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Technology has the potential to lift people out of poverty.
Mobile usage is helping poverty-stricken communities get more jobs as well as improve literacy rates.
A recent Pew Research Centre survey shows that a third of the world’s population across developing nations own a smartphone. Smartphones are seen as a huge symbol for opportunities in bridging the gap for easy access to improved healthcare, education and economic growth.
Project Everest is an organisation dedicated to developing sustainable solutions to some of the world’s complex issues.
Wade Tink, General Manager of Project Everest, said: “Smartphones enable more people in developing nations to be a part of the conversation, encouraging more creativity and genius.
“In fact, internet users in Africa spend more time online than their American and European counterparts.”
Smartphone ownership also increases GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita. This is supported by research conducted by UNESCO in 2014, which highlights the positive benefits of smartphone usage in literacy rates: 63% of respondents in developing countries confirmed that they read more frequently now that it is possible to read content on their mobile phone.
This is also similar to a 2016 report by GMSA Intelligence on Africa’s mobile economy. It reveals that the mobile industry’s expansion has supported more than 3.8 million jobs within the continent – a clear indication that a smartphone is a powerful social commodity.
It is a remarkable milestone for the mobile industry that smartphones played a central role in creating accessibility to healthcare, education and some industries. In countries like India, the integration of technology with smartphones will enable access to preventative healthcare that will be life-changing.
As for the distribution and affordability of smartphones in remote regions, Tink said that in early 2011, the Chinese brand Huawei unveiled the first budget-friendly Android smartphone that costs about $80 in Kenya, resulting in sales soaring past 350,000 handsets in less than 6 months.
He said: “This is a country where 60% of the population lives on less than $2 per day. With advances in the quality of the smartphone and further reductions in price over a billion people have come online in the last 5 years and another billion will come online by 2020.
“When products and services go digital their price falls exponentially as has been seen across cameras, video, solar and led lighting to name a few. Therefore, building products and services with a digital core sets up the opportunity to have a scalable solution which is ultra-affordable to communities in developing countries. This is seen through the combination of mobile phone take-up and the access to 300,000 apps that these phones provide”
Project Everest has spearheaded a project called FarmEd in Fiji in which with the use of smartphone enables delivery of digital agricultural advice sourced through drone technology and expert input.
FarmED’s aim is to solve world hunger through accessible agricultural advice. It will help increase economic opportunities in local communities through the development and optimisation of farmland and the associated supply chain.
“If we can use technologies and combine them in smart ways, then we can make a real difference to the future of the developing world,” Tink adds.