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    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Where was Google all this time?!?!?!

    William Kamkwamba, from Malawi, left school at age 14 due to a famine in his village. Reading books at the local library he decided to build a windmill from disposed materials to bring electricity to his house, and he succeeded!

    Check out more about his story in this video:

    Thursday, October 08, 2009

    Can a mobile phone take you out of poverty?

    During my past role in AIESEC International, I was very impressed on how Africans and Asians are using mobile communications combined with entrepreneurship as a tool to alleviate poverty.

    I now wonder how can Latin America and Costa Rica learn those lessons and imitate such powerful initiatives. Please, let me know if you know anyone in the region working on this topic.

    The idea is based on the following (proven by experience) principles:
    • Higher GDP is a consequence of higher productivity
    • More penetration of mobile communication, more productivity, regardless of social class
    • Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) means more penetration to lower classes
    • More microfinances opportunities lower (or makes more accesible) TCO
    • More microtransaction infrastructure more microfinances opportunities
    • More basic entrepreneurship education more microtransaction opportunities
    If you would like to know more, check out these links:
    What if I tell you that in Costa Rica only less than 56% of the population (probably the richest one) -in the more develop region of the country- owns a mobile phone. What if I tell you that in the poorest region that number falls to 35% !!! (Source:

    The opportunity is more clear nowadays because a new industry model will be introduced in the country. The new model allows the participation of private and public organizations in the telecommunications market. We hope (as users) that this initiative will reduce prices (TCO), increase accessibility and promote new business models. (Source:

    Furthermore, the Government of Costa Rica has partnered with banks to promoted intensively new entrepreneurial ventures, which means that there is banking platform to at least propose the idea. (

    The elements are there, I only see two ingredients missing: 1. A NGO/Institution supporting the education of people on how to use the mobile communication to make small businesses and 2. execution!

    As I said, let me know if you know anyone working on this topic in the region :) You could make my day!

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