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Mobile marvels: Inform, involve and empower

November 17, 2010

The title isn’t original. It’s a mash-up of a special report by The Economist and the tag line of Ovi Life Tools by Nokia.  The prospects for developing countries are staggering (see table below).

Information and communication technologies can be a digital lifeline for the poor. The analysis in a report “Information Economy Report 2010” by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development:

“[D]raws on specific cases from around the world – for example (a) mobile vendors in the Gambia; (b) mobile money services in Afghanistan and Kenya; (c) “social outsourcing” in India; (d) ICT manufacturing in China; (e) animation services in Nepal; (f) village phone ladies in Bangladesh, Uganda and Ghana; (g) PC/Internet-related micro-enterprises in Nigeria; (h) ICT use by dairy farmers in Bhutan, onion growers in Ghana, fishermen in India, women weavers in Nigeria, farmers in the United Republic of Tanzania, and artisans in Viet Nam.”

Two press releases here and here summarise the rise of micro-enterprises and how mobile phones are a worthy tool in alleviating poverty. This report coupled with a soon to be published report on access to financial services in Nigeria by EFInA are a must read. Enjoy the video!

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