sub-Saharan Africa

As I was thinking about how to explain the silliness of charging LKR 200,000 (USD 1,300) per antenna tower per month as proposed by Sri Lanka’s 2018 Budget, I came across this piece on how African governments were shooting themselves in the foot by following the Willie Sutton doctrine: Unfortunately, instead of seizing such opportunities, many African governments are energetically discouraging the spread of technology. Many ban genetically modified crops, refusing even to accept them as food aid when their people are starving. Almost all invest far too little in science and research, and have byzantine visa systems that discourage skilled immigration. And they tax mobile phone and internet companies at punitive rates. In 2015 mobile-phone operators in 12 African countries paid taxes and other fees equivalent to 35% of their turnover, says the GSMA, an industry lobby.
As researchers with a focus on government and private-sector actions that benefit the bottom of the pyramid, LIRNEasia has an interest in understanding poverty and who is poor.   This summary report by the Economist gives a good overview of World Bank and ADB research on the subject.  Of course, those interested are recommended to go to the sources for the real thing. BTW, for those who wonder why we keep saying that South Asia is the home to the world’s largest concentration of poor people, the answer is that the World Bank states that 595.5 million people live on below USD 1. The GSM Association recently announced that its Emerging Markets Handset program is exceeding expectations: mobile operators in Bangladesh, China, India, and Russia have already purchased 12 million of its Ultra Low Cost Handsets (ULCH). But will the initiative reach the rest of the three billion unconnected peoples in emerging markets?