From Farming To Films: How The Web Is Changing Africa

Juliet Ehimuan | The Guardian | August 25, 2012

New technology is helping the continent adapt to the demands of the modern world

Recently, when a potato disease ravaged Kenya, farmer Zack Matere searched "potato disease" on the internet and discovered that ants were eating his potato stems. On the same website, Matere found that the cure for his potato disease was to sprinkle wood ash on the crop. Two months later, his potatoes were back to shape and Matere knew it was time to invest in the internet. Online, he found a local buyer for his rescued crop. He now uses an internet-enabled phone to get real-time potato prices. All this happened in a region that only five years ago the Economist referred to as the "dark continent" because of its lack of electricity.

Technology started to influence the way Africa develops in a big way with the introduction of GSM services in the late 1990s. A mobile revolution has positioned Africa as the fastest growing region on Earth for the telecoms industry, and with it has come a significant shift – a recognition among African governments and people that an opportunity exists to leap the development gap through the implementation of technological solutions to some of the challenges facing the continent...