Global Observer

Infographic: Mobile phone growth transforms Africa

Posting in Technology

JOHANNESBURG -- The people at Johannesburg-based Praekelt put together a video illustrating some of the mobile technology trends that are transforming Africa.

JOHANNESBURG--It's no secret that mobile technology is a driving force behind development across Africa. The people at Johannesburg-based Praekelt put together a wonderful video illustrating some of the trends that are transforming a continent.

There are more than 450 million mobile phones in Africa, almost one for every two people here. This has increased dramatically since 1994, when mobile penetration in Africa was basically nonexistent.

The motiongraphic does an incredible job breaking down an extremely complex story--that of the impact mobile phones have had across 54 countries--into one of individual tales and telling anecdotes. "There are more mobile phones in Uganda than there are lightbulbs," the narrator says before deeming the current crop of young Africans the "mobile generation."

Founded in 2007, Praekelt has developed a number of mobile applications that are used by millions and aimed specifically at emerging markets. They see the mobile phone as a tool that can open up large swaths of rural Africa. Praekelt argues:

Extreme poverty almost always goes hand in hand with extreme isolation, but mobile technologies and services have the capacity to end all forms of extreme isolation, becoming the most transformative technology of economic and social development.

One of their products, TxtAlert, helps notify HIV-positive users when to take their antiretrovirals, lets patients know about scheduled visits to their clinic and even allows patients to reschedule appointments without needing to buy airtime on the pay-as-you-go phones that are popular with many Africans.

H/T White African

Dave Mayers

Correspondent, Johannesburg

Correspondent, Johannesburg Dave Mayers has written for The New York Times, the Financial Times, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the World Picture Network. He has taught multimedia journalism at Wits University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He holds degrees from St. John's University and Columbia. He is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure