Tag Archives: Africa

Africa’s Amazing Rise and What it Can Teach the World – G. Pascal Zachary – International – The Atlantic

4 Mar

Meanwhile, things are looking up in Africa:

In virtually every single African nation, the leading mobile phone company is now the leading taxpayer to the government, the leading local donor to local causes, and one of the leading employers.

But more important than the economic impact of the mobile revolution was the mental impact. The twin values of self-reliance and exceeding expectations were cemented by the success in mobile telephony, which compelled development experts to rethink their commitment to African under-development.

The striking improvements in living standards in Africa, especially for small farmers, have triggered a new optimism about the prospects for the continent. While gloomy “Afro-pessimists” still dominate the global debate, more optimistic and pragmatic voices are starting to challenge old orthodoxies. “Policies devised by governments and donors imply a daunting lack of ambition,” declared a 2010 report from the London-based Africa Research Institute. While the report is specifically about “why Africa can make it big in agriculture,” the same observation — that international development experts inexplicably downplay African prospects — could be made across industries.

via Africa’s Amazing Rise and What it Can Teach the World – G. Pascal Zachary – International – The Atlantic.


Innovations in Light – NYTimes.com

3 Feb

Some fascinating stuff here about getting lighting without the overhead of the grid:

If you look at the market for solar lighting in Africa, you’ll be excused for thinking that you’re looking at the mobile phone market some 15 years ago. Both are leapfrog technologies — neither land lines nor the electrical grid is going to reach much of the continent, so let’s just skip that generation of technology and move to the next one. Like cellphones, solar lamps are getting cheaper, smaller, better. Both are life-changing, indispensable. And the market is enormous. Today, about 1.5 million people in Africa use solar lamps. That’s a huge number — but it’s less than 1 percent of the potential market. A fifth of the world’s population lives without electricity. Another large group of people do have access to electricity, but need an alternative because it is too expensive and power outages are daily events.

The problem isn’t finding the technology, it’s coming up with a business model that people can afford. Three examples are discussed.

via Innovations in Light – NYTimes.com.