In our integrated, high speed, connected world, one in seven people go to bed hungry every night. But many of them have access to mobile phones. To what extent does ICT offer a way of accelerating the end of poverty? Duncan Green discusses the role (actual or potential) of ICT in developing countries, whether in activism and public debate, in everyday life (agriculture, finance, marketing), or in responding to disasters (earthquakes, floods). Questioning some of the hype, he looks at Malcolm Gladwell’s criticisms of the ‘twitterati’ explanations of the Arab Spring, and considers the po- tential impact of ICT in transforming the social contract between citizens and state.