African techno-euphoria and the origins of Kenyan mobile exceptionalism

August 30, 2012

Why don't we just send aid money directly to poor people's cellphones?

January 4, 2012

Mobile phones and farmers – what are the benefits?

December 15, 2011

New books on development: bad microfinance; climate change and war; what works; inside the World Bank; mobile activism

July 21, 2010
One of the perks of writing a blog is that I can scrounge review copies of development-related books. I’m sure they’re all fascinating and I really want to read them but alas, they don’t come with extra hours in the day attached. So I now have a growing pile by my desk that is in danger of becoming a health

How to insure crops with a mobile phone – an experiment from Kenya

March 24, 2010
For technophiles everywhere, an uplifting story from a recent issue of The Economist: ‘One of the things holding back agriculture in developing countries is the unwillingness of farmers with small plots of land to invest in better seed and fertiliser. Only half of Kenyan farmers buy improved seed or spend money on other inputs. Many use poor-quality seed kept from

Using mobile phones to combat medicine shortages in Africa

January 4, 2010
Most of the coverage (and hype) around mobile phones and development is based on their potential to improve access to markets for small farmers, especially those in remote areas and to provide easy ways to transfer small amounts of money in the absence of functioning bank networks. But mobiles, which are rapidly becoming ubiquitous in most poor countries (like a

Mobile phones and magic bullets

November 4, 2009
The Economist continues its love affair with the mobile phone in a recent special report. Highlights: ‘In 2000 the developing countries accounted for around one-quarter of the world’s 700m or so mobile phones. By the beginning of 2009 their share had grown to three-quarters of a total which by then had risen to over 4 billion. [see chart] China is