Poverty, disease and political instability across the continent have left Africa underdeveloped and its people in desperate need. ‘The presence of information and communication technologies (ICT’s) however, has somewhat carved out an alternative path for Africa catapulting its development beyond the lost years’.
ICT’s are changing the way African people live, work, access critical services and socialize. Mobile money is enabling financial inclusion and creating employment and accessibility of financial services in the most rural and remote areas on the continent. The use of social media as a tool to mobilize and connect people whilst amplifying voices; spreading information widely and giving a wide range of people access to information.
The ability to be connected to medical services through tele-health platforms, which connect hospitals and clinics to remote facilities for consultation, diagnosis, some training, are increasingly finding acceptance as a means of increasing accessibility and reducing cost of delivery particularly for remote areas in many countries.
Using smart grids / meters for water and power transmission providing a technology-enabled solution to reduce leakage and waste and increase transparency and reliability of these services has been a significant development for the continent. ‘Smart grids deliver electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way digital technology that can also integrate alternative sources of electricity such as solar and wind energy’. Through e-extension services agricultural processes gain valuable intelligence not only on crop production but also on climate related information that impacts the sector.
These technologies in the African context have the ability to catalyze development in a sustainable way.
This article is sponsored by SNV Zimbabwe for the Stimulus Africa Entrepreneurship Symposium 2016: ICT for Development – 31st March – 1st April at The Stimulus Innovation Centre, 171 Fife Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe.