Much of the western world has been hooked on mobile technology for many years, with the rise of smartphones clearly evident over the last decade or so. And whilst the uptake was often a little slow in Africa, the whole continent is starting to join in the craze.
In fact, a survey from Ding highlights how 54% of Ghanaians say they can’t live without their mobile phone. The study shows that 39% are using their phone for over 5 hours a day and for 57% is their primary way of accessing the Internet.
These are quite some statistics. But how is the whole of Africa embracing mobile and will there be a meteoric rise as seen throughout the rest of the world?
Impacting language barriers
It says a lot for the importance of mobile technology when it’s helping to break down language barriers in one of the most diverse parts of the world. Many languages are spoken in a single political territory and a lot of the time governments are unable to cater for everyone.
Mobile phones can be used to help bridge that gap. Translation tools offer a cost-effective way of accessing services in local languages and can be used to help tackle and solve a range of problems.
Develop educational possibilities
Similar to above, mobile technology (or the rise of it) is helping Africa to improve educational systems and offering greater opportunities to students. Again, it’s very much down to the ease of breaking down language barriers with talk to text tech helping to bring illiterate people into the digital fold.
However, as Translate Media highlight, there is still an issue in making sure this technology is accessible to all. Research in Uganda and Nigeria would suggest English speakers are more likely to own a mobile phone, with ownership amongst the younger male generation more common than older women.
Money on mobile
The capacity to carry out financial transactions on mobile is helping many communities that were in previously un-banked and under banked populations throughout the developing world.
According to VC4A, mobile money services are now available to some 2.5 billion people across the developing world and this is expected to increase a further 1.3 billion by 2020. Despite this, there’s a worry that around 40% of the population will still lack Internet access by the end of the decade.
Despite this, there’s a clear and obvious sign that mobile technology is helping to drive financial accessibility across Africa – something that is helping communities up and down the continent.
And this growth is expected to continue…
The significant growth in mobile across Africa is set to continue into the future and by 2020 the global economic value will reach $3.7 trillion. In Africa particularly, mobile tech will play a big role in addressing wider socio-economic issues across the continent – helping to drive infrastructure, employment and market economies. It will also play a part in aiding both the education and healthcare systems, creating accessible environments for all.