Related to my previous posts, let’s have a more in-depth look at mobile phone usage and application in Emerging Markets and how it’s bringing about changes that were unthinkable just a few years ago.
The hallmark of any technology (innovation is of course a given and is an inseparable part of the package) is its ability to bring measured improvements and change lives for the better. Such is happening across Africa, Asia and Latin America, impacting lives of people in BOP (Bottom of the Pyramid), who have been far removed and detached from technology. Until now.
In observation of the mobile phone in least developed markets, and specifically how they are impacting lives in the rural areas, I’ve compiled a series of articles from various sources related to this topic.
Here’s a look at Africa, as written by Jack Ewing (BusinessWeek, September 24, 2007), who provided a compelling look at rural communities’ lives touched by the mobile phone revolution. A timeframe that doesn’t seem that long ago, but for mobile phone technology and application – even for the very basic that goes into entry-level (low-end) mobile phones – this could mean a great leap forward.
Abraham Maragua, a 77-year-old resident of Muruguru who still raises beans, corn, coffee, and other crops, has been married to wife Grace for 50 years. He uses his Motorola mobile phone to stay in touch with his 12 children, including two from a previous marriage, who live around the country. “We used to write letters and it would take two or three weeks,” he says. The phone also is useful for business.
For example, the local coffee growers cooperative uses text messages to call meetings of farmers in the area. Maragua has seen plenty of hardship in his day and was a political prisoner during Kenya’s civil strife in the 1950s.
Now, Maragua says, life is finally getting better in the village, and mobile phones are part of the change. “We feel it,” says Maragua, who lives in a house with a dirt floor and old newspapers covering the interior walls. “We didn’t suffer for nothing.”