Innovation Meets Opportunity: A New Partnership for a Better Future

There is no technology as pervasive and accessible as the mobile phone. It has extended across geographies, cultures and income levels and in many developing markets, mobile is the only reliable infrastructure. It allows remote diagnosis of infant illness, helps farmers to increase their crop yields, and provides safe, swift and secure financial transactions. Of the 4.6 billion mobile subscribers active today, some 3.7 billion are located in low and middle-income economies with 564 million mobile subscribers in Africa alone. Used innovatively and well, mobile is a technology for transforming lives.

That is why today our organizations, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the GSMA announced a strategic partnership for the next four years to drive mobile enabled solutions to reach the underserved. This new partnership will work to identify new innovations and business models to help to accelerate socioeconomic improvements for the underserved, especially women, rural and youth. We will collaborate to accelerate digital inclusion, ensure women have equal access to mobile money and mobile connectivity, identify digital solutions for those without identification, continue driving local innovation, and ensure network resilience in times of disaster.

Mobile underpins many of the solutions needed to address the world’s most pressing challenges, captured in the Global Goals. It can deliver digital and financial inclusion, improve access to education and employment opportunities, and drive greater gender equality. Continued investment from both the private sector, governments and the philanthropic community will drive the innovation needed to expand the reach and further the impact of mobile.

We look forward to working together in the months and years ahead and realizing this vision!


This post was written by Magdalena Banasiak and M. Yasmina McCarty.

Magdalena Banasiak is the Senior Innovation Adviser on Climate, Energy & Water in DFID’s Research and Energy Division. M. Yasmina McCarty is the Head of Mobile for Development at the GSMA. DFID, the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation and the GSM Association have worked together since 2012 on energy, water and sanitation innovations, improving nutritional outcomes and food security for farmers.

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