Mobile Micropreneurs

by Imran Ali

Curiously, the BBC are continuing to run some very interesting pieces on mobile usage in the developing world.

Yesterday's Mobile phone lifeline for world's poor describes mobile technologies as agents of change in tackling poverty; enabling a generation of micro-entrepreneurs to sell air-time, renting & share handsets and provide banking and money transfer capabilities.

I'm curious to see what the organisations and users behind these services - Grameen, TradeNet, Bharti and others - will make of the OLPC project.

The recent phenomenon of services emanting from the developing world appears largely driven by real need and users themselves. OLPC seems to be a very interesting set of technologies in search of usage, but I'm not sure it will have the desired philanthropic impact. Simply focussing on empowering only children and ignoring adult needs as well as dismissing an ever more ubiquitous mobile infrastructure could render the project obsolete before the first devices even ship.