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Mobile Phones and Developing Nations

Mobile phone innovations are improving the lives of millions of people residing in developing nations. Let’s go through a few ways in which these innovations are impacting these people.

Money handling and banking with mobile phones
Since conventional banking isn’t available to a large chunk of population residing in the rural areas of developing nations, mobile phones are bringing the financial system within their reach. More and more of these people are getting included in the financial system, starting with creation of savings accounts for them, enabling them to face bad times, helping them invest into education and assisting them in starting their own ventures.

Owing to such initiatives, the percentage of un-banked people throughout the world came down by 20% from the year 2011 to 2014. To give you an example, M-pesa is a mobile-based service that was launched in Kenya in year 2007. It allows users to make money transfers via text messages. Other telecommunication companies also followed suit by employing similar systems in the Sub-Saharan African region. Such initiatives have contributed to a large percentage of Kenyans and Africans receiving or making payments through their cell phones.

Better governance through mobile phone innovations
Staying in the remotest regions of the world can make it difficult for people to get their voice heard. U-Report program run by UNICEF gathers real-time opinions and information from 1 million people residing in 15 countries through text messages. For instance, the lawmakers in Uganda were wondering why people weren’t applying for an entrepreneurship grant set up by government. A U-Report poll revealed that the pre-condition of having a school diploma was the main issue. The requirement was struck down and the applications started flowing in. The local government of the Quezon City, Philippines is actively using mobile phones for handling payroll, fees collection and distribution of welfare benefits.

Farmer welfare through mobile phones
Majority of poor farmers throughout the world grow only enough crops for their own and their community’s needs, as producing any surplus for the market becomes a very expensive affair. However, mobile phones have come to their rescue.
USAID Pakistan created a mobile program in partnership with the local government and mobile carrier. Under this program, they send out voice or text messages related to the crop prices, disease prevention and market accessibility to various potato and peach farmers.
USAID is also actively encouraging saving habits among the Mozambique farmers by urging them to use mobile money for saving during the harvest season, so they’re able to afford fertilizers in the next season – all in all, helping them maximize their returns.
A mobile phone-based e-warehouse Project run in Kenya allows farmers to store their crops as they wait for the prices to hit the right level. It also helps farmers avail advances against their crops.
Vodafone runs a farmers club with 900,000 active users in Turkey. The club provides free information and notifications to farmers, apart from running a members-only marketplace.

To Conclude
Although mobile phones can still use more innovative ideas to benefit people residing in these countries, they’re doing a commendable job nevertheless. All in all, mobile phone innovations have helped common men residing in developing countries a great deal in the past one decade.