I ALWAYS THOUGHT it was interesting how almost all of the people in the village of Atabu, Ghana (where I lived in 2007), had a cell phone, but lived in single-room houses, or didn’t have running water. Western societies live by their cell phones, but even with new apps and system upgrades, are our SMARTphones really that intelligent?
South African journalist Toby Shapshak believes that Africa is one of the leading locations for innovative technology, but that the stigma of poverty, illness and instability (and possibly also racism) is what keeps investors at bay. Yet relocating technology hubs to Africa is certainly something to think about; resources on earth keep shrinking, yet much of Africa is still undeveloped.
Shapshak notes that the “purest form of innovation, is out of necessity,” and goes on to explain why that is the difference between Westernized societies (who spend more time creating mindless games like Angry Birds) and technology developed within the African continent (who had SMS-based payment systems years before Square and Intuit came on to the market). It will be interesting to see how influential the African market becomes in the next few years, and which companies will boom from directly investing.