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Thoughts about the African Revolution
 

Thoughts about the African Revolution

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How Information technology is re-inventing Africa

How Information technology is re-inventing Africa

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    Thoughts about the African Revolution Thoughts about the African Revolution Document Transcript

    • 2013 Thoughts about the new African Revolution How Technology is re-inventing Africa Emeka Okoye
    • 2 | P a g e Introduction These are a summary of my thoughts on the effects of Mobile technology and Social Media in Africa. Part of this post was used for an article I submitted to CNN Marketplace Africa as part of my nomination for Africa’s Tech Leaders to follow on Twitter in 2012. Africa before the Mobile era (Africa 1.0, Africa 2.0) Africa has always been about rapid population growth, food shortages, low literacy level, climate changes, poor governance and corruption, rampaging poverty before the arrival of mobile phones. The Power of Mobile The power of the mobile telephony is forging a new era in Africa where these challenges like poverty are now inspirational to the efficient use of resources with solutions that the developed world can learn from. Mobile phones have become accessible to Africans at a staggering rate over the past decade. In 1998 there were less than 4 million phones, today there are over 600 millions. Most Africans would buy a mobile phone before a computer because they are very expensive thus the technology culture took a different path than the west. This has made developers to be more resourceful and innovative. Mobile penetration has exceeded infrastructure development like roads, electricity and the internet. Mobile Technology carries huge economic potential and is unlocking Africa’s potential to transform. In every additional 10 phones per 100 people the GDP increases by 0.8%. Mobile as a Gift for Social Development These ubiquitous devices are not for communication only but they are a way of life. They have integrated into our lifestyles and culture. The mobile phones are being used also for movement of money and the spread of vital information about farming, healthcare and many more. Some of these innovations have been conceived by low-income users themselves, to meet their everyday needs. These innovations are being developed with little or no resources. The Africa 3.0 African developers like me are creating mobile-based applications that are solving problems in our community. These mobile applications are turning mobile phones into a platform of services which
    • 3 | P a g e solve Africa’s development challenges. These solutions are gaining traction in Africa because they are being built around people's needs, desires, culture, behaviour and challenges. Reducing Poverty with Mobile Money (Money 3.0) A good example is Mobile Money which allows users store money on their phones. It is cheap and easy to use especially for those with no access to banking services. Mobile money is stopping the rural to urban drifts, empowering the have-nots (and women) to start small-scale enterprises which is creating wealth, employment opportunities and contributing to the development of the continent. Reducing Hunger and Increasing Growth with Mobile Agriculture Another example is Mobile Agriculture which addresses challenges of growing and bringing the crops to the market. At Next2 (http://next2.us), we are developing mobile-based solutions that can run on low-end cheap phones for farmers to receive relevant and timely information on shared farmer’s local knowledge & innovation, crop-saving weather reports, market prices, pests & diseases data, seeds data, etc and also receive their feedbacks so as to empower them to boost productivity. With mobile technology, Africans can lift themselves out of poverty, drive agriculture to feed Africans and the rest of the world and increase economic growth. The Rise of the Citizens (Citizen 2.0) Africa will soon be the hot bed of data-driven connected democracy because of the Mobile, Open Data and Social Media revolution that is slowly building up. Crowd-sourcing and Open Data is creating a paradigm shift from "Citizen as a victim of democracy" to "Citizen as the author of the agenda". The new development framework for Africa will soon be: Mobilize, Connect and Empower the citizens by civic societies and the social enterprises so as to take advantage of technology to lead their governments. Civic organizations and NGOs have a big role to play in Africa using Open Data crowd-sourced from mobile citizens to reap the promises of Open Government and Open Society with Open Knowledge. Open Data is putting governance into the hands of the citizens (Smart Citizens) Our world is changing. Technology (Mobile, Open Data, Crowd-sourcing) and Civil Societies (and Social Enterprises) will soon be running African countries to make it better resulting in Africa 3.0.
    • 4 | P a g e Social Developments African institutions are often weak, ineffective and many times corrupt but mobile networks or the large networks of connected users are by-passing these existing institutions with new ideas and services that will impact on government, corruption, the media, politics, culture, society. They have ability to make weak institutions stronger and fundamentally corrupt institution weaker. Mobile networks are creating a connected community of trust that is encouraging P2P (peer-to- peer) payments and money transfer (Money 3.0), Micro-Insurance, etc in Africa thereby unlocking the potentials of the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoPs), creating wealth, empowering women and improving quality of life & homes. These large networks of connected users are also flattening layers, elimination of middlemen, wringing out of cost and complexities from the system while boosting its efficiency which is so exciting when applied to fundamental human needs and desires as found in Africa eg. Mobile Agriculture (mAgric), Mobile Health (mHealth), Digital Education, etc. These are just to name a few. Conclusion Cheap and efficient mobile technologies are disrupting ways of lives of people in Africa for the better and also bridging the gap between the isolated African communities and the global market. Mobile technology is playing a key role in solving the Africa’s economic and social problems. Africa will also be a good example to showcase how harnessing mobile devices to improve the physical world can lead to substantial gain. About Emeka Okoye Emeka Okoye is the CEO of Vikantti Nigeria Limited, a software development company, has over 17 years of progressive experience in Web, Semantic, Enterprise & Mobile Software development. An innovative, visionary and creative technologist with deep understanding of the full spectrum of Data, Social Media, Mobile, and Semantic Web related technologies. Graduated as a Geologist in 1990 but passionate about software engineering, he built Nigeria’s first banking website and Internet Banking app (IBTC, 1996), co-founded one of Nigeria’s earliest startup and built the biggest Nigerian Portal (NgEx.com, 1997), was the Project Manager/Lead Architect of Nigeria’s first E-commerce Project in 2000 (FSB Bank, Valucard, UPS & Xerox). He started Vikantti Software in 2006 as a consulting firm offering specialized software development, technology strategy for the financial sector and Government, enterprise mobile app development,
    • 5 | P a g e mobile strategy, Semantic Web and Open Data development and consulting, and enterprise software development. Some other milestones  Listed among the 20 most influential technology people in Africa by IT News South Africa in 2013  Named among the Influential people in technology in Nigeria and Africa by the top Nigerian technology blog, Techloy (2010, 2011, 2012).  Listed among the World’s 20 most influential people in Mobile Money, Mobile Banking, Mobile Commerce and Mobile Payments by Obopay in 2012  Nominated by CNN Marketplace Africa for Africa’s Tech Leaders to follow on Twitter in 2012.  Built the first Mobile App for Election reporting and violence monitoring in Nigeria (2011), Liberia (2011) and Ghana(2012)  Worked under the winner of the 2003 InfoWorld Magazine Innovator of the year, Mr. Kingsley Idehen (OpenLink Software) Emeka can be followed on twitter via @EmekaOkoye and can be reached on email via emeka.okoye@gmail.com