With over 6 billion
mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, up from fewer than 1 billion
in 2000, three out of every four human beings worldwide now have
access to a mobile phone, says a flagship report on global mobile
trends released today by infoDev and the
Information and Communications for
Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile, more than 30 billion mobile
applications, or “apps,” were downloaded in 2011 – software
that extends the capabilities of phones, for instance to become
mobile wallets, navigational aids, or price comparison tools. In
developing countries, citizens are increasingly using mobile phones
to create new livelihoods and enhance their lifestyles, while
governments are using them to improve service delivery and citizen
This new report, the third in the World
Bank’s series on Information and Communications for Development
(IC4D), explores the consequences for development of the emerging
“app economy”, especially in evolving approaches to
entrepreneurship and employment. It also examines the vast
transformative impact of mobile technology in sectors such as
agriculture, health, financial services, and government.
Countries around the world are taking
advantage of this potential, for example:
In India, the
state of Kerala’s mGovernment program has deployed over 20
applications and facilitated more than 3 million interactions
between the government and citizens since its launch in December
emerged as a leading player in mobile for development, largely due
to the success of the M-PESA mobile payment ecosystem.
Nairobi-based AkiraChix, for example, provides networking and
training for women technologists.
Souktel’s JobMatch service is helping young people find jobs.
College graduates using the service reported a reduction in the time
spent looking for employment from an average of twelve weeks to one
week or less, and an increase in wages of up to 50 percent.
The report benefits from research
funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Government of
Finland, the Korea Trust Fund for ICT4D, and UKaid. It features
at-a-glance tables for more than 150 economies showing the latest
available data and indicators for the mobile sector. It also
introduces an analytical tool for examining the relevant performance
indicators for each country’s mobile sector, so that policy-makers
can assess their capacities relative to other countries.
Download the IC4D 2012 infographic here