September 24, 2012
West Africa's technological revolution driven by mobile phones and SMS
Using text messaging for technological advances makes sense in a continent where hi-tech sits cheek-by-jowl with fading technology. The Guardian reports.
One service, SlimTrader, allows customers to use their phones to get information and availability, and to pay for services ranging from airplane tickets to bags of fertiliser.
While in many parts of the world, such a service would use the internet, this option was not available for a large majority of Nigerians using basic feature phones. Instead, SlimTrader can be used entirely by text message. "We took the idea from what it could be in the western world to what it really has to be in the developing world. We went a step further, and said let's make SlimTrader useable on any phone," Femi Akinde, founder of Slim Trader said.
Innovations like SlimTrader are a small part of a new technological revolution in sub-Saharan Africa. In west Africa, which has lagged behind its eastern neighbours, a new breed of home-grown entrepreneurs is adapting technology to local challenges.
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