This report critically examines the concept of creating a global information society through digitally connecting the world’s population. Although many in the development field and the private sector alike emphasise the many benefits of mobile phone use and ownership for young people in developing countries, this study finds several issues that must be further investigated.
The analysis uses Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach to better understand the desired freedoms that may be achieved through using mobile phones. Sen’s approach also provides insight as to how one may expand one’s capabilities through what determines one’s characteristics for personal change (these will be referred to in this report as ‘personal conversion characteristics’).
This report provides a critical examination of the capabilities that are engendered by mobile phone use and ownership, by focusing on the youth of Katanga – a small fishing village in the periphery of Lomé. To do this, the author uses semi-structured oral histories interview methodology to interview 18 young people from Katanga.