Market Initiatives at the Base of the Pyramid
Edited by Patricia Márquez and Carlos Rufín
Chapter 3: The Innovative Use of Mobile Telephony in the Philippines: Lessons for Africa
Shawn Mendes In recent years there has been a growing realization of the critical role that information and communication technology (ICT) plays in development. Much of the focus of the role of ICT in development was traditionally on increasing the access to computers and to fixed-line telephones for people in developing countries, often through regional tele- and IT centres. However, these efforts have almost been overrun by the explosive growth of mobile telephony in many countries. Indeed, mobile phones are now the primary form of telecommunication in developing countries and they play the same role that fixed-line phone networks did in facilitating growth in Europe and North America in the twentieth century. In developing countries a generation of people have grown up without computers and their creative energies have instead been focused on using mobile phones for communications, information and, more recently, access to a range of services from m-banking to m-education and m-governance. The transformation of society by mobile telephony, and especially mobile applications, is perhaps most profound in the Philippines, which makes it worthwhile to examine the Philippine experience further and identify best practices and lessons learned. BACKGROUND Access to financial and other basic services in many developing countries is limited, especially in rural and remote areas. Consequently, many do not have access to banking services and are forced to make all payments in cash, which is less secure and flexible than electronic payment forms. The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) estimates that almost 3 billion...
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