Geocommons: African Mobile Money and Higher Education visualized
This post is really about demonstrating Geocommons, a nifty tool for visualizing and mapping large datasets. In this instance, I was merely playing around with the datasets that are already preloaded there, but I suspect it would work equally well with data you would personally load. In this case I am visualizing higher education and training (per 100 people) compared to mobile money transfer and mobile subscription rates. I have this lurking suspicion that there is some correlation between money mobility (fluid transfer of funds throughout the country) and higher education rates. My hunch is that greater mobility of funds will eventually spell higher rates of participation in higher education (if higher education is equated as a luxury good).
One thing that is interesting that rates of participation in higher education do not appear to be increasing anywhere (at least not significantly) and in some instances (looking at you, Nigeria), they are actually decreasing. This could have a lot to do with general economic downturns and less expendable income, but that notion is somewhat contrary to the high rate of remittances taking place in these countries via mobile money (and the upswings in use of mobile money overall). Money is flowing at rates equal to or greater than in prior years so can we assume that the rate of mobile money increasing is a byproduct of more money being circulated overall?
Or perhaps mobile money is further indication of a developing nation ingenuity, a workaround of formal structures (in this case banks, but certainly applies to higher education as well). I would like to see some linkages between the rate of mobile money use and participation in higher education. This could easily be facilitated by higher education by allowing for mobile payments and micropayments, allowing for short courses and short accreditation cycles, allowing for mlearning at scale. Creating a mobile learning economy modeled on mobile money, where the ease of flow of information, collaboration, knowledge itself is the currency of the realm.
In short, go and play around with Geocommons.