Getting to the root cause of mobile telephony’s success Roxanna Samii International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFA...
Mobile phone: Catalyst for social inclusion <ul><li>Point of contact </li></ul><ul><li>Predominant mode of communication <...
Mobile phone: Catalyst for economic growth <ul><li>Small businesses participate in the economic system </li></ul><ul><li>A...
Mobile phone: catalyst for forging public-private partnership <ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Wide range of servi...
What I am not seeing? <ul><li>A new killer tool  </li></ul><ul><li>A drop in interest in mobile telephony </li></ul><ul><l...
How may the future have an impact? <ul><li>Too much focus on technology </li></ul><ul><li>Many competing applications </li...
What is on the other side? <ul><li>Equitable and timely access to information </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of belonging, commun...
What type of ICTs can be at the service of small-scale farmers? <ul><li>Affordable </li></ul><ul><li>Scalable </li></ul><u...
ICT4D mantra <ul><li>FOCUS on PEOPLE, not technology </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure ownership and appropriation </li></ul><ul><l...
Question time <ul><li>The last time you talked to a farmer and asked him/her what type of ICT does he/she needs and what a...
What is holding up adoption of ICTs in agriculture? <ul><li>Lack of systematic inclusion of ICTs in national poverty reduc...
Thank you <ul><li>www.ifad.org </li></ul><ul><li>www.ruralpovertyportal.org </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><u...
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Root causes of success of mobile telephony

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  • First and foremost cellphones provide the poor rural people previously disconnected and excluded with a point of contact and enable them to participate in the economic system Predominant mode of communication in developing countries – use it when you need it Has helped reduce the digital divide, something that computers did not achieve to do Its accessibility has allowed those previously marginalized such as women, indigenous peoples and illiterates to take an active part in the economic and social spheres of their communities  Social inclusion has led to willingness of poor rural households to spend 4-8% of their income on mobile telephony Can easily be shared. Typically one person in a village has a phone and rents it out. Also, you do not necessarily need to how to read and write to use it It is relatively affordable  prices ranging from US$30-50. How about $10 phone, instead of $100 laptop!!! The social use of phones has had a great positive psychological impact of families, as connectivity as allowed families to keep in touch with each other Provides medical services from a distance TO CONCLUDE IT IS A SOCIAL NETWORKING AND KNOWLEDGE/INFORMATION TRANSFER TOOL as it is being used to disseminate for example, price and weather information
  • Mobile phones have allowed small business to participate in the economic system. It is estimated that 85% of small business in Africa run solely on mobile phones. It is estimated that use of mobile phones has led to a 60% increase in profits Renting of phones, reading and sending SMS msg or delivering micro-credit loans to poor where there are no banking facilities Put an ad in a village centre with mobile number to offer services, or register at unemployment centre with mobile number and get job alerts via sms  save time travelling The Vadophone study estimated that an average of 10 more mobile phones per 100 people would boosts per capita GDP growth by 0.6% point a year, leading to a better living standards Mobile phones have led to minimizing travel cost. People move when there is a concrete economic opportunity
  • How can ICTs help the small-scale farmers to improve their livelihoods not only in terms of income, but also by providing them opportunities, giving them a voice? We know that today new ICTs in the Western World (North America and Western Europe and parts of Asia) are: Interactive and permanently available Have global reach and are becoming accessible because of falling cost Offer multi-media functionalities HOWEVER for ICTS to be really at the service of small-scale farmers they need to be: Tool for empowerment: to make the right dent they need to be owned by the men and women who will use them Tools for achieving social goals and providing security – so there is nothing wrong if the farmer uses mobile phone to call his family! Provide access to knowledge which can lead to reducing production and transaction costs. For example, getting price information via SMS or finding out which market needs what, so that the farmer can make a “targetted” trip and saving on transportation costs Vital part of economic, social and political fabric of all societies So to achieve these goal, ICTs need to be affordable, scalable, self-sustaining. ICTs can be vital for reducing poverty especially when they the technology is sensible, meets the requirements of the farmer and when the farmers are informed enough and participate in decision making Too often, development agencies go in, thinking they know what the small-scale farmers need and end up falling in the trap of prescribing “their solutions” ICTs can only improve rural livelihoods if they are: SENSIBLE and PARTICIPATORY. They can improve livelihoods if they are Appropriate. This why it is vital to assess the real needs and provide the farmers with what they really need so that they can increase their bargaining and purchasing power ICTs should be used as a means to provide the farmers with transparent, localized and relevant information
  • What is the magic potion? FOCUS ON PEOPLE (technology should be appropriate, affordable, scalabale, sustainable) FOCUS ON: Ownership and appropriation – participation at inception level and ownership of the entire process. This entails strengthening the local capacity to understand the importance of knowledge and networking in social development Development of local content – localizing. Provide relevant information and allow farmers to develop their own demand-driven content Language and cultural pertinence – language is a vehicle that communities use to communicate but also the essence of their identity Convergence and networking – make world smaller and communities bigger Ensure participation of rural communities in policy processe s
  • I am not aspiring to fulfil a Cassandra role, but…. Here is my humble assessment on what is holding up the adoption of ICTs in agriculture We need to practice what we preach: We need to understand the local context. We do not listen enough and we do not listen to the right people…. We need to listen to those directly affected and we need to involve all stakeholders in the design, implementation and decision making process. We need to bridge the disconnect between on-the-ground efforts to address local needs and policy processes We need to build local organizations so that they can lead their own development We need to play a catalytic role to ensure that adoption of appropriate ICTs are included in national poverty reduction strategies We need to put aside our development agencies’ rivalries and work for the common cause which we were all established for “Eradicating poverty” Confucius said “&amp;quot;A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.&amp;quot; &amp;quot;It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.“  this journey may take a long time because we are dealing with complex issues in a changing world, but the important thing is not loose focus: As development agencies, we need to work towards building capacities to empower small-scale farmers to improve their livelihoods We should remember that: ICTs as empowering tools need to be owned by the people who will be using them ICTs are tools for achieving social goals and enhancing opportunity and providing security Appropriate ICTs can play a vital role in the economic, social and political fabric of all societies Appropriate ICTs can be crucial for reducing poverty, especially when farmers and rural stakeholders participate in decision making processes To reach out to the more vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as women and indigenous peoples
  • Root causes of success of mobile telephony

