Cellphones catapult rural Africa to 21st century [The New York Times]
Africa is the world’s fastest-growing cellphone market, a boom that has taken the industry by surprise.
From 1999 through 2004, the number of mobile subscribers in Africa jumped to 76.8 million, from 7.5 million, an average annual increase of 58 percent. South Africa, the continent’s richest nation, accounted for one-fifth of that growth.
Asia, the next fastest-expanding market, grew by an annual average of just 34 percent in that period.
Related: Guardian story (14 September 2005)
I remember paying a ridiculously high sum of $7 to use a landline shack in a small Ghana town in 1998–and even then the phoneline hardly worked at all. I cannot imagine how this must be changing the life of the average person. It is truly the first usable not-in-person communication form (mail was slow and required travel to use).