I’ve often said in training sessions – look at Africa as an example of how mobile/digital devices have changed lives – in a world where the infrastructure for fixed lines was never possible, the mobile functions without the same physical barriers.
In 2007, President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, said: “In 10 short years, what was once an object of luxury and privilege, the mobile phone, has become a basic necessity in Africa.” CNN News
The article goes on to identify 7 ways in which mobile has changed life in Africa:
- Banking: Mobile money rather than banking infrastructure
- Activism: Disenchanted citizens can engage, and in some areas, is encouraging increasing openness/transparency.
- Education: Mobile phones are cheaper to own/run than PCs, and allow access to kids that would otherwise get no education.
- Entertainment: The most popular activity – including music, films and social networking
- Disaster Management: Innovative use in refugee camps, allowing families to reconnect
- Agriculture: Multiple small farms, now gaining access to weather reports, market prices and access to micro-insurance schemes – enabling them to make better decisions, whilst sharing tips with each other.
- Health: Discovery of healthcare providers, provision of tips, reminders of Drs appointment – and hugely important – SMS codes used to reduce the number of fraudulent drugs circulated.
So, in the areas we go to, is mobile use growing, and how is it changing people’s lives if so? If not, is digital having impact in other ways?