How Africa is embracing “the cloud” on its own terms. Landline, Internet and electricity challenges make Africa an increasingly attractive proving ground for cloud computing. Out of the one billion people in Africa, only an estimated 140 million use the Internet, but over 600 million use mobile phones. And given the lack of reliable power grids, rechargeable mobile devices are a more practical way of accessing Internet-based applications than PCs. Broad use of mobile application services in Africa is already the norm, and adoption of some types of mobile applications already dwarfs their usage in the US.
For example, Safaricom’s M-PESA mobile payment system, which allows customers to transfer money to each other via mobile phones, has largely replaced cash transactions in Kenya. Users are sticking to content within apps without realizing they’re Web-based at all. Technology development is now focused on this mobile market and serving the “un-webbed,” including ways to get applications distributed to customers using their non-Web, real-world social networks. Via Ars Technica