Technology in Africa
Digital literacy in Africa has been on the rise. Governments and organisations globally forecasting that countries have begun the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) that amalgamates digital, biological, physical worlds and use of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things… 4IR is expected to transform Africa into a global powerhouse by creating innovative solutions in Education, Climate Change, Service Delivery…
Africa has surpassed United States and Europe to have 650 million mobile users (according to the World Bank and African Development Bank Report). Africa previously being a consumer of technological innovations is slowly penetrating the global scene as an innovative manufacturing continent. This could be attributed to Africa’s youthful population with 60% under the age of 25, according to the United Nations. Africa’s population is expected to continue growing to 1.4 billion people while Sub-Saharan Africa’s population will double by 2050: a true youth bulge. Africa has also witnessed to an increase in internet penetration and policy change by governments towards e-government service provision.
The Covid 19 pandemic has been a catalyst as it accelerated digital consumerism in: e-health, e-commerce, virtual meetings, e-payments… It is with much pride to identify and acknowledge that Africa’s tech ecosystems have been the home to disruptive technologies, with a notable innovation being M-pesa, the largest mobile money services in Africa.
Africa’s digitalisation advancement can also be attributed to a growing entrepreneurial community, most notably the female population. According to Mckinsey, the female economy is the world’s largest emerging market, with a potential to add 12 trillion USD to the global GDP by 2025. In this regard, Sub Saharan Africa has the highest rate of female entrepreneurship globally, which represents 26% of female adults. In Africa, Women make up 58% of the continent’s self-employed population. This has led to increased disposable income and community change makers who are actively contributing to the African continent.
Africa’s vision 2063 highlights the necessity for Africa to achieve, development that is people-driven, unleashing the potential of its women and youth.
Positive Social Impact in Africa
Mara Phones is taking steps to create positive impact by contributing to Africa’s strategy for promotion of female entrepreneurs through digital literacy, positive social impact, and philanthropy. Mara Phones, part of Mara Corporation - a pan-African conglomerate, is the first smartphone manufacturer with factories located in Rwanda and South Africa. Both factories were opened in 2019. It aims to pioneer the made in Africa smartphones brand.
Mara Corporation initiatives and partnerships include: Mara Phone Foundation (that provides an online mentoring platform for entrepreneurs); United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council; and African Development Banks Presidential Youth Advisory Group (that aims to create 25 million jobs and skill 50 million youth by 2025).
In the pan-African spirit of ‘ubuntu’, Mara Phones continues to positively impact the digital literacy of African female entrepreneurs. Mara Phones identified a need to contribute positively to two regions: The Equatorial Guinea (play a key role in the finalization and validation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) country programme) and Southern Cameroon (whose anglophone identity has led to political and economic marginalization).
Mara Phones Initiative was championed with the aim of helping 10 women, selected through a vigorous process; to receive the Mara Phones. The main purpose of the project would be for the female entrepreneurs to use the phone to support and solve day to day challenges experienced through useful applications: myopia.app (an eye test to help prevent myopia), pregnancy app fingerprint thermometer.. More than any other gadget, the mobile phone is the most effective technological weapon against poverty. This piece of technology is being used to better the lives of the poor. A cell phone gives access to literacy programs, in which anyone with an inexpensive cell phone can dial a number to access a library of bilingual audio lessons. Mobile literacy program has allowed children from extremely rural areas to receive foreign language instruction that otherwise would have been unavailable. Just one of the many ways the mobile phone has contributed to poverty reduction, mobile literacy programs are on the rise.
Key Female beneficiaries for the Mara Phone initiative
Mara Phones initiative highlights the necessity of leadership, determination, endurance, entrepreneurship, digital literacy by each of these women in their communities and its multiplier effect. They are courageous and daring changemakers who continue to contribute positively to different realms.
- Karen Nana, founder of Nana Mobile Money, a mobile money transaction business. Emmaculata Bessem, founder Nelly’s Kuisin, a restrauant and bar that offers local delicacies from local farms.
- Delphine Itambi, founder Itambi Studios, an independent motion picture production company. DAB creation a street fashion brand specializes in hand-embroidery.
- Pelvin Mgbatu, founder Pel Boutique : clothes boutique.
- Bernice Arrah AgborTanyi, founder: Spark Cleaning, proposes cleaning services.
- Gloria Lopeo Locoja, founder VILC, an agritech start up.
- Melissa Mbile Sánchez founder La Capacidad, a clothing brand.
- Isabel Eburi, founder Entre Estudiantes EG, an online interviewing platform.
- Agripina Ndoho Ngumu Bindang, Local entrepreneur.