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Mobile adoption in Africa and rethinking the mobile web experience

Sameer Vasta's picture

Amir pointed me towards this great presentation by Christian Kreutz that shared some thoughts on mobile activism in Africa. A few facts from the presentation that jumped out at me:

  • 99% of Tanzanians are in direct reach of a mobile phone.
  • The highest traffic to the BBC mobile websites comes from Africa.

You can see the whole presentation here:


We've all known that mobile adoption in Africa and other parts of the developing world has been growing at a remarkable pace, but what to do with that information? How are we changing the way we engage with our stakeholders (development practitioners, civil society organizations, parliamentarians, project beneficiaries, etc.) knowing that many of them are using mobile interfaces?

More importantly, where do we draw the line between the traditional corporate website and the mobile interface? Is there a line to be drawn, or is it blurring constantly to the point where the traditional site is actually part of the mobile experience? Are any organizations doing this well already?

A few questions that I've been playing with here. If you have any insight, let me know. Thanks!


Submitted by Mark on
My belief is that the mobile phone is well established as a verbal communications tool, but is still in an early phase of maturity regarding non-verbal comms - SMS broadcast, 3G tools. For this reason, the early content providers are focussing on commercial tactics, and the distinct advantages of the medium have not yet created established patterns of behavior among users. For this reason, the role of the mobile as anything other than a roving web content deliverer has not yet been established. I realise that my perspective is from the devleoped world, but I have searched for people who are breaking new groung in other parts of the world and I have not found anything earth-shattering.

Submitted by Anonymous on
hi Mark.. interesting i have been researching this myself.. you fit straight into the assumption that has been challenged by this phenomena.. google will help you discover more about teh earth shattering implications of mobile adoption in Africa.. far beyond being "anything other than a roving web content deliverer" here is a good lead MPESA Ushahidi... and go from there.. information is powerful

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