The Real Digital Divide

The Economist cover story The Real Digital Divide cited research that suggests the mobile phone is the technology with the greatest impact on development. In contrast with the UN’s top-down approach to build ICT centers in the hope to close the “digital divide,” the wide spreaded mobile phones in developing countries enable people to close the divide themselves.

In a typical developing country, an extra ten phones per 100 people increases DGP growth by 0.6 percentage points. Farmers and fishermen use mobile phones to call the markets to get the best price for their produce. Small businesses use them to shop around for supplies. Mobile phones are used for cashless payments in Zambia and other African countries.

e-Mobilizer builds exactly on the concept of the pervasiveness of cellular infrastructure in developing countries. I think the effect of moible phone on development is just staring to unfold.