These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Mobile for Development Intelligence
Scaling Mobile for Development: A developing world opportunity
“The mobile phone holds the power of ubiquity. Across the developing world, around 40% of people now actively subscribe to mobile services. Including those with access to a mobile despite not owning one would push the connected population to well over 50%. However, while access to core services such as banking, electricity and sanitation is near universal in developed regions such as Europe and the United States, it is enjoyed by below 50% in several developing regions.
This confluence underlines the opportunity held by Mobile for Development, which seeks to draw investment and partnership to scale mobile-enabled services that can help to facilitate service delivery in the absence of traditional modes of infrastructure that would otherwise do this. Indeed, Mobile for Development is a growing sector, with well over 1,000 live services now tracked by the GSMA across the developing world in verticals such as money, health, education and entrepreneurship. The problem is that while the sector has enjoyed continued growth in the number of services over the last 5-7 years, scale and sustainability have generally not been achieved.” READ MORE
“Twenty African countries are set to benefit from a data platform on developmental issues such as the Millennium Development Goals aimed at improving access to quality information.
The Open Data for African platform, funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), seeks to improve evidence-based decision-making, policy formulation and overall good governance in Africa.
It will also provide members of the public with easy access to official statistics online.” READ MORE
“CIMA announces the release of its most recent report, The New Gatekeepers: Controlling Information in the Internet Age, by veteran journalist and media development trainer Bill Ristow. The report traces how the technological revolution of the past few decades has created a new corporate world of Internet-based companies that have become the new gatekeepers of information–and their data-parsing algorithms the twenty-first century equivalent of the stereotypical editor with the green eyeshade who filtered the news before passing it along to readers.” READ MORE
Open Society Foundations
EU Transparency Legislation Paves the Way for a Global Standard
“Thanks to the April 9 deal in Brussels, the European Union (EU) will soon require extractives industries and forestry companies to report all payments they make to governments. An agreement between European parliamentarians and member states paves the way for a final vote in June 2013 that will establish EU leadership on a global transparency standard.
The agreement will require companies to disclose all payments to governments over €100,000 at project level and in each country they operate. There will be no exemptions. The public reporting of these revenues will allow citizens in resource-rich countries to see how much their governments are being paid, and to track whether those funds are used to benefit national and local development. Such transparency is a crucial step towards reducing the “resource curse” in countries that have a disproportionately large extractives sector and weak governance.” READ MORE
“Vanishing are the days when readers' contributions to the papers they read are limited to the 'letters to the editor' section. The latest publication to open its arms to reader contributions — in the form of videos, photos and stories — is The Guardian, which launched Tuesday a program called "Guardian Witness."
Guardian Witness, available online, and as an app for iPhone and Android devices, asks users to supply staff journalists with videos, photos and stories for both breaking news events and less pressing features, which could then appear on The Guardian's website and/or in print. Under an Assignments tab, there are calls for photos of tall buildings, essays on how UK government cuts have impacted readers' lives, and accounts from refugees and aid workers in Syria. Visitors can upload their own contributions and view the submissions of others.” READ MORE
“Billions of dollars have been invested to improve the quality of government in developing countries. The evidence shows that the chances of those investments being effective are about the same as that of calling heads or tails correctly. While the quality of government matters, the development community is still somewhat confused about what “good governance” is and struggles to identify ways in which outsiders can help to make governance more effective. Afghanistan is perhaps the most striking demonstration of this: hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives have been spent on rebuilding state capability, yet the likely outcome is a state less capable than it was in the 1970s.” READ MORE