Mobile technology showcases African grassroots innovation

Texting book
Ken Banks argues in an article on PCWorld that mobile technology is showcasing African grassroots innovation at its finest.

“Africans are not the passive recipients of technology many people seem to think they are. Indeed, some of the more exciting and innovative mobile services around today have emerged as a result of ingenious indigenous use of the technology. Services such as “Call Me” — where customers on many African networks can send a fixed number of free messages per day when they’re out of credit requesting someone to call them — came about as a result of people “flashing” or “beeping” their friends (in other words, calling their phones and hanging up to indicate that they wanted to talk). […]

The concept of mobile payments did, too.”

He concludes that also when dealing with indigenous societies, ICT solutions should “seek to build on existing procedures and traditions, and not just assume that a new, modern solution is better and replace everything that went before”.

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