Mobile moving Africa’s economy – Mobile Web Africa 2012

The first official day of Mobile Web in Africa 2012 kicked off in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the main theme being the growing relevance of mobile within the broader African economy.


Gustav Praekelt, founder of Praekelt. (Image: Google/

In his opening presentation Gustav Praekelt, founder of Praekelt, an incubator for mobile technology designed to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in poverty, spoke of the opportunity that exists within the continent’s mobile market.

Since the inception of the first mobile phone network in Africa in 1994, infrastructure and data networks has been developed and strengthened, with the issues of distribution and cost being largely addressed.

Praekelt spoke of the need to look closer at issues with access in order to help providers establish sustainable service models – those that meet the requirement for affordable mobile connectivity and data usage for Africa’s 1 billion people.

“There are a billion people in Africa and 750 million phones, representing 65% mobile phone penetration. Ninety percent use less than one megabyte of data per month,” added Praekelt.

Cost – particularly for end users to consume technology – remains a critical issue in terms of the development of the mobile sector and helping to sustain growth.

Specifically, the complexity of billing systems needs to be reviewed and aligned to the requirements of users, but with business sustainability in mind.

Chris Tredger, Online Editor