How Some Developing Nations are Leading the Charge in Tech Innovations

Daniel Bennett | Updated: 17-01-2022 13:05 IST | Created: 17-01-2022 13:05 IST
How Some Developing Nations are Leading the Charge in Tech Innovations
Image Credit: Pixabay

When you think of tech innovations around the world, you think of global superpowers such as America and China creating the newest and highest quality technology for people around the world. While there is certainly some truth to that, it is often forgotten how many developing nations provide for the tech world. From iGaming innovations to other ways of changing the world, the hottest tech is coming from all corners of the planet. The scale of the gambling industry can be seen by the vast amount of sites offering slot games and other gambling services. However, trends and attitudes around the world towards igaming are certainly still mixed. Many developing countries are embracing gambling as a way to make revenue, and Turkey is a prime example of a developing nation that has done this. Esports and e-gaming have become a massive market in the country, and according to research from 42Matters, Turkish game publishers have an average of more than 796,650 downloads, despite only making up about 2% of the overall market. This is higher than the download average of all mobile games at only 483,320. Furthermore, Turkish publishers use a higher percentage of ads and in-app payments to increase their revenue. As mobile internet becomes more widespread across the globe, trends like this will continue, where the share could well be better spread across the globe.

How The Philippines is overperforming on tech

As research in February from The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed, there are a few developing nations that are showing stronger capabilities to use and adapt what they call “frontier technologies” than their per capita GDPs would suggest, according to an index of 158 countries in UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2021. As they put it, “Frontier technologies are those that take advantage of digitalization and connectivity. They include artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things, big data, blockchain, 5G, 3D printing, robotics, drones, gene editing, nanotechnology and solar photovoltaic.” In first place is India, overperforming by 65 positions, in second place is The Philippines. This is due to their high ranking for industry, as they have had high levels of foreign investment in high-tech manufacturing, mostly in the electronics industry. The country has strong supply chains, a lot of pro-business policies, as well as a network of economic zones and a fairly highly educated workforce. On 21 April 2021, The country celebrated its first National Innovation Day and in April 2019, they signed the Phillippine Innovation Act, which placed innovation at the heart of the nation’s long-term development strategy. With these long-term plans to continue the nation’s development through tech, we could soon be seeing The Philipines becoming a world leader on the tech stage.

Africa’s progression in tech innovations to tackle social concerns

Tackling social concerns has been at the heart of Africa’s tech innovations, and African nations are developing at an impressive rate. In the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa, Solar-powered robots have been created to control traffic. In the city, the traffic was seen to be out of control, where pedestrians were in danger of being hurt and the rules of the road were often ignored. Industrial engineer Thérèse Izay Kirongozi was hired to develop humanoid robots and the first appeared in 2013 to aid pedestrians crossing one of the main roads in the city – Boulevard Lumumba. This first robot, which stands at two-and-a-half meters tall, raises one robotic arm to regulate traffic and bends the other to allow people to cross the road.

In Kenya, a new rugged tablet is helping children by giving them access to digital learning. BRCK, a company that gained widespread praise for its router designed to give Kenyans good connectivity, came back with the Kio Kit, a digitalised classroom all in one tough, weather-resistant box. The kit contains 40 Kio tablets and headphones and a BRCK connectivity device and can be charged wirelessly. An innovator at BRCK in the launch video for the Kio Kit said: "One lesson that we learned from our earlier design iterations is that the tablet charging connection is the greatest single point of failure for devices used by children. So, we engineered the Kio not to require a cable for charging." So that the Kio tablets are suited to schools’ educational requirements, the innovators at BRCK collaborated with the digital content provider, eLimu, who developed resources such as videos and educational games to put on to the tablets.

Latin America’s Technological Innovations

Some Latin American nations have been leading the charge in developing nations innovation on the tech frontier. In Chile, a company called BabyBe has developed technology that sets out to shorten the hospital stay of premature babies. The tech includes a system that turns the mother’s heartbeats and movement of their lungs into a sensorial feeling for the baby. The creators said: “It gives premature babies the capacity to feel like touching their mother from the incubation machine.” This was developed because many mothers of premature babies have to watch their babies from inside an incubation screen, and both mother and baby can’t feel connected to one another. The creator, Camilo Anabalon said: “not only entails sentimental and emotional implications but also physical in the baby’s body.”

In Mexico, a Guadalajara based company called Emiti has created a smartwatch that helps take care of the elderly, monitoring their health and reacting in the case of an emergency. The device detects falls, cardiac rhythm anomalies and it features an emergency button and was chosen to represent Mexico at CES. The company’s product includes 24/7 assistance and care service which detects if the user has suffered an accident.


While we may see China, Japan, Europe and The United States as huge tech innovators at the centre of the tech world, the developing world is coming with all types of tech innovation, whether it be for entertainment, health or to tackle social issues. It is extremely exciting to see how these nations continue to develop tech and continue to close the gap between them and the wealthiest nations.

(Devdiscourse's journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)

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