Networks of change, shifting power from institutions to people: how are innovations in the use of information and communication technology transforming development?

ABSTRACT: In 2006, Professor Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, for their pioneering work in fighting global poverty by providing financial services for the poor. Grameen Bank, started by Professor Yunus in 1976, is credited with pioneering microcredit banking when he gave a loan of $27 to 43 poor women. Since then, Grameen Bank has helped more than 8.3 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women (Grameen Foundation, 2013). The following year, Forbes magazine reported that there were about 12,000 micro-finance institutions in the world with some of the big banks, government and private foundations getting into the game (Swibel, 2007). When receiving his Nobel Peace Prize, Professor Yunus was asked by a reporter: “what is your secret to helping people out of poverty?”

Keywords: Information and Communication Technologies, Microcredit banking, Micro-businesses, Mobile cellphones, Telecenters, Electronic telecommunications