A friend, Bright Simons, who is a member of the AfricanLiberty.org team, is featured in The Economist article (September 24, 2009) “Beyond voice: New uses for mobile phones could launch another wave of development“:
Bright Simons, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur, has devised a phone-based system called mPedigree to tackle the problem of counterfeit drugs. Some 10-25% of all drugs sold are fakes, according to the World Health Organisation, and in some countries the proportion can be as high as 80%. Under Mr Simons’ scheme, which is being implemented in Nigeria and Ghana, a scratch-off panel on the packaging reveals a code which can be texted to a special number to verify that the drugs are genuine. Most mobile-health projects are still at the trial stage, but a report compiled in 2008 by the UN Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation documented around 50 such projects across the developing world. Studies are now under way to quantify their benefits.
Bright is a voice for freedom, prosperity, justice, and peace, not only in Africa, but around the world. He is pioneering ways to help Africans to avoid the misery and death attendant on poor enforcement of trademark laws, drug falsification, and criminal fraud. (I spent some time with him this summer, as he was a participant in several programs in which I was involved last month in France, including the European Resource Bank, the Summer University, a Liberty Fund conference on “Universal Values and Cultural Pluralism,” and an international meeting on strategies for advancing liberty.)
NOTE: Bright is also a teacher at the Students and Young Professionals African Liberty Academy in Ghana. Anyone who’d like to help to fund the work of AfricanLiberty.org or the Students and Young Professionals African Liberty Academy, please do write to me. I can get your donations directly to them.