Wednesday Feb 04

Information Economy Report 2010

imageEconomy Report

A mobile call for policy makers

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has called on policy makers to pay greater attention to the possibilities offered by mobile telephone connectivity to help the poor to develop livelihood assets.
The recently published Information Economy Report highlights the importance of mobile telephones in boosting micro-economic activities in the developing part of the world.

According to data from the International Telecommunication Union It is expected that the total number of mobile subscriptions will reach a staggering five billion in 2010.

The report highlights many innovative enterprises, set up with the use of mobile phones and argues that mobile phones need to taken seriously by poverty alleviation initiatives.

Mobile phones are of particular importance for entrepreneurs operating in locations with limited banking services. Mobile phone money transfers are popular among customers who do low value money transfers says the report.

Sale of mobile phone handsets and accessories has been identified as an enterprise with scope for rapid expansion among micro-entrepreneurs.

The UNCTAD report points out that mobile telecom operators could come up with innovative micro enterprise opportunities for the poor. In Gambia disabled street beggars were offered opportunities to participate in the sale of mobile subscriptions, an activity that empowered them.

Substance based farmers are increasingly using mobile phones to make transactions with other participants in the value chain. The report says that as a result of increased communications, farmers have been able to reduce transaction cost and obtain better market prices. Grain markets in Niger, dairy farmers in Bhutan and onion traders in Ghana are among those who have reaped the benefits of mobile connectivity.
The report calls on policy makers to look in innovative directions in setting up a mobile phone based micro-enterprise to alleviate poverty.

The UNCTAD report will be discussed at the ICTD 2010 conference Session on ICTs, Enterprises and Poverty Alleviation, on Monday 13 December 2010, 14:30-16:00

Read full report.
Information Economy Report 2010: ICTs, Enterprises and Poverty Alleviation.