The R&D Trip to Africa was a success! BBXG commenced onsite, technical research and partnership cultivation in Ghana and Kenya. Natalie attended Africa-specific mobile development conferences, tested smartphone connectivity and access in rural areas, validated systems architecture assumptions, and interviewed over 30 professionals working in relevant navvi.com industries. She set-up beta user programs with 3 African Universities and solidified relationships with regional news agencies: The Daily Nation (East Africa), The Graphic Group (West Africa), and the African Media Council (Nairobi, Kenya).
We spent the day filming in Kibera - the largest urban ‘slum’ in Africa. The sense of community and connectedness was beautiful. Unlike the car-centric streets outside, Kibera feels like an interconnected city where people call each other by name, know thy neighbor and simply put, care. Slum is such an interesting word - often associated with crime, raw sewage, poverty, rape, need, etc, the unidyllic implications graffiti an image most wish to avoid.
Having spent years in the urban slums of South Asia, I’ve come to the following conclusions: people in-touch with their basic human needs (ie. food, energy, water, shelter) are connected with their surrounding environment by necessity. The resulting community is always refreshing. In an age of broken single families, ambition, and ‘modernity’, I ask what can we learn from communities like Kibera?
Mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 20 percent to 500 million in 2013 and are expected to increase by an additional 50 percent by 2018…The rapid pace of mobile adoption has delivered an explosion of innovation and huge economic benefits in the region, directly contributing US$ 32 billion to the Sub-Saharan African economy, or 4.4 per cent of GDP. With necessary spectrum allocations and transparent regulation, the mobile industry could also fuel the creation of 14.9 million new jobs in the region between 2015 and 2020.