You Can Hear Me Now: How Microloans and Cell Phones are Connecting the Worlds Poor To the Global Economy

You Can Hear Me Now: How Microloans and Cell Phones are Connecting the Worlds Poor To the Global Economy

by Nicholas P. Sullivan
     
 

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"[T]he people of Bangladesh are a good investment inthe future . . . With loans for people to buy cell phones,entire villages are being brought into the Information Age.I want people throughout the world to know this story."
—President Bill Clinton,Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2000

Bangladeshi villagers sharing cell phones helped build what is now a thriving

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Overview

"[T]he people of Bangladesh are a good investment inthe future . . . With loans for people to buy cell phones,entire villages are being brought into the Information Age.I want people throughout the world to know this story."
—President Bill Clinton,Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2000

Bangladeshi villagers sharing cell phones helped build what is now a thriving company with more than $200 million in annual profits. But what is the lesson for the rest of the world? This is a question author Nicholas P. Sullivan addresses in his tale of a new kind of entrepreneur, Iqbal Quadir, the visionary and catalyst behind the creation of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh.

GrameenPhone—a partnership between Norway's Telenor and Grameen Bank, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize—defines a new approach to building business opportunities in the developing world. You Can Hear Me Now offers a compelling account of what Sullivan calls the "external combustion engine"—a combination of forces that is sparking economic growth and lifting people out of poverty in countries long dominated by aid-dependent governments. The "engine" comprises three forces: information technology, imported by native entrepreneurs trained in the West, backed by foreign investors.

GrameenPhone's successful effort to provide universal telephony in a country that had virtually no phones, using microloans generated by Muhammad Yunus, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, confirms the power of bottom-up development, which is creating millions of income opportunities for the rural poor and billions of dollars in national income. With similar success stories in other poor countries—such as those of Celtel, MTN, and Vodacom in sub-Saharan Africa, and of Globe Telecom and Smart Communications in the Philippines—cell phones are spreading like wildfire across the Southern Hemisphere and are helping to bridge the digital divide. You Can Hear Me Now describes an inclusive capitalism that engages and enables many of the four billion people at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Until recently, the outlook for many of the poorest people inBangladesh was dismal. Despite previous long-term aid from theinternational community to improve the country's infrastructure andeconomy, sustainable development was hampered by corruption andgovernmental inefficiency. This book tells the story ofWestern-trained entrepreneur Iqbal Quadir, the driving force behindthe creation of GrameenPhone, the largest Bangladeshi GSM (GlobalSystem for Mobile) cell-phone operation. Quadir had the innovativeidea of using local Western-trained entrepreneurs to help villagersattain micro-loans funded by foreign investors (and generated byNobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yanus) and then showing villagershow to operate cell-phone leasing businesses. Sullivan refers tothis successful business model as the "external combustion engine"because of its impressive multiplier effects on economic growth.Applications of this model in other poverty-stricken areasworldwide have repeatedly yielded similar results. This book offersvaluable insights about the use of cell phones and technology-basedinvestments to generate wealth and demonstrates thatentrepreneurship may be more fruitful than aid. This valuable workcan be effectively integrated into public administration, globalbusiness, and human resource academic courses.
—Caroline Geck, Kean Univ. Lib., Union, NJ (LibraryJournal, February 2007) 

"…describes an inclusive capitalism that engages andenables many of the three billion people living on $1 a day"(Credit Control, June 2007)

Library Journal

Until recently, the outlook for many of the poorest people in Bangladesh was dismal. Despite previous long-term aid from the international community to improve the country's infrastructure and economy, sustainable development was hampered by corruption and governmental inefficiency. This book tells the story of Western-trained entrepreneur Iqbal Quadir, the driving force behind the creation of GrameenPhone, the largest Bangladeshi GSM (Global System for Mobile) cell-phone operation. Quadir had the innovative idea of using local Western-trained entrepreneurs to help villagers attain micro-loans funded by foreign investors (and generated by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yanus) and then showing villagers how to operate cell-phone leasing businesses. Sullivan refers to this successful business model as the "external combustion engine" because of its impressive multiplier effects on economic growth. Applications of this model in other poverty-stricken areas worldwide have repeatedly yielded similar results. This book offers valuable insights about the use of cell phones and technology-based investments to generate wealth and demonstrates that entrepreneurship may be more fruitful than aid. This valuable work can be effectively integrated into public administration, global business, and human resource academic courses.
—Caroline Geck Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780787986094
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
02/02/2007
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,294,337
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.99(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Grameen Bank has an impact on the poor, GrameenPhone on the entireeconomy."
—Muhammad Yunus,winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

"You Can Hear Me Now is a powerful proof of the rolesthat the private sector can play in economic development. Sullivan,by picking one industry—wireless—and cleverly weavingthe economics and the growth of the industry with the humandimension, provides a distinctively new perspective on what ispossible. A must-read for all those who are concerned abouteradicating poverty. Equally, a must-read for managers who arelooking for new engines of growth."
—C.K. Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken DistinguishedUniversity Professor, The Ross School of Business, the Universityof Michigan; author, The Fortune at the Bottom of thePyramid

"With the growing interest in how business can better serve the'bottom of the pyramid' there is great need for both practicalexamples of how to do it and better understanding of how suchstrategies can truly benefit those caught in the poverty trap. Thisbook delivers on both counts."
—Stuart L. Hart, S.C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable GlobalEnterprise, Cornell University; author, Capitalism at theCrossroads

"You Can Hear Me Now describes the human drama of thepoor adopting technology to enhance their productivity.Well-researched and engaging, it expertly walks the reader throughone surprising maze after another."
—V. Kasturi Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing,Harvard Business School; coauthor, Business Solutions for theGlobal Poor

"The stories of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, legendary indevelopment capital circles, and Celtel in Africa, among others,read as colorfully as any of the stories of the Gold Rush in theU.S. in the 1840s. Nicholas Sullivan has recounted the struggle andsubsequent success in an easy-to-read but factual manner that showsrisks countered by perseverance and guts—proving that you cando well by doing good."
—Alan Patricof, co-founder, Apax Partners and founder,Greycroft Partners

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