Born and bred in Cote d’Ivoire and sheer Panafrican, at 33, Edith Brou is one of the most remarkable influencers in the digital world. Blogger and «Africtivist», this passionate writer and new technologies fan uses these weapons to change mentalities.
Her strength: the social networks that it uses with intelligence. «I became a blogger in 2009 after discovering the Eric Dupin and Israel Yoruba’s blogs. Their example inspired me. » A social activist in NGOs like Akendewa (of which she is a founding member), she takes advantage of her status and international statute to launch, in 2011, Ayana, the 1st female webzine she co-founded with a high school friend, Amie Kouame. Success is immediate! But, far from being satisfied, she became chairperson of Côte d’Ivoire Bloggers’ Association (ABCI) and member of the network of «Africtivists», a civil society that acts as a social watchdog on the continent. Highly active, she created Africa Contents Group, a group of digital media whose «buzzyAfrica.com», an entertainment site, is the bridgehead. A kind of «Buzzfeed» or «HuffPost» African version, with nearly 10,000 visitors a day.
« I like creating, exploring possibilities, taking risks. It is exciting. »
With such ease, it was difficult to believe that, as a child, she was « terribly shy ». Fan of video games, Edith Brou took refuge in a virtual world. Before reconciling, today the virtual and the real. « When I started working as a trainee in an audiovisual production company, my first passion, I understood early on that I wanted to work in the business world. Gradually, I led teams of men. At that moment, and out of necessity, I began to open up. And my shyness disappeared. Today, I like creating, exploring possibilities, taking risks. It is exciting ».
Like her generation, connected, ambitious, innovative, Edith Brou wants to influence the future of her country, but out of classical patterns and the traditional political space. « I belong to a generation that has experienced the transition between the time of Houphouet-Boigny and the multiparty system. We know the worst as the best. The arrival of the Internet made it possible to put our situation into perspective and to provide solutions for the well-being of the population. In my opinion, these solutions must change the mentalities by intervening at the grass-root level and in particular, with the children. »
« Investing in youth must be win-win »
Her new challenge, precisely, is about the initiation to the NTIC (new technologies of the information and the communication), and more particularly to the learning of the coding by children. « The goal is to teach 5-15 year olds to manipulate computer hardware and develop their own program. The younger generation will have to domesticate these tools to avoid dropping out. And I do not doubt that it is making it! My two year old son already knew how to unlock my phone. How then to train them to be the engineers of tomorrow? Investing in youth must be win-win. So today, we either ghettoize it, or we manipulate it to make activists or senseless consumers. Businesses and politicians must give back to young people what they are entitled to. »
Edith Brou TV
« Africa will be digital or will not! »
Edith Brou does not intend to serve as a «product» but wishes to build her future and impact her environment. « I know where I want to go … This country just has to go through the bottleneck of 2020 (election year in Côte d’Ivoire). If we get beyond that point, everything will be fine. »
Meanwhile, she sees, and contributes enthusiastically, to the digital revolution taking place on the continent. « 50% of the African population is under 25 and youth always rhymes with innovation. For more than a decade, a driving and passionate energy, like a steamroller, has led the digital revolution in all sectors of activity on the continent. From 4,514,400 users in 2000, the African continent has witnessed an increase to reach 345,676,501 in 2017 (figures from Worldstats Internet), these statistics show a huge change in habits, and maturity of the African market. This digital revolution is embodied in the proliferation of start-ups that offer innovative solutions that make life easier for African populations. The mobile industry has already transformed the societies and economies of sub-Saharan Africa, but there is still room for more growth and innovation if the right conditions are met. Africa will be digital or will not! ».