Josh Goldstein Becomes First Appfrica Fellow

In An African Minute

Josh Goldstien, blogger, activist, former Googler and Tufts University alumni has joined Appfrica Labs as our very first fellow! When I announced the Appfrica Fellows program earlier this year, I thought it would take some time to convince someone to participate. After all, who wants to come to Uganda to work as a software developer? It turns out, a lot of people do as my inbox was immediately with applications and information requests. Of course, it’s not possible for everyone to participate. There’s a signifgant cost to getting here, as Appfrica can’t afford to pay for transportation to the continent. Still, to know that such support is out there is great!

For those who don’t know about the Appfrica Fellows program, the idea was very much inspired by GeekCORP which I don’t beleive is active any longer. I thought their mission was brilliant, knowledge-sharing opportunities and field experience in developing countries for software developers and other tech people is very rare. Likewise the barriers to entry are high. We offer people the opportunity to gain such experience while making local wages and working alongside Ugandan software developers as peers. Although, I really value volunteerism, I’m idealistic about paying people for their time and I think it’s important for foreigners to experience sort of the capital contraints of working on a local wage.

Although the call was for developers, Josh was one of the people who insisted on being involved regardess. Because I’ve admired his work for a long time (his blog In An African Minute is fantastic) and since he happened to be here in Kampala for the next few months, it only made sense to allow him to participate! His official title while working at Appfrica Labs is Head of Business Development for (an Appfrica startup that recently received investment capital). However, being the proactive person that he is, he’s also been working on business development across our various startups including and Appfrica Labs itself.

From his personal bio:

Hi, my name is Josh Goldstein, a 2009 masters candidate at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. I’m primarily interested in how the Internet and mobile phones can lower the cost of moving ideas and capital in Africa and around the world.

I tackle this challenge through work in the private sector and through writing. On the former, I’ve worked with Google Inc. on shaping public policy in Africa. On the latter, I work with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, exploring the role of digital institutions in promoting entreprenuership in the developing world. Before graduate school, I worked with USAID in Uganda.

My writing on these subjects has appeared in Princeton’s Journal for Public and International Affairs, Harvard’s Berkman Center Working Paper Series and the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs. I blog here and at Harvard’s IDBlog, Google’s Africa Blog and Global Voices Online.

I’ve been a fan of Josh ever since he introduced himself to me at Barcamp Africa where he went way out of his way to allow me and David Kobia (of Ushahidi) to have a beer and eat some pancakes with Google’s Andrew McLaughlin. I’m excited to have him on board and everyone at Appfrica Labs is now proud to call him family!

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About the author: Jonathan Gosier is a UI designer, software developer and writer. He currently lives in Kampala, Uganda where he incubates and invests in East African entrepreneurs as the CEO of Appfrica Labs. He's also a TED Fellow.
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