Africa, the continent of smartphones
Publiée le 19 March 2018

Since 2010, there has been a digital turning point for Africa. In fact, according to a report carried out by GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communication: a grouping of operators around the world and companies concerning the mobile sector). 46% of Africans today, a total of 557 million people, use a smartphone. They also announced that in 2015 contribution from mobile telephones to the sub-Saharan economy was well over 100 billion dollars. These statistics show the size of this phenomenon that doesn't seem to be slowing down, making Africa today's smartphone continent.

A rising implementation of mobile phones in Africa  

How can one explain this major place cell phones are taking in African's lives? Firstly, one needs to analyse the growth of this phenomenon. Africa is following a global trend which includes internet usage being carried out more and more through one's cell phone. The number of users isn't slowing down and the prices continue to drop: $160 on average for a smartphone in Africa which represents a decrease of 23% in 3 years according to GSMA. By becoming more accessible, smartphones have made their place in Africa.  

But it also stems from a structural phenomenon. In fact, personal computers are rather rare in Africa and it's not as well established in African culture (contrary to Western practices for example). The fact that they're less expensive and better adapted to less optimal service networks contribute to this device’s popularity on this continent. Due to the fact that the development of Africa will be done online, the use of smartphones makes just that much more sense.  

Digital usages adapted to mobile phones

Therefore, it seems natural to think about the development of digital solutions for Africa and to develop ideas linked to this. Even though 3G coverage is growing (32 countries covered in 2016), it still doesn't reach the entirety of the continent, especially in remote areas. However, cell phones are still being used in these regions, as long as one knows how to make use of the particularly inequitable coverage of the African service network.  

Solylend has helped to develop the mobile sector in Africa with the digital and solar kit project Moon from Sunna Design, which is made up of a smartphone specifically adapted to the connection networks in Africa, currently being sold in rural areas in Senegal. This type of device is heading towards a direction of developing itself in the next few years, because of the rising need of such a device.

The mobile revolution is far from over. By 2020, 725 million Africans will own a smartphone. Solylend wishes to play its part in helping the continent to fulfil its development entirely.