Lilongwe, Malawi … In the U.S., Dick Stephens has a document he needs to sent overseas. He walks to the next room, raises the lid on a 2018 model print/copy/scan HP printer, and lays the document in position. He lightly touches the word marked “scan”, and around the edges of the closed lid, He can see the tiny tinges of light as the scanner magically copies the document. He wonders why it does not do it faster, even though it is completed in less than 30 seconds.
The document is now a digital file and, in another minute he has emailed it to its destination halfway around the world.
Total time for Dick to process this document. Less than 5 minutes.
Same Need in Malawi
In Malawi, Wilson Tembo has a document he needs to send overseas. He walks to the next room, puts on his coat, places the document in his black briefcase, picks up the car keys and walks outside. 6 minutes have already elapsed, and he is just exiting the gate from his home.
The drive from his home to the copy center in the capital is halfway across the city. It is mid-day and the traffic is bumper to bumper. Even now it is far better than at 8:30 AM or 5:30 PM, peak rush hours in the capital. Time is 25 minutes.
Locating a place to park is impossible, he drives back and forth and finally settles for the outer edge of a service station, hoping they don’t run him off. Elapsed time is 6 minutes.
He walks carefully through the traffic, and down the street to the cop center. Time 4 minutes.
He gets in the queue to wait his turn. It is a long line. Wait time is 28 minutes.
The document is scanned and returned to him after successful sending a copy over the internet. Time 4 minutes.
Wilson walks back to the car, adding an additional 4 minutes.
He drives home to the far side of the city. 29 minutes.
Total time for Wilson to process this document is 106 minutes, well over an hour and a half!