Closing the digital divide: How the spread of ICT is improving quality of life for millions in the Third World

In rural Tanzania, people are used to the daily walk to get water. Now there is a new chore: the trek to recharge the mobile. Many people walk several kilometres, two or three times a week, to keep their phone bleeping.Mobile phones are one of the most popular technologies ever invented. There are now around |4 billion subscriptions in the world, meaning that many people who never had a landline phone, or a car, or even a bicycle, own a mobile.The speed at which mobiles have become a fixture in even the poorest parts of the world took many professional observers by surprise. In 1990, there were just over 14,000 mobile phone subscriptions in Africa. By 2000, there were 16 million, and experts predicted that by 2005 there would be 67 million. They were wrong – by a margin of 70 million – while today there are more than 280 million. In just a few years, the digital divide between the rich and poor worlds has shrunk dramatically.To read this report in full in The Independent, see:

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