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ICTs: A technological fix? Can Informaon and Communicaon Technologies (ICTs) reduce poverty? With examples from Kenya Informaon and Communicaons Technologies are not limited to computers Types of ICT Informaon and Communicaon Technologies (ICTs) can help poor people improve their lives. They have the potenal to reduce poverty, deliver basic educaon, improve agricultural outputs, increase access to healthcare informaon and improve incomes Radio Books Television Mobile phones Phones Fax machines Newspapers Computers Tablets Posters Unlike developed countries, developing countries may not suffer from technological ’lock-in’ and can leapfrog to modern technologies Leapfrogging Gutenberg prinng press 1455 1902 Long-distance radio Television 1923 1951 Commercial computer Worldwide Web 1994 Telephone 1876 1831 Electric telegraph Mobile phone 1973 1992 SMS (text message) 2008 Apple App Store Appropriate ICT Not everyone in the world uses the same ICTs. It is important to know how people communicate and access informaon By invesng in ICTs, developing countries can be technologically up-to-date without invesng in and being ‘locked into’ outdated technologies. For example, many developing places are gaining access to mobile phone networks without invesng in landlines, which are expensive to construct and maintain. Mobile phone Radio Newspaper Books Television Internet Computer 90% 90% 78% 74% 53% 37% 25% K E N Y A Ugunja Nairobi MAP TO SHOW LOCATION OF UGUNJA A great number of residents use mobile phones and radios on a weekly basis. Regular computer usage is notably low, due to financial cost and lack of training. Internet users outnumber computer users, as people use mobiles to browse the Internet. Newspapers and radios are popular due to their low cost. COST Some ICTs, such as computers, are too expensive for many. Communal ownership (e.g. via Internet Cafes) and cheaper ICTs (e.g. mobiles) can reduce this barrier to access. KNOWLEDGE Not everybody knows what ICTs are available and how use of them will benefit their lives. ICT skills can also be limited. Training can help integrate ICTs into society. ELECTRICITY Electricity supply in rural parts of the developing world can be unreliable, affecng the ability to store data. Poor electricity distribuon limits widespread ICT use. SERVICES Slow, unreliable and expensive provision of services (e.g. Internet access, mobile phone coverage) can limit their use. Photo and video up/downloading can be especially problemac. Digital divide There are a number of reasons for people not being able to access ICTs £ Mobile banking A recent innovaon that has transformed the way people in developing countries store and transfer money DIGITAL DIVIDE: A term used to describe the disparity in access to ICTs, both between and within countries. Those in poverty are often excluded from accessing ICTs, which could improve their quality of life. ICT use in Ugunja, a rural market town in Western Kenya Bar chart to show percentage of residents that use each ICT at least on a weekly basis (100 people surveyed) Apps of the future A new generaon of Kenyan entrepreneurs are busy creang apps to help the developing world. Here are three apps available now… A co-working space in the Kenyan capital. A centre of innovaon for new technology iHUB NAIROBI FOR BUSINESS: Kopokopo Allows businesses to accept phone payments. For small businesses, this is more secure than cash payments and more convenient than bank transfers. Entrepreneurs can also monitor their transacons using online data analysis tools. FOR SOCIETY: Uchaguzi Developed to crowd-source and monitor incidents following elecons. Some past Kenyan elecons (1992, 2007) have resulted in violence and deaths. Cizens can report incidents to Uchaguzi, which are then mapped and shared online. FOR EDUCATION: Kytabu A textbook-subscripon app that can be up to 60% cheaper than purchasing hard copies of the books. Students are able to rent books on a hourly, weekly, monthly, termly or annual basis. This aims to reduce financial barriers to educaon. Digital revolution? Historically, technological innovaons have caused a country’s society to modernise and its economy to expand. However, this may be followed by economic decline. Approximately every 50 years, a new technological innovaon encourages economic expansion. ICTs can therefore smulate economic growth, but are unlikely to be a permanent fix Kondraev’s cycles 1 Steam engine and coon 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2 Railways and steel 3 Electricity and chemistry 4 Petrochemicals and automobile 5 Informaon technology A Russian economist of the 1920/30s. Believed economic expansion was followed by decline NIKOLAI KONDRATIEV Start of the industrial revoluon. Boom in texles and clothing Public transport expands, connecng cies and towns Age of mass consumpon. Boom in plasc goods Individual mobility becomes widespread (cars, motorbikes) ICTs speed up communicaon and access to informaon TECHNOLOGICAL LOCK-IN: A reliance on inferior technology because of historical commitments How it works… £ 1. Cash deposited Money paid in at a local vendor and added to users’ mobile banking account 2. Credit sent User sends money (e.g. to a relave in a rural area) as easily they would send an SMS 3. Credit received User receives the money in their mobile banking account immediately 4. Cash collected User can store money in their account or collect it in cash from their local vendor M-PESA: The first large-scale mobile phone banking system in the developing world. It was launched in Kenya in 2007 and has over 15 million users. ‘M’ stands for mobile. ‘Pesa’ is a Swahili word for ‘money’. BANKING Banks require a deposit too large for many people in the developing world. Mobile banking has no minimum deposit. It provides a safe way to store and monitor savings for people that would otherwise deal solely in cash. REMITTANCES City workers send remiances to rural relaves. This once involved travelling for hours or days with large sums of cash. Mobile transfers save me and money, and increase security. Internaonal money transfers are also possible. PAYMENTS Mobile banking can be used to pay individuals, companies and organisaons. This secure form of transfer records transacons and creates trust. This is parcularly important in informal cash economies. Benefits of mobile banking ICT: Technology for communication or access to information. Recent advancements in ICTs have been transformed people’s ability to access information and communicate over long distances. www.rgs.org/GLP Improving teaching and learning of development issues Supported by funding from the UK government

