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Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

Hoplite

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Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study | Reuters
Mobile phones -- spreading faster than any other information technology -- can improve the livelihoods of the poorest people in developing countries, a United Nations report released on Thursday said.

Interesting news and certainly good to hear. Cell phone technology is progressing at a rate that makes it accessible to almost anyone and greater communication and exchange of information makes progress much more rapid.
 

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When I saw the headline I thought, come on are they saying some dude is running around in the bush hunting wildebeest and has his cell phone stuck in his ear? Get out of here.

Then right there in the story is a picture matching my thought only more so. Too much.

But seriously if having a cell phone helps more power to them.

I still can't get past the picture.
 

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Funny thing to note. Can you guess what country has the best telecommunications system in Africa? Somalia.
 

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Where do they get the money to pay the bills for the talk time?
 

RightinNYC

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They're on pre-paid.

But who's paying for that? What happens when the guy runs out of minutes? Does he just go back to not having a phone and throw his dead phone in a landfill?
 

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But who's paying for that? What happens when the guy runs out of minutes? Does he just go back to not having a phone and throw his dead phone in a landfill?

I dont believe its gonna catch on real big in the bush 'er a fellars prioritys gotta turn to eatin and hidin the youngins and the wife from all, DA RAPIN and lootin they doin ta er'ybody out there.
 

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But who's paying for that? What happens when the guy runs out of minutes? Does he just go back to not having a phone and throw his dead phone in a landfill?

He saves his less the one dollar a day, instead of spending it on food, he buys more minutes, and twitter on his phone. "Starving to death, have malaria, LOL"
 

Hoplite

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But who's paying for that? What happens when the guy runs out of minutes? Does he just go back to not having a phone and throw his dead phone in a landfill?
As I understand it, minutes often become commodities in small towns.

A friend of mine did a stint with the UN in Africa and she said there was usually one or two guys in the village who would use money to buy pre-paid phone cards then trade them for the various things they needed with people who had cell phones.
 

RightinNYC

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As I understand it, minutes often become commodities in small towns.

A friend of mine did a stint with the UN in Africa and she said there was usually one or two guys in the village who would use money to buy pre-paid phone cards then trade them for the various things they needed with people who had cell phones.

My point is that in the places where people are living on less than a dollar a day, I don't see how the average person would be able to purchase minutes any more than he would be able to purchase a Maserati.
 

Hoplite

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My point is that in the places where people are living on less than a dollar a day, I don't see how the average person would be able to purchase minutes any more than he would be able to purchase a Maserati.
Prepaid calling cards and minute cards are not terribly expensive. If someone is trading in them with people who may not have MONEY to exchange for the cards, but they may have livestock or crops.
 

Kandahar

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For the 1.2B people living on less than a dollar a day, I don't think that cell phones are the most pressing need.

Maybe not THE most pressing need (that would probably be micronutrients)...but I certainly think cell phones are toward the top of the list. Once the cell phone infrastructure is in place, a 3G/4G infrastructure isn't far behind. And then education will become affordable to nearly everyone in the world, as it will be accessible on tablet computers and poor nations won't have to build schools anymore.

So while it may not be the most URGENT need, it definitely has the potential to solve a BROAD range of problems...including education, economic inefficiencies (e.g. pricing), natural disaster alerts, and basic health care / sanitation information.
 
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Kandahar

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As I understand it, minutes often become commodities in small towns.

A friend of mine did a stint with the UN in Africa and she said there was usually one or two guys in the village who would use money to buy pre-paid phone cards then trade them for the various things they needed with people who had cell phones.

That's true. In some parts of Africa (especially places with unstable governments and currencies), cell phone minutes have become a type of currency, just as cigarettes are in American prisons.
 

tacomancer

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My point is that in the places where people are living on less than a dollar a day, I don't see how the average person would be able to purchase minutes any more than he would be able to purchase a Maserati.

Generally, its a few family per phone as I understand it.
 

Deuce

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You guys are thinking on a micro- scale rather than macro. The infrastructure to run a cell network is way, way cheaper than the infrastructure to run a landline network. Communications infrastructure is key to basic civilization, will improve the livelihood of the community in general.

Yes, someone literally starving to death has more pressing concerns, but if his country benefits he is more likely to get out of that situation.
 

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Whats really going to be awesome (and to expand on Kandahar's point) is when internet enabled phones become cheap enough for these communities. Imagine the benefits of these villages having access to information on how to build anything from concrete to a generator to whatever. A lot of these villages are close to a junk pile where they can fix and use a lot of the stuff in there or get raw materials from.
 
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Hatuey

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I'm currently reading a book on just this issue. It's by Dambiso Moyo. She essentially argues that instead of creating wide scale programs that hardly benefit the local economy, these programs are exactly what Africa needs to come out of poverty. She also argues (though to a much lesser extent) that communication in Western history was what eventually led to widespread use of currency. Communication facilitates transactions. Like taxis people can create entire economies based on their use. It's been done. It's happening now in Cuba. Same as in India. Massive amounts of money flowing through the country under a free enterprise system which is not all that regulated. It's impressive to say the least.
 

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Whats really going to be awesome (and to expand on Kandahar's point) is when internet enabled phones become cheap enough for these communities. Imagine the benefits of these villages having access to information on how to build anything from concrete to a generator to whatever. A lot of these villages are close to a junk pile where they can fix and use a lot of the stuff in there or get raw materials from.





You have a lot more faith in those communities as if a pie e of technology will change thier social conditioning.

You could give the entire city of newark a million bucks each and i would bet you in 5 years there would be just as many folms below poverty. :shrug:
 

Hatuey

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You have a lot more faith in those communities as if a pie e of technology will change thier social conditioning.

You could give the entire city of newark a million bucks each and i would bet you in 5 years there would be just as many folms below poverty. :shrug:

The two are not comparable and you are showing the problem. Dambisa Moyo argues that it is the wreckless throwaway of monetary aid which has hurt Africa. Small technological projects have actually had possitive impacts on the local economies.
 

tacomancer

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You have a lot more faith in those communities as if a pie e of technology will change thier social conditioning.

You could give the entire city of newark a million bucks each and i would bet you in 5 years there would be just as many folms below poverty. :shrug:

If they do it themselves, than its not giving.
 

ReverendHellh0und

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The two are not comparable and you are showing the problem. Dambisa Moyo argues that it is the wreckless throwaway of monetary aid which has hurt Africa. Small technological projects have actually had possitive impacts on the local economies.



I'm involved in "small technological projects" in Newark and Paterson and have been for years. can you quantify "possitive[sic] impacts on the local economy"? Thanks
 
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