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Chinese Smartphones in Africa

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CNN published an article on October 10, 2018 titled The Chinese smartphone giant that beat Apple to Africa. The articles tells of the Chinese technology manufacturer “Tecno” and how, unbeknownst to Americans, they have taken over the supposedly high demand for smartphones in Africa. One Ethiopian woman even commented on one of the perks of the phone.

“This phone is seriously nice for selfies,” she told CNN reporters, “the cameras adjust more light for darker skin, so the photograph is more beautiful.” As I’m reading through this article, I can’t help but ask myself one question: Is this really the biggest issue we need to focus on in Africa? I know, everyone loves a good selfie. But why are companies capitalizing on the less than one percent of wealthy people in the more developed countries of a crippled continent instead of making an effort to fix the humanitarian issues there?

As the world keeps moving forward, we tend to leave Africa in the dust and ignore the underdeveloped countries that host problems that we Americans could never imagine. The number of people in poverty continues to climb, from about 280 million in 1990 to an estimated 330 million in 2012. The literacy rate is one of the worst of all countries, with more than 40% of adults unable to read or write. The AIDs epidemic in Africa continues to kill thousands, lowering the life expectancy. Of the 20 countries of the world that struggle most with hunger, 19 are in Africa. With lack of sustainable agriculture, hundreds of thousands have to face malnutrition and financial struggle, having one of the lowest GDP per capita in the world. (Just for reference, Africa’s GDP per capita is $1,036.10; compared to the U.S. GDP per capita of $50,577)

The article goes on to talk about how the company targets the specific smartphone needs of Africans, “giving consumers what they want.” Most of the perks of the smartphone include longer battery life and a lower price. But is making a smartphone affordable what consumers in Africa really want? How about some clean water and food for the children? Maybe then the life expectancy would go up to almost compare to some of the developed countries of the world. There are serious problems in these countries that require serious solutions with serious action.

Instead of trying to find a market for technology in the poorest continent in the world, why not donate to a humanitarian organizations that’s making a difference? Big companies like this shouldn’t feed on the small percent of wealthy people in the countries of Africa, but rather donate to the needs of the poor within those countries. It’s a shame to me that people are so hungry for money that they ignore the real problems of the world, even when they’re right under their noses.

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Chinese Smartphones in Africa