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Submitted by Doctor Michel ODIKA on
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES: PLATFORM FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT… First of all, information and communication technologies (ICT) remain essential in improving resource use and service supply. However, the relationship between ICT and governance is a powerful but nuanced one. For instance, governance reforms (1) need to be informed, not just by performing ICT, but also by basic data and strategic information obtained through a stark departure from traditional views on the architecture and the scope of conventional information systems. How to do that depends on context and background. Why? INFORMATION SYSTEMS: PLATFORM FOR SOCIAL COHESION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT… The paradigm shift required to make ICT instrumental to governance reforms is to focus on what is effective and efficient in building a critical mass of capacity for positive change. Unfortunately, regardless of whether or not they are controlled by the public sector or by the business world, many, if not most, information systems in low- and high-income countries can be characterized as closed administrative structures through which there is limited flow of data on resource allocation for service delivery. They are often only used to a limited extent by a limited number of top officials at national and global level when formulating policy reforms, while little use is made of critical and strategic information that could be extracted from other tools and sources – e.g. opinion surveys, NGOs, professional associations, academic institutions, research centres, etc. -, many of which are located outside the public sector and (sometimes) far away from the business world… Now more than ever, from a policy point of view, the crucial information is that which allows identification of the operational and systemic constraints. In this context, the multiplication of information needs and users implies that the way information is generated, shared and processed also has to evolve. This critically depends on transparency (availability and accessibility), for example, by making pertinent information readily accessible via the Internet (2). OPEN AND COLLABORATIVE MODELS: PLATFORM FOR BETTER GOVERNANCE AND EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT… Today, governance reforms call for open and collaborative models, such as “Malaria Observatories” (3,4), to ensure that all the best sources of data are tapped and information flows quickly to those who can translate it into appropriate action. Once established, these state/non-state multi-stakeholder networks can play a key role in complementing and improving routine information systems, by directly linking the production and dissemination of intelligence on specific issues to the sharing of best practices. Generally speaking, these innovative structures reflect the increasing value given to cross-agency work: they thus institutionalize the linkages between local governance and country-wide policy-making… IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS... There is need for making information and communication technologies (ICT) instrumental to governance reforms. Unfortunately, the institutional capacities to meet this ambitious requirement are typically weak in countries classified as low-income. However, even in countries with well-resourced information systems and sophisticated communication networks, there is still need for far-reaching improvements and groundbreaking innovations in terms of architecture, scope, multisectoral response and multidimensional approach… Doctor Michel ODIKA (Congo-Brazzaville) 1. Governance reforms: balanced approaches to be found ( 2. Site internet pour le Ministère de la Santé ( 3. Advocacy for a Malaria Observatory in Congo-Brazzaville ( 4. Observatoire du Paludisme: capital au service d’un idéal (