TEDGlobal will return to Africa in 2017

TED announced Africa as the location for its 2017 TEDGlobal event. The international conference, titled “Builders. Truth-tellers. Catalysts”, will be held in Arusha, Tanzania with four days of speakers, workshops, and entertainment from August 27-30.

TED producers will look to “challenge the prevailing wisdom, even for how people within Africa see the continent,” said Emeka Okafor, a co-curator of TEDGlobal 2017.

They’ll aim to avoid “tired themes and look to things that have a freshness to them,” while focusing on the continent’s “immense challenges” and those who offer “ways to solve those problems,” Okafor told TechCrunch on a call.

The 2017 Tanzania event will host around 800 participants, an undisclosed number of corporate partners, 40-50 speakers, and announce a new class of TED fellows. TED-speakers have not yet been named, but Okafor and the TED organization are developing a list of candidates that align with the “meta-themes and sub-themes” of the conference.

Keeping with TED’s roots, Okafor confirmed TEDGlobal 2017 will feature a strong tech focus. Overall, “We want to bring together ideas that are being championed by various organizations and individuals so that they can help become a catalyst for the continued development of the continent,” he said.

When it comes to TEDGlobal’s 2017 themes, perhaps the best example of the conference’s potentialto catalyze truth-tellers and builders is the first Africa event 10 years ago. On tech in particular, the 2007 affair brought together four individuals who would shape many hallmarks of Kenya’s Silicon Savannah.

Erik Hersman, Juliana Rotich, Ory Okolloh, and David Kobia all met at TEDGlobal. The four went on to create one of Africa’s first globally recognized apps, the Ushahidi crowdsourcing software, now the Ushahidi IT company. Working closely with Rotich, Hersman then founded Nairobi’s iHub innovation center, one of the continent’s most recognized incubators.

This led to the BRCK solar-powered mobile Wi-Fi device and Gearbox digital prototyping startup, both of which attracted Mark Zuckerberg’s attention on his recent Africa trip. After their 2007 TED talks, Hersman and Rotich became senior TED Fellows. Both will be involved in the planning for the 2017 Arusha conference.

“For techies, [the 2007 event] weaved us together, it inspired us and helped us create a network that reminded us that we can create, inspire, and open the door for others,” Rotich told TechCrunch.

“TEDGlobal 2017 comes at a time when many countries in Africa are at critical junctures. It is perhaps another jumping off point to jointly look at what challenges we have now as the continent grows,” she said.

More information on the conference, speakers, and how to attend will be forthcoming on TED’s event website.