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Page 1: Leapfrogging - Royal Geographical Society

ICTs: A technological fix? Can Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) reduce poverty? With examples from Kenya

Information and Communications

Technologies are not limited to computers

Ty p e s o f I C T

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can help poor people improve

their lives. They have the potential to reduce poverty, deliver basic education, improve

agricultural outputs, increase access to healthcare information and improve incomes

Radio

Books

Television

Mobile phones Phones

Fax machines

Newspapers

Computers

Tablets

Posters

Unlike developed countries, developing countries may not suffer from

technological ’lock-in’ and can leapfrog to modern technologies

L e a p f r o g g i n g

Gutenberg

printing press

1455

1902

Long-distance

radio

Television

1923

1951

Commercial

computer

Worldwide

Web

1994

Telephone

1876

1831

Electric

telegraph

Mobile

phone

1973

1992

SMS (text

message)

2008

Apple App

Store

A p p r o p r i a t e I C T Not everyone in the world uses the same ICTs. It is important

to know how people communicate and access information

By investing in ICTs, developing countries can be technologically up-to-date without investing in and

being ‘locked into’ outdated technologies. For example, many developing places are gaining access to

mobile phone networks without investing in landlines, which are expensive to construct and maintain.

Mo

bile

ph

on

e

Rad

io

Ne

wsp

aper

Bo

oks

Tele

visi

on

Inte

rnet

Co

mp

ute

r

90% 90%

78% 74%

53%

37%

25%

K E N Y A

Ugunja

Nairobi

MAP TO SHOW LOCATION OF UGUNJA

A great number of residents use mobile phones and radios on a weekly basis. Regular computer usage is

notably low, due to financial cost and lack of training. Internet users outnumber computer users, as

people use mobiles to browse the Internet. Newspapers and radios are popular due to their low cost.

COST

Some ICTs, such as

computers, are too

expensive for many.

Communal ownership

(e.g. via Internet Cafes)

and cheaper ICTs (e.g.

mobiles) can reduce this

barrier to access.

KNOWLEDGE

Not everybody knows

what ICTs are available

and how use of them

will benefit their lives.

ICT skills can also be

limited. Training can

help integrate ICTs into

society.

ELECTRICITY

Electricity supply in

rural parts of the

developing world can

be unreliable, affecting

the ability to store

data. Poor electricity

distribution limits

widespread ICT use.

