Africa 2.0

Inside a continent's communications revolution

By Russell Southwood

Africa 2.0
Hardcover +
  • Price: £24.99
  • ISBN: 9781526154811
  • Publish Date: Jul 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £24.99
  • ISBN: 9781526154828
  • Publish Date: Jul 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £24.99
  • ISBN: 9781526154804
  • Publish Date: Jul 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5480-4
    • Published Date: July 2022


    Africa 2.0 provides an important history of how two technologies - mobile calling and internet - were made available to millions of sub-Saharan Africans, and the impact they have had on their lives. The book deals with the political challenges of liberalisation and privatisation that needed to be in place in order for these technologies to be built. It analyses how the mobile phone fundamentally changed communications in sub-Saharan Africa and the ways Africans have made these technologies part of their lives, opening up a very different future.

    The book offers a critical examination of the impact these technologies have had on development practices, and the key role development actors played in accelerating regulatory reform, fibre roll-out and mobile money. Southwood shows how corruption in the industry is a prism through which patronage relationships in government can be understood, and argues that the arrival of a start-up ecosystem in the region has the potential to change this. A vital overview of the changes of the last three decades, Africa 2.0 examines the transformative effects of mobile and internet technologies, and the very different future they have opened out for sub-Saharan Africa.



    Part I: Technology diffusion: the spread of mobile calling and internet
    Prologue (1986-2004)
    1 Mobile voice calling booms (1993-2004)
    2 Bandwidth as the digital economy's fuel: getting sub-Saharan Africa connected (1991-2015)
    3 Cheaper mobile internet and low-cost smartphones come together with apps sub-Saharan Africans want to use (2005-18)

    Part II: Technology influences: uses, behaviours and abuses
    4 Mobile money: from transferring cash by SMS to a digital payments ecosystem (2000-20)
    5 Sub-Saharan Africans start to live the digital life (2000-20)
    6 Sprinkling on the magic dust: digital's impact on development (1982-2020)
    7 The ugly underbelly of the communications revolutions: corruption, cronyism, regulation and government (1999-2020)

    Part III: Taking the long view: start-up innovation and complex behaviour change
    8 Sub-Saharan African start-ups: getting beyond the hype to address deep market challenges (1995-2020)
    9 Doing complexity: making sense of what has happened over thirty-five years

    Appendix A: Glossary
    Appendix B: List of those interviewed
    Select bibliography


    Russell Southwood is the Founder and CEO of the consultancy and research practice, Balancing Act, which has focused on telecoms, internet and media in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 20 years. He is also the author of Less Walk, More Talk - How Celtel and the Mobile Phone Changed Africa and with Kelly Wong, Building a Data Ecosystem for Food Security and Sustainability, Agtech V3.0.

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