Can Technology Save Africa?

By Awanto Margaret - October 18, 2018

Over the decades, the question of African development and advancement has been the center of numerous conferences and talks held across the continent and around the globe. The Western world, and most recently, African nations have come up with a handful of proposals said to be the solution to African problems if implemented meticulously. Amidst proper education, health care, nutrition, and good transport network—the talk of technologizing Africa often pops up.

It is evident that Africa has seen—and is witnessing a technological revolution as the average African can now own a mobile phone and in some cases, a laptop. In every sector of the African society, traces of technological progress can be identified: from the creation of online platforms and apps where farmers can sell their produce to mobile banking, to e-education, alternative power sources, to e-laboratories and many more.

Some argue that tech is far-fetched because Africa is not done fighting Malaria, hunger, poverty, and bad governance. South Africa, classified as Africa's most technologically advanced country, still suffers a myriad of problems: an alarming rate of HIV patients, social inequality, poverty, high crime wave, poor leadership, xenophobia..etc. The case of South Africa is clear proof that technology can not and will not solve all of Africa's problems. However, this is just a grim representation of the country that takes no account of the splendor and beauty which technology has brought to it. 
South Africa's Capetown and Johannesburg, considered two of Africa's finest cities, with clean streets and infrastructure. The University of Capetown too is classified as Africa's best by numerous online journals/magazines—all this, a peek into the multiplier effect of tech in this country. 
In essence, technology can do a great deal in revolutionizing and moving Africa forward, however, it can not save Africa—at least— not on its own. Empathy, kindness, respect for the other, tolerance, love—all qualities that technology cannot replace, are what Africa needs most. In the grand scheme of things, an improvement in tech, socio-economic innovation/advancement, and political appropriateness will shape Africa into a better continent, but with tech alone? it is almost improbable.

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