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Mobile-telephony-in-developing-countries-DEF.pdf

Mobile-telephony-in-developing-countries-DEF.pdf

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Published by: THINK The Innovation Knowledge Foundation on Oct 24, 2013
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THINK! Report, October 10 - 2013
4
MOBILE TELEPHONY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES:A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
   M    O   B   I   L   E   T   E   L   E   P   H    O   N   Y   I   N   D   E   V   E   L    O   P   I   N    G    C    O   U   N   T   R   I   E    S  :   A    G   L    O   B   A   L   P   E   R    S   P   E    C   T   I   V   E
www.thinkinnovation.org
Price € 18,00
 Authors:
Alizé AversanoSophie EversAmir Latif Marta Vaca-Viana
Edited by:
Silvia Masiero
978-88-907047-3-4
I Quaderni di THINK! N°4
    I    Q   u   a    d   e   r   n    i    d    i    T    H    I    N    K    !
 
October 10 - 2013
THINK! Report n° 4
MOBILE TELEPHONY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES:A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
 Authors:
Alizé AversanoSophie EversAmir Latif Marta Vaca-Viana
Edited by:
Silvia Masiero
 
I
MOBILE TELEPHONY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
The main argument of this report is that, whereas developing economies mayneed complex technologies to solve complex problems, simple technologicalsolutions (i.e. mobile telephones) can be of help in the struggle to solve issuesas complex as economic and human development. The mere fact that ‘aboutthree quarters of the planet’s population now has access to a mobile phone’,suggests that mobile telephones have the potential to be a substantial toolwith which to achieve this (World Bank, 2012). This report shall therefore seekto demonstrate the mechanisms through which mobile telephony may be ableto solve these problems and contribute to the field of development.In the light of the above-mentioned arguments, the report focuses on thespecific fields of health, entrepreneurship and finance, since these areashave experienced substantial advances that have been both innovative andimpactful. Ultimately these were chosen based on the rationale that ‘Whatpeople can positively achieve is influenced by… the enabling conditions of good health, and the encouragement and cultivation of initiatives’ (Sen, 1999:5). We deliberately chose to focus on the above pillars because we feel thatthere is an element of interconnectedness; with health providing an enabling condition from which the other two can develop, whilst entrepreneurship andfinance exist in a symbiotic relationship.With regards to health, we gave particular attention to three mechanisms:service and quality; administration and management; and prevention.From our case studies, we observed that mobile phones have contributedpositively to the development sphere when local knowledge was integratedwith these tools, and when governments are committed to the promotionof mobile phones in a drive to reduce costs and healthcare campaigns. Thesuccessful integration of M-health within national policies, as well as theattention it received from both NGOs and private businesses, assisted in thedevelopment of numerous mobile innovations in areas such as enhancing efficiency, awareness and prevention through health education. This has ledto the improvement of both institutionalised and grass roots healthcare inrural areas, which often lacks connectivity with urban areas.Within the entrepreneurship area, we emphasised three mechanisms: marketaccess; transaction costs; and job opportunities. As case studies in thissection show, within the field of M-entrepreneurship mobile telephony hasenabled micro-entrepreneurs to overcome information asymmetries and, indoing so, it has allowed them to access new markets. Mobile applications havefacilitated this process, and along with the creation of social networks haveenabled entrepreneurs to increase their productivity via the sharing of bestpractices, as well as providing them with new job opportunities. In doing so,mobile based innovations have been a source of employment and thereforeincome for entrepreneurs who rely on their businesses for their livelihoods.Furthermore, individual know-how and the access to technology usage,tailored to their needs are fundamental to make mobile phones sustainabletools to increase freedoms.In the finance realm, we highlighted the two mechanisms of financial inclusionand insurance. From this chapter, we concluded that financial literacy isessential for these mechanisms to take place, whilst insurance is crucial toensure a poverty trap does not become self-fulfilling. The implementation of 

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