In a recent article on Africa’s growing internet market, Intelligent Life Magazine reports that cell phones are becoming the primary medium connecting Africans to the rest of the world. While electricity is still a luxury in many parts of the continent (Africa uses only 4% of the world’s energy), cell phones don’t need much of it and are often powered by car batteries, bicycles and solar panels.

According to Intelligent Life Magazine, there are currently 84 million internet-enabled phones in Africa. By 2017, 69% of cell phones could have access to the World Wide Web. This trend is due to a continuous drop in price. While in 1998, a sim-card cost $1500, a week’s worth of data can now be had for only $3. Though still expensive, considering that the majority of Africans earn less than $2 a day, it’s a significant improvement. Nokia’s cheapest internet-enabled phone is expected to cost only $25 by 2018.

In the absence of Apple, Nokia has started selling its own apps specific to the needs and interests of many Africans: Ovi Life Tools provides pricing and tips for farmers, lessons for teachers, and books and games for children.

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