International Political Economy and Development

Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on January 22, 2010

Module 1: The Linkage between ICT Applications and Meaningful Development
Module 2: ICT for Development (ICTD) Policy, Process and Governance
Module 3: e-Government Applications
Module 4: ICT Trends for Government Leaders
Module 5: Internet Governance
Module 6: Network and Information Security and Privacy
Module 7: ICT Project Management in Theory and Practice
Module 8: Options for Funding ICT for Development

Module 1: The Linkage between ICT Applications and Meaningful Development

Session 1. ICTs and MDGs

  • Progress on the achievement of the MDG targets is uneven. While there are some visible and widespread gains and Asia Pacific is doing better than Sub Saharan Africa, the LDCs still have the region’s highest rates of child and maternal mortality, the incidence of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS continues to rise, and the region is regressing in environmental sustainability. There are huge data gaps in the Pacific region and great intra-country disparities for example in China and India.
  • There is a need for greater public investment in education and health. ” Poor governance, poor policy choices, corruption and denial of human rights are factors impeding rapid progress.
  • ICTs can be used to facilitate integrated approaches and cost-effective scalable solutions in key sectors of development, such as poverty reduction, education, health care, natural resource management and disaster management.
  • Both old and new ICTs are important tools in development work.
  • However, there is increasing use of digital technologies and the use of the new digital technologies has the advantage of diffused and dispersed democratic production and ownership enabled by technology convergence.

Session 2. The Digital Divide and Promoting Universal Access

The Digital Divide

  • The digital divide and its impact
  • Bridging the digital divide

Promoting Universal Access

  • Telecentres – potential and pitfalls
  • Approaches for Small States – Island States, Land Locked, and Mountainous regions

Session 3. Applications of ICTs in Development – Addressing specific MDGs (MDG 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Kinds of ICT interventions
Direct interventions
Direct interface between the services and the poor
Indirect interventions
In support of development efforts and projects
Building information and decision support systems
Global evidence shows that ICTs spur economic growth, esp. SMEs
Improve efficiency of internal and external business operations
Provide access to new national and global markets
Increase volumes of demand
Improve inventory management
Reduce wastage and consequently increasing profits

ICTs and Poverty Reduction
There is enough evidence to show that there is a direct connection between investment in ICTs and economic productivity.
The use of ICTs by SMEs has been shown to result in improvements in business practices that reduce communication and transaction costs, assist in inventory management, and provide access to global markets, thereby increasing productivity and profits.
Although economic growth is not a guarantee of poverty reduction, it is essential for sustaining poverty reduction over the longer term.
Direct ICT interventions that address poverty reduction link the poor to markets and market information.
ICTs in Education
ICTs can be used to provide access to schooling and to continuing education, and to improve the quality of education in the classroom.
ICTs can enable networking and collaboration among students and teachers in different schools.
Teacher education is one of the key applications of ICTs in education.
There is extensive use of ICTs for Non Formal Education especially for literacy and general knowledge about health, nutrition and the environment, leading to a better quality of life.
ICTs and Gender Equality
Women face barriers to ICTs similar to any other economic opportunity – poverty, illiteracy, lack of time and lack of relevant content, etc.
However, when technology is placed in their hands, women are able to improve their economic and social status in the community.
Women use technology not just to learn and to generate an income, but also to create women-friendly spaces on the Internet for building up networks to voice and share their concerns and to lobby for gender equality.
ICTs and Health
Major stakeholders in the health sector include people needing health services, especially those with limited access to health care such as rural and marginalized people, as well as health care professionals.
Telemedicine is the most common application of ICTs in health. Telemedicine has been used extensively in many countries of Asia Pacific.
There are several global efforts such as HINARI to support the knowledge needs of health professionals.

Session 4. Applications of ICTs in Development – Addressing specific MDGs (MDG 7, 8)

Session Summary
ICTs and the Management of Natural Resources
ICT-based remote sensing and disaster warning systems have changed the way we understand and respond to weather and climate.
Disaster management is a critical part of a country’s arsenal to address issues affecting the vulnerable and marginalized.
ICTs, Government and Governance
Government consists of a formal superstructure while governance is concerned with outcomes of government functioning.
The purpose of ICT interventions in government is to optimize efficiency while providing citizen-friendly services that encourage greater citizen participation in governance and public affairs.
ICTs and Peace
ICT interventions can be used for building peace, beginning with preventing conflict and later mitigating the effects of large- and small-scale conflicts.

