Stranger Than Fiction

It's hardly news that wireless communications is making a big difference in poor countries. But the magnitude of the impact is only just beginning to sink in, as technology enabling the extremely cheap exchange of information is transforming everything from agriculture to finance to education. That, in part, explains why the poorest of poor countries apparently put a higher priority on cell phones than on clean water or transportation infrastructure.

And why cell phone penetration in the Third World is hardly lower than in the First. Indeed, arguably the greatest economic liability of repressive regimes in Cuba, North Korea and (until quite recently) Myanmar may be their resistance to a technology rightly feared as a challenge to centralized political power.

Skeptical? Check out this fairly random selection…

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©Rosemarie Stennull/Alamy
main topic: Development
related topics: Region: Africa, Innovation, Tech & Telecoms