GSMA launches £4.1m mobile technology to boost supply of energy, water in developing world

Telecoms mastWorld mobile operators’ group, the GSMA last week announced the launch of a £4.1 million mobile enabled community services (MECS) programme for developing countries.

The programme, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), leverages mobile technology and infrastructure to help improve access to basic energy and water services in under-served communities.

According to the GSMA, the new programme works to alleviate global poverty by delivering UK aid around the world.

GSMA indicated that currently 1.3 billion people, nearly 20% of the world’s population, are without access to energy and 783 million people, 10% of the world’s population, do not have access to ‘improved’ water resources.

It attributed the gap to challenges such as last mile distribution, operation and maintenance capabilities and costs, and payment ability and collection.

Therefore, GSMA said MECS will facilitate access to affordable and reliable energy and clean water, which is vital for health and wellbeing and can also help reduce poverty and drive economic growth.

The UK Minister for International Development, Lynne Featherstone said “the MECS programme will significantly improve people’s ability to access some of the most basic human needs, improving their health and giving them better foundations on which to build their future.”

The DFID grant will back a two-year programme within MECS, which will be implemented by the GSMA’s Mobile for Development division, to support the creation of new, innovative mobile-enabled technologies and business models to improve access to energy and water services.

Both DFID and GSMA say they will also launch a Challenge Fund open to the mobile industry, start-ups, academia and the not-for-profit sector, which will provide seed funding to companies for research to identify and develop pioneering solutions to overcome the challenges and obstacles to community service provision.

By Ekow Quandzie

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