[su_heading size=”18″ align=”left”]Mark Walker, Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, IDC, reviews tech growth trend of the last 50 years and envision exciting times ahead for African economies as the “tech world move from computers the size of family cars to invisible cloud storage”.[/su_heading]
It’s April 7, 1964, and while the Beatles are telling the world that ‘Money Can’t Buy Me Love’, IBM is attempting to convince the business community that it can at least buy you a decent mainframe.
The IBM System/360 – touted as the Big Blue’s most innovative iteration to date – had just been announced, and since then the technology industry has changed in extraordinary ways, shaping the way we live, work, and play. The impact on Africa has been profound, with the continent and its people now connected with each other and the rest of the world in ways that couldn’t possibly have been imagined only a decade or so ago. But how did the connectivity we now all take for granted first come about?
For 17 years after the System/360 launch, the world of technology was living its 1st Platform. In this world, mainframes reigned supreme, and just a few million enterprise users on the planet had access to them via terminals. Throughout this era and way into the subsequent one, all computer-related activity was restricted to the interaction between a person and a computer. However, such interaction was never of a personal nature.
[su_quote]The upshot has been the proliferation of Internet exchange points and rural connectivity projects during the intervening years, while numerous major undersea cables have also entered operation. Spearheaded by the Kenyan government, the TEAMS cable began service in 2009, connecting the country to the rest of the world via the UAE, and in the following year the EASSy cable system brought widespread connectivity to the wider East Africa region, with landing points in nine countries along the coast and connections to at least ten landlocked nations. Three years later, West Africa got in the act with the WACS cable connecting South Africa to the UK via 12 landing points along the western coast. [/su_quote]