Africa 2.0

Inside a continent’s communications revolution

Russell Southwood
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Africa 2.0: Inside a continent’s communications revolution provides an important history of how two technologies – mobile calling and internet – were made available to millions of sub-Saharan Africans and the impact they have had on their lives. The book deals with the political challenges of liberalisation and privatisation that needed to be in place to get these technologies built. It analyses how the mobile phone fundamentally changed communications in sub-Saharan Africa and the ways Africans have made these technologies part of their lives. It examines critically the technologies’ impact on development practices and the key role development actors played in accelerating things like regulatory reform, fibre roll-out and mobile money. The book considers how corruption in the industry is a prism through which patronage relationships in government can be understood. The arrival of a start-up ecosystem has the potential to break these relationships and offer a new wave of investment opportunities. The author seeks to go beyond the hype to make a provisional assessment of the kinds of changes that have happened over three decades. It examines how and why these technologies became transformative and seem to have opened out a very different future for sub-Saharan Africa.

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