American inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison, once said that, “Big problems correspond to bigger opportunities”. When gazing upon the continent of Africa, this statement cannot be more accurate.
Africa, the second largest continent of the world, is such a diverse and resourceful continent that yields endless opportunities to the economy and its infrastructure. Africa has shown some significant growth in terms of sales in commodities, services and manufacturing over the last decade.
Even though Africa has shown some substantial growth over the last couple of years, we are still not quite where we need to be yet in terms of technology.
Africa still has a long way to go when it comes to developing, testing and implementing various technological advances to solve problems that people in Africa have to face on a regular basis. Technology might not be the answer to all of our problems but it can surely help to improve our life standards.
Below are five key points on how technology can be implemented to solve common problems or improve our current situation/s in Africa.
Technology can cure universal flu.
Experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic since earlier this year, we are all aware of how rare but dangerous such a universal flu virus can be. COVID has also proven to be deadly in some circumstances.
Pandemic flu is caused by a virus that spreads rapidly amongst individuals. Individuals who have weak immune systems are more prone to contracting such an influenza virus.
Due to the rapid spreading of a universal flu virus, it can be challenging and difficult to contain and prevent the virus from infecting even more individuals.
These viruses have to be dealt with cautiously and tactfully as it can spread too quickly and become immune to any tailor-made vaccine.
With medical personnel and scientists working around the clock to create an effective and affordable vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, all we have left to do is wait until we are able to get our hands on it. Various scientific research methods and state of the art technology is being used in the creation process of finding and creating an effective vaccine.
Certain applications of technology such as phone applications and online surveys and hotlines, can be used to easily trace the spreading rate of the virus as well as tracking infected individuals.
By implementing this strategy, contact tracing can be executed more effectively.
A vaccine such as the one mentioned above might not solve all of Africa’s problems but it will surely help to put a stop to the death toll rate and provide individuals with longer, healthier life spans. This will also result in a decrease in pressure on Africa’s various health care systems.
Africa is no stranger when it comes to drought and a lack of basic necessities such as water for human consumption, irrigation and adequate sanitation.
Due to unreliable and unpredictable rainfall and semiarid areas in the continent, most types of soil are unable to retain moisture for a long period of time. Planting crops and being sustainable has been proven to be quite a challenge when residing in certain areas of the African continent.
The percentage of salt water is more or less fifty times more than natural fresh water supply on earth. The demand for drinking water, especially in Africa, has proven to be an ongoing battle with not a single promising solution.
Technology holds the answer to most of our questions and problems that we face on a daily basis. One will be pleasantly surprised to know that technology can improve the fresh water supply worldwide through a process called desalination.
Desalination is the process where various mineral components and salt is removed from the sea water in order to make it safe for human consumption.
Technology is used to conduct a process called reverse osmosis. During this process, water is being purified by moving through a partially permeable membrane to remove ions and any other unwanted substances from the water.
The process of reverse- osmosis does require a substantial amount of power. Power can be generated through means of solar panels or any other power generating technology.
Africa is surrounded by kilometres of ocean, which will make the implementation of such a project more beneficial. It might prove to be a costly operation to put up but inhabitants of the continent will be able to reap the benefits in a short period of time.
Again, by providing drought stricken areas with clean and drinkable water, will not save the African continent but is surely a step in the right direction when it comes to improving the usage and benefits of technology in Africa.
Agriculture is critical for economic growth in Africa.
Africa is still in the process of improving and growing its agricultural sector, which will not only significantly lower the poverty rate all over the continent but also improve economic growth and environmental sustainability.
Agricultural productivity all over Africa, is significantly lower than in other parts of the world but with the help and implementation of digital technology, Africa’s food system will improve and strengthen notably.
In order to create strong and long lasting agricultural systems, the focus must be placed on intensifying production on agricultural land in a sustainable manner and without harming the environment.
The African continent should make use of digital technology that is already available, to their advantage. The usage of satellite information that provides accurate climate data can help farmers to plan accordingly when planning and harvesting crops.
Solar panels for the generation for electricity is also a bonus point when it comes to improving and growing Africa’s agricultural system. Electricity that is generated from solar panels can then be used for irrigation purposes in the form of smart irrigation devices.
Farmers should also expand the usage of bore holes or natural water that comes directly from a river or a dam for irrigation purposes.
Africa’s agricultural sector has a lot of room for improvement which will take years before the desired results are reached. We can however begin to make small changes in the ways in which we farm or plan our crop seasons.
Digital technology and software for an easy promotion and transactions.
Digital technology such as Hello Tractor, can be used to connect farmers who do not own a tractor with farmer’s who do own one.
Tractors can be rented from Tractor owners all over the continent. This makes land preparation easier for farmers and creates a platform for extra income.
Another digital technological site that can improve the accessibility for farmers to the outside world, is a platform called 2KUZE. This platform directly links farmers, banks and potential buyers in countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
2KUZE is a mobile platform which makes it accessible from any smartphone that has a stable internet connection. By using this platform, farmers can get the best possible price for the goods that they sell and receive secure payments via their smartphones.
Education is key.
With the rise of technological use, Africa now has even more options and ways on how to improve the education sector. Education is key in Africa because poor education systems are one of the leading factors causing Africa’s high unemployment rate.
With technology rising and it slowly infiltrating into our daily lives, the timing for improving education cannot have come at a better time.
When it comes to smart phone or device applications, the possibilities are endless. Africa has the opportunity to create applications with basic courses that individuals can use to improve their reading, writing, speaking and comprehension skills.
University courses can also be done online from anywhere in the world. Africa universities should walk the extra mile and create online courses that are accessible to anyone who wishes to improve or learn new skills.
When it comes to technology, the possibilities are endless. Africa might be in a bit of a slump at the moment but we as inhabitants are slowly but surely taking steps in the right direction.
We should continue to test, apply and improve the use of technology in our daily lives because technology is the future and Africa has to be a part of this universal transition.