Over 70% of Ghanaians have a mobile phone. There are 17 million mobile phones in this country of 24 million. That means that the only big group without a phone is young children.
In late August, I had just finished 3 1/2 days of communications strategy. But Kwame, a cab driver I met, was teaching me the real marketing lessons. When I rode with him, he took my number and he calls every few days to say hi and remind me that he is available when I might need him. And, if you had not heard, mobile banking is big in Africa, and it is not being led by the banks, but by the mobile phone companies. And they did not plan for it. Africans generated the idea at the grassroots. Some think that it will result in increased access to financial services for the poor and thus help reduce poverty.
Because some places are covered by one network and different places by another, a number of people started carrying two phones. No more. Here is a phone I bought for about $50 and which can be on two networks at once because it has two SIM chips. The back is off and you can see the two shiny doors for each SIM chip. Like most people here I have a prepaid account, no contract and the cost is VERY reasonable.
So, why is a a guy involved in Bible translation going on and on and one about mobile phones? Well, I do like technology. I also try to understand the place where I work. But there is more! It is possible to put the Bible on many mobile phones.
Bible Is offers the Bible on iPhone and Android. They already have the New Testament available in hundreds of languages and plan to have it in 2,000 by the year 2020! Can Africans afford expensive iPhone and Android phones? They don’t have to. There is a China-made Android phone selling in Ghana for $80 – with no contract to sign! But Scripture can be put on some phones that cost as little as $40.
There is work to do on the details, but I think that in five years there will be more copies of the Bible in Ghanaian languages on mobile phones than are printed. Because there is no printing, the cost will plummet. The plan I am helping with will definitely include getting all the Bibles in all the languages of Ghana on mobile phones.
If you like this, you might also like my blog about mobile phones making Ghana more colorful?Share On Facebook
Hi, it’s Bud & Susan F’s oldest daughter, Lisa! I stumbled across your blog, and boy is it bringing back memories. It’s fascinating to read about how things have changed in the 20 years since I was last in West Africa, and yet how much it is still the same. Please say hi to your wife; I always think about y’all with fond memories.
Lisa, It’s great to hear from you and to have the Lord bring us back into contact. Things are the same and they are very different too. Well put.
Dear Lisa, So good to hear from you! We DO have great memories from our time in Abidjan and beyond. You kids were all adorable sweethearts. I think Martha was the baby when we left for Burkina Faso. I could hardly stand to leave all of you in Abidjan. At least Ed got to see you all in Waxhaw at some conference he attended. He ate at your house and David had made pudding in a planter and added oreo cookies. It looked for all the world like dirt. Great trick!!! Your dad said something in Abidjan one time that we have quoted over and over. He was at Treichville Market and he asked the salesman for me, “C’est quelle facon oiseau-la?” I had tried 3 different ways to ask what kind of bird it was embroidered on a pillow in proper French, but your dad knew the local way of talking! 🙂 We DO have memories. Love you still. But we didn’t call you Lisa, I’m sure. When did that start? Love again, Aunty Dayle