Can You Hear Me Now?

Jenny C. Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti look at cell coverage in Africa. It's encouraging:

In 1999 less than 10 percent of rural Africans lived in areas with mobile phone coverage. Today, that number is more than 60 percent. By the time of the 2012 Olympics, most villages will have coverage, with only a handful of countriesGuinea Bissau, Ethiopia, Mali and Somaliarelatively unconnected.

But such figures are deceptive. There have been huge disparities in the geographic rollout of coverage, prompting claims of an intra-African digital divide.

The NYT magazine had a superb article on cell phones and poverty a couple years back.