Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa
Jenny C. Aker and
Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2010, vol. 24, issue 3, pages 207-32
Access to and use of mobile telephony in sub-Saharan Africa has increased dramatically over the past decade. Mobile telephony has brought new possibilities to the continent. Across urban-rural and rich-poor divides, mobile phones connect individuals to individuals, information, markets, and services. These effects can be particularly dramatic in rural Africa, where in many places mobile phones have represented the first modern telecommunications infrastructure of any kind. Mobile phones have greatly reduced communication costs, thereby allowing individuals and firms to send and to obtain information quickly and cheaply on a variety of economic, social, and political topics. An emerging body of research shows that the reduction in communication costs associated with mobile phones has tangible economic benefits, improving agricultural and labor market efficiency and producer and consumer welfare in specific circumstances and countries. This paper first examines the evolution of mobile phone coverage and adoption in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade. We then explore the main channels through which mobile phones can effect economic outcomes and appraise current evidence of its potential to improve economic development. We conclude with directions for future research and outline the necessary conditions for mobile phones to promote broader economic development in Africa.
JEL-codes: H54 L96 O11 O17 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.3.207
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (62) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Working Paper: Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa (2010)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: /RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:207-32
Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this article
Journal of Economic Perspectives is currently edited by David H. Autor
More articles in Journal of Economic Perspectives from American Economic Association
Contact information at EDIRC.
Series data maintained by Jane Voros ().