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Samsung's keynote concluded with a scheduled appearance by the 42nd U.S. President Bill Clinton, who highlighted some of the ways mobile technology has helped enable the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a program Clinton founded in 2005 intended to build new solutions to solve some of the world's "most pressing" socioeconomic challenges. According to CGI's website, the program today has already reached out to over 400 million people in more than 180 countries.
Clinton, who said he was "utterly fascinated" by Samsung's new products and joked that cell phones weighed "about five pounds" when he was in office in 1995, spoke to some of the recent ways mobile devices have helped aid CGI's efforts.
In early 2010, for example, CGI used cell phones to help bring financial services to the nearly 90 percent of Haitians that were without bank accounts. Much of Haiti's income at the time, Clinton explained, came from remittances from Haitians working abroad. The banks would convert workers' foreign currencies to Haitian currency, which helped their businesses flourish but did little to help the citizens of Haiti who were living on less than $2 a day, Clinton said.
Only 10 percent of Haitians in 2010 had a bank account, meaning they had no way to make direct transfers or deposits. But, nearly 80 percent of Haitians had cell phones, an opportunity CGI jumped on. The organization rolled out a mobile banking solution that gave Haiti's citizens access to all these services, despite not having a traditional bank account.
"The world has huge challenges, which I think technology can help to overcome," Clinton said, noting other global issues like climate change, which technology may someday be able to solve.
"This electronics show shows how much technology has changed and how much we have to look forward to," he said.