Iqbal Z. Quadir is an accomplished entrepreneur and a long-time champion of the critical role of entrepreneurship and innovations in creating prosperity in low-income countries. In 1993, before others imagined the possibility, and only one percent of Americans were using mobile phones and he worked tirelessly for over two decades to provide the poor access to mobiles and to find them other means of economic empowerment. Quadir was born in Jessore, Bangladesh and he moved to the United States in 1976 and later became a naturalized U. S. citizen. He passed his Secondary School Certificate from Jhenidah Cadet College, Bangladesh and he received a B. S. with honors from Swarthmore College, an M. A. and an M. B. A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He served in the management and on the Board of Grameenphone during 1996-1999, quadirs vision, which was deemed radical at the time, was to create universal access to telephone service in Bangladesh and to increase self-employment opportunities for its rural poor. In 1993, Quadir started a New York-based company named Gonofone, with infrastructure investments of more than $1 billion, Grameenphone is providing cellular coverage throughout Bangladesh. In Japan, Asian Development Bank in the Philippines, Commonwealth Development Corp. in the United Kingdom, as a lecturer, he taught graduate-level courses on the effects of technology in developing countries at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University. Quadir subsequently moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where in 2007 he founded the Legatum Center for Development, Quadir coined the phrase invisible leg to describe how technological innovations change economies in terms of the distribution of economic and political influence. In 2004, he founded, with his siblings, the Anwarul Quadir Foundation to promote innovations for Bangladesh, in 2006, the foundation established a $25,000 global essay competition, the Quadir Prize, through the Center for International Development at Harvard University. In October 2007, the foundation made its first award to two recipients, in April 2009, Stephen Honan was the winner of the second award. Mr. Honan developed a way to extract arsenic from drinking water. This and other current projects were featured in an article entitled ‘Power to the people’ in the March 9,2006 issue of The Economist, in 2007, Emergence BioEnergy won a Wall Street Journal Asian Innovation Award. The goal of the Legatum Center is the promotion of bottom-up entrepreneurship in developing countries, quadirs work has been recognized by leaders and organizations worldwide, with invitations to speak at many forums, including the World Bank, United Nations, World Economic Forum, and Aspen Institute. In 1999, Quadir was selected Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum based in Geneva, Switzerland. He appeared on CNN and PBS and was profiled in feature articles in the Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, The Economist, and The New York Times, in Spring 2007, Wharton Alumni Magazine selected Quadir for its list of 125 Influential People and Ideas. In 2011, he received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Swarthmore College. The 2007 book You Can Hear Me Now, How Microloans, Iqbal Z. ” Ode Magazine Iqbal Z. Quadir. The Bottleneck Is At the Top of the Bottle, fletcher Forum of World Affairs Vol
Image: Iqbal Quadir
Quadir after a dinner meeting with Nelson Mandela in 2000 in the Carter Center in Atlanta.