Nowadays, Africa calls itself a ‘mobile phone continent.' How true is that? When we flash back several decades back, few people owned mobile phones. Landline telephones were the most common but still very unfortunate, very few people owned them. Let us say that long distant communication was almost impossible.
Today, out of three Africans, two own a mobile phone. For this reason, mobile phone generation has considerably improved entrepreneurship in the region.
People have gradually evolved from using low-end Nokia phones to smartphones. They have converted their phones to a ‘walking PC.' Accessing the internet through their phones have become the latest trends.
By 2020, it is estimated that a billion people will have mobile phones in the continent. What are the benefits of the existence of mobile phones? Here are ways that mobile phones have changed Africa.
In Kenya, M-Pesa is the largest mobile money transfer service owned by Safaricom Limited. More than 90% of the people in the country use the service. Safaricom Limited has lately upgraded their services to the internet and mobile banking. This is awesome! Life has become easier, and the trips to the bank have reduced.
World Bank surveys show that more than half of the population in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Sudan use mobile money.
Lately, paying bills and buying airtime via mobile money has been the latest trend. Also, people have adopted mobile money services especially when receiving and sending money abroad to relatives and friends.
Agricultural sector greatly depends on mobile phones for communication. Farmers in the rural areas communicate with brokers on the market prices using their mobile phones on the right prices.
Most recently, there is a mobile application known as icow that is used by farmers to know the cow’s gestation period. It also used to educate farmers on how to take care of their livestock and also teach them on ways to adapt the best livestock farming practices.
Mfarm is another mobile application that enables farmers to negotiate the market price hence weeding out intermediaries.
The existence of mobile phones has accelerated growth in the agricultural sector by cutting down corruption and also by making farmers independent.
Today, at least 80% of mobile phones can be used as radios. You can tune into your favorite radio station anywhere and listen to your favorite station.
With the existence of smartphones, people all over Africa can access the internet and download songs and videos. They can also use the internet to access their social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Sharing of videos and songs has become a common behavior amongst the youths. Most of the mobile devices have Bluetooth that enables sharing of items from one phone to another.
Mobile phones in Africa are not only used to keep in touch but also used by entrepreneurs too. In a continent with very few landlines, mobile phones are used to connect businessmen with customers. With just a mere phone call, a customer can make an order and later organize for delivery.
Research shows that businesses have improved in Africa by over 85% due to the existence of mobile phones.
Mobile phones have become affordable and have brought a positive impact on the economy in Africa. Despite of poor roads and infrastructure, mobile technology has come in to complete business activities and make payments easier and convenient.
Many Africans do not believe in online studies. Today students can use online books, take online exams and also access e-libraries through their mobile phones. This is only possible with a smartphone.
Students also receive their results through their mobile phones. They only need to send their registration number to a selected code, and with no time, they get their end of semester results fast and accurate.
It is evident that mobiles phones have accelerated growth of the economy, reduced corruption and also helped businessmen to be independent. We can simply say that mobile phones have slowly democratized Africa by making everything easy and simple.