    1. 1. Getting to the root cause of mobile telephony’s success Roxanna Samii International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) CTA Observatory: Mobile services 2-4 November 2009
    2. 2. Mobile phone: Catalyst for social inclusion <ul><li>Point of contact </li></ul><ul><li>Predominant mode of communication </li></ul><ul><li>Reduces the digital divide </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible technology for previously marginalized groups </li></ul><ul><li>Relatively affordable and easy to use </li></ul><ul><li>Brings families together </li></ul><ul><li>Provides wide range of services (agriculture, health) </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking and knowledge transfer tool </li></ul>
    3. 3. Mobile phone: Catalyst for economic growth <ul><li>Small businesses participate in the economic system </li></ul><ul><li>Access to price information </li></ul><ul><li>Communication with buyers </li></ul><ul><li>New and innovative businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Increased job opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>Annual increase of 0.6% in GDP growth </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize travel cost </li></ul>“ When you get a mobile phone it is almost like having a card to get out of poverty in a couple of years” Muhammad Yunus
    4. 4. Mobile phone: catalyst for forging public-private partnership <ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Wide range of services </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity building </li></ul><ul><li>Risk taking and innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge donors </li></ul>
    5. 5. What I am not seeing? <ul><li>A new killer tool </li></ul><ul><li>A drop in interest in mobile telephony </li></ul><ul><li>All donor organizations involved in ICT-related activities </li></ul><ul><li>Private sector becoming an implementation arm of development </li></ul>
    6. 6. How may the future have an impact? <ul><li>Too much focus on technology </li></ul><ul><li>Many competing applications </li></ul><ul><li>Investment only in profitable and sexy areas </li></ul><ul><li>Too many pilots with little or no documented results </li></ul><ul><li>Financial institutions putting restriction on m-banking </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic partnership with content providers </li></ul>
    7. 7. What is on the other side? <ul><li>Equitable and timely access to information </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of belonging, communities, networks </li></ul><ul><li>High quality local and relevant content </li></ul><ul><li>Many more local entrepreneurs and grassroots services/applications </li></ul><ul><li>Building local capacity to ensure sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Communities becoming centre of infomediation </li></ul><ul><li>More public-private partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability through ownership and appropriation of local communities </li></ul>
    8. 8. What type of ICTs can be at the service of small-scale farmers? <ul><li>Affordable </li></ul><ul><li>Scalable </li></ul><ul><li>Self-sustaining </li></ul><ul><li>Sensible </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>Participatory </li></ul>The availability and use of ICT is no longer optional A. Sen
    9. 9. ICT4D mantra <ul><li>FOCUS on PEOPLE, not technology </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure ownership and appropriation </li></ul><ul><li>Develop local content </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure language and cultural pertinence </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure participation </li></ul>
    10. 10. Question time <ul><li>The last time you talked to a farmer and asked him/her what type of ICT does he/she needs and what are his/her priorities in terms of ICTs did you get a satisfactory answer? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you share an example showing sustainable ICT for rural development projects, which goes beyond a pilot project? </li></ul><ul><li>Why were these projects successful? </li></ul>
    11. 11. What is holding up adoption of ICTs in agriculture? <ul><li>Lack of systematic inclusion of ICTs in national poverty reduction strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Building the capacity of communities and local organizations to lead and own the process of appropriation </li></ul><ul><li>Fragmented coordination among donors </li></ul><ul><li>Convergence of old and new technology to create a three-tier system: public, commercial and community </li></ul>
    12. 12. Thank you <ul><li>www.ifad.org </li></ul><ul><li>www.ruralpovertyportal.org </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: rsamii </li></ul><ul><li>Skype: roxanna_samii </li></ul>

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