The team of entrepreneurs behind Aftarobot, a mobile phone app, has set out to revolutionize transportation in South Africa. Aftarobot links commuters and collective taxis, promising to slash hours off the average commute.
The app is a result of infoDev's Mobile Innovation Program, which enables entrepreneurship in the mobile industry through venture incubation and acceleration. Aftarobot was developed at mLab South Africa.
In a show of growing collaboration, the World Bank and South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) committing to continued support for infoDev’s mLab Southern Africa and other initiatives for inclusive innovation and technology-based job creation.
In Kenya, hiring private security is common practice, but verifying staff attendance remains a cumbersome, costly process. Meet Kate Kiguru, the mobile entrepreneur aiming to revolutionize the business of keeping Kenyan spaces safe.
“Africa as a geographic space is a hotbed for innovation right now. Never before have we seen so many people pick up the entrepreneurial challenge,” said Ben White, opening speaker on Day 3 of infoDev’s Mobile Startup Camp.
With 6 billion mobile phones around the world, of which 75% in developing countries, telephones reach most corners of the African continent. Mobile phones have improved the lives of the poor. Two new infoDev-led studies, focusing on South Africa and Kenya, provide insights on how useful mobile phones are for economic and social empowerment of people living of less than $2.50 a day.
Mobile phones are perhaps the fastest-spreading technology in all of history, with profound implications for global interconnectedness, trade, inclusivity, and growth. A new report by infoDev and the World Bank charts the new development opportunities of the mobile era; this infographic presents salient facts and figures from the report.
This report analyzes the growth and evolution of applications for mobile phones, focusing on their use in agriculture, health and financial services, as well as their impact on employment and government. It also explores the consequences for development of the emerging app economy, summarizing current thinking and seeking to inform the debate on the use of mobile phones for development. It's no longer about the phone itself, but about how it is used, and the content and applications that mobile phones open.
InfoDev's Mobile Innovation Program
Mobile access has been linked with economic growth, and the industry itself boosts local economies by creating high-value jobs. Mobile software applications are becoming increasingly important in areas like healthcare, education, governance and banking. The Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy Program, funded by the government of Finland, and in partnership with Nokia, laid the foundation for the Mobile Innovation program, which piloted a network of mLabs and mobile hubs with full stakeholder engagement. Over 100 mobile applications have been developed as a result. Since 2013, the Swedish International Development Agency also supports activities gearing toward female entrepreneurs and developers in the mobile sector.
The Mobile Innovation Program supports growth-oriented mobile apps businesses, by;
- Enabling entrepreneurship in the mobile industry, through venture incubation and acceleration;
- Building mobile innovation communities of entrepreneurs, investors, partners and mentors; and
- Researching the app economy of emerging and frontier markets.
Our network of mobile labs (mLabs) and mobile hubs (mHubs) in 15 countries acts as the backbone for our work.
For a deeper look at our Mobile Innovation Program, check out its chapter in our Work Program.