Why technology is key to Africa's future | Feature Article 2015-02-05. Feature Article of Thursday, 5 February 2015 Columnist: Kende-Robb, Caroline When talk turns to technology trends at this year's World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, it should also turn to Africa – because that's where some of the world's cutting-edge innovation is happening right now. Africa's embrace of technology turns two common assumptions inside out – that tech breakthroughs happen in rich countries, and that Africa needs basic services before it can use high-tech solutions. What Africa's start-ups are doing is using technology to build those basic services – and a whole lot more. In Africa, as nowhere else in the world, technology is improving people's lives – especially mobile services and applications.
Take Ushahidi, for example. iHub has incubated 150 tech startups and created more than 1,000 jobs. Many of these systems struggle to bridge glaring gaps in existing services. One hurdle that technology innovation faces in Africa is the lack of power. Africa’s Tech Edge - Dayo Olopade. How the continent's many obstacles, from widespread poverty to failed states, allowed African entrepreneurs to beat the West at reinventing money for the mobile age It’s a painfully First World problem: Splitting dinner with friends, we do the dance of the seven credit cards. No one, it seems, carries cash anymore, so we blunder through the inconvenience that comes with our dependence on plastic. Just as often, I encounter a street vendor or taxi driver who can’t handle my proffered card and am left shaking out my pockets and purse. When I returned to the United States after living in Nairobi on and off for two years, these antiquated payment ordeals were especially frustrating.
As I never tire of explaining to friends, in Kenya I could pay for nearly everything with a few taps on my cellphone. Every few weeks, I’d pull cash out of my American bank account and hand it to a contemplative young man stationed outside my local greengrocer. M-Pesa isn’t the first mobile-money service. Watch out M-Pesa, Equity Bank wants to transform mobile money in Kenya | Global Development Professionals Network. Kenya is a regional leader in access and use of financial services, with 77% of the population living within 5km of a commercial bank or mobile money agent, according to a recent report published by Kenya Financial Sector Deepening. Of the total number of financial access points, “mobile money agents represent 75%”, a statistic partly explained by the success of M-Pesa. The pioneering mobile-based money transfer service, launched in Kenya in 2007 by telecomms company Safaricom, has become internationally renowned.
Today 15 million subscribers use the service, transacting daily amounts estimated to be close to 60% of Kenya’s GDP. But competition is coming. In April, the Communications Commission of Kenya licensed three new Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). The move clearly has business implications for Kenya’s mobile money market. There is clear evidence that Equity Bank is already playing an important role in deepening access to financial services in Kenya. Africa's mobile economic revolution | Technology | The Observer. Earlier this month, on a short bus ride through the centre of Kampala, I decided to carry out an informal survey.
Passing through the Ugandan capital's colourful and chaotic streets, I would attempt to count the signs of the use of mobile phones in evidence around me. These included phone shops and kiosks, street-corner airtime vendors and giant billboard ads, as well as people actually using their mobile phones: a girl in school uniform writing a text message as she hurried along the street, a businessman calmly making a call from the back of a motorcycle taxi swerving through heavy rush-hour traffic. Not only were half of the passengers on my bus occupied with their handsets, our driver was too, thumbing at his keypad as he ferried us to our final destination. After five minutes, I lost count and retired with a sore neck. There was more evidence here than I could put a number on. The most dramatic example of this is mobile banking. There are other, more fundamental challenges. Ten innovations changing Africa – Portland.
Cellphones ignite a 'reading revolution' in poor countries. Toby Shapshak: You don't need an app for that | Talk Video. Fix That Fits: What is the Right Evaluation for Social Innovation? Does microcredit reduce poverty? Do laptops in schools improve student learning? If you believe in Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) as the only way to evaluate an intervention, the answers to the questions are: No and No. In 2009, researchers from the Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) worked with an Indian microfinance firm to ensure that 52 randomly chosen slums in the city of Hyderabad were given access to microfinance, while 52 other slums, which were equally suitable and where the lender was also keen to expand, were denied it.
The study found that there was no effect on average household consumption (a proxy for income), at least within 12-to-18 months of the experiment. Earlier this year, a group of researchers from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) conducted a randomised evaluation of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) programme, using data collected after 15 months of implementation in 319 primary schools in rural Peru.
Mobile phones transform Malawi farmers. By BiztechAfrica - Aug. 14, 2013, 7:21 p.m. Image: By Esoko By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is still fascinated by the story of Sara Maunda, a Malawian village farmer who lives in Dowa, 38-kilometres away from Capital City Lilongwe, whose life was completely transformed when she embraced modern cellular communication technology. During an opening ceremony of Umodzi Consulting –Esoko stakeholders’ forum in Lilongwe last week, agricultural officer for USAID Mathews Raboin once again referred to Maunda, whose life changed in June 2011 when she started using a cell phone to get prices for commodities.
In June 2011 a grain trader arrived at Sara’s gate offering her K30 per kilo for her shelled groundnuts, but she refused because she had by then received information the previous day that the price of groundnuts was K120 per kilogramme in Lilongwe Raboin described Esoko as a tool that costs relatively little. Tags esokofarmingmalawi. Digital Provide: From Good to Gold. DIGITAL PROVIDE. 5 major trends anyone in the African tech space should be aware of. The African tech scene is changing. Some of that change is positive, whilst some of it is negative. However, this is all part of how an ecosystem matures, so it’s good when you look at the bigger picture.
Here are some of the biggest trends I’ve noticed over the past year or so. 1. 2. 3. Added to that, it really feels like ecommerce is starting to gain a second wind as people start to realise that transacting online is safe, and much more convenient than making the trip to the local mall. 4. Over and above that, it feels like there is a real lack of execution on the ground (Can you point to any real execution?
5. Gareth Knight is the founder of Tech 4 Africa, one of the continent’s largest tech conferences. The main venue for Tech4Africa 2013, which is to be held from 9-10 October, is the Focus Rooms, The Core, 1st Floor South, Cnr Kikuyu and Leeuwkop Streets, Sunninghill, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.