This course explores patterns of mobile phone appropriation in emerging market economies and the contribution of micro-entrepreneurs and consumers in fueling innovation in the industry. We will examine the concept of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) and how it has been applied to micro-entrepreneurship in the mobile phone industry in emerging economies. We will discuss the nature of entrepreneurship in emerging and advanced economies; patterns of mobile phone appropriation by different parties; and their impact on developments in the mobile phone industry, the livelihoods of mobile phone users and micro-entrepreneurs, and national socio-economic development agendas. You can expect to come away with an appreciation of the nature of micro-entrepreneurial activity in emerging economies and how it fits into the complex dynamics in the mobile phone industry. Our discussions should equip you to critically assess ICT4D programs in general, and in particular those that focus on providing employment in the ICT industry for people with limited resources. For your class project, you will prepare a case study on a selected mobile phone development, service or project with a micro-entrepreneurial component.
“Mobile Phone in Development taught by Dr. Araba Sey, was a brand new elective offered last summer. It was my first class into this program. What makes the class so great is Dr. Sey’s expertise. She brings relevance and her current research on Mobile in Development to the class – research she is doing in Ghana. In the US, many of us have smartphones with the ability to check mail, access the internet, send text messages. We use them for personal use, school and for work. In developing countries, mobile is used differently, especially in rural regions. Mobile phones are tools used to sustain a livelihood. You learn a lot about Technology Appropriation and how regions use the basics of mobile technology to bridge information gaps between rural urban areas. You also learn about government regulations. I found the class to be engaging, informative and eye opening. The class makes you think about mobile technology in a new way; and the possibilities for developing countries.”