Recently, I stumbled upon the release of a new report with the title “IC4D 2012: Maximizing Mobile” published by the World Bank. It’s the third in a series on Information and Communications for Development (IC4D) with a special focus on the development of the emerging “app economy”. Furthermore, it dedicates individual chapters to the transformative impact mobile technology has had in sectors such as the agricultural value chain, mhealth, mobile money, entrepreneurship and employment and e-governance.
Along with the report comes an astonishing infographic (see below). It illustrates the breathtaking pace at which mobile phones have spread globally with now 6 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. It is estimated that 3 out of 4 people have access to a mobile phone, today. Especially developing countries have made a huge leap in mobile ownership: From accounting for 29% of all mobile subscriptions in 2000, they have risen to 77% in 2010. Mobile applications are changing the lives of millions of poor around the globe. Some of the most promising examples where mobile phones are helping to provide access as well as bridge service gaps are mobile money, agricultural apps, simple e-government initiatives and mobile apps for entrepreneurs.
Infodev.org lists three very promising examples:
- In India, the state of Kerala’s mGovernment program has deployed over 20 applications and facilitated more than 3 million interactions between the government and citizens since its launch in December 2010.
- Kenya has emerged as a leading player in mobile for development, largely due to the success of the M-PESA mobile payment ecosystem. Nairobi-based AkiraChix, for example, provides networking and training for women technologists.
- In Palestine, Souktel’s JobMatch service is helping young people find jobs. College graduates using the service reported a reduction in the time spent looking for employment from an average of twelve weeks to one week or less, and an increase in wages of up to 50 percent
You can also download the infographic as a PDF document from here: http://www.infodev.org/en/Document.1178.pdf