Cell phones and smart phones are rapidly transforming the societies in Africa. Many of these are skipping right past the land line phase and heading straight into the mobile era.
Cell phones are pervasive in the region. In 2002, roughly one-in-ten owned a mobile phone in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. Since then, cell phone ownership has grown exponentially. Today, cell phones are as common in South Africa and Nigeria as they are in the United States. Smartphones (those that can access the internet and applications) are less widely used, though significant minorities own these devices in several nations, including 34% of South Africans.
Wow. So what are they using these phones for?
Among cell phone owners in Africa, the most popular activity is sending text messages. Overall, a median of 80% of mobile phone owners across the seven sub-Saharan countries surveyed say they do this with their phones. This includes 95% in South Africa and 92% in Tanzania. In all the countries, at least half of cell phone owners say they send text messages with their devices.
The second most popular activity is taking pictures or videos.
Sounds like how we use the phones in the “developed” world right? Do you know what I see here? A vast amount of people who want to learn. We can’t afford to spend the same amount per pupil that the US does so it will drive innovation to create content cheaply. Therefore, I think we will see more automated schooling for Africa. Combine this with real time language translation and you can start educating the rest of the world.
If nobody in the western world does it, somebody in Africa will. Nature abhors a vacuum.