Published on Voices

New technology can democratise development

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ImageAn old black and white photograph taken in 1944 at the Conference in Bretton Woods that gave birth to the World Bank and the IMF shows a roundtable of men in grey suits meeting to design the future multilateral system. Fast forward sixty-seven years to a community a few kilometers west of the capital of Tanzania, where local residents are using GPS devices to collect public data on the delivery of local services – schools, health clinics, public toilets and trash dumps - so the information can be uploaded to an online data map, ultimately holding their government accountable.

As government ministers, international aid organizations, non government organizations, foundations and others gather in Busan, Korea for the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to discuss the future of aid coordination, one thing is clear: the development future doesn't lie with men in dark suits behind closed doors. Not only are developing countries today providing two-thirds of global growth, turning the old North-South aid paradigm on its head, but it is becoming ever clearer that effective development needs the participation not just of governments but of beneficiaries, local communities, and citizens more broadly. And with 21st century technology, we now have the means to make it happen. Read more...

Photo caption: Girls attend morning assembly at the Shaheed Mohamed Motaher Zaid School in Sana'a, Republic of Yemen. Photo: © Dana Smillie / World Bank


Caroline Anstey

Former Managing Director, World Bank Group

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