The Innovative use of Mobile applications in East Africa

Publication date:
Sida Review
Series number:
Johan Hellström
The notion of mobile communication and applications as a tool to alleviate poverty is becoming increasingly mainstreamed. The basic mobile phone is seen as a tool that supports bottom-up economic development. It is also seen as a way of empowering individuals by encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation as well as giving the poor a voice. Through mobile phones, farmers get access to market prices, young urban citizens can transfer money back to their home villages, health workers can give diagnoses and collect data, family and friends can easily connect and communicate, news can be spread and read in crisis situations, citizens can build opinion and mobilise. In just a few years, mobile phones have transformed East Africa, not just seen from a social and cultural point of view, but access to and use of mobile phones and applications is also shaking up the region’s entire economic system.

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