africa mobile*(Via All – Often has the question been asked: Who does technology serve?

Earlier this year, as a member of the judging panel for the first African Open Data Bootcamp in Kenya, I came across a “Sanitation in Schools” app.

It was developed after data indicated a worrying dropout trend across Kenya’s counties. Data indicated that this was due to the schools’ level of poor sanitation. The app is currently being fine-tuned to help track schools with low sanitation levels.

The number of mobile phones in Africa stands at 650 million (from a mere 4 million in the late 1990s) and is set to reach the 1 billion bar in less than 5 years. Africa is now considered to be the largest market for mobile technology in the world.

A very exciting aspect of the mobile revolution in Africa is what it’s used for. The continent is home to countless tech applications that use information, news media and technology.

These include: fighting and tracking corruption through the creation of ipaidabribe, which uncovers the market price of corruption; the icow app, a comprehensive agricultural platform; the invention of mobile money in Kenya known as M-Pesa; Ushahidi, the revolutionary open source project allowing users to crowd source crisis information; and the Public Insight Network of the South African Mail & Guardian. All have started to change the quality of life of African citizens.

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