Ingenuity, Simplicity and Mobility: What Africa Can Teach Us About Tech


In the US, having two or three mobiles phones might be an annoyance, but in Africa, it’s a solution. With phones offering built-in radios, flashlights and a month of battery life from a single charge, mobile phones in Africa are important tools to support daily life as well as a source of connectivity. With more mobile phone users than people with electricity in their homes, development through mobile tech has surpassed the pace of structural development. It is in these gaps that we find uniquely African innovation: from generators that back up the internet to tablets that allow you to use multiple phone lines at once.

In On! The Future of Now, Mark Kagiwa examines the tech developments mInaking waves in Africa. From SMS-based features, Google’s Project Loon to the Wikipedia Zero Project, organizations are helping to provide access to the over two billion people in Africa. “In an age where everyone’s seeking the next great idea,” Mark notes, “lessons in ingenuity, inspiration and mobility may come from where you’d least expect it: Africa.”

*This post is part of a series highlighting personal stories and key themes from our new book, On! The Future of Now. Order your copy of On! The Future of Now here. Proceeds to support Charity: Water.


About Mark Kaigwa

Mark Kaigwa has spent the last 7 years helping global and African businesses, brands and nonprofits use technology to connect with Africans online. As a consultant, strategist and speaker, Mark likes to get hands-on, solving problems and applying ideas that will change the continent of Africa’s future and the future of emerging markets. Learn more about Mark here.

About On! The Future of Now

Published in partnership with Nokia and curated by Toby Daniels and Craig Hepburn, On! The Future of Now is a collection of essays and personal stories from leading thinkers, including best-selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin; Cindy Gallop, founder of Make Love Not Porn; Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed and Leah Busque, founder of TaskRabbit. On! The Future of Now is available in eBook and paperback. To buy the book and support Charity: Water, click here.

Social Media Week