Africa goes cell.
The latest issue of The Rotarian Magazine (March 2012) has a nifty feature by Frank Bures about the amazing increase in cell phone use in sub-Saharan countries. Despite a litany of near perpetual problems in the various countries, the upsurge in access and use of cell phones and associated applications heralds, in my mind, a significant movement towards freedom and prosperity. There’s no downside, really, to communication. And the more instant (and low cost) the better. Here’s a table Bures cites:
Percentage of adults who own cell phones:
South Africa 84%
Sierra Leone 37%
Burkina Faso 19%
Communication is more than “reading” “speaking” and language. I think of a remark made the other day by an amazed great-grandmother at her great-grandtodler’s preference for “playing” with his parent’s cell phone rather than the assortment of toys provided. “I know he can’t read,” she noted, “but he can sure tell what the buttons and things mean on the phone, he can go back and forth on the internet, find games…” In a word: Hardwired. The new arrivals are fully prepared for a new era of communication. And, as is shown here, even the older folks are catching up.