The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Technology and Innovation Unit has a longstanding strategic partnership with the GSMA (the global association of the mobile industry) via its Mobile for Development (M4D) programme.
As part of this engagement, the GSMA is available to work with FCDO country posts to build capacity and knowledge on how mobile and digital technologies can help unlock positive social, economic or environmental impact, at scale, and in a commercially sustainable manner.
M4D has set up a Central Insights Unit (CIU) with a mission is to deliver and/or facilitate such country engagements leveraging M4D’s expertise and networks. Please find CIU resources here.
GSMA M4D – thanks to its unique positioning at the intersection of the mobile ecosystem and the development sector – has expertise in a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:
- Accelerating financial inclusion through digital technologies
- Increasing digital inclusion through greater access and adoption of the mobile internet
- Advancing the use of mobile and digital technologies to support climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies
- Reducing the gender gap to increase digital and financial inclusion for women
- Unlocking access to affordable and improved energy, water and sanitation services
- Digitising agricultural value chains to drive financial inclusion and climate resilience for smallholder farmers
- Ensuring effective humanitarian assistance through digital channels
- Closing the disability gap in mobile ownership and mobile internet adoption by persons with disabilities
- Supporting local innovators (start-ups and SMEs) to reach sustainability and maximise impact
- Providing expertise in frontier technology, digitalisation and society
Offer to FCDO country posts
M4D’s CIU provides support to FCDO country posts in the following areas:
Research and insights
- Research reports: country-level, regional-level, thematic reports
- Tailor-made briefings (e.g. policy/literature review)
Scopes of work and methodologies are jointly developed and tailored to FCDO country post needs. The CIU also engages with country posts to support the dissemination of findings via webinars, events, blogs.
Technical assistance: Ad-hoc, agile support for FCDO country posts including:
- Strategic advice via virtual and in-person workshops
- Strategic advice via expert calls
Examples of recent engagements
Examples of recent engagements with the FCDO teams and country posts through the CIU include:
- Mobile Money in Ethiopia: Advancing financial inclusion and driving growth (Jun 23)
- Tanzania’s Digitalisation Journey: Opportunities for Value Creation (Jan 23)
- Harnessing technology and data for urban healthcare in Malaysia (Nov 22)
- Mobile Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: Towards sustainable development in Southeast Asia (Nov 22)
- Harnessing technology and data for sustainable urban mobility in Malaysia (Oct 22)
- Disease Surveillance and Monitoring in the Philippines: Building resilience through mobile and digital technologies (Aug 22)
- Digitalising rural MSMEs: Thailand’s agriculture and tourism sectors (Jun 22)
- Early Warning Systems in the Philippines: Building resilience through mobile and digital technologies (Jun 22)
- Payment Service Banks in Nigeria: Opportunities and Challenges (Apr 22)
- Informal Youth Employment in the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa (Dec 21)
Types of engagements
Based on an assessment of requirements, we can propose specific engagement or activities:
|Type of Project||Description||Length of engagement|
|Technical assistance||Strategic advice via F2F workshops, online webinars, expert calls||Up to 3 months|
|Research and insights||Bespoke briefing (e.g. policy review, literature review)||Up to 3 months|
|Research and insights||Country-level research report||6-7 months|
|Research and insights||Regional-level research report||7-8 months|
|Research and insights||Thematic research report||6-9 months|
Throughout the engagement, we require commitment from FCDO country posts to support:
- Scoping out the project (e.g. identification of key challenges and research questions)
- Defining the methodology
- Facilitating introductions with relevant stakeholders, where needed/possible
- Providing feedback and input at different stages (e.g. inception, mid-way, final reviews)
Upon receipt of requests for support from country posts, the GSMA and FCDO will evaluate them based on the following criteria:
- Available bandwidth from GSMA programmes
- Practical feasibility of the engagement
- GSMA’s relevance on the topic – Does GSMA have existing experience/expertise in the topic that can help both deliver high quality and credibility engagement? For research and insights projects, such as country-level, regional-level and thematic reports (see above “Types of Engagement”).
- Project impact – How will the work be used by the team, programmes or partners (e.g., programme design, policy work, or influencing)?
- Opportunity to collaborate – Are there existing voices in the international development community or within broader GSMA working on the topic? Who are or potentially would be willing to collaborate on the project?
Calling for collaboration on frontier technologies
Frontier technologies are disruptive, often still emerging tech innovations, that can enable more intelligent, data driven solutions for large scale challenges.
Frontier technologies include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), big data, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, virtual reality, drones, and robotics.
We are interested in identifying opportunities, as well as operational and business models, to leverage frontier technologies for digital innovation in low- and middle-income countries.
Timeframes for submission
If you are interested in commissioning a research project to M4D CIU, please complete the “Expression of Interest” below. Project kick-offs are on a first come, first served basis.
|FCDO – Research and Evidence Division|
Technology and Innovation Theme Leader
Technology and Innovation Adviser, Strategic Partnerships, United Kingdom.
|GSMA Mobile for Development|
Senior Director, Central Insights Unit & M&E
Operations Manager, Central Insights Unit & M&E
About the GSMA
The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. The GSMA’s vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. It represents mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries.
The GSMA Mobile for Development (M4D) team drives innovation in digital technology to reduce inequalities in our world. Singularly positioned at the intersection of the mobile ecosystem and the development sector, we stimulate digital innovation to deliver both sustainable business and large-scale socio-economic impact for the underserved. Our unique research and insights platform advances digital innovations and implementations that empower underserved populations to build a better future. Our in-market expertise informs partnerships between the mobile industry, tech innovators, governments and the development sector. And our unparalleled convening power motivates conversations and inspires action. To date, we have impacted the lives of over 126 million people.
Annex: Expression of interest