With an estimated population of 1,013,779,050 people (2010 est.), the African continent constitutes approximately 14.8% of the world’s population. With such enormous numbers and vast repository of natural resources, one would expect the African continent to stand tall in economic and political developments as well as other facets of human endeavor. However, statistics on majority of countries on the continent reveals that illiteracy,infant mortality among others are still very high.
The industrial revolution was missed on the African continent; and there abound a good number of scholarly work that explain this. Check this: Why industrial revolution missed Africa. With oil, gas, timber, diamonds, gold, cocoa, cotton, bauxite among a host of other resources, Africa is home to some of the largest deposits of natural resources in the world. But the key question is: Has the exploitation of these resources, over the years, radically changed the economic situation of the African? Obviously Not! Indeed, Africa’s resources has helped promote civil wars and anarchy in some parts of the continent.
MOBILE TECHNOLOGY – A BEACON OF HOPE
Experts believe that although agriculture and natural resources will continue to be important drivers of Africa’s economic growth this year and beyond, it is the application of modern technologies that will have the most signiﬁcant impact on the growth trajectories of most African economies. The greatest opportunity for growth will come from technological innovation and the adoption of new technologies in services sectors, such as banking, insurance, health, education and agriculture. See more on Leapfrogging Development Through Technology Adoption
New opportunities are showing up that make it possible for low-income economies to leapfrog other countries by adopting technologies that are suitable to their speciﬁc circumstances. Those countries that embrace and invest in technology will be able to sustain growth and be competitive regionally and internationally in the coming years. The most striking advances in ICT have been in the use of mobile phone technology. Africa is now touted as the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market, as the number of mobile phone subscriptions increased from 16 million in 2000 to half a billion by 2010. One of the areas where technology has had a signiﬁcant impact on the lives of the poor is in mobile banking.
Some innovative uses of Mobile Technology has been championed in the following areas (in no particular order):
- Esoko – Market on your mobile Countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sudan, Ivory Coast
- M-PESA – Money transfer service. Countries: Kenya
- MoTeCH – A Mobile approach to community health care/ Countries: Ghana
- eTranzact – Mobile banking/
There are many more already in operation.
- Are African innovators ready to take advantage of the growth and popularity of mobile technology on the content?
- Are African educational setups recognizing and incorporating the mobile evolution into schools’ curricula?
- Are African leaders putting the needed legislature and policies in place to remove bottlenecks that may slow down or impede mobile innovation?
- Are the youth of Africa prepared to make the needed sacrifices to leave a legacy as the generation to put Africa at par (if not ahead) with the rest of the world in mobile technology innovation?
- Lastly, but not least, are Africans once more going to sit back and become lavish consumers of products and services generated on our own turf by foreign innovators?
Article submitted by Balika Edmond (Mobile technology enthusiast and a software developer)