Using Mobile Technology and Services for Sustainable Development in Africa
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Due to the explosive growth of mobile and wireless technologies and services in Africa, a number of questions are being raised by academicians, technology professionals, industry and policy makers on how it is going to affect the future development of society in Africa. The recent World Wide Web consortium (W3C) and World bank organized workshop in Brazil [1,2], have discussed issues on the effects of mobile technology for social development. This was also partly motivated by the increased internet and web presence in the mobile area, and the possibility of using mobile subscriber terminals as a tool for delivering public information and services. A number of mobile projects for health, governance, banking and learning have been identified in the boundary region of mobile and web technologies. One important conclusion that came out from the discussion was that, the current few mobile SMS based services, appearing on the scene are just a proof of concept and announce the beginning of the thousands of mobile data based services that will engulf the mobile economies of the future. The main reasons for this are: 1) The ubiquity of the mobile device and the high increase in mobile subscriber base, soaring above the 3.5 billion value, and 2) The improved capabilities of mobile devices, 3) The flexibility of time and geographic independence that is possible in accessing information using mobile technologies. This paper will try to address some issues of mobile technology and sustainable economic development in a developing country context.