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Management reports, briefs issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

Mobile Technology: Changing People’s Livelihoods in Developing Economies

Mobile Technology: Changing People’s Livelihoods in Developing Economies

SHIN Hye-Jeong

Oct. 8, 2012

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By the end of 2011, there were 6 billion mobile phone users worldwide, more than two-thirds of them in developing economies. In some remote areas in developing countries, access to mobile phones is actually more widespread than access to electricity and piped drinking water, and more people can connect to the Internet through mobile devices than through desktop PCs.

The rapid spread of mobile technology is having a dramatic impact on the lives of those at the "Bottom of the Pyramid(BOP),"1 i.e. the most impoverished people in developing economies. Former University of Michigan Professor C.K. Prahalad, who coined the phrase, has said, "Advanced technology solutions are critical to alleviating poverty," while Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN Millennium Project, has called the mobile phone "the single most transformative technology for development."

This paper examines the role of mobile technologies in bridging the global divides in health, education and income.2 The paper draws on case studies to devise strategic insights for the use of mobile technology in developing countries.


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