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Iqbal Quadir’s TED Talk: Mobiles Fight Poverty

Iqbal Quadir is an advocate of business as a humanitarian tool. With GrameenPhone, he brought the first commercial telecom services to poor areas of Bangladesh. Partnering with microcredit pioneer GrameenBank in 1997, Quadir established GrameenPhone, a wireless operator that provides phone services to 80 million rural Bangladeshi. The company has become the standard for a bottom-up, tech-empowered approach to development.

In his TED Talk, he first questioned the way that rich counties sent aid to poor countries to fight poverty. And also, even though he did not find much evidence to support the idea that connectivity can really increase productivity, he presented research done by the International Telecommunication Union showing the positive effects it has. The impact of one new telephone to richer countries’ GDP is very little, however, one new telephone has a huge impact on the GDP of poorer countries.

“Mobiles have a triple impact,” Quadir says. “They provide business opportunities; connect the village to the world; and generate over time a culture of entrepreneurship, which is crucial for any economic development.”

– Caiqing Jin(Kelly)

Source: TED Talk