Inequality of income and wealth has increased around the world since the 1980s. We look at why access to the internet using smartphones is a game changer!

In many countries mobile networks have become the key national communications infrastructure, offering many millions access to basic communications and services that were until recently confined to elites. Our research shows that access to mobile internet presents revolutionary opportunities for addressing inequalities.

Watch this video to find out why equal access to and use of smartphones is so important.

Towards a more equal world: the mobile internet revolution

Vodafone commissioned independent experts to explore the ways in which smartphones could address issues of inequality, looking in particular at gender, small businesses and agriculture.

It asks:

  • how can increased access to and use of smartphones begin to reduce some of the structural barriers driving inequality?
  • how can policymakers continue to incentivise investment in mobile networks and services knowing that such investment could help address issues of inequality?

Increasing opportunities for women

In many emerging markets, women face barriers to education and the marketplace. Research in Kenya suggests the use of smartphones and mobile internet is beginning to address some key aspects of gender inequality, especially in terms of access to new sources of information and current affairs, social networks and business opportunities.

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Enhancing micro-enterprise survival and sustainability

In Ghana only 26% of micro-enterprises survive beyond 42 months. Smartphones enhance business survival and sustainability by offering greater access to new ideas, information and tools.

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Helping small farmers grow

Small farmers in developing economies often face poor yields, low prices and high costs as they have limited access to resources, services, information and markets. The use of smartphones to access relevant information can pave the way for increased farm yields and drastically improve their livelihoods.

Watch how smartphones have impacted the entire value chain of Harriet's business.

Watch how smartphones have helped Jacinta have an edge over competitors.