Applying Mobile Technology to Improve Business Models in Tanzania and Zambia
This study discusses how mobile technology can be used to improve business processes and supply chain management to reach more people and increase development outcomes. It illustrates the lessons learned through the application of technology to improve business models in two Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) supported initiatives: mobile vouchers for agriculture in Zambia, and mobile vouchers for bed-net distribution in Tanzania. The case studies reflect that both efforts demonstrate how supporting private sector partners to leverage mobile technology can create sustainable business models and products that reach the poor. Key lessons from analysis of both initiatives include:
- Technology is a tool that can help to improve the delivery of services, however, it must be considered as one component integrated as part of overall supply-chain management;
- Integration of technology should be led by the experience of the end-user and by the business case for a local partner to drive long term sustainability;
- Partnerships between development organizations and private-sector partners are critical and require internal implementation and training to ensure buy-in at all levels of each organization;
- Technology has long-term benefits, but requires up-front investment and a longer time horizon in order to achieve a business case.