Rob Katz

Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones

Last night, I attended a panel session co-organized by the UN Foundation and Vodafone, the huge multinational telco based in the UK but active worldwide. The session highlighted a report recently released by Vodafone entitled, Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones. At the session, the report’s authors discussed the impact of mobile telephony (a huge business) on development. Len Waverman, Chair of the Economics Department at London Business School, conducted an econometric study showing that mobile phone systems have a positive effect on economic growth – and that this effect is twice as strong in developing countries. The report also includes work by Diane Coyle’s Enlightenment Economics that demonstrates the power of mobile telephony to build social capital. All in all, it was a very interesting event, further cementing for me that mobile telephony can enable economic and social development in low-income countries. For more, read the report.