In the increasingly mechanized West, it is impossible to imagine daily life without constant connectivity—21st century consumers are defined by their smartphones, computers, and in general, their constant ability to participate in the internet community. With this omnipresence of technology, benefits are innumerable. However, in Africa, where much of the population lives in rural areas, connectivity is sparse.
Technology is inescapable in today’s globalized world: in order to compete, one must be connected. Luckily, the Kenyan nonprofit tech startup Ushahidi has recognized Africa’s dire need for technology. Their latest design, BRCK, seems to be a feasible solution. The device works as a modem that can connect 20 devices simultaneously and allow access to the Internet via WiFi, 3G, 4G, and Ethernet. The device can even function through a battery, providing constant access on a continent too often burdened with power blackouts.
From its origins, BRCK has received widespread support as an innovative product with the potential to revolutionize African technology. The project, which received its funding through Kickstarter, has energized the entire continent. With reliable Internet access, almost every African industry would progress prodigiously.
In her talk at TED, Ushahidi co-founder stressed the importance of BRCK, and by extension, technology, in the development of Africa. She said: “The idea is that the building blocks of the digital economy are connectivity and entrepreneurship. The BRCK is our part to keep Africans connected, and to help them drive the global digital revolution.”
Clearly, with reliable technology, the future of Africa is no longer nebulous. With equal access to information and markets, an auspicious change seems inevitable. With its solid design and brilliant inventors, BRCK appears to be the exact agent of change needed to propel Africa forward.
Furthermore, outside of the continent, BRCK has also received enormous attention. For those constantly on the go, whether for work or recreation, a reliable connection is indispensable. The product is now being sold for around 200 US dollars.
– Anna Purcell