The latest issue of USAID’s Frontlines is their Youth/Mobile Technology edition. It includes articles on what’s possible with mobile technology in the developing world, texting for conservation, mobile gaming, and m-money or, mobile money.
In Apps for Afghanistan, Kathleen McGowan observes how
“[the] explosion of mobile users has created a network that bridges the country’s formidable urban-rural divide while transcending gaps in physical infrastructure, low literacy rates and pervasive insecurity.The near-ubiquity of mobile phone coverage has allowed Afghanistan to join the vanguard of countries experimenting with innovative new uses for the mobile channel, using the networks to extend services and information cheaply to populations lacking access through other means. Among the most promising is mobile money—the ability to safely store and transfer “e-money” via SMS, avoiding the expense and danger associated with moving cash, while extending the reach of basic financial services from the 5 percent of the population with accounts in brick-and-mortar banks to the 65 percent of Afghans who use mobile phones…
The overwhelming response to an app design competition this year among Afghan university students illustrated just how compelling up-and-coming young Afghans find mobile money—more than 5,000 students across the country submitted ideas, many of which focused on how mobile money on how mobile money could improve the Afghan Government’s ability to provide basic services transparently and efficiently.”
Frontlines is a publication of USAID, a United States foreign assistance program since 1961 that has been principal in extending assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.