As technology advances, the opportunity to make use of innovations in the health and education sectors increases. The issue on how to utilize this for Zambian development gathered over 120 technology professionals this Monday evening 20 May, as the Mobile Monday network held a meeting in Lusaka under the theme “Building our Digital Future Together”. Among the speakers at the event were Jussi Hinkkanen, VP Corporate Relations Middle-East and Africa at Nokia Corporation and Mr. Mark Bennett, founder iSchool Zambia.
Internet connectivity and usage increases with great speed all around Africa. Zambia is no exception. The opportunities for business development within this sector are great and at the same time it could bring large benefits for Zambians such as better quality education and improved health services.
Mark Bennet is the founder of iSchool, a Zambian venture developing a new form of learning platform using tablets, the ZEduPad. The tablet holds all information necessary for school children in grades 1-7 based on the Zambian curriculum in eight Zambian languages. It uses moving pictures and sound to create a better learning environment.
“We have done extensive testing in Zambia and we see that the results of the students are improving enormously”, Mr Bennet said, ”and as an added value, the kids are having fun”.
The speakers all concluded that there are vast opportunities for Zambian businesses in the technology sector right now. But the momentum might not be there forever.
“The time for African and Zambian technology developers is now. In a few years’ time there will be multinationals moving in and the competition will increase”, said Jussi Hinkkanen, VP Corporate Relations Middle-East and Africa at Nokia Corporation.
To ensure that everyone benefits from the technology development there is also a need for further coordination, not least within the health sector.
“I am calling for Zambian developers and influentials to form clusters and to build structures in order to make the most of the development in Zambia. Now is the time to bind everything together. If you combine your efforts, you can do great things together”, said Mr. Arto Holopainen, Vice President, Finnish Society of Telemedicine and eHealth.
The main purpose of the Mobile Monday is to create an good networking atmosphere. A mission that the guests seem to have embraced.
“The results oriented networking is bringing to life what we are thinking but not yet doing. And we want to do it!”, Sylvia B. Mwansa, Proprietor SBM Investments, said.
Simunza Muyangana, co-founder of BongoHive and of Mobile Monday Lusaka, took the opportunity to share the aim of Mobile Monday Lusaka to be a network for anyone interested in technology and positive change in Zambia.
“During the past year, Mobile Monday Lusaka has held five meetings like this one. Let’s now use the momentum to bring the technology discussion to the next level involving the young developers, policy makers, academia, the private sector and society at large”, commented Gustaf Engstrand, co-founder and lead organizer of Mobile Monday Lusaka.
Thanks to our speakers of the evening, and to our partners and sponsors Human Security Finland and Southern African Innovation Support programme (SAIS) for making this event possible.
Speakers on Mobile Monday, May 20, included:
Mark Bennett, MD and founder iSchool Zambia.
Jussi Hinkkanen, VP Corporate Relations Middle-East and Africa at Nokia Corporation (www.nokia.com)
Risto Ojanperä, Vice President, Elisa Ltd. Elisa Ltd (www.elisa.com),
Arto Holopainen, Vice President, Finnish Society of Telemedicine and eHealth
Jukka Sormunen, CEO, iClass Finland Education Network Ltd.