Eritrean journalist & human rights activist Meron Estefanos and Kenyan inventor & mechanical engineer Kamau Gachigi are in the list of TEDGlobal 2017 African Speakers.

By Torera Idowu (CNN) |

TEDGlobal has released a preview list of speakers for its four day conference in Arusha, Tanzania this August, the first conference on the continent for a decade.

Details of more speakers will be released next month.

According to curator Emeka Okafor the Africans on this list have “fresh, unique perspectives in their initiatives, pronouncements and work.”

Okafor says the aim of the conference is to unite a large group with genuine interest in improving the continent. He added that he hopes the speakers will spark global discussions around the need to find solutions from within Africa and the diaspora.

Here are some of the African speakers on the preview list:

Kamau Gachigi, Maker — Kenya

Kamau Gachigi is the executive director of Gearbox, Kenya’s first open maker space for rapid prototyping. With Gearbox, Gachigi empowers Kenya’s next generation of creators to build sustainable solutions to the challenges in Africa.

He was also responsible for manufacturing and prototyping tools in 2009 whilst heading the University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park.

Oshiorenoya Agabi, Computational neuroscientist — Nigeria

When Oshiorenoya Agabi started Koniku his plan was to build a device capable of thinking like a human in two to five years.He is working to integrate biological neurons and silicon computer chips to build computers that can think like humans.

“Faster, cleverer computer chips are key to solving the next big batch of computing problems, like particle detection or sophisticated climate modeling — and to get there, we need to move beyond the limitations of silicon” Agabi said.

Natsai Audrey Chieza, Design researcher — Zimbabwe

Natsai Audrey Chieza is the founder and creative director of Faber Futures, a creative R&D studio that redefines technology and biodesign. Chieza’s work as a design researcher crosses boundaries between technology, biology, design and cultural studies.

Whilst at University College London, she created a design led microbiology protocol that replaces synthetic pigments with natural dyes excreted by bacteria to produce silk scarves dyed in different hues. Her creation is helping to reprogram the system of fashion and textile production especially in cases of resource scarcity, source and cultural particularity.

Continue reading this story at CNN
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