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What trends will take African tech to the next level?

Three years ago I decided to bring a major tech conference to Africa - Tech4Africa. The incredible personal journey that I have been on since the conference's inception has tested my resolve to the limits as there have been many obstacles to overcome and it would have been so easy to have compromised my ideals or given up altogether.
In that time however, I have learnt about the market, what people want and have tried to adapt each conference to be in line with emerging trends as I see them. Technology in Africa is at an exciting juncture with some very interesting developments, some of which are as follows:

The web infrastructure is now a premier communications medium with the delivery mechanism or user interaction being predominantly mobile - the use of mobile with the consumer is now much greater than it was three years ago as the way people work and play has changed considerably, with Twitter, email, text messaging, the web and smart phones taking precedence in many markets over traditional communications media.

...Tech is now moving almost entirely to a cloud-based infrastructure with Dropbox as an example and this applies to both corporate organisations and individual users; one implication for which is that consumers will start moving to computers that don't need a lot of horsepower.

...I see the ability of people to access data wherever they are without the need for a lot of storage space or anything that is centralised as a considerable step forward. However, in order for the new developments in tech to work people need fast broadband - which is a considerable bone of contention with me!

I am highly impressed with how countries such as Ghana and Kenya are getting with it, but I am very disappointed with the way technology has largely been ignored or overlooked in South Africa, which in my opinion, puts South Africans five to ten years behind everyone else, including some African countries.

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Launched in April 2010 by Matthew Buckland, Memeburn is a news and opinion platform tracking tech culture, innovation and business. It plays particular attention to the web, mobile, social media, online media and social networking fields. Key opinion-leaders contribute to Memeburn, providing their insights on the online industry. Subscribe via email or RSS for regular updates. Follow memeburn on Twitter at @memeburn.
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About the author

Gareth Knight is the MD at Technovated, a Web 2.0 provider in South Africa and London as well as a Tech4Africa conference organiser.