Alain Capo-Chichi, an Ivory Coast entrepreneur has created the country’s first-ever locally-made smartphone. The smartphone, which is called “Open G,” was built with the aim of improving accessibility through intelligent voice commands in local languages for users who are unable to read and/or write.
The report was made by Reuters and claims that Open G, which went on sale last month, has the ability to understand commands and also respond in 16 of Ivory Coast’s approximately 60 spoken languages, including Dioula, Senoufo, and Bété.
Alain revealed that this feat was inspired by the need to help his parents, who are illiterates, perform important digital activities such as transferring money and sending text messages.
“In Africa, the problem we have is that reading and writing is not accessible to everyone,” he said. “People can use their smartphones much more easily by simply speaking to them.”
This development is a big step for Africa as the continent continues its journey of improving its technology in this space. Rwanda launched Africa’s first locally-made phone through Mara Group in 2019, and since then, more African technology platforms are embracing the manufacturing and use of regional products.
Nigeria was also on its way to producing its own local mobile phone and sim cards, with the Electrical/Electronics Technology Department of the Industrial Training Fund Model Skills Training Centre presenting its Made-in-Nigeria cellphone ITF Mobile to the President in June 2021.
Africa is the most culturally-diverse continent in the world and is beginning to realize the growing need and importance of adapting its technology to local needs in order to ensure maximum accessibility and inclusion for all its inhabitants.