Resources

Lehr, David / 2008. Dialing for development.
Stanford Social Innovation Review 6 (4): 44-49.

Microfinance institutions have recognized that poor people lack the capital and financial services that are necessary for economic growth and job creation. And so these organizations have started offering these services to the world's poorest people, unlocking new economic opportunities for borrowers and lenders. Yet until recently, most organizations have overlooked another important need in poor communities: the need for information and communication services. At first glance, this need doesn't seem as great as that for clean water, or even for capital. But in the 21st century-the Information Age-lacking access to information can be just as debilitating as lacking health care or housing. A remedy for this information shortage has arrived: the mobile phone. Portable, small, and relatively inexpensive, mobile phones have leapfrogged past landline technologies in many parts of the world, where it is cheaper to build new wireless networks than it is to construct new landlines. Accordingly, sales of mobile phones are booming in poor countries. Meanwhile, a growing number of nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies are developing new mobile phone-based information services for poor people.


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Appeared in

Sector: Agriculture Microcredit, Mobile Phone Money Health Providers Access, Mobile Phone Money, Phone
Region: East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa South America South Asia