Limited internet access in Cameroon, but mobile tech thriving in other African areas

By Elizabeth Mullen

Though mobile technology has enjoyed success in many areas of Africa at the start of 2017, app developers and users alike still face obstruction from government agencies in some countries, according to The Next Web. In January, the Cameroonian government limited internet access in English-speaking areas following strikes by teachers, lawyers and students who believe they’re being marginalized in favor of French speakers. In other African countries, governments are working closely with app developers and third-party companies to offer new services to their citizens, while startups are enjoying strong funding rounds.

Health

More than 40 percent of Kenyan woman in their 30s or 40s are overweight or obese, according to ITWeb Africa. A new app called SIMWAY produced by Kenya’s Ministry of Health aims to reduce these numbers. The app will facilitate interactions between users and healthcare volunteers, who will establish personalized weight-loss plans, help patients track progress and make adjustments accordingly. The app is currently in a trial period and available to community health volunteers in Naivasha.

Infrastructure

Last month, Volkswagen received approval from the Rwandan government to offer an app-based car sharing and ride-hailing service, as ITWeb Africa reported.

“We may be a small country, but we believe that we are a pioneer,” said Francis Gatare, director of the Rwanda Development Board. “Our country is determined to become the leading innovator in Africa. The signature of this memorandum of understanding is a further step on our path to digitization and modernization.”

Volkswagen plans to produce the shared vehicles locally and begin experimenting with electric vehicles.

MasterCard recently launched 2KUZE to help East African farmers buy, sell and receive payment for their produce using their phones. The MasterCard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi built the technology using a $11 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The app initially launched in Kenya, where 2,000 farmers are “using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price,” as ITWeb Africa noted.

Funding

African tech startups raised more than $129 million in funding in 2016, according to a new Disrupt Africa report. The number of startups that received funding increased by almost 17 percent over 2015, with the most deals and greatest amount of funding going to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Egyptian startup Vezeeta raised $5 million, while Kenyan FinTech company BitPesa attracted $2.5 million in funding.

Despite limited internet access in Cameroon, many African countries are embracing mobile technology and using it to help their citizens.

Image source: iStock

Written By

Elizabeth Mullen

Tech News Writer

Libby is a tech news writer and editor with years of experience covering the intersections of technology, business, finance and healthcare. She is particularly interested in disruptive technologies, big data and the ways innovative products can improve daily life in emerging markets.…