We champion the Web as a tool for economic inclusion, seeking to expand economic mobility and value creation through a flourishing web eco-system. We help local entrepreneurs develop viable online applications and services that meet local needs, and we support marginalised groups such as smallholder farmers adapt ICTs to increase their market power
Our networks of young Web developers and entrepreneurs are receiving training and mentorship to exploit growing mobile internet markets. In Africa alone, mobile-broadband penetration – reaching 4% – continues to outpace fixed broadband subscriptions serving less than 1% percent of the continent’s population.
We also work with people trapped in poverty, especially rural women, to exploit technology in order to move up the value chain. Since these groups have often been denied a basic education and frequently belong to minority ethnic groups, many of them lack sufficient majority-language literacy skills to use text-based (SMS) interfaces. We have developed voice-to-Web systems that run on the simplest mobile phones without any need for text, which are helping women forest producers in Mali to broaden their trading networks, negotiate better prices and improve crop quality in the face of climate change.
Current projects include: Research: Mobile Data Collection Opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa, Voice Browsing, Mobile Entrepreneurship, Voice-Browsing Acceptance and Trust, Regreening in Africa