The article was very interesting and did have some great info about how common smartphones have become in Africa. I live in Egypt and I have yet to see anyone around who does not have a smartphone that could be used as a web browser. Mobile phone internet has become cheaper with larger amounts of bandwidth - it should keep up this trend for the foreseeable future. There are also lots of educational apps on the Google Play Store, with more and more being added each day. Many apps are actually very high quality versions of laptop and computer apps. The article seems to advocate using this resource to help areas where there is a shortage of teachers and/or basic technological infrastructure.
Where the article misses the boat is huge and very fundamental. First of all, you cannot just take technology, give someone limited training, and expect the learning and teaching to start happening. Most people are used to using Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber, instant messaging, etc. with their phones. In order to use various technologies as learning platforms you really need to be trained as a teacher and know how to set goals, find technology that would help, and actually design lessons that effectively use that technology. All of this could be be done without technology, but technology by itself isn't going to help much. If people knew how to teach, they would be doing so already. Secondly, there has to be a culture of valuing the idea of learning. If school is not really considered very important, just adding technology is not going to help those students learn. These programs have to have teachers that understand the learning process inserted into areas that need them. In these areas, technology can help them by providing resources that are not ordinarily available (like textbooks, newspapers, videos, etc.) so they can be leveraged to maximize what the teachers are doing. Assuming that since someone has a smartphone so now they know how to use it to learn is a very, very big assumption. I could actually see technology making things worse as politicians and "well meaners" spend the money on technology with no teachers to help support the learning - especially on a long-term basis. I don't think big national projects that spend millions of dollars on technology are going to help much. I do think big national programs to get good teachers into areas and use the existing technologies would help a lot.