14 June 2010

Mobile devices, telecenters and policy regulation

At the recent IAALD congress, Paul Barera from the Rwanda Telecentre Network described at the CTA workshop on m-agriculture how mobile devices can provide another communications and information channel for rural communities, one that can also support telecentre revenue models.

Koda Traore of CTA, interviewed at the IAALD Congress 2010, takes this further and describes how mobile devices extend the definition of telecentres beyond being simply a geographical point to an "IT service centre". In this concept, mobile phones are a value adding channel for teleservice operators and rural communities, taking information directly into homes. This is well demonstrated in the Grameen Foundation programme, whose positive evaluation was reported earlier in IAALD blog.

Surprisingly, perhaps, there is no mention of policy issues in the Grameen evaluation. Koda Traore's emphasis on the importance of policy regulation to ensure equity in the spread of m-services is echoed by Anju Manjal in talking about the very different geographical context of the Pacific region.

CTA is continuing its m-agriculture research programme and plans a second Observatory on the subject later this year, probably in Southern Africa. For more details contact K.Painting at CTA.

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