Cheap mobile phone access for millions living in poverty
Up to three million people in Africa and other parts of the developing world will get access to their own mobile phone number under a UN-backed scheme to reach people living on less than $2 (£1.20) a day.
Cheap mobile phones have revolutionised lives in poorer countries, helping link farmers to markets, enabling people to send payments and helping them look for a job.
But a third of mobile users in some African markets have to borrow phones to make calls and often have to pay a "borrowers' premium". The plan aims to give these people a low-cost option to acquire their own "mobile identity" that can be accessed from any handset.
"There are a lot of people who share or borrow phones," said Ramona Liberoff of the British technology provider Movirtu. "We give shared phone users their own mobile identity, opening up the world of mobile banking and payments."
The main target for the scheme, backed by the UN Development Programme, is to get a mobile number to 2.4 million more women. In rural areas in much of the developing world, women are far less likely than men to have their own phone.
The "cloud phone" technology is being piloted in Madagascar, where people can sign up for their own number, receive a PIN and the ability to purchase airtime. They can then log in and use their number from any handset.
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...
£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...