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Mobile phones have been one of the most rapidly adopted technologies ever introduced in the developing world. With multiple uses such as voice, SMS, and access to the internet, mobile phones produce diverse economic and social benefits. CGD research has explored the development applications, as well as how mobile phones can be used to reliably gather data on citizens’ preferences and their ability to access basic services.
Over 60 percent of Africans have access to a cell phone, a simple technology that many believe will fundamentally change the dynamics of agricultural markets, banking, and government service delivery. In a new paper, Jenny Aker and Isaac Mbiti separate the hype from the reality.