Half of Africa’s one billion population has a mobile phone – and not just for talking. The power of telephony is forging a new enterprise culture, from banking to agriculture to healthcare to even education.
In Uganda alone, more than 10 million people, or about 30% of the population, own a mobile phone, and that number is growing rapidly every year.
It may seem unlikely, given its track record in technological development, but Africa is at the centre of a mobile revolution.
That is why it was no surprising news when Makerere University delved into the world of mobile phones manufacture.
The smart phone, to be known as the Pearl, is one of over a dozen technological innovations currently on-going at the university’s college of technology and funded by the Government to the tune of sh154b.
According to Cosmas Mwikirize, the project’s assistant principal investigator, “Unlike most smart phones on the market today, the Pearl will be of high-tech with intelligent features like GPS tracking, data analysis and biometric security.”
Other features will include a ‘mobile weather station’, which will integrate temperature and humidity sensors to monitor and reveal different weather patterns at any given location.
The prototype is expected to be out in June upon which the University will embark on mass production of the phones. Already there are six electrical and computer science undergraduate students working on the smartphone.
Like most African countries, Uganda has always been a consuming country of foreign technologies. It will be interesting to see it becoming a producer of some of these technologies.