The new Google Baraza service which went live, I think, on October 25, presents itself as an attempt, in English and French, to improve knowledge sharing across Africa. I have already seen quite few African bloggers posting about it, for example l'actu web d'Edith (Côte d'Ivoire).

Excerpt from the site:

"One of the challenges for the Internet in Africa is that there is a lack of local content online. To help users in Africa enrich and shape the content about Africa, our engineers have created Google Baraza. Baraza, which means “taskforce” or “council” in Swahili, allows people in countries across Africa to share knowledge with each other by asking questions and posting answers.

A large number of questions that are typed into Google’s search engine by users are written as if they were talking to their friends. For example, “How can I write a movie script for Nollywood?” or “How does the stock exchange operate in Ghana?” or “What is the recipe for bitter leaf soup?” or “What is the best company for car insurance in Nairobi?” Unfortunately, many of these questions do not have good search results - the information is not online or it may be inaccurate. Many users have dozens of similar questions every day, but spend a lot of time looking for the answers. 

A few weeks ago, we opened up Google Baraza to a select group of users in Africa to test the new service. Since then, we’ve seen thousands of visits to the site, and tens of thousands of questions and answers submitted from almost every country in Sub Saharan Africa. "

I just took a look at the site and there is not much substantive content, yet.  But I will continue to keep an eye on it.

Does anybody know of similar initiatives or do you have an opinion about how this service could be piggybacked for better knowledge for development?

Best wishes,
John

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