Could Mobile fuel Africa’s economic growth?

Nairobi recently hosted some of the continent’s top Mobile and Banking executives, in a counsel lead by IBM. The conundrum in many ways is how to sustain the continent’s growth, Africa currently contains several of the world’s fastest growing economies, without manufacturing which has traditionally fuelled the growth in other developing regions. Could Mobile help replace this?

Physical infrastructure in many other parts of the continent is in need of an upgrade, but the speed in which telephony networks have embraced mobile has taught the rest of the world of Africa’s potential.

In a way, Africa is well-positioned to take advantage of new Mobile technologies as it has skipped generations of bureaucracy associated with Mobile networks, and is not contained by red tape. However, Mobile technology is still very much dominated by feature phones and voice, and investors believe the next step in its development will be widespread internet data connections. Currently, data-driven phones only make up about 20% of the market so the major handset manufacturers see this areas as the next step for growth.

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