Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Mobile phones and IT as catalysts for sustainable rural livelihoods

An FAO regional workshop in Thailand, 3 and 4 April 2012

Mobile phones and IT as catalysts for sustainable rural livelihoods

Bangkok, 28 Mar 2012 -- Home to more than 60 percent of the world’s population, the Asia-Pacific region has about 65 percent of the world’s poor. In most of the countries, rural livelihoods could be improved by providing access to the right information at the right time by using mobile phone technologies.

Mobile-based information services have been tried in many countries to deliver information services to agrarian communities. More people than ever before have access to mobile phones and many of them are at the bottom of the economic pyramid living in less developed countries.

A favorable policy and the right blend of technology and information services have proven to contribute significantly to income generating capacities of rural communities, especially for farmers.

As the development of ICT is seen as a major driver of economic growth, and as the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon puts it – “In today’s world, telecommunications are more than just a basic service – they are a means to promote development, improve society and save lives.”

An FAO workshop in Bangkok brings together policy makers, experts, practitioners and other private sector players who influence and are involved in using mobile phones and ICTs as a catalyst for sustainable livelihoods.

There has been a lot of innovations around web-mobile and mobile-web based solutions for information dissemination.The availability of reliable data on the use of telecom in rural areas provides valuable insights into how ICTs and mobile phones-based information services can be designed into effective tools for information dissemination to rural communities.

The workshops brings together a cross section of thought leaders from organizations and countries with innovative initiatives in mobile-based information services and in ICT for rural development. The meeting will provide a unique opportunity to exchange the latest information on development trends thereby providing an opportunity for knowledge sharing and validating models for use in agricultural and rural development.

It will also provide a venue for networking to initiate innovative, new projects that will bridge the rural digital divide and advance sustainable development of ICTs in rural areas and agricultural communities.

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Gerard Sylvester
FAO Knowledge & Information Management Officer based in Bangkok, telephone +66 (0)2697 4365