Access to web, phones key to helping the poor: LeWeb
By Julie Mollins
PARIS, Dec 9 (Alertnet) - Governments worldwide must boost internet accessibility in order to nurture democracy and economic development, entrepreneur Loic Le Meur said at the prestigious LeWeb technology conference in Paris which he founded.
The conference brought together some 3,500 of the world's top digital experts and entrepreneurs from 60 countries to discuss the state of the technology industry and its relationship with economic growth.
"Stage one is to help provide those tools to help people express themselves and get more democracy," Le Meur told AlertNet, the global humanitarian news service run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"The next stage is economic development."
He pointed to the potential that remains for technology growth in developing countries.
"You see very few start-ups (companies) from developing countries, but we have a few from North Africa," Le Meur said.
"I should probably do a LeWeb somewhere in Africa."
But, while delegates focused attention on how to develop internet technology and smart phones, others outside the conference have pointed to how the more accessible, standard mobile phone can aid social and economic development. Continued...