For those who missed it or haven’t quite grasped the concept yet, Editions Lifestyle gives an overview of the significance and growing movement of digital technology in the Black digital sector. Afrotech was founded in Oakland California by Black tech experts for the huge Black digital industry which is relevant in almost every area of our lives today and following the demand and success of the recent Afrotech Fest in London as well as a series of other events, the market and its needs just keep on growing.
The Growing Movement of Afro-Tech
By Serena Lee
The Afro tech momentum is innovating and developing established initiatives to drive future growth and expansion as valuable contributors to the global tech scene.
As a general term ‘Afro tech’ describes an expanding group of initiatives dedicated to boosting and encouraging black tech professionals. Growing attention to the lack of minorities in the industry is apparent, with organisations encouraging minorities to enter into this field, such as Women in Tech, Code First for Girls, Coding Black Females and the WISE Campaign. In addition, ethnic minority groups are establishing media tech forums like People of Colour in Tech, UK Black in Tech, The Tech Connoisseur, and Coders of Colour, highlighting the current achievement of minorities within the sphere of technology.
The Tech sector is growing immensely. As we rely more on technology to communicate and for business, the need for talent grows. The technology sector has a lack of diversity. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector lack representation from women, disabled people and people from minority ethnic backgrounds. The employment figures at tech giant Google reflect this tract, almost 90% overall are white or Asian, 2.5% are Black and 3.6% Latin American (Google Diversity Figures 2018).
“It’s critical that black people are literate in tech and we reduce the digital divide” Morgan Debaun
The US AfroTech conference is held once a year in California, with aims to help black tech professionals network with some of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley – the U.S. centre for innovative technology companies, the home of Facebook, Apple and Google. Afrotech is a groundbreaking, revolutionary experience for Black techies, start-ups and entrepreneurs. “It is critical that black people are literate in tech and that we reduce the digital divide,” said Morgan Debaun, co-founder of Afrotech. AfroTech boasts over 10,000 visitors per year with tech founders, entrepreneurs and engineers sharing culture, innovation and new technological trends. Each year tech companies Microsoft, Amazon, Qualcomm and many more leading names showcase and look to recruit potential candidates.
The British initiative Afrotech Fest is a tech festival by and for Black people of African and Caribbean heritage. Since 2018 it takes place in April each year. Afrotech Fest describes itself as ‘for us by us’, an initiative seeking to create intentional and alternative spaces within the tech scene. Their mission, “Afrotech Fest asks all attendees to commit to creating safer spaces. Spaces that make the festival as accessible and comfortable as possible, and that foster compassionate innovation. Spaces where people different experiences, backgrounds and bodies feel not only included but centred.” They highlight and showcase speakers across different disciplines, experiences and backgrounds. The festival offers interactive events across multiple venue spaces, including talks, workshops, and an opening night party.
These initiatives are a response to the underrepresentation of black people in the tech industry – especially those who are marginalised in additional ways. AfroTech, Afrotech Fest and others are creating intentional diverse spaces, panels, conferences, books, podcasts, festivals and so much more for a more inclusive digital age.
Caption main photo: Conde Nast recently hosted a Black tech event “Coding Black Females”