There has been a rapid increase in the number of unique subscribers and connections in sub-Saharan Africa over the last five years. By June 2014, there were about 330 million unique subscribers which is equal to 38 percent of penetration rate, according to a GSMA report.
Consumers, governments and businesses alike are now more than ever able to adopt mobile technology not only as a basic communication tool but also as a means to get information and a growing range of new applications and services.
Africa is set to grow even faster due to increasing affordability of mobile services. With emerging tech solutions like that of the Namibian schoolboy, Simon Petrus, the mobile technology could grow even faster reaching to those in inaccessible areas.
Petrus the Grade 12 learner in the country’s Ohagwena region has invented a sim-less mobile phone that does not require airtime to make calls.
The pupil at Abraham Iyambo Senior Secondary School created the phone using spares from a phone, television parts, and other electronic devices, CCTV Africa reported.
The new creation which comes with a light bulb, fan, and charger socket, functions off power supplied through a radiator and is able to make calls to anyplace through the use of radio frequencies.
Apart from being used as a mobile device to communicate, Petrus brainchild, made up of a radio system, is attached to a box and reports indicate that it can also allow the user to view one TV channel on it.
Using the many-in-one unit, Petrus can make calls to wherever without any interruptions provided he is in an area where there are radio frequencies. His latest invention like one in the past has received recognition in the country. His new creation won first place at the regional level and he is now heading to the national competition, the Herald reported.
Last year, the young pupil won a gold medal at the national level for his inventive two-in-one machine that works as both a seed drier and cooler.
According to local reports, the invention which took two years to create was sponsored by his unemployed parents, and the schoolboy hopes that the creation would be a success and be able to be carried further to the rest of the continent.
The young innovator wants to become an electronic engineer after he completes Grade 12.
Emerging young inventors
Petrus is not the only young inventor who is creating tailor-made solutions to resolve local challenges.
Inspired by Alexander Graham Bell, Josua Nghaamwa a young Namibian invented a cellphone some years back using scrap radio parts and toy telephones parts. In 2014, using scrap material, the young inventor built a satellite dish booster which is created to enhance people’s internet connectivity in rural areas where there is a significant weak signal.
The satellite created by the self-taught inventor is small enough to fit in a laptop bag and has a USB port to allow it be connected to a modem, router or cell phone, increasing the internet speed allowing for a better online experience.
With such inventions aimed at making mobile and internet experiences in Africa better and faster, the region is set to continue expanding.