Botswana Speaks blog

3 Factors Required for Success with Mobile Technologies for Development

According to an article published on ICT works, Innovation and Best Practice in Mobile Technologies for Development is a review of innovation in the ICT entrepreneurship/mobile internet/mobile related applications space by Silvia Masiero, London School of Economics and Political Science. The paper aims to identify best practice in stimulating innovation in developing countries.



We sought to identify best practice in stimulating innovation in developing nations, with specific reference to Kenya. In this review, we have started by identifying innovation in mobile technologies for development, on the basis of evidence that mobile phones are the main technology owned by poorer people in developing nations.

Having reviewed the main facts and figures on mobile technologies for development worldwide, we looked at best practice in Kenya, in particular mobile banking and the striking success of M-PESA. We then reviewed sectors where best practice, in Kenya, is still to be achieved: namely, m-health and m-agriculture, both of which feature high demand by the Kenyan population. For each of these sectors, we have identified a set of examples of best practice.

The main lesson extracted by this helpdesk review is exemplified by M-PESA. On the basis of this experience, innovation, if it is to be fostered in mobile technologies in developing countries, requires the presence of three factors:
1.a specific and wide market demand for innovation recognised by creative private sector actors taking initiative,
2.a supportive government coordinating the process, and
3.committed board of international donors supporting the innovation in all its phases.

The first factor – demand – is present in Kenya, with reference to both health and agriculture, which have therefore been selected here as key areas in which Kenya can expand through mobile technologies. We have seen various case studies of best practice in these fields.

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