The Internet is still relatively slow in many places in Africa. Google has now also realized this and even acted upon it by launching a new feature in Gmail Labs: Inbox preview.
While Gmail is loading, a simple, static preview of your inbox with your ten most recent messages is displayed. This allows users to be productive even before Gmail has completed loading.
Turn it on from the Labs tab under Settings and, if you're on a slow connection, you'll know from the start if it's worth the wait. I tried it out, and the difference is remarkable indeed.
So this is really a very cool development by Google engineers, but interestingly, the Labs tab under Settings is NOT available when you are using the Basic HTML View rather than the Standard View to access your Gmail, and it is exactly this Basic HTML View which is used by many Gmail users with snail connections. Google, are you listening? Another improvement would be to allow users to set the number of recent messages to be displayed in Inbox preview, since different users receive different numbers of messages and have different frequencies of accessing their Gmail accounts as well.