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Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Tech Crunch
How The Future of Mobile Lies in the Developing World

“In less than three decades, the mobile phone has gone from being a status symbol to being a ubiquitous technology that facilitates almost every interaction in our daily lives. One month after the world’s population topped 7 billion in October 2011, the GSM Association announced that mobile SIM cards had reached 6 billion. A 2009 study in India illustrated that every 10 percent increase in mobile penetration leads to a 1.2 percent increase in GDP.

Yet patterns of mobile phone use in developing countries are vastly different from what you see on the streets of New York, San Francisco, and Berlin. This is a market underserved by technologists and startups. This is where the majority of future growth lies, and Silicon Valley has yet to realize the huge economic opportunities for network operators, handset developers, and mobile startups. Where are these opportunities?”  READ MORE

Ars Technica
How Africa is embracing "the cloud" on its own terms

“You’re probably one of the lucky people. You live within the coverage zone of a 3G or 4G cellular network, you have access to Internet at home and work over a connection measured in tens of megabits per second, and when you turn on your laptop (or your tablet, or your smartphone) you can see three, four, or twenty nearby WiFi networks. Cloud computing was invented for people like you—but it might turn out to be of even more benefit to the billions of people who don’t own a computer—those dark places on Facebook’s map of connections—and whose lives could be changed dramatically by a couple of mobile apps.

Take Africa, for instance, where an emerging information technology industry is betting its future on serving customers and businesses through mobile cloud applications. At the same time, governments and non-governmental organizations are betting that cloud-based technology can help transform their economies and societies, spurring improvements in education, public health, and the environment.”  READ MORE

Space for Transparency
Corruption, business, civil society and the G20

“It is increasingly recognised that corruption can only be tackled effectively through the joint action of all stakeholders, i.e. the public sector, business and civil society. There is a growing trend to include the private sector in development initiatives to ensure that it becomes part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. But can companies that are driven by short-term business interests really be part of the solution to corruption? And can multi-stakeholder groups made up of actors with very different aims and approaches really lead to effective solutions?

The Group of 20 (G20) leading economies, first convened as a forum to tackle the global financial crisis in 2008, is responsible for 80 per cent of world trade and more than 80 per cent of [global] gross national product. The private sector seized the opportunity to represent its views vis-à-vis the G20 early on. The first Business 20 (B20) Summit took place in parallel to the Canadian G20 Summit in 2010. Issues discussed at the B20 Summits included corporate social responsibility, employment, food security and corruption.”  READ MORE

ICT Works
Africans Should be Developing for Smartphones, Not USSD or Feature Phones

“Recently, TechCrunch made the bold prediction that in five years’ time, most sub-Saharan Africans will have smartphones. At first I thought this just more mobile phone hyperbole. That feature phones will be with us for a long time - "dumb" phones are still 40% of new handset sales in the USA. But then I started to think about numbers. Whenever you multiply something by 1 Billion Africans, you can find a market in a niche others don't notice. Just listen to what Kachwanya says:

'People talk of developing for the right market using the right technology based on the right access point, which in the case of Kenya would mean the use of USSD and feature phones (dumb phones). That is very encouraging talk, but then after that the developers have to go and look for the foreign investors who think SMS is a 19th century technology.'”  READ MORE

Civil society groups call on EU to require firms to disclose true ownership

“A coalition of over a thousand civil society organizations is urging European regulators to support legislation requiring corporations to provide greater transparency regarding their true ownership. 

In a letter sent June 9 to European Internal Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier, the coalition complains that current laws make it “too easy” for “corrupt politicians, money launderers, tax evaders and other criminals” to hide their identities behind companies, according to the Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development, an international group advocating for transparency and accountability.”  READ MORE

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