According to United Nations’ recent report, mobile phones are spreading faster than any other information technology and thus they can improve the livelihoods of the poorest people in developing countries.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said in its Information Economy Report on Thursday, that the governments must design responsive policies to ensure that the benefits reach the broadest number in the most effective way.
Mobile Phones for Rural Population: Governments need to monitor how poor people are using mobile phones and design policies to build on that. And they must ensure that poor people can use their mobile phones — at the end of 2008 almost half the rural population in LDCs were not covered by mobile signals.
Offering Employment: UNCTAD said the economic benefits of mobile phones, whose use in LDCs far outstrips technologies such as the Internet or fixed-line phones, go well beyond access to information. Mobile phones have spawned a wealth of micro-enterprises, offering work to people with little education and few resources. Examples are selling airtime on the streets and refurbishing handsets.
Affordability: The key to successful use of mobile is affordability, the report argues, a lesson not learnt by many African states. “India has shown us the way in making it as cheap as possible so everyone can gain access to this kind of equipment,” Supachai said.