Title: ￼Leveraging Information and Communication Technology for the Base Of the Pyramid
Authors: Alexandre de Carvalho, Lucie Klarsfeld, Francois Lepicard
Pages: 218 pp.
Publisher: Hystra, Ashoka
Date (published): 14/09/2011
Date (accessed): 18/09/2011
Type of information: research report
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"innovative business models in education, health, agriculture and financial services
New study reveals how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can viably provide access to education, healthcare, agro-services or financial services to the billions of people living with less than a few dollars per day, also called the Base of the Pyramid. Fifteen of the most ground breaking market-based business models, with a proven scale and results on the ground show that ICT can be a lever improving the living standards of the BoP. There are, however, large differences in financial sustainability across sectors.
The research was conducted by Hystra consultants and TNO researchers and sponsored by AFD, Ericsson, France Telecom-Orange, ICCO and TNO. The aim of the study was to see if and how ICT can have a sustainable contribution to poverty reduction and create new opportunities for the Base of the Pyramid. More than 280 initiatives were evaluated on their ability to create social impact, their scalability and their financial sustainability, ensuring that they can grow and last beyond an experimental phase.
An important insight from the research was that though a large number ICT initiatives can be found in developing countries, many of them were not financially sustainable. In order to grow from successful small or medium enterprises to large scale information and communication services, it is important to have a market driven approach and look at the Base of the Pyramid as customers in stead of beneficiaries. In addition, cooperation between companies in different sectors (ICT and Health, for example), between the private sector and non-profit (hospitals, development agencies) and between these sectors and government is crucial. Only then the ICT service had the potential to reach the scale necessary to improve living conditions and incomes of the billions of poor people in the world.
The study was based on a review of more than 280 initiatives set up by various types of actors (corporations, Citizen Sector Organizations, social entrepreneurs) in four sectors (education, health, agriculture and financial services)."