Posted by: Mobile Kugel on May 09, 2011
Back when ‘m’ wasn’t a prefix
When I was at school, not too long ago there were some things I was certain of. For one, I was pathetic at mathematics and as a result I was never going to become a doctor.
Luckily for me, the left side of my brain seemed to work pretty well which resulted in me being a good English student – not a bad compensation for the left hemisphere of my brain which could seldom work out ‘x’.
From the early age of seven I was having R2 bets with my classmates about how to spell certain words. I usually won. This is why I can confidently say that I was certain the letter ‘m’ was never a prefix.
I could have won a bet back then regarding this observation. Today, however I would have been wrong.
‘M’ as a valid prefix
The letter ‘m’ seems to accompany quite a few words these days in the form of a prefix.
I like to call this trend ‘m’ing.
Version 2: Scramble for Africa
In my first blog post, I alluded to version two of the ‘Scramble for Africa.
Version one took place in 1884 – 1885 and is commonly known as the Berlin Conference. The event describes a meeting of the major western powers of the world coming together and negotiating control over Africa.
Version two will take a little bit longer than a year and will be a little more aggressive than sitting around a table and drawing lines on a map. It alludes to the world fighting to penetrate the African ICT sector.
But hopefully this time Africa will be able doing all the work.
According to the latest IMF statistics found in the Economist (Jan 6th 2011), seven African countries are among the top ten fastest growing economies in the world.
This makes Africa one of the most interesting continents to watch out for in the next five years. Technology will play a key role in its development.
‘m’ing in Africa
These presentations focus on the changes in the mobile ecosystem in Africa, the mobile trends and the entrepreneurial opportunities in Africa.
At a glance, it is as if some genius sat down and wrote down a list of ‘problems’ in Africa (including AIDS nochal) and tried to come up with a mobile solution for it.
Despite my initial skepticism, there is a serious amount of ‘m’ing going on in our continent and we are already beginning to see the positive potential of such technology.
m-money, m-health and m-learning
For starters, let’s look at Kenya’s M-Pesa (Pesa = money in Swahili). It is a mobile based money transfer service that is bankless. Users are able to deposit and withdraw money, pay bills, transfer money and buy airtime. M-Pessa has already expanded to 45 countries.
mHealth will be available for people in Africa to monitor diabetes, blood and urine testing and quality of water testing without having to go to a doctor.
According to Andre Schneider, CEO of World Economic Forum, “within 10 years, all educational textbooks are expected to be digital, delivered through powerful e-readers.” With a major problem being access to resources at so many schools, mlearning could change education system dramatically in Africa in the next decade.
In conclusion, although the use of ‘m’ as a prefix is unsettling in many ways to the English language lover, ‘m’ing will change the future of most things in Africa over the next two decades.