Social mobile business in Africa
15 June 2011 - Impact Hub


The smile of social success!

Mobile technologies have been recently playing an important role in helping developing countries find their way out of poverty. Africa is a pioneer in this field. You just have to check this website to have an idea of how incredible these innovations are in Africa.

From monitoring elephants behaviour and protecting crops, to informing population about the way not to catch Aids (for exemple HivAidsUpdates for iPhone); apps are a very important element in the way people are communicating their practical knowledge. Whilst broadband connections or phone lines or even electricity are rare in Africa, the market of mobile phones is exploding.

Mobile apps are plenty: farmers finding out the current market price before deciding whether to take their produce to market that day. National parks communicating details about dangerous animals, providing an early warning system to smooth human-wildlife conflict. Unemployed youths in Nairobi’s shanty towns receiving texts alerting them to job opportunities in the city

All the big charities on the  have their Facebook page and their Twitter account. The developing world is embracing mobile tech with lots of hope for the future. Charities and businesses are using this new tool as a way of sharing experience worldwide, from a favela in Brazil to a slum in India, via a village in Uganda.

I have been amazed by how people in the most remote villages (and even village is a big word!) in Africa use their mobile phones every minutes to stay connected to their peers and colleagues. I have seen a single woman, with 4 kids, setting up a very successful and sustainable farm and selling to the neighbouring Countries. How incredible was her humble smile!

It’s a great way of empowering individuals, involving them in the success of their development, and taking in account local needs or traditions. Rather than imposing solutions from the top, often far from the reality on the ground, it is helping people finding their own micro-local solution, in regard of their means and ability. It’s always been more efficient that way!

Edwige Bernanoce