This Is How Mark Essien Thinks Africa Can Lead The World’s Tech Space
“Let’s not play catch up. Let’s not think about copying what the West has done. Rather, let’s think about skipping a generation and then inventing what nobody else has invented.”The fact that Africa has missed out on so much should be no course for concern. We successfully skipped the landline age (although a few people adopted it in Africa) and jumped straight into the mobile age. And the continent is better off for it. This can be replicated across many other areas where Africa is facing challenges. Here are some of the areas Africa could leapfrog the rest of the world by creating technology that is not based on legacy systems, but on new ones:
EnergyThis is one of Africa’s most pronounced problems. As bad as it is in the urban areas, it’s even worse for those who reside in the villages. Instead of thinking of how to build gas plants and laying cables underground, Mark says that solar trees could be planted. Solar trees are basically ‘trees’ with solar panels as leaves. The energy harnessed from them could be used to pump water to all the parts of the village and charging ports could be built into blocks at the base of the trees.
TransportationWhen you ask the average Lagosian how they think the traffic problem could be solved, more often than not you get an answer that relates to railway transportation. You’ll also hear ideas about cable cars and people working remotely. Mark takes a different approach to this and brings up the idea of K-cars. Self-driving tricycles that are linked with each other, like train cars. Tricycles are already popular in many parts of Nigeria and adopting such a technology will mean thinner tracks compared to traditional railways. This idea, however, will work best in less populated areas. It will prove difficult to execute in crowded places like Lagos. One only wonders how many cars will be attached to one tricycle train. Like I said, it will be difficult, but not impossible. Maybe we could enter the Guinness Book of Records for the longest tricycle train.
EducationNot a lot of African schools offer world-class education. It’s why many parents prefer to send their kids to school outside Africa. There’s another way Africa can approach this search for quality education: using Virtual Reality. By putting on a pair of VR goggles, you can experience what people in Harvard or Stanford are experiencing. You can join them in class and see things just as they see them. This will eliminate the need for more buildings, students would be able to participate in classes right from home. The money we would normally invest in building schools could be invested in developing this technology. Fewer buildings, less populated classrooms but the same quality education anywhere in the world.
MedicineInstead of spending money building hospitals that may not even function as well as they ought, we can invest in ‘blood testing and diagnosis’ technology. Take Theranos as an example. Although this development won’t be without its challenges and ethical oppositions, it’s an idea worth considering. For medical conditions that require drug treatment, drone tech could be deployed. Instead of crowded hospitals, Drone Doctors could be deployed (the way Amazon deploys them for delivery) to deliver medication to people in their homes. The good thing about all of this, according to Mark Essien, is that the technology already exists. It need only be reinvented in new ways.
“The future of technology for Africa is not in playing catch up. But in looking at the things we lack and using each of those gaps as an opportunity for us to invent something we can use to leapfrog the rest of the world.”You can watch the full video here. Source: Tech Cabal
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