Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Can cell phones end poverty?


While the traditional model of aid for developing countries is to dump a big pile of money into the lap of sometimes questionable governments, it turns out that the key to ending poverty might be to decentralize, lend smaller amounts of money to a larger group of people, and distribute cell phones amongst the poor. That’s subject of Wired founder Kevin Kelly’s blog post, which points to research indicating that democracy is more likely to sprout up when money, resources and communication tools are given out on a many-to-many model rather than a hierarchical, authoritarian approach. I recently had a chance to interview someone at, a microfinancing site, and he reiterated that not only do micro-loans do tangible good but the poorest beneficiaries of the loans are the most likely to pay back their debts.

At any rate, its interesting to see the Internet peer-to-peer model spreading to the developing world at the micro level. At the macro level, as noted in Fareed Zakaria’s “The Post-American World,” developing nations like India and China re already reaping the benefits of outsourcing, connectivity and a global marketplace.

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

One Response to “ Can cell phones end poverty? ”

Aditi says:

Hey its a very nice and innovative idea.

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