The next billion geeks
How the mobile internet will transform the BRICI countries
Sep 2nd 2010 DADRI, UTTAR PRADESH
BUYING a mobile phone was the wisest $20 Ranvir Singh ever spent. Mr Singh, a farmer in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, used to make appointments in person, in advance, to deliver fresh buffalo milk to his 40-odd neighbours. Now his customers just call when they want some. Mr Singh’s income has risen by 25%, to 7,000 rupees ($149) a month. And he hears rumours of an even more bountiful technology. He has heard that “something on mobile phones” can tell him the current market price of his wheat. Mr Singh does not know that that “something” is the internet, because, like most Indians, he has never seen or used it. But the phone in his calloused hand hints at how hundreds of millions of people in emerging markets—perhaps even billions—will one day log on.
Read more at The Economist…
A most pleasant surprise find, given that one of our key interests is mobiles and MSEs (in Latin America):
|Donner, Jonathan; Escobari, Marcela
||1 Apr 2009
||Carnegie Mellon University
This paper offers a systematic review of 14 studies of the use of mobile telephony by micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the developing world, detailing findings about changes to enterprises’ internal processes and external relationships, and findings about mobile use vs. traditional landline use. Results suggest that there is currently more evidence for the benefits of
mobile use accruing mostly (but not exclusively) to existing MSEs rather than new MSEs, in ways that amplify existing material and informational flows rather than transform them. The review presents a more complete picture of mobile use by MSEs than was previously available to ICTD researchers, and identifies priorities for future research, including comparisons of the impact of mobile use across subsectors of MSEs and assessments of use of advanced services such as mobile banking and mobile commerce.
Presentation given by Mireia Fernandez Ardevol to the ICT4D Postgraduate Network, UPC Barcelona, 9 September 2010.
Summary by Ismael Peña-López:
Project to analyze mobile telephone usage in Latin America. Diffussion or mobile penetration, though not as high as higher-income countries, it does have a certain level of penetration that sometimes almost reaches 100% (higher-income countries reach up to 120%). Penetration is though unevenly distributed.
Research question: does mobile communication affects (impacts on) socio-economic development in Latin America? That was a new question in the region of Latin America, and it was relevant and ambitious, and wide, as a whole research network of several people and institutions worked together to answer the research question.
The levels of analysis: macro (economics, econometrics, context), meso-organizational (institutions, markets) and micro. It was very important too to maintain a multidisciplinary focus to gather all the shades of meaning of such a complex topic.
Posted in farmers, Latin America, markets, mobile phone, mobliv, poverty
Tagged Latin America, LatinAmerica, M4D, mobiles, mobiles4dev, mobliv, South America
via African Studies Centre, University of Leiden website
Mobile Africa Revisited: A Comparative Study of the Relations between New Communication Technologies and New Social Spaces (Chad, Mali, Cameroon, Angola, Tanzania, Sudan)
Mirjam de Bruijn, Inge Brinkman, Francis Nyamnjoh
In Africa, the use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) − the Internet and mobile telephony in particular − has accelerated remarkably since these were introduced in the late 1990s. This explosion of the Internet and mobile telephony on the African continent is oftentimes portrayed as a straightforward economic success and an opportunity for marginalized areas to overcome their assumed isolation. In the development discourse the new ICT are unequivocally regarded as a means for ‘development’. There are problems still; the ‘digital divide’ and the ‘technology gap’ threaten to slacken the process of Africa’s inclusion as active participants in the global village. Yet, these problems are interpreted only in terms of inclusion and problems of access. Within development circles the aim is to capacitate people (especially disadvantaged groups) so that they can afford these technologies and are no longer blocked from usage. The relation between development and communication technologies as such is not questioned. This view has been criticized by a number of scholars. For these scholars the new ICT are a hegemonising force comparable to a new form of imperialism and neo-colonial control. Introduced by Western companies, these new technologies merely serve to bring Africa more firmly into the orbit of worldwide neo-capitalism. The new technologies are based on illegal coltan-mining, pushed onto African customers with misleading and aggressive advertisement campaigns, undermining local traditions of face-to-face communication, and, on top, old models from the West are dumped on the African continent, adding to the problem of pollution.
By John Postill
I have just discovered a very interesting research project named Mobile technology, gender and development in Africa, India and Bangladesh. This project is based at the Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland and funded by the Academy of Finland (2010-2013). The project leader is Prof. Laura Stark:
“Project members will conduct empirical, interview-based field research in Africa and South Asia on the new opportunities and challenges offered by mobile technologies for women and girls, and how mobile technologies are already impacting gender relations in these areas. We will conduct research in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, South Africa and Tanzania.”