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SXSW: How Mobile Devices Are Changing Africa 65

Nerval's Lobster writes "Mobile phones are kicking off a revolution in Africa, with everyone from farmers to villagers relying on apps to make electronic payments, check on expiration dates for medicine, and predict future storms or the best prices for produce. In a SXSW session titled 'The $100bn Mobile Bullet Train Called Africa' (which would also be a pretty good name for one of the indie films playing at this massive convention), Tech4Africa founder Gareth Knight explained the contours of this revolution. According to Shapshak, more kids in Africa have access to the Internet than consistent electricity. Nobody owns a PC or can access a fixed-line telephone, so mobile phones are a conduit for everything from email to news to making payments via SMS. ... Many of the mobile devices used in Africa aren't cutting-edge, and SMS-based platforms are a necessity when it comes to sharing information. 'SMS is so fantastic because it gets to every device everywhere,' Shapshak said. ... Here's how a typical SMS platform might work: someone purchasing a box of malaria medicine could send the barcode information to a text number, which would send back an SMS message identifying the drug as real or counterfeit. Famers and other food-producers can receive SMS messages about the best ways to handle pests, for example, or take care of their cows."
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SXSW: How Mobile Devices Are Changing Africa

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  • Re:Wireless Africa (Score:4, Informative)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @05:23PM (#43133197) Journal

    I remember a History teacher once mentioning that if the US enjoyed the same amount of time in power as the Roman Empire, we would see the end of said power around the year 2600 [...] Anyone wanna lay a bet that we won't make it nearly that long?

    Your comparison is quite pointless. First off, the Roman Empire was constantly shifting and changing. It wasn't a big country that sprung up and lasted intact for 1,000 years.

    Another difference is that the Roman Empire grew out of military conquest of existing countries. And while the US has a sad history of extermination of natives, it's really not the same at all. They aren't going to rise up and take back their lands, in part because we did a very good job of exterminating them.

    The US benefits tremendously from geographic isolation. If the US' power wanes, who is going to invade and start taking lands? Canada or Mexico? Those two big oceans prevent most conflicts that could lead to wars.

    And the Roman Empire isn't the closest historical example we can follow. We have our older cousins, Western Europe, to observe, in real-time even. They're quite a bit older than us, and yet none of the major countries has ceased to exist. Certainly there's been political upheaval in England, but they still exist largely as did centuries before the US came to be.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.