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Chandi Dharmaratne

June 11, 2010 (LBO) – Mobile phone applications have the potential to reduce the gap between rich and poor in developing countries like Sri Lanka, the island’s minister of technology and research said. The mobile phone is joining the personal computer and television in empowering people and giving them access to information to make their lives better, Tissa Vitharana told the South Asia Mobile Conference in Colombo.

“Mobile phones will make a very in change in society in future,” he said.

“Mobile phones enable villager to know if he’s getting a fair price for his produce, to know the price in the city.

“Mobile phone applications can enable people to get information on health and other matters important for their living.”

Vitharana said the technology has potential to reduce inequalities which are especially stark in the south Asian region.

“South Asia has the highest number of poor people in the world as a region. If we do not change that we’re sitting on an explosive keg which can erupt at any moment,” he said.

“This is an opportunity to bridge the gap between rich and poor – if not we’ll face an explosive situation.”

Sri Lanka has high literacy levels with rising