Weekly Review October 30 – November 5

This week, we’re stepping back and looking at the explosive developments in the ICT industry and their effects in emerging markets.  In case you missed it, check out our ongoing series on how mobile transactions systems can fight poverty, Part 1 and Part 2.
Image Courtesy of SlimTrader
Ethio Telecom launches credit transfer service” Press Release from Ethio Telecom
Ethiopia is infamous for its lagging mobile penetration rates. The Government-led telecom released ambitious goals for mobile penetration last year. So far, it seems that the country is on target to meet them. Last week, Ethio Telecom announced that it would now allow prepaid users to transfer airtime to one another, an early version of mobile money. Airtime is like a currency in emerging markets, and we’re excited to see this type of development continue in Ethiopia.
With over 14 million customers signed up since its March 2007 launch, Safaricom’s M-Pesa is processing more transactions in Kenya than Western Union is in the entire world. M-Pesa provides mobile money services to more than 70 percent of Kenya’s adult population, according to the International Monetary Fund. M-Pesa has revolutionized the way Kenyans transfer their money, moving about 17% of the country’s GDP each year.
In Zimbabwe, mobile phone penetration has begun to significantly contribute to levels of entrepreneurship in the country. A report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development revealed,“59% of Zimbabweans have access to mobile phones compared with only about 5% in 2005.” The UNCTAD pointed out that Zimbabwean SMEs are using mobile phones regularly to conduct business and m-commerce. The Government of Zimbabwe indicated that m-commerce has been a significant economic driver. In addition to mobile penetration, phones with mobile Internet are always increasing; in Arica, “7 out of 10 are expected to be Internet-enabled by 2014.”
UN Team Approves ICT Goals As EA’s Speed Lags” by Esmond Shahonya on All Africa
The UN’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development has endorsed new targets that aim to provide global broadband access. The first target requires all countries to have national strategies for implementing universal broadband access. Furthermore, broadband access must be affordable. The final target aims to provide broadband access to 40% of households in developing countries by 2015. The goals were developed at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2011 summit, which considers “broadband as a vital ingredient for development.” 
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