The developing world may not seem like the most obvious place for 3D printing technology, but since our 3D4D challenge in 2012, techfortrade has been looking at how this technology can deliver real economic benefits in emerging markets. The very lack of infrastructure and limited logistics that hinder economic growth in many of these countries actually provides a huge opportunity for 3D printing to add value, and as equipment becomes more affordable, and mobile phone use and Internet access increase, the possibilities for the technology continue to rise.
Of course we have no bigger or better crystal ball than other industry watchers who are trying to predict the future of 3D printing but the potential exists. After all, who could have predicted not only how developing economies have embraced mobile technology, but how, as with mobile money, developing market use cases have changed industry thinking world wide.
Our initiatives focus on supporting the key enablers that will open up opportunities for developing economies to participate in and shape this exciting new landscape on an inclusive basis. This means working at a grass roots level with communities, universities and local entrepreneurs to understand local needs and to help drive the adoption – and evolution – of 3D printing.