Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Africa goes mobile

Cell phones have made it to Africa. They are now the fastest growing mobile market worldwide. Never before have they had access to the Internet or fast communication such as this, but now they are able to google text questions about diseases on their crops and document the growth of their economy. Mobile companies are making applications that are specifically agriculture related to design their product to the new customer. Some such applications include transferring money or turning on a water pump. The first successful planting of planned undersea Internet cables connecting East Africa to Internet is a step towards fast speed Internet for them. Its going to take a couple years with this economy, but this is a big step for Africa that isn't going to die soon. So far the leading African Mobile company has teamed with Grameen, a NGO geared towards reducing poverty through micro financing. The two are making applications that will benefit the residents of rural Africa. One applications helps detect disease in banana plants, which cover over 40% of Uganda. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of money lost each year due to disease, which is near $200 million. Its better to prevent a problem than cure it, and hopefully this new access to fast communication will help them do that.

-Sara Frodge