The time is now … Digital Revolution Sweeping Africa

Using a mobile phone to keep time in Dar es Salaam mapping project

Cross posted at

When there is an increase in broadband speed in the North America, we can download more episodes of our favorite TV show (mine is 30 rock); when broadband speed increases in Africa, millions more people get online through mobile phones.

Whole “development” leaps are being taken on the African continent – mind numbing and corrupt bureaucracies are in one click being overcome with government services going online; banking is being revolutionized with mobile MPESA banking;  the true “urban wilderness”, or what is better known as slums, are being mapped for the first time.

Sustainable Cities and UN-HABITAT have been at the forefront of responding to this digital revolution through its community mapping training in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda. Using technology which is both state-of-the-art and easily accessible, SC trained over 75 youth in these cities in spatial technologies and programs such as GPS and Google Earth, with the end goal being the creation of Youth Friendly City guides and corresponding maps.

Meghan Muldoon working with youth in Mathare, Nairobi

An article and video on the impact of mobile phones and the internet in East Africa was just published in the Guardian Newspaper. The author, Declan McCormack, is a journalist/filmmaker, who attended the World Economic Forum on Africa in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. It is an excellent overview of the rapid changes happening in regards to technology.

You can read his article here.

You can as well read more about the digital revolution in the Sustainable Cities article done at the WUF in Rio: Bridging the Digital Divide.


About practicalradical

I am practical by nature, radical by design. I believe in patterns not lines; paradox not certainty; and the chaotic not the orderly.
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2 Responses to The time is now … Digital Revolution Sweeping Africa

  1. A new index for cell phone technology penetration has been created – the number of cell phones compared to toilets. Its seems there are now more cell phones than toilets in India. Which is really sad when you think about it.

  2. Pingback: Ulwazi goes mobile | Digital Heritage Consultants

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