Africa’s Smart Mob fastest-growing
October 6th, 2009

Today the New York Times reports on the busy present and fast-emerging smart mob: In Rural Africa, a Fertile Market for Mobile Phones:

Africa has the fastest-growing mobile phone market worldwide. Entrepreneurs and development organizations are eagerly seizing the opportunity presented by such growth. They are creating mobile phone applications for profitable and nonprofit ventures across the continent. Millions of Africans, for example, now use their mobile phones to transfer money, turn on water wells, learn soccer game scores and buy and sell goods.

The penetration of the mobile phone is far greater than that of the Internet in Africa, especially in rural areas, making it the most accessible communication tool, said Jon Gossier, founder and president of Appfrica, a technology company with headquarters in Uganda.

The recent completion of the first of several planned undersea cables connecting East Africa to broadband Internet has raised hopes that high-speed Web access will increase here. But Mr. Gossier said he expected mobile-phone messaging applications would be needed for several more years. The development of useful, local Web content will lag after falling Internet prices, which will quite likely take longer than a year, he said.

“I don’t think the development being done now for mobile phones is going to stop,” Mr. Gossier said, “but I think we’ll see a whole new generation of applications coming out of Africa, including mobile applications that utilize the Web.” . . .

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