Systematic Reviews (SRS)| Economic Impacts of Mobile Telecom in Rural Areas in Low- and Lower-middle-income Countries: Findings of a Systematic Review
Mobile phones have been the most rapidly adopted of all information and communication technologies. Understanding the impact of this technology on economic and productive outcomes in rural areas is of value to governments, international organizations, private companies, and nongovernmental entities. This article presents a comprehensive analysis of their impact from a systematic review of the economic impact of mobile-phone interventions in improving economic, social, and productive outcomes in rural areas in low- and lower-middle-income countries for the period 2000–2014. The evidence of the impact on economic and productive outcomes in rural areas was strongest with regard to infrastructure interventions, wherein mobile network coverage reaches a population that previously lacked connectivity. Studies of access-device interventions, wherein mobile phones or SIM cards are bought by the user or are provided by a third party, and studies of content and application interventions did not yield conclusive findings.