Mobile Penetration Linked to Political Stability

Global Risk Insights

Investors should look at mobile penetration not only as an infrastructural asset but also as a predictor of political stability.

The importance of the rapid growth of the mobile telecommunications sector in emerging markets is a widely appreciated phenomenon in foreign investment and development circles. Communication through mobile devices makes it easier to transfer knowledge and to bring goods to market. Exciting new advances like mobile banking may allow for technological leapfrogging in parts of the world where challenges in traditional infrastructure have held back growth. Short-term business benefits have been well documented, but long-term societal and political impacts are also beginning to take shape.

In 2009, a UN white paper on Telecommunications and Industrial Development came to the interesting conclusion, “it is telecommunications infrastructure that causes manufacturing growth and not the other way around.” Since that study, mobile-cellular subscriptions in the developing world are nearly on track to double…

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