TODAY, technology is rapidly changing the world for the better. On one hand, we have virtual assistants reading and forwarding emails for us, and on the other hand, we have technologies like Big Data, cloud computing, blockchain, etc., that are driving businesses and facilitating payments.
The following are some of the ways technological advancements are improving lives in African countries today:
Although top economies are restricting the usage of drones for delivery of small goods, African countries are embracing the technology with open arms. It makes sense really, as Africa has ample land that doesn’t interfere with regulated flight paths and there are a number of sizeable land patches that are best covered with cost-effective means such as drones.
Zipline is one of the biggest logistics company in Rwanda that uses drones to deliver small packages like anti-venom, vaccines, blood, etc., and said that it will expand the network in the region after the world’s first drone port was opened in Rwanda.
With investment support from software giants like Google and Microsoft, and business operations already delivering great results, many other players are likely to join Zipline’s league soon.
The condition of electricity supply in Africa has been abysmal for a long time. In fact, Nigeria was ranked second in worst electricity supply in the world in 2017.
Although poor infrastructure and lack of resources are two of the biggest reasons behind scattered and limited electricity supply in Africa, remote locations make it even more difficult for the supply lines to reach them. However, innovative companies have started to focus on renewable sources of energy to offer African families a convenient and affordable solution for creating energy.
Here is the thing- solar energy is considered as a viable solution for the energy problem in Africa. However, the problem is that solar panels are too expensive for poverty-stricken African families. So, to solve this problem, Peg Africa is selling solar panels to families who are not on the national electricity grid and they can pay for it in small installments through mobile-based payments.
Another firm called African Alternative Energy Solutions (AAES) is offering Africans an Auto PowerStation which uses a vehicle’s generating capacity to create and store free electricity for later use. It’s already signed MoUs with several organisations that will offer alternative energy solutions to their staff.
Informal economy goes digital
The informal sector in Africa makes for around 70% of its entire economy and a third of the GDP. Since the internet allows ambitious and creative entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses online, there is a significant rise in the use of digital products for business productivity.
Smart SMEs are now using online services for setting up websites and to push digital marketing, branding, etc.
Blockchain for payments, land registry
The majority of African regions are still suffering from corruption, armed conflicts, and poverty. As people continue to distrust the government, informal solutions such as cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have emerged as powerful tools with limitless potential.
The reason why blockchain has huge significance in Africa is that it decentralises the payment system which means that the people can make transactions without having to deal with a central authority or the government. Similarly, companies can use blockchain to drive business value by reducing transaction costs and preventing fraud. to a huge extent.
Blockchain is also solving the problem of land disputes in Africa. For instance, IT company WISeKey is offering land registry service on the foundation of blockchain in Rwanda. It’s opening a blockchain Centre of Excellence here and also announced a partnership with Microsoft which alone makes for many welcoming possibilities.