Weekly Review January 5-11: Mobile Tech’s Cross-Sector Influence

From agriculture to broadband, payments to people, mobile technology continues to impact every facet of Africa’s burgeoning economic growth.

Africa: Raising the Bar on Agricultural Innovation” by Wendy Atkins on All Africa
An increasingly interesting area for us is agriculture. Mobile technology innovation has lots of applications and benefits, and more frequently experts are looking to it to solve the world’s food production gaps, especially in Africa. From the GSMA, to governments across Africa, to NGOs, and universities across the US, the world’s best and brightest innovators and leaders are heavily promoting innovation for agricultural applications. Check out the article to read who is saying what.

Analysis: Dashboard, mobile broadband” by Wireless Intelligence
Wireless Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA, released the newest numbers this week on mobile broadband connections. There are 1.6 billion 3G/4G mobile broadband connections in the world right now. The fastest growth is seen in Africa, where there are 60 million mobile broadband connections – 80% growth from last year.

Source: Wireless Intelligence

Opportunities and challenges in merchant payments: Digicel Pacific, Airtel Africa & Greenwich Consulting” by Yasmina McCarty on GSMA MMU
At a recent panel at the NFC & Mobile Money Summit, industry leaders debated the likelihood for traction in the eWallet opportunity. Identifying several key points. Two of the points, merchant acquisition and business model development, are challenges we have seen frequently in our analyses of mobile payments companies. Interestingly, despite the hype around NFC, the panelists agreed that it’s not suited for all markets. Check out the article to watch a video of the debate.

Going to town” on The Economist
Urbanization is increasing in Africa, with 50% of people expected to be living in cities by 2030 according to McKinsey. At ID, we feel that technology plays a significant role in urbanization, and vice versa. As people leave behind their agrarian lifestyles, they shift to jobs in services and industry, which more and more frequently includes ICT. On the flip side, being connected on a mobile phone means people in rural areas are more frequently discovering opportunities to move to cities while staying in touch “sending money home,” as M-Pesa puts it. What other links do you see between technology and urbanization?
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