TED Talk By Iqbal Quadir on How Mobile Phones Can End Poverty

Professor Iqbal Quadir Promotes Mobiles For the Masses

IMG_0877.jpg [Photo by Hello Turkey Toe] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Professor Iqbal Quadir is the founder and director of The Legatum Center at MIT. In the 1990′s, he founded Grameenphone which provides effective telephone access via mobiles throughout Bangladesh.

Quadir is also an accomplished entrepreneur who writes on the critical role that entrepreneurship and innovation play in improving the economic and political conditions in low-income countries. Quadir is credited with being one of the earliest observers of the potential for mobile phones to transform low-income countries, and his work has been recognized worldwide as a new and successful approach to sustainable development.

Quadir previously taught at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he focused on the impact of technology on the politics and economics of the developing world. In 2005, he moved to MIT where he researched the democratizing effects of technologies in developing countries.

TED Talk By Iqbal Quadir on How Mobile Phones Can End Poverty

iPhone [Photo by William Hook] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Professor Iqbal Quadir gave a TED Talk on how mobile phones can be used to alleviate poverty. He spoke about his experiences as a young kid in poor Bangladesh which later led him to start a mobile phone operator that connected 80 million rural people in that country.

This effort made him a champion of bottom-up development. He argues that rich countries have been sending aid to poor countries for the last 60 years, yet by and large this effort has been a failure. Yet when you look at the history of development in Europe, for example, it’s clear that there’s been a lot of struggle where citizens were empowered with technologies which enabled them to dispose of corrupt regimes and institute positive social development. In the end, the real advances in development have occurred when citizens were empowered.