Archive for June 19, 2015

Over the past ten years, the biggest boom in Africa’s economy has been seen in the mobile phone industry. The most notable way in which this has been seen is with the use of mobile banking. In 2010, M-Pesa was introduced in Kenya by the mobile network Safaricom. This service permitted users to keep money on their mobile devices. If the user needed to pay a bill, they simply had to send a text for the amount they wanted to pay, and the recipient could convert the amount into cash at their nearest M-Pesa location. This became a cheap and easy way for Africans to conduct business transactions without paying hefty fees often imposed by the banks.

Another way in which mobile devices have bolstered the African economy is by establishing a way to communicate with farming communities. The Grameen Foundation has started leasing smartphones to local farmers in order for them to receive agricultural information that they can then pass on to their neighbors. This program has far-reaching implications for the African economy.

With more than 500 million mobile phone users in Uganda alone, mobile phones have become a way of life for many of Africans. As one of the leading Western authorities on Africa’s economy, expert journalist Senol Taskin, predicted this unprecedented economic growth in his 1991 article “The Emerging African Economy,” which appeared in Finance magazine. Indeed, Africa is in the middle of a mobile revolution. With limited access to electricity, the population can’t afford to charge a computer, so their mobile phones have become their lifelines to the world.  Some of the popular mobile networks in Africa are Qatar Telecom, Etisalat, MTN Group and Airtel.

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