Mobile phones and development (2007)

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This issue of id21 insights focuses on mobile phones and development:
  • Mobile phones and development - The future in new hands?  'Explosive' is the only way to describe mobile phone growth. Half the world's 6.5 billion people now use a mobile (up from two billion just two years ago). There are more than twice as many mobile owners in developing countries as in industrialised countries. Subscriber growth rates in developing countries are 25 percent per year, and double that in Africa.
  • Micro-enterprise and the 'mobile divide': Mobile phones are starting to penetrate the informal sector in developing countries. Do they bring benefits? Reinforce inequalities? Both?
  • 'Mobile Ladies' in Bangladesh: Villagers often lack information they need to help improve their livelihoods. Such information exists but is often denied to them by the lack of connection to mainstream information systems. Mobile phones can solve this problem.
  • Mobiles reinforce unequal gender relations in Zambia: Mobile phones affect more than just communications. They can also reinforce society's unequal power relations. A three-year study in Zambia looks at this, partly in terms of relationships between husbands and wives.
  • Beyond the three billion mark: In mid-2007, we passed the symbolic mark of three billion mobile phones in use around the world. How did we get here? And how will we reach the next three billion users?
  • M-banking: For many people across the developing world, storing or sending small sums of money is economically impractical. This is due to the high cost and inaccessibility of banks and formal financial services. Recently, however, telecommunications providers, banks, and other companies have begun offering a variety of financial services via a basic mobile phone handset.
  • Mobiles and impoverished households in Jamaica: How do mobile phones affect low income households? Has this technology spread so far that it can now create a development impact right down to the poorest families?
  • Big versus small innovation: While 'big innovation' around mobiles may struggle in developing countries, 'small innovation' is booming.
  • Good practice for mobiles and health: Mobile information and communication technologies (ICTs) are not just phones. In healthcare, personal digital assistants (PDAs) – small hand-held computing devices – are also used.
  • From surveillance to 'sousveillance' in elections: New technologies are often associated with state surveillance of citizens. Mobile phones are no exception.
  • Mobile networks at the centre of infrastructure: Reflecting Northern models, mobile telecommunications in developing countries were initially conceived as secondary to fixed lines.
Language: English
Imprint: id21 insights September 2007 issue #69 http://www.id21.org/insights/insights69/insights69.pdf 2007
Series: Newsletter,
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