Can the internet reboot Africa?
You can buy sunlight with your phone, conduct an eye test on someone 100 miles away and attend a church service on your iPad. There are apps for investing in cows, for sending parcels and for mapping unrest. And soon you’ll be able to deliver blood and medicines by drone.
There’s free Facebook, mobile banking, and the promise of cashless societies and digitised land records. And from Accra in the west to Kigali in the east, a spray of “tech hubs” talk about “leapfrogging” technology and incubating start-ups.
Such are the giddy promises of Africa’s “fourth industrial revolution” – a giant step forward into the digital world which the Guardian is reporting on for the next two weeks. Some are salivating that it will amount to the renaissance of a marginalised continent, while others soberly warn of the hype.