Mobile technology has recently provided opportunities to developing countries that may otherwise not have proper communication infrastructure. For example, Mexico’s population is extremely dispersed; the large agrarian sector is based in rural regions that may not have access to ICT Infrastructure. This is where mobile technology has stepped in not only to provide an easier means to communication, but also to facilitate agricultural business.
One particular program, Zaca, has targeted the Mexican state Zacatecas to allow them to connect with other farmers and businesses to improve their income and potentially expand output. This article, “A Phone is Not Just a Phone“, mentions the possible spread to fishermen and other trades in similarly rural regions. This seemed to have a similar focus as that of the Indian fishermen using cell phones in this weeks reading. One issue mentioned in this article, that was not mentioned in the Indian fisherman article, was bank access and ability to retain and organize an increasing income.
This video goes into much greater depth about how Zaca functions in Mexico.
To counter this issue, the NextLab program with MIT will introduce the Dinube system to Mexico as a way for the rural farmers to transfer funds. We read this week about Afghanistan money transfers and the risk that they pose for fraud and security. The main problem that led to fraud was the sharing of cell phones, so it would be important that each farmer have his or her own phone to prevent theft. Dinube is an international program that has also been used in America and Europe to facilitate secure banking.