The importance of up to date telecommunications and the businessmen and women making that possible globally
It is impossible to compete in the modern global marketplace without access to a reliable telecommunications infrastructure. Ever since the first mail services made doing business outside one’s local area possible, speed of communications has been a crucial factor in business efficiency and trade, and today this is more the case than ever. With Western countries dominating the market in telecommunications products and services themselves, and prices in developing countries pitched far higher, it is a difficult gap to close, but all around the world there are bold individuals working to do it anyway.
Now rapidly stabilizing after separating from its troubled southern neighbor, Sudan is undergoing a communications revolution. It’s one of several African countries to benefit from the focused investment of Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel International, who believes in communications as a tool for change and has worked with the UN’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development to help get unconnected groups of people onto the internet.
In a troubled country like Afghanistan, economic growth and political stability go hand in hand. As Ehsanollah Bayat’s page shows, his company, Afghan Wireless, is working to make that happen. Bringing together the expertise of his Florida-based company, Telephone Systems International, with the organizational capacity of the Afghan government, it is providing affordable mobile phone based services that are helping small businesses to get up and going or expand their reach, as well as connecting communities.
Although Mexico City is home to some very successful companies making extensive use of telecommunications, in rural areas of the country the service is often poor, limiting opportunities for local residents. Former government Undersecretary for Communications Gabriela Hernandez is working to change that, heading up the national branch of General Electric and, through this, playing a crucial role in infrastructure investment and access to technology.
Malaysia’s striking geography presents unique communications challenges, with mobile technology an obvious choice given the need to communicate affordably between islands, but with mountains interfering with signal. Fortunately, innovative entrepreneur Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan is there to work on the problem. Famous for his work in organizing the original Live Aid concert, he owns three communications satellites that are making all the difference.
Like Mexico, China is a country with powerful economic centers, but many people living in rural areas are effectively cut off by poor communications infrastructure. Sun Yafang is the woman setting out to change that. A humble technician who has risen through the ranks, she now chairs Huawei and has significantly increased its efficiency in the production of telecommunications equipment, making it available in a quantity and at a price that can enable real change.
Investment in telecommunications is one of the best ways to boost any national economy, with research from southern Africa suggesting a direct link between phone access per capita and economic growth potential. Other factors may ultimately be needed to make growth happen, but telecommunications are a crucial element no country can afford to ignore.