The AirBnb boom in Ethiopia
In 2018, I had the opportunity to visit The impressive monolithic carved temples located at the mountain top town of Lalibela, Ethiopia. The destination attracts thousands of local and international tourists every year, and this has shaped a distinctive hospitality culture among the locals.
I had the opportunity to stay with Mangesha. He dedicates to hosting local homestay experiences. Mangesha, like many other Lalibelians, study and work in Tourism most of their lives. However, Mangesha is an innovator, he pioneered AirBnb in Lalibela and the emergence of a new way of tourism. Many others have followed Mangesha’s success, and now the town has a new capacity to host the growing demands of budget travelers.
Ethiopia’s latest policy and infrastructure developments extending its telecommunication lines across the country is driving stories like Mangesha’s around the country. In the last years, many Ethiopians have gained access to internet and can now use the same tools that we use to power our communications, education, businesses and entertainment.
Like in Lalibela, new access to internet is changing the lives of many developing communities around the world. “Camel Men” in the remote Moroccan Sahara are now capable to make their own TripAdvisor or Bookings.com profiles to advertise their experiences. Before they relied on expensive and price-setting middlemen to do so. The same goes for trekking guides in the Himalayas or the Kilimanjaro and the Eco-lodges in the Amazon.
Mangesha is one of the first and most successful Airbnb host in rural Ethiopia
“Green Tech” that is changing lives for rural developing communities.
Tourism is not the only rural industry that is being affected through the extension of internet access across the global south, Apps and software built specifically to solve issues of rural remote populations are proliferating and improving the lives of those who used to live disconnected. A Sustainable Fishing App teaches fishermen how much fish they can catch without devastating the fish stocks. Other apps send precious information to rural farmers about weather, soil conditions or current market prices for their crops.
The work of our Social Enterprise is only possible through a software born from this wave of rural “green tech” the Kenyan software Angaza. This app powers our microfinancing and inventory logistics and our staff can activate and regulate our solar systems when visiting the most remote areas of Peru.
Satellite internet is the emerging game-changer
One emerging technology has the potential to catalyze it all, that is Satellite internet.
in the past 3 years 1000 satellites has been launched and it is projected that around 40,000 satellites in the upcoming years. These satellites will have the capacity to provide fast speed internet to any corner of the world. An unprecedented opportunity for the millions of people that live in areas lacking telecommunications infrastructure and will now have access to information and communications.
At Light Up the World, we have witnessed how being able to use radios, TVs and cellphones has improved the lives of the communities in the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon. Universal access to energy in combination to access to internet will proceed the progress for a more fair world.
We are looking forward to the emerging technologies which will power more opportunities for those that remain underserved and disconnected.
Written by Andres Clavier, LUTW’s Development officer.