SERVICES

Slow, unreliable and

expensive provision of

services (e.g. Internet

access, mobile phone

coverage) can limit their

use. Photo and video

up/downloading can be

especially problematic.

D i g i t a l d i v i d e There are a number of reasons for

people not being able to access ICTs

£

M o b i l e b a n k i n g

A recent innovation that has transformed

the way people in developing countries

store and transfer money

DIGITAL DIVIDE: A term used to describe the disparity

in access to ICTs, both between and within countries.

Those in poverty are often excluded from accessing

ICTs, which could improve their quality of life.

ICT use in Ugunja, a rural market town in Western Kenya

Bar chart to show percentage of residents that use each ICT at least on a weekly basis (100 people surveyed)

A p p s o f t h e f u t u r e A new generation of Kenyan entrepreneurs are

busy creating apps to help the developing world.

Here are three apps available now…

A co-working space in

the Kenyan capital. A

centre of innovation

for new technology

iHUB NAIROBI

FOR BUSINESS: Kopokopo

Allows businesses to accept

phone payments. For small

businesses, this is more

secure than cash payments

and more convenient than

bank transfers. Entrepreneurs

can also monitor their

transactions using online data

analysis tools.

FOR SOCIETY: Uchaguzi

Developed to crowd-source

and monitor incidents

following elections. Some

past Kenyan elections (1992,

2007) have resulted in

violence and deaths. Citizens

can report incidents to

Uchaguzi, which are then

mapped and shared online.

FOR EDUCATION: Kytabu

A textbook-subscription app

that can be up to 60%

cheaper than purchasing hard

copies of the books. Students

are able to rent books on a

hourly, weekly, monthly,

termly or annual basis. This

aims to reduce financial

barriers to education.

D i g i t a l r e v o l u t i o n ? Historically, technological innovations have caused a country’s society to

modernise and its economy to expand. However, this may be followed

by economic decline. Approximately every 50 years, a new technological

innovation encourages economic expansion. ICTs can therefore

stimulate economic growth, but are unlikely to be a permanent fix

Kondratiev’s cycles

1

Steam engine

and cotton

1800 1850 1900 1950 2000

2

Railways

and steel

3

Electricity and

chemistry

4

Petrochemicals

and automobile

5

Information

technology

A Russian economist of

the 1920/30s. Believed

economic expansion was

followed by decline

NIKOLAI KONDRATIEV

Start of the industrial

revolution. Boom in

textiles and clothing

Public transport

expands, connecting

cities and towns

Age of mass

consumption. Boom

in plastic goods

Individual mobility

becomes widespread

(cars, motorbikes)

ICTs speed up

communication and

access to information

TECHNOLOGICAL LOCK-IN:

A reliance on inferior

technology because of

historical commitments

How it works…

£

1. Cash deposited

Money paid in at a local

vendor and added to

users’ mobile banking

account

2. Credit sent

User sends money (e.g.

to a relative in a rural

area) as easily they

would send an SMS

3. Credit received

User receives the money

in their mobile banking

account immediately

4. Cash collected

User can store money

in their account or

collect it in cash from

their local vendor

M-PESA: The first large-scale mobile phone

banking system in the developing world. It

was launched in Kenya in 2007 and has over

15 million users. ‘M’ stands for mobile.

‘Pesa’ is a Swahili word for ‘money’.

BANKING

Banks require a deposit too

large for many people in the

developing world. Mobile

banking has no minimum

deposit. It provides a safe

way to store and monitor

savings for people that would

otherwise deal solely in cash.

REMITTANCES

City workers send remittances

to rural relatives. This once

involved travelling for hours or

days with large sums of cash.

Mobile transfers save time

and money, and increase

security. International money

transfers are also possible.

PAYMENTS

Mobile banking can be used

to pay individuals, companies

and organisations. This secure

form of transfer records

transactions and creates

trust. This is particularly

important in informal cash

economies.

Benefits of mobile banking

ICT: Technology for communication or access to

information. Recent advancements in ICTs have

been transformed people’s ability to access

information and communicate over long distances.

www.rgs.org/GLP Improving teaching and learning of development issues

Supported by funding from the UK government