The History Of African Telecom: Why Is Social Media A Game Changer For Africa?

Telecom and social media are a game changer for modern Africa. Modern Africa is on the move. We are presently seeing modern Africa quickly evolving from an emerging economy to a significant player in the Global Economy. Just as the Asian Tigers became a force in the '80s, the African Gorillas are becoming a force in our contemporary Global System.

Africa is an example of how quickly individuals and nations can become productive and competitive in our modern era of social media. To become competitive, Africa must develop a 'smart' telecom system. To appreciate the importance of mobile technology in Africa, it's vital to first understand the gravity of the "digital divide". The digital divide is simply those people who have access to technological-social media assets and those that don't. If a person has no access to digital resources, those people, like Africans, are at a significant disadvantage. Conversely, those people, like Americans, who have access to digital resources, have a significant advantage. This is one reason why the U.S. is a significant economic player, and, until recently, Africa wasn't even on the radar. The causes of the digital divide between the West and Africa are not simply due to poverty or development. It is due to geography.

Africa is enormous. That's the good news---it also the bad news. The continent is 30 million square kilometers. Africa controls 20% of the earth's land mass. Approximately 1 billion people occupy the African continent. Africa is comprised of 53 countries on a land mass that spans from the Mediterranean, 40 degrees north of the equator to the Antarctic. Africa is a huge market. If it is developed it will create incredible revenue streams.

The African landscape is just as varied as its inhabitants. In the north we have the stifling sands of the Sahara. Africa is made up of endless deserts and plains. Africa possesses some of the world's tallest mountains, mightiest rivers and densest forests in the world. In the old media era, it was impossible to string phone lines across the continent of Africa.

This is the reason why Africa lagged in development. Geography has destroyed Africa until our present social media era. Because of geography, the advent of human communications left an entire continent behind. Geography is the reason that Africa possessed some of the largest telecom disconnected areas in the world in the old media era. Then came the mobile phone and social media platforms. The advent of social media is a game-changer for the continent because geography is now no longer a major issue. Social media makes geography and capital non-issues.

Africa's geography draws a clear line of distinction between Africa and the rest of the world. For most of the world, mobile phones are a nice, convenience. For Africa, mobile phones, and the recent advent of social media platforms are matter of survival. For the developing world, and particularly for Africa, which is now the world's fastest growing mobile phone market, this technology is a game changer in the lives of a billion people who occupy 20% of the world's surface.

What it comes down to is this. People who were absolutely disconnected from the rest of the world around them, are now connected in real time. The mobile phone has become the railroad of the modern era. The mobile phone links people, information, and economies in places where mobility is not a luxury, but a necessity. Mobile technology that is linked to satellites can truly change the world. Digital technology can transform a basket case, like parts of Africa, to a true economic power.

Let me ask you this. Are you an entrepreneur who has knowledge of how to create a "smart" phone network? If you are and you do, you have the ability to create the "next new thing'. A smart phone network can connect a billion people, living on 20% of the world's surface, to the rest of the world---what are you waiting for Mr. Entrepreneur? Come to Africa and create the next big thing.

Dean Hambleton