Isn't that mind blowing? Why is there such a large discrepancy in development between countries?
The extent of telecommunication
grids is very limited in most of the developing countries, where most of the world population resides. There are c.a. 1 billion telephones
in the world and the 48 least developed countries have only 1.5 million of them. Some 15 per cent of the world's population has access to over 70 per cent of the world's telephone lines. These facts support the statement that more than 50 per cent of the world's people have never made a phone call.
perhaps the best tool for poverty alleviation on the continent is the mobile phone. Yes, that ubiquitous handheld device has done wonders for the poor around the world.
It all started in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is often used as the case study for the impact that mobile telephony can have on the economically disadvantaged. In the late 1990s Grameen Bank, a Dhaka-based for-profit enterprise long known in Bangladesh for making microloans to fund microenterprises by villagers, set up Grameen Telecommunications, a non-profit organization that provided low-cost phone services in rural areas. Using money borrowed from Grameen Bank, village entrepreneurs purchased mobile phones which they then used to sell phone services to customers -- other villagers -- by the call. The result: mobile phone entrepreneurs -- 95 percent of whom were female -- made a tidy profit while villagers reaped the benefits of instant communication. These benefits included communicating with distant family members, making it easier to find employment opportunities, having more options during emergency situations, enabling farmers to check prices in different markets before selling produce, and eventually allowing the quick and easy transfer of funds. The mobile phone microenterprise platform spread rapidly through the country and stimulated other economic activities among the rural poor, who have proven to be much more technology-savvy than many originally anticipated.
Mobiles save people living in rural communities the financial costs and time involved with travel. As a result, 85 percent of people in Tanzania and 79 percent in South Africa said they had greater contact and improved relationships with families and friends as a result of mobile phones
62 percent of small businesses in South Africa and 59 percent in Egypt said they had increased their profits as a result of mobile phones, in spite of increased call costs
Over 85 percent of small businesses run by black individuals in South Africa rely solely on a mobile phone for telecommunications The results of this study suggest that growth in the African telecom market will continue to pay off African economies