Monday, October 5, 2009

Lives transformed by mobile phones

On my flight to South Africa, I read with keen interest the Economist's recent special report on the transformational impact of mobile phones in the lives of people in developing countries. Consider this: For every additional 10 mobiles per 100 people, a nation's gross domestic product increases per person by 0.6 - 0.8 percentage points in developing countries.

Why? Because these phones are immediately put to use, serving as "village phones" to residents who can check produce prices before going to market or to share medical information (thereby saving cost and time traveling to distant clinics). Micro-lending programs that have put mobiles in the hands of poor men and women have generated new income that has been used for school fees, medical costs, and other basics.

One wonders what impact these simple tools could bring were they made a larger part of the admittedly impressive work already supported by NGOs in developing countries, including those supported by Enduro Africa donations.

Interesting article. Take a look: Mobile Marvels.


Vic Baxter said...

Great observation Andrew. When I fly out next Friday to pick up the South bound return trip of what you are now enduring on day 6 - I will shoe horn my spare mobile phones into my bag to distribute while there, instead of hoarding them to use individually in each of the 12 countries I'm working in at present. Best regards.

Andrew said...

It may be good to work with organizations specifically set up for this purpose, like,, or others. I'm not sure the 4 selected charities that benefit from Enduro Afirca are set up to do so. But great idea!