John Paul

New Report on the Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Phones in the Arab World

Earlier this week I wrote about the rapid rise in mobile phone penetration in emerging markets and the resulting impact on poverty reduction. Now a first-of-its-kind report titled ?Mobility for One Language, Diverse Cultures? details the socio-economic impact of mobile phones in the Arab world.

Its conclusion: the mobile phone industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs inside and outside the industry, boosting economic growth and fostering social harmony and security.

Economic Impact
With a 2005 penetration rate standing at nearly 25% – compared to 15% in 2003–mobile phones have become a big driver for economic development and job creation. The report reveals that for every job created in the mobile sector in Egypt, up to eight other jobs are created in different sectors of the economy. As aresult, many Arab governments have begun to promote competition in the telecommunications sector. This strategy has lowered prices and increased quality of services, which in turn has increased productivity and reduced costs of doing business in the region. The growth of telecom companies has also jump started many dormant stock markets in the region, accounting for over 30% of the value of some exchanges.

Social Impact
With very low fixed line penetration rates and even lower internet connections, the MENA region was somewhat cut off not only from the rest of the world, but also from itself. Today, however, young and old people from around the region are widely using the technology as a new means to communicate with one another. The technology has also played an important role in keeping people together in troubled areas, and has helped disperse tribal groups to maintain their cultural traditions.

Click here to read the full report.