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Of the one million people who become mobile phone subscribers every day, about 85 per cent are in emerging markets.

Studies suggest that an increase of 10 mobile phones per 100 people in African countries could increase gross domestic product by between 0.6 and 1.2 per cent.

In this article, Tatum Anderson describes how mobile phone technology is changing people's lives across Africa and Asia.

Many entrepreneurs — over 80 per cent in Egypt and South Africa — rely on mobile phones to run their small businesses. Some farmers use them to check up-to-date information on market prices.

'M-banking' can also help people send, receive and save money safely by turning their mobile phones into virtual bank accounts.

But there are still problems accessing networks in many rural areas. These must be solved if providers are to reach a massive untapped market and help more people reap the benefits of mobile phones. Only then can the mobile phone become a real "agent of development".

Link to full article in BBC Online

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