"If it works in Africa, it’ll work anywhere."
Via White African comes this video from Shimba Technologies showing off their new app, MedAfrica. The app allows users in Kenya, where a population of 40 million has access to only 7,000 doctors, to receive medical advice and make contact with medical specialists even with the country’s deficit of infrastructure.
This is a good example of the “Developing World = Developer’s World” concept in the development field. Kenya presents a host of challenges to technology developers, from lack of infrastructure (electricity, broadband, etc) to vast distances between communities. But by overcoming these challenges to produce something like MedAfrica, the developers have not only solved the immediate problem but have also produced a stronger, more resilient product.
As Mbugua Njihia says in the MedAfrica presentation, “if it works in Africa, it’ll work anywhere.” If you can produce an application that provides medical access and services to citizens in a developing country/emerging market context, then that product is easily scaled to more developed/industrialized countries.
Emerging markets provide lucrative business opportunities for technology developers, but they also provide the unique advantage of ensuring that the product is exceptionally suited to almost any environment, developed or otherwise. This benefit of working in developing countries cannot be overstated.
With the proliferation of mobile and internet applications providing services to citizens worldwide, the ability to deliver efficient, high-impact results regardless of location or infrastructure will become a critical benchmark for new applications. Indeed, developers looking to maximize the strength and universality of their product may eventually take on a more provocative framing of Njihia’s truism: “If it doesn’t work in Africa, it might as well not work at all.”