Interview with with Mireia Fern√°ndez-Ardèvol — mobile telephony and economic development
November 30th, 2006

(Thanks, Elisa!)

An interview in Ictlology with Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol, researcher at the Interdisciplinary Internet Institute, and co-author, along with Manuel Castells, Jack Linchuan Qiu and Araba SeyWhile, of the book Mobile Communication and Society touches on recent work regarding the role of mobile telephony in economic development:

Q: Thus, ‘leapfrogging’: buzzword or keyword?

A: Time will say, but up to day what we can say is that landscape in some parts of Africa has changed. In the main street in a tiny rural town you can usually see two or three mobile payphones, and an antenna in the top on the nearest hill. There is a lot of activity around these mobile payphones.

Indeed, there is not overwhelming evidence to support the leapfrog hypothesis in terms of eliminating stages of economic development. However, and following Coyle (2005) PDF file (2.7 Mb), one of the most important identifiers of the potential developmental impact of mobile telephony could be its contribution to moving developing countries as close as possible to universal telecommunications service, which has been shown to have been the critical mass level at which telecommunications began to exhibit significant impacts on economic growth in advanced economies [emphasis is mine].

Q: And what’s next? Where does research on wireless networks in the field of ICT4D head to?

A: Three studies I would recommend you:

* Digital Poverty: Latin American and Caribbean Perspectives PDF file (684 Kb)
* Innovations in Wireless Telephone Service Access in Ghana
* The Economic and Social Benefits of Mobile Services in Bangladesh PDF file (1.61 Mb)

And three general resources:

* Information Technologies and International Development
* Diálogo Regional sobre la Sociedad de la Información [Regional Dialogue on the Information Society]
* Wireless Communication and Development: A Global Perspective (Workshop)


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