Of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion, 90% have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted. 

However, the mobile phone is a product that has become phenomenally widespread and has revolutionised life in developing regions. 

Nowhere has the effect been more dramatic than in Africa. While access to a fixed landline has remained static for a decade, access to a mobile phone has soared in the past few years. 

There are over 500 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa today, more than half of the continent’s population. Many of these mobile users do not have access to a computer, the internet or even electricity. Of the 110 million Africans that do use the internet, more than half do so via their mobile phone. 

Moreover, the mobile phone has become a platform for a host of applications that offer new social and economic benefits to users. New services and systems are being built around this object to add value, and in just a few years, mobile applications have transformed the lives of many Africans. 

Mobile learning or m-learning is an emerging field that attempts to do just that. While less established than m-health and m-banking, m-learning has a great potential for contributing to social and economic development in Africa.

Jenni Parker wrote a great toolkit that offers a closer look at the possibilities m-learning offers. The toolkit can be also be downloaded here (17Mb).