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Africa not just a mobile-first continent — it’s mobile only

Toby Shapshak, who is a technology journalist based in Johannesburg, wrote a great article on how mobile phones are growing in Africa and how it affects its citizens. Here are some snippets from the article:


“In Africa, hundreds of millions of people will experience the internet for the first time on a 2-inch cellphone screen. Probably in black and white. And probably only as text. They may not even know they are using the internet. Google, for instance, offers search and Gmail via SMS, the text message service that is still the most popular form of communication.”


“More people in Africa have a mobile phone than access to electricity. That means, for a phone to be functional, it needs decent battery life. These feature phones have anywhere up to a week. Secondly, many have the two other must-have features: an FM radio and a torch. Radio remains the killer app in Africa, especially for mass communication.”


“Africa, once labeled the “hopeless continent” by The Economist a decade ago, is leading the way. The Economist renamed us the “hopeful continent” last year, after it noted that six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the last decade were in Africa.”


“In South Africa, for instance, Google says 25% of its searches during the week are via mobile, rising to 65% on the weekends. Simply put, Africa is not just a mobile-first continent. It is mobile-only.”

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