Most people who have never travelled to places in Africa do not know that it is the fastest growing area in mobile phone usage. This is one technology that has had the greatest impact in countries in the third world in a few short years. We tend to take phones for granted but in places like Africa to get a landline is almost impossible and these are luxuries only found in major cities and towns and mostly in businesses and government offices. You will never find a phone in the villages where the majority of the population live.

A few countries like Botswana have put programs in place to install solar powered phones at health centres but this is a slow process. Mobile phone technology has been the answer to this. Zambia for example has 3 mobile phone providers who have been busy trying to outdo each other in putting up towers and covering the whole country. The government is hoping to enable each and every village to have access to this technology.

This has enabled cottage industries of phone repairs, phone charging for a fee in places with no access to electricity etc. Mobile phones are also used to transfer money around the country, find the best markets for farm produce and even phone doctors in the city from remote health centres which do not have doctors on site. Even politicians have got in on the act and send SMS to their supporters during elections.

It is not unusual to see young people on social media sites like Facebook in places where a few years ago had to walk miles to post a letter and hope it got where it was supposed to go. The competition for customers is also driving down the price of phones and the cost of using them.

This is a very good example of a technology that is having a big impact worldwide and is not leaving the third world behind.

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