The Importance of Communication

Africa is often known as a continent of poverty and problems, and although access to electricity, financial services and infrastructure still vary greatly between high- and low-income nations, these developing countries now share something in common -- cell phones. “When it comes to mobile connectivity, rich and poor countries are increasingly looking alike,” wrote senior World Bank economist Borko Handjiski. The importance of communication is evident in every country and continent throughout all of time, and its effects over the ages is evident. Cellphones are growing in importance as our world becomes more modern and technological. The widespread adoption of basic cell phones provides a “communication lifeline,” connecting people like never before. Cell phone ownership has recently surged in sub-Saharan Africa, transforming communication in areas where access to electricity and paved roads is scarce. In Africa, less than one in three people have a proper drainage system, half of the population lives in areas without paved roads, and only 63% have access to piped water. Yet, 93% of Africans have cell phone service. The value of a cellphone is increasing and in some reports, African families value them over food and other necessities. "In a lot of communities all over Africa, people can talk on their cell phones, but they can't turn on a light or a water faucet. Never mind flush a toilet. "

Critical for all people

9 in 10 people in Africa have a cell phone and we all know how often they break and how hard they are to fix. Although flip phones are more popular among these African nations, they are still expensive and difficult to fix. Cell phones are beneficial in society for communication purposes and can be used for disaster control and/or a family crisis by: Finding locations, contacting emergency response and family members, reassuring medical info, and much more. Cell phones are also spreading the English language across the continent due to its influence worldwide.

Improves life

But mobile phones have done more than just develop communication in sub-Saharan Africa, they have connected Africans who don’t own a television or a computer as well as provided entertainment and retail/financial services. Aside from communication, cellphones can be used for making or receiving payments, also referred to as mobile money. In Kenya, many people use phones to conduct business transactions. Texting and taking pictures are popular, but the reason they are valued is because they can be used to access political news, connect socially, and even help with healthcare and jobs. In Ghana, the Mobile Technology for Community Health initiative aims to improve healthcare for pregnant mothers by providing time-specific information about their pregnancies and childcare each week. A separate application enables nurses to collect patient data and upload records to a centralized database to track the progress of patients and identify those who are due for care. "Things have improved slightly over the past decade, but that progress has generally been slow, and large parts of the population are still left out, especially in rural areas. With the exception, once again, of cell phones," says Winnie V. Mitullah, Director of the University of Nairobi.