You Can Hear Me Now
Bangladeshi villagers sharing cell phones helped build what is now a thriving company with more than $200 million in annual profits. But what is the lesson for the rest of the world? This is a question author Nicholas P. Sullivan addresses in his tale of a new kind of entrepreneur, Iqbal Quadir, the visionary and catalyst behind the creation of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh.
GrameenPhone, a partnership between Norway’s Telenor and Grameen Bank, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize” defines a new approach to building business opportunities in the developing world. You Can Hear Me Now offers a compelling account of what Sullivan calls the external combustion engine “a combination of forces that is sparking economic growth and lifting people out of poverty in countries long dominated by aid-dependent governments. The “engine” comprises three forces: information technology, imported by native entrepreneurs trained in the west, backed by foreign investors.
GrameenPhone’s successful effort to provide universal telephony in a country that had virtually no phones, using microloans generated by Muhammad Yunus, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, confirms the power of bottom-up development, which is creating millions of income opportunities for the rural poor and billions of dollars in national income. With similar success stories in other poor countries, such as those of Celtel, MTN, and Vodacom in sub-Saharan Africa, and of Globe Telecom and Smart Communications in the Philippines, cell phones are spreading like wildfire across the South and are helping to bridge the digital divide. You Can Hear Me Now describes an inclusive capitalism that engages and enables many of the three billion people living on $1 a day, at the base of the economic pyramid.
ENDORSEMENTS FROM THE BACK COVER:
“The stories of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, legendary in development capital circles, and Celtel in Africa, among others, read as colorfully as any of the stories of the Gold Rush in the U.S. in the 1840′s.”
Alan Particof, co-founder of Apax Partners, founder of Greycroft Partners
“You Can Hear Me Now is powerful proof of the role that the private sector can play in economic development. A must read for all those concerned about eradicating poverty. Equally, a must read for managers who are looking for new engines of growth.”
- C.K. Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University professor, The Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; author, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.
“With the growing interest in how business can better serve the “bottom of the pyramid,”there is great need for both practical examples of how to do it and better understanding of how such strategies can truly benefit those caught in the poverty trap. This book delivers on both counts.”
- Stuart L. Hart, S.C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University; author, Capitalism at the Crossroads
“You Can Hear Me Now describes the human drama of the poor adopting technology to enhance their productivity. Well researched and engaging, it expertly walks the reader through one surprising maze after another.”
- V. Kasturi, Rangan, Malcom P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School; co-author, Business Solutions for the Poor