Solar Power and Mobile Communications in Rural Africa

In much of the developed world, we shrug at modest improvements in technology. When I hear, “It won’t make much of a difference to me,” I often think about The Starfish Story*  – “It made a difference for that one!”

An estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide live without electricity. Small solar cells can provide enough power to light homes and recharge mobile phones, replacing kerosene and generators, providing the “luxury” of electricity for many who may otherwise do without. 

Low power (50 watt) cellular base stations, and low power (25 watt) microwave transmitters, when combined with solar power technology, have the potential to bring the world to the doors of millions of people in third world countries, through the Internet!

I know there are much more important problems in developing countries. AIDS, clean water, adequate nutrition and safety from despotic regimes and those seeking to overthrow them, are issues needing urgent intervention. But electric lighting and Internet connectivity are not small conveniences! A smartphone, tablet, lighting, and a connection to the Internet can bring life saving information to someone in rural Africa! Traveling medical missionaries and others can communicate when they will be near villages. Vaccination clinics can communicate their schedules and information. Information on safe food preparation and safe sex can be distributed more effectively.

Technology can be a huge force for good throughout the world, in ways we’ve never thought of!


For more information – 

Selling Solar Panels on the Installment Plan in Africa – Businessweek ~

A Tiny Cell-Phone Transmitter Takes Root in Rural Africa | MIT Technology Review ~

* The Starfish Story: You Can Make a Difference | Andrew: Inside & Insights ~

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