Tag: mobile phones

African techno-euphoria and the origins of Kenyan mobile exceptionalism

I’m struck by one of those periodic waves of Africa techno-euphoria as I catch up on my post holiday reading (Google Reader, twitter, email, random subscriptions – is there no end to it?). The Guardian has pieces on how the web is changing Africa and 15 innovations that are transforming the continent. Meanwhile the Economist […]

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Why don't we just send aid money directly to poor people's cellphones?

Just before Christmas I had a thought-provoking discussion on the BBC World Service with Paul Niehaus, who has set up GiveDirectly, a US-based startup NGO pioneering a new financing model based on cash transfers. The idea couldn’t be simpler: 1. People donate through GD’s webpage 2. GD locates poor households in Kenya (see below) 3. GD transfers your […]

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Mobile phones and farmers – what are the benefits?

There’s a ridiculous amount of hype talked about mobile phones, but they clearly are having a significant impact on poor people everywhere in lots of unexpected ways. Last year I met a group of Ethiopian coffee farmers who had no running water or electricity in their homes, but each family had a phone. When I […]

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New books on development: bad microfinance; climate change and war; what works; inside the World Bank; mobile activism

One of the perks of writing a blog is that I can scrounge review copies of development-related books. I’m sure they’re all fascinating and I really want to read them but alas, they don’t come with extra hours in the day attached. So I now have a growing pile by my desk that is in […]

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How to insure crops with a mobile phone – an experiment from Kenya

For technophiles everywhere, an uplifting story from a recent issue of The Economist: ‘One of the things holding back agriculture in developing countries is the unwillingness of farmers with small plots of land to invest in better seed and fertiliser. Only half of Kenyan farmers buy improved seed or spend money on other inputs. Many […]

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Using mobile phones to combat medicine shortages in Africa

Most of the coverage (and hype) around mobile phones and development is based on their potential to improve access to markets for small farmers, especially those in remote areas and to provide easy ways to transfer small amounts of money in the absence of functioning bank networks. But mobiles, which are rapidly becoming ubiquitous in […]

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Mobile phones and magic bullets

The Economist continues its love affair with the mobile phone in a recent special report. Highlights: ‘In 2000 the developing countries accounted for around one-quarter of the world’s 700m or so mobile phones. By the beginning of 2009 their share had grown to three-quarters of a total which by then had risen to over 4 […]

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Links I liked: mobiles v coke; Obama’s Mandela moment etc

Are mobiles the new Coca Cola? Mobile phones are held up as the most promising aspect of new technology in terms of helping poor people improve their lives, but some new research suggests people are cutting back on food and other essentials to pay for the all important status symbol. See here for a summary […]

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