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Information and Communication Technologies

Media Effects on Foreign Policy

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Recent events in North Africa have intensified speculations about the role of traditional mass media as well as communication technologies in shaping political events and cultures across the world. Media influence on policy, foreign or domestic, has been the subject of some research, but is not generally taken seriously in the relevant disciplines. We have discussed on this blog before that the lack of systematic research and acknowledgement of media influence on policymaking may be due to the indirect nature of this effect. Media do not necessarily influence policymakers directly, but may work through public opinion by shaping what people know and believe about foreign politics. Public opinion, embodied in predominant political views or in election results, can have considerable influence on policymakers that need approval from the electorate.

I recently had the honor of contributing a book review on media influence on foreign policymaking to the foreign policy journal IP Global Edition, published by the German Council on Foreign Relations. I discussed three relevant books: "Unreliable Sources" by John Simpson, "The Al Jazeera Effect" by Philip Seib, and Bella Mody's analysis of "The Geopolitics of Representation in Foreign News." You can find the full review here.

Bringing mobile money to the world

Editor's Note: Michael Joseph is the World Bank Group's first fellow and was previously the CEO of Safaricom.

Mobile money has gone viral. In Kenya there are now more than 15 million mobile money users, which is equivalent to three in four adults. The company I was heading until last November, Safaricom has developed the world’s largest mobile money platform M-Pesa, which is being used by more than 14 million Kenyans. Over the last three years the growth of mobile money has been exponential. In December we reached a new threshold when the equivalent of US$ 1 billion was transferred. This is more than Western Union has transferred in all of 2010 globally! This has changed the lives of Kenyans—it created new jobs, new businesses and new opportunities for millions of people.

SMS education in Pakistan

Michael Trucano's picture

relevant for education? send 1 for 'yes', 2 for 'no', 3 for 'not sure'Two to three years ago, I found very little traction when trying to initiate discussions around the potential use of mobile phones in education with many counterparts in education ministries around the world.  (And when this *was* discussed, talk usually centered on how to ban them from schools.)

It’s a microscope! It’s a phoropter! It’s a….cell phone?!

Anushka Thewarapperuma's picture

If mobile phones hold potential for addressing a number of development challenges in existence today then the newest innovations are exciting with cross cutting implications for health. The World Bank recently hosted three top innovators selected from NASA’s LAUNCH Initiative in Health, to provide an overview of new innovations in mHealth and to debate potential bottlenecks in financing and scalability. LAUNCH was formed jointly by NASA, the US Department of State, USAID and NIKE as a global initiative to identify and support innovative work contributing to a sustainable future. All three presenters, Aydogan Ozcan of UCLA, Ramesh Raskar of MIT Media Lab and Josh Nesbit of Medic Mobile, have been widely recognized in the development field as dynamic young innovators.

Facebook: show your “like” for the environment planting a tree

Carlos Molina's picture

Two Mexican developers are hoping to raise awareness about the environment with a Facebook application that takes a swipe at deforestation. TreePet lets users plant virtual trees that can be "transplanted" to real forests thanks to partnerships with 'green' organizations, say developers Rodrigo Lopez and Claudia Gonzalez. They received praise and honorable mentions at the World Bank Applications for Development competition that rewarded 13 other programmers for their inventiveness to push forward the development agenda. Here's our video conversation with them.

Will Africa’s real leaders please stand up? A call to the continent’s ICT innovators

Nicole Amarteifio's picture


Browsing through the submissions from Africa for the ‘Apps for Development’ competition, I realized the solutions to my continent’s development challenges are not to be found in wordy policy papers; instead, the solutions are alive in the innovation of Africa’s ICT sector.

Wanted: How Does Your Organization Use Technology To Help Improve People's Lives?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The World Bank Institute publishes a magazine, Development Outreach, that covers current issues and trends in international development. CommGAP's Program Head, Sina Odugbemi, is guest editor of the upcoming issue of Development Outreach, which will feature articles and debates around the issue of Open Development. In this issue we strive to present a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and knowledge - and we are asking you to share your experience with us and the readers of Development Outreach. Specifically, we are asking you to send us your stories about projects in which your organization used information and communication technologies to improve people's lives in developing countries. Send your stories to commgap@worldbank.org! You can also share your story by commenting on this post (but don't forget a reply-to email).

Apps for Development: Winners to be announced April 14, 1-3 pm at World Bank Headquarters

Dougg Jimenez's picture

Apps for Development
Awards Ceremony & Expo
April 14, 2011: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
(
Live Webcast 2:00pm – 3:00pm)
MC Atrium, World Bank Headquarters

Please join World Bank President Robert Zoellick as he announces the winners of the Apps for Development Competition.

Development Results at Your Fingertips

Sarah Holmberg's picture


Antonio Lambino writes about the release of the Results App (available for iPhone) today on the CommGap Blog.

"Dubbed “Results at a Glance”, the app was created to help members of the international development community – including CSOs, NGOs, and donors—advocate for development issues by featuring more than 450 results stories from over 85 countries," he writes.

Read more of Antonio's blog post. Learn more about the Results iPhone app.

World Bank Open Data now in Chinese–a free, comprehensive and friendly new data source

Xiaoli Wan's picture

(Also available in Chinese)

As an economist monitoring the macroeconomic developments of the Chinese economy, dealing with data is one of my main jobs. I am so happy that now I have a new tool to handle data and make economic analysis. It is the World Bank Open Data platform launched recently. Based on my user experience till now, I found two features of it are specially worth highlighting:


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