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September 30, 2016

How More Phones Lead to Less Global Poverty

By Special Guest
Ishai Reinfeld, CEO, DailySteals

We now have more cell phones in this world than there are people on the planet. If each man, woman and baby was given a cell phone device, we would still have cell phones leftover. According to Statista, the number of global mobile connections in 2016 was 7.91 billion, exceeding the world’s population which was 7.125 billion.

There are more than 100 countries in the world where the amount of cell phones outnumbers the amount of people. Russia, for example, has 1.8 times more active cell phones than people. Brazil has 1.2 times as many. And with new models coming out every year, this ratio will only increase. This does not mean, however, that each person on the planet owns a cell phone. An increasing number of users, mostly in wealthier countries, own multiple devices.

A surprising United Nations report found that there are more people with phones than access to working toilets. Perhaps we as a human race should devote more of our attention on granting basic sanitation to less developed countries, but here is why more phones are not a bad thing: as the number of cell phones, electronics, and internet connected devices continues to rise, the world will see a reduction in poverty levels.

Another U.N. study found that mobile phones can improve the livelihoods of the poorest people in developing countries. The number of people with a phone subscription is now 58 per 100 people in developing countries. This number is increasing rapidly. In even poorer countries, classified as least developed countries the subscription rate is 25 per 100 people, up from only 2 per 100 only a few years ago.

Why does this matter? It matters because cell phone devices may very well spell the end of manual labor. Mobile phones have spawned new businesses and enterprises, offering work to people with little education and few resources. In addition, content in the form of eBooks and online courses give people the tools needed to advance in society, and the skills crucial to competing in a global economy. But the benefits of mobile phones go well beyond access to information. The U.N. found that cell phones with a subscription allow individuals to operate outside of broken and corrupt institutions, allowing towns to build much needed infrastructure on their own initiative.

An Economist article finds that more than 1 billion people have been taken out of extreme poverty in the last 20 years. There is still more that we can do. Of the 7.125 billion people alive on this planet, 1.1 billion subsist below the internationally accepted extreme poverty line of $1.25 a day. But as big players like Apple and Android continue flooding the world market with phones, the technology proliferates, trickling down to the poor. The more phones, the more available and affordable this valuable technology becomes.

About the Author: Ishai Reinfeld is the CEO of DailySteals, a daily deal e-commerce website founded in 2009. Ishai has over nine years of retail experience in the fashion, food, software and electronics industries. He serves as the Former Steering Committee member for South Florida Competitive Intelligence Professionals ( SCIP ) and has been playing piano for over 22 years. Find him on LinkedIn.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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