Africa is home to the birthplace of civilization, yet years after those events, Africa is still playing catch-up in many areas. Africa is home to thirty-three of the 48 United Nations’ least developed countries and also home to some of the world’s poorest countries. These are some of the well-known facts about the “Dark Continent”. In 2020, Africa has become home to the youngest population in the world with a reported median age of 19.7 according to World Meters. This group of promising young people has begun to show how their embrace of affordable technology is transforming the continent into a “developed” region.
While more than 70 percent of Sub-Saharan Africans do not have a bank account, more than 75 percent own a SIM card, this means that more than 70 percent of the population doesn’t have access to a bank but they have access to a mobile phone (MOURDOUKOUTAS, 2017). This became a possibility because of the increasing amount of affordable mobile phone devices that have been coming in from China. Africa has become some sort of dumping place for Chinese goods that aren’t fit for the world’s middle-class market. Phones are sold for as cheap as $15. Despite the dark circumstances of the arrival of these devices, they are helping solve so many problems. In 2008 a Kenyan telecommunication company found a way to use mobile phone SIM cards as financial accounts. Other telecommunication companies throughout the continent also embraced this technology (think Venmo or Cashapp on regular internet-free phones). People do not need to get validated by banks anymore before opening accounts, they just need the same SIM card that they use in their phones for everyday communication. As a result, telecommunication companies have become the new financial services. because. Insurance companies also saw potential in using mobile phones and now an uninsured mother of three who lives 10 kilometers away from the closest insurance company, doesn’t need to leave her house to get signed up. Because of the lack of a credit system in almost all African countries, the majority of people could not benefit from loans and credit benefits like other countries do. Banks now use people’s mobile phone financial transactions to build credit reports and history for its potential clients and as a result, people are finally getting access to capital that they never had (MOURDOUKOUTAS, 2017). Most Africans use their mobile phones as the primary source of an internet connection. This increase in internet penetration is giving kids access to the same quality material and education that kids in the developed countries of the world are receiving. These are just a few of the many benefits that mobile phone devices are bringing to the continent.
All of Africa’s 54 countries have their own struggles, cultures, governments, and way of life but the use of mobile phones has been the same throughout the continent. With more than 700 million phone owners, Africa is not the world’s fastest-growing mobile market. (MOURDOUKOUTAS, 2017). We are finally seeing the continent move forward using the same tool. I couldn’t be happier to be African right now.
MOURDOUKOUTAS, ELENI. July 2017, www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/may-july-2017/africa’s-digital-rise-hooked-innovation.
WORLD METERS. APRIL 2020, www.worldometers.info/world-population/africa-population/