Local Content, Smartphones and Digital Inclusion

Connecting billions of new users to the Internet will be one of the most significant events of this century. Mobile phones will be the primary way these people come online. This change is already unfolding rapidly and generating worldwide excitement, as mobile phones begin to play their part in improving social and economic outcomes around the world.

But now is the time to ask, what kind of Internet do we need to build to unlock these social and economic opportunities for people in emerging markets? Even if we solve key issues like access, affordability, and efficiency, what will the next billion Internet users find when they get online? Will it interest them? Will it improve their lives? Will they be able to help shape the Internet to ensure that it does?

Published in Innovations journal, a publication jointly hosted at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and MIT’s Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship.

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