Mobile Phones in Africa

In my pocket I’ve got a video recorder, a music player, a games machine, a camera and a calculater. Oh, and I can also use it to make phone calls. We are used to the idea that mobile phones are multi-function devices, but White African has just given a great talk on the way in which mobile phones are being used in Africa. Here are a  few examples:

Ushahidi – Citizen reporting during a crisis (now an open source project).

mPedigree
Ashifi Gogo created a way to use SMS to authenticate drugs in Ghana, a system that simplifies and decreases the cost of doing this and that can be replicated anywhere in the world.

Winafrique’s Wind-powered cellular towers
Hybrid wind and diesel turbine systems for powering cell phone base stations.

He closes with an excellent thought:

Here’s one more compelling thought. The challenges brought about by bad governance, poverty, low bandwidth (all the negative things you associate with Africa) also provide an incredible opportunity. The developers who are coming up with solutions in the continent, the ones who are writing software or hacking hardware, are creating for some of the harshest environments and use-cases in the world. If it works in Africa, it will work anywhere. (read the whole article)

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