Session 5. Applications of ICTs in Development – Challenges to the use of ICTs in Development


Digital Divide

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on January 22, 2010

What is digital divide? This is one of the most common terminologies used by the development community for a long time. I want to list some areas that we experience digital divide in this post and will appreciate if you could identify more:

i.  ICT Infrastructure divide which includes all varieties of ICTS; the ‘old’ ICTs of radio, television and telephone, and the ‘new’ ICTs of computers, satellites and wireless technology and the Internet

ii. Content divide; useful content vs useless content, language barriers i.e. more than 70% of the world’s websites are in English

iii. Gender divide; women has less access to ICTs in most part of the world compared to men

iv. Income divide; rich people have always more access to digital technologies than the poor

v. Literacy divide

Some interesting facts about internet usage in Turkey

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on June 25, 2009

Some interesting facts about internet usage in Turkey:

– 17.3 million Turkish people use Facebook each month(3rd in Europe)

– 4.5 million pages in Facebook (4th in the World)

– 3044 pages view per user per month

– 77.7 billion SMS sent by Turkish people every year& 100 billion talking minutes

– 29.6 million MSN accounts in Turkey (higher than the US, 2nd in the world after Brazil)


iPhones for all!

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on June 23, 2009

If U.S. Soldiers Can Access Facebook, Who Can’t?

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on June 16, 2009

Public services 2.0: please help building a contribution to the EU strategy

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on June 16, 2009

ICT stat of the day

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on June 16, 2009

Between 2000 and 2007, internet subscribers per 100 people in low-income countries grew from only .1 to .8, but mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 people grew from .3 to an amazing 21.5. If you want to reach the poorest countries in the world, it looks like mobile phones are your best bet.


Open-source software in the recession: Born free

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on May 29, 2009

Corruption, Growth and Poverty

Posted in Economic Growth by DS on May 23, 2009

Originally posted at Poverty & Growth Blog of the World Bank.

The literature on corruption is large and growing. In this and upcoming Fridays Academy comments we will attempt to capture the essence of the arguments and provide some empirical evidence on the impact of corruption on growth and poverty reduction. Corruption, which includes bribery, rent-seeking, extortion, embezzlement, is perceived as a major problem facing many countries.  Corruption has therefore been variously defined to mean ‘the misuse of public office for private gain.’   This does not mean that there is no corruption in the private sector because this is quite common in (private) financial firms.  But, corruption is more severe in the public sector than in the private sector.  One of the first known articles on corruption and its punishment is in Kautilya’s Arthasastra (dating back to 14 BC).  Corruption is found to be closely inter-related with a country’s social norms, formal and informal rules and culture as well as legal environment in a country.  No matter what, corruption connotes illegal or improper (moral) behavior and is treated as a ‘socially and culturally deviant behavior.’  From political science point of view, high level of corruption coincides with political instability and tends to reduce citizen’s trust and faith in institutions.

Measurement of Corruption

Corruption is measured by perceptions index and is subject to victimization bias.  That is only aggrieved parties who suffered in such ‘illicit’ transactions speak out while the vast majority who benefited from giving and receiving bribes may not speak out or provide information.  Like black economy and capital flight, only indirect measures can be used. Firms may be paying bribes to officials to avoid legal problems or paying taxes or to hide their non-compliance with regulations.  Obviously, such transactions are not reported or recorded.  Also, different branches of government (Parliament, Executive, Judiciary, day to day administration) may have different degrees of corruption. The corruption perception index (CPI) of the Transparency International, the ‘control of corruption’ indicators of Kaufmann et al of the World Bank Institute,  the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS, a World Bank survey of 26 countries on the extent of bribe payments in 1999), and the Bureaucratic Efficiency index are some of the attempts at measuring corruption.

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Internet Users in Africa

Posted in Economic Growth, ICTs for Development by DS on May 20, 2009

Africa is lagging behind far more than any other continent on Internet usage. There are so many reasons for the low number of Internet users such as poor infrastructure, low economic growth, low incomes and of course other priorities which deserve more priority than the Internet. While we are spoiled with the high speeds of Internet in the developed countries (I have been watching all my favorite TV channels online), it is still luxury to send an e-mail in Africa even in the companies and international organizations. I was in Ethiopia in February 2009 and noticed from first hand how even my colleagues at the UN ECA (UN Economic Commission for Africa) suffer with the Internet connection.

Let’s start rolling the ball and look at the number of total Internet users in Top 10 countries in Africa:


Egypt with a population of around 82 million and 10.5 million Internet users tops the list (12.4% of the population uses Internet). Nigeria follows Egypt with 10 million Internet users. However, the percentage is nearly half of Egypt in Nigeria, with population of 146 million, roughly 6.8% of the population uses Internet in Nigeria. On the other hand,19.2% and 27% of the population uses Internet in Morocco and Tunisia respectively. These are one of the highest percentages if we do not take into account some of the small states such as Seychelles and Mauritius. For the complete list of figures, you can check

When we compare the total number of Internet users in Africa to the rest of the world, we see that how little the usage is in this continent:



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