Analyzing Poverty Using Mobile Phone Data

µDAI is one of the 300 research institutes selected to model mobile phone data for this year's Orange's Data for Development contest in Senegal. Our proposal describes an innovative approach to assess poverty using information from mobile phone usage. We propose a mixed model approach with unobserved factors to model the clustered time series of mobile phones information condition on social-geographical poverty indicators.
Similar studies conducted by Deloite/GSMA or the World Bank/Vodafone found out that an additional mobile phone per 100 inhabitants in developing countries leads to an increase of 0,8% of the economic growth. They further argue that mobile phone increase the income of certain households up to 30% in those countries.
With this project we aim to contribute to fight poverty by proposing an in-depth analysis of dependence between mobile phones data and poverty indicators in order to enhance policies of the Senegalese government and related NGOs to reduce poverty. Furthermore services and business ideas like Farmerline in Ghana or M-Farm in Kenya can benefit from the result of this project for the welfare of rural poor in sub-Saharan Africa. Several colloquiums will be organized to exchange ideas and share tasks among the volunteers for this project.