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April 2, 2008

Growing Together 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Over the next two days, over 100 journalists from all over the world will see how mobile devices and services are changing people’s lives across Africa.

The event will be used to launch a range of new entry-level devices created specifically for emerging markets, and highlight a range of services and initiatives taking place in the region.

Very much a developing country, with economic growth of 5-7 per cent per annum, this isn’t without its challenges. There are 49 countries south of the Sahara with a combined population of about 775 million people. The biggest hit? Between them they speak 1,000 languages.

Last year Nokia launched the first devices to use the Ge’ez script which is used for Amharic and other languages in Africa. Consumers can now use phones and send messages in their native scripts and languages, which helps bring new technology to those who can benefit from it most.

Standard fixed-line Internet connections aren’t exactly commonplace in large parts of Africa, which makes the Internet via Mobile a perfect solution for consumers. Already mobile banking is gaining popularity, enabling consumers to make use of traditional banking services where there is currently
no local banking infrastructure.

These are exciting times for Africa, India and other developing countries. We’ll be publishing more stories from Growing Together over the next couple of days.

Photo from Tjeerd on Flickr