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Matching development challenges with tech solutions in the fight against extreme poverty

Sarah McCue's picture
The goals of multilateral development agencies, United Nations and World Bank Group are laser-focused on the post-2015 development agenda, calling for transformative change by eradicating extreme poverty and raising economic prosperity for all.  This vision for a new era in development is rightly bold and ambitious, but cannot be delivered without fully embracing the transformative power of technology and innovation, including information and communications technology or ICT. 
 
Most would agree that technology solutions exist for most every seemingly intractable problem.  Yet often our greatest challenge is to match the problem with the solution.  In my various “technology for development” and trade promotion roles with the United Nations and World Bank, it is so clearly evident that government leaders know what problems they need to solve, but are simply unaware of the technology solutions available to them. Even the most highly informed development experts are not aware of the technologies being produced for their particular area of expertise, and technology firms are often unaware of the vast and specific challenges developing countries face. 
 
Thus, it is critical to first identify specific, not general challenges in areas such as access to capital, business creation, countrywide connectivity, education and training, employment, environmental protection, government administration, health, housing, hunger, infrastructure, pollution, population growth, trade expansion, waste, water scarcity, and women’s empowerment.  These are but a fraction of problems facing the developing world.
Photo: flickr, courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (http://ow.ly/zjGTn)

A global information society: are we there yet?

Samia Melhem's picture
Gender and inclusion
must be more
integrated into global
information and 
​communication
technology
​(ICT) strategies.
The concept of a global information society is one of the most discussed and misunderstood “Big Ideas” of our time. While we’ve made gigantic strides toward connecting the world through information and communication technologies (ICTs), we have not attained that goal.
 
Over the last decade, ICTs have contributed to globalization, shaped economies, transformed society and changed our history. Companies that didn’t exist in 2003 – including Facebook and Twitter – are now essential components of media strategies and contribute to job creation. Broadband drives economic development across the world, and there are more than seven billion mobile cellular subscriptions.
 
Despite this meteoric change, we’re not quite there yet. While billions of people are already connected to these systems and opportunities, we need much more collaboration to bring about an information society for everyone.

Lowering Barriers to High Speed Internet in the Arab World

Michel Rogy's picture

On affordability grounds alone, millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could be excluded from today’s information revolution. Meeting this challenge has become a top regional priority. Many countries in the Arab world have identified broadband Internet as a critical input to the broader objective of nation building and the transition to a knowledge-based economy. There is growing consensus that broadband Internet is critical in fostering sustainable economic development and job creation, and a key component of strategies for reducing poverty, enhancing job opportunities, and advancing trade integration. Indeed broadband is expected to have a similar impact on the transformation of the economy and of society as a whole as the printing press, steam engines, or electricity had in the past. But for it to have its full impact, people will need access to it.

Partage d'expérience sur les environnements favorables aux investissements haut débit: la fibre en Turquie

Michel Rogy's picture
Also available in: English | Türkçe

Le développement économique étant fortement corrélé avec l’utilisation de l’Internet haut débit, les gouvernements partout dans le monde cherchent à favoriser le déploiement des technologies large bande. Le gouvernement turc, par exemple, a récemment défini des objectifs ambitieux pour sa stratégie nationale haut débit : 60 millions de clients en 2023 (il y en a 33,7 millions en septembre 2013), une connexion d’au moins 100 Mbit/s pour chaque foyer, avec de la fibre optique déployée vers la plupart des maisons ou immeubles (technologie FFTH (fibre optique jusqu’à la maison) ou FTTB (fibre optique jusqu`à l’immeuble)), la diffusion des technologies haut débit mobile de nouvelle génération (telle que 4G/LTE), et la vision que la Turquie devienne un hub régional pour les infrastructures de télécommunications.

Broadband Internet coming to Africa

Michel Rogy's picture

The digital divide for voice services is closing at a rapid pace in Africa due to the spread of the basic mobile phone. With 500 million mobile phones on the African continent, more than in the US or European Union, Africa is the fastest growing region in the world.