Why mobile technology is important for rural communities in Africa – IT news Africa
Mobile technology is at the heart of Africa’s digital journey through its ability to provide communities with improved work and economic improvements. An excellent example of how access to online resources is The Haller Foundation award-winning mobile app – Haller farmers.
To unpack further, IT News Africa Jenna Delport spoke to Joseph Baraka, Community Project Coordinator at the Haller Foundation in Kenya. Here is what happened :
Africa faces one of the biggest digital divides in the world. With that in mind, how does access to mobile technology enable rural communities to thrive in an increasingly innovative era?
The use of mobile phones has increased dramatically in Africa over the past decade. Many mobile phone companies have proven to be useful with cheap and affordable mobile phones. Having said that, many community members were able to access vital services such as ‘M-PESA’ mobile banking services for cashless money transfer, agriculture, marketing, weather advice apps for clients. farmers.
It is this technological advancement that has led community members to thrive in most aspects, thereby improving the livelihoods and standard of living of community members.
Although agriculture is a fundamental part of society, training and education on sustainable agriculture is neglected and underfunded at the government level. Have apps, like Haller Farmers, acted as a good solution to this problem?
Yes, it is because the Haller Farmers app offers comprehensive and practical knowledge at the push of a button and also at a very minimal cost. Once uploaded, the selected content is available offline and also has a ‘chat’ section where farmers can ask farming questions and get feedback in real time.
Besides helping African farmers improve their agricultural productivity, what kinds of benefits does mobile technology have for rural communities?
Mobile technology has given birth to mobile banking services such as “M-PESA” which helps community members transfer and receive money at their convenience. It is also safe and reliable for farmers as they don’t have to carry cash with them once they sell their produce.
What is the main mobile technology challenge in rural communities and how can it be overcome?
The main challenge is the lack of electricity to charge mobile phones, hence the need to equip community members with charging solutions such as solar charging units or solar phones. Poor network, illiteracy, poverty, and the lack of compatible mobile gadgets like smartphones are also issues.
It could be argued that the growing adoption of mobile technology across the continent is paving the way for a more innovative Africa – where do you see the future of mobile technology coming from and why?
Mobile phone technology has and continues to change the standard of living of many community members as in rural Africa it was difficult for community members to communicate and had to travel long distances to get there, but With the urgency of mobile technology, communication has become easy and cost effective as sending an “SMS” text message is as low as 1 kenyan shilling per SMS, hence cost effective. It also provided easy banking options with most of the banks having a mobile phone app which reduced the transportation costs to get to the bank and also the time spent waiting in line to be served at the bank. Mobile technology has also made life easier for academics because they can Google and search for data related to their studies.
To find out more, you can contact Joseph at [email protected]