Poor numbers: trading mobile time for better data in Africa

Kalan, Jonathan. 2013. “Connecting the ‘last mile’ of market research in Africa.” BBC News: Technology of Business, Nairobi. 31 October (Last updated at 20:14 ET).

An informative piece on the dearth of good data on African economies and consumers, along with an introduction to several methods of collecting data in today’s environment (for example trading mobile minutes for survey responses). One firm doing this “rewarding” work is Jana, which the US news network CNN recently employed:

Jana’s platform integrates directly into the billing systems of 237 mobile operators, enabling 3.48 billion people in emerging markets to be rewarded with airtime for taking part in surveys.

Users sign up for Jana through a mobile-friendly website or Facebook app, enter their information, and pick what surveys they qualify for. After completing the survey, airtime – ranging from 50 US cents to $5 (30p to £3) – is automatically credited to their phone.

The article references this important recent book:
Jerven, Morten. 2013. Poor numbers: How we are misled by African development statistics and what to do about it. Ithaca, New York : Cornell University Press, 2013.

With thanks to the editors of the Africana Librarians Council Facebook page.

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