was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala (2003-2006).
Mr. Wharton’s experience in Africa includes public diplomacy assignments in South Africa and Zimbabwe (1995-2003), and short assignments in Tanzania (1998 and 2000) and Nigeria (2000). He has also served in public diplomacy positions in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Washington, DC. Mr. Wharton entered the Foreign Service in 1985 and has received Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State and the U.S. Information Agency.
Mr. Wharton was born in Basel, Switzerland, and enjoyed a cross-cultural childhood Europe and Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin and speaks Spanish and German.
Mr. Wharton is married to Julia Stahlgren of Philadelphia, a theater director and teacher. The Whartons have three splendid children: Sarah, Samuel and Turner.
Jon Gosier coordinates and leads the Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge project. Jon is an entrepreneur, blogger, designer, TED Fellow and the co-Founder of metaLayer. He has a big passion for data science, journalism and disruptive technology. Prior to metaLayer, he founded the East African software development firm Appfrica. Later he worked with the open-source disaster response organization Ushahidi building an algorithm for verifying the accuracy of real-time information for which we won the Knight News Challenge. Jon was also a partner in the 2010 Apps4Africa contest.