Mobile devices

Expert Voices

New ride-hail options could help Africa's traffic-clogged megacities

motorbike taxis waiting for passengers in the shade under an overpass
Motorbike taxis in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Africa is the world's fastest urbanizing region, but limited public transit in most cities has led to severely congested roads, creating an acute need for investment and innovation in transportation.

Why it matters: Traffic takes a toll on both economic output and quality of life in Africa's megacities. But with mobile phone penetration approaching 50%, new technology platforms could help motorbike taxis and other services bridge the gaps in the continent's urban transportation systems.

The hot new debate over the future of the smartphone

A smart phone disappearing into the grass
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Just 12 years after the first iPhone, almost every conceivable smartphone consumer on the planet currently owns one — some 4 billion people, according to the consensus. Which has begotten a surprising new trend: a still-small but growing chorus of forecasts (like this) of the smartphone’s demise.

What’s happening: According to the smartphone naysayers, it might look like we are bionically tethered to our devices, but we are actually poised to shed our reliance on them, one function after another. We will turn to our cars to make phone calls, send and receive texts, and get directions. Wearables and home smart assistants will do tasks, make payments, and help us stay on schedule.