MDGs: what’s tech got to do with it?


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 This week, we’re blogging and tweeting from New York, trying to keep up with the blizzard of events, meetings and talks intended to spur global progress toward achieving the eight development goals agreed to by UN member nations in 2000. You’ll see coverage elsewhere on this blog, as well as on our newly-revamped @worldbank Twitter feed. And we’re only one of many voices online this week talking about the MDGs. The good folks at UN Foundation and Mashable have created the Digital Media Lounge, a gathering space for bloggers to cover all things MDG, as well as host voices from around the development universe.  

Watch live streaming video from mashable at


On Tuesday, I joined a panel discussion focused on how information/communication technologies can help us get from development goals to actual achievements. I talked about what we call the World Bank’s open agenda – opening up data, creating access to information, renovating our website, and ramping up our social media efforts so that we are more engaged and responsive to the people we serve.

It was great to meet the other panelists and bloggers – and I learned so much. Watch the video to get the full conversation, but here are a few snapshots:

“Technology can really speed up social and economic advancement in the developing world." - Wayan Vota, Senior Director, Inveneo

“There are tremendous opportunities with mobile technologies, text mining, news sources, citizen reporting, and being able to monitor the use of services.” - Robert Kirkpatrick, Director, UN Global Pulse

“We need to invest in the poorest communities if we are to achieve the MDGs.” - Erica Kochi, Innovation Unit, UNICEF 

“It's really important for people to participate in development and not just have development done to them.” - Linda Raftree, New Technology, PLAN West Africa Regional Office

The Digital Media Lounge goes all this week, and you'll find heaps of great videos on their site. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this blog for more information about the World Bank’s Open Forum, our own effort to open up the dialogue during our annual meetings October 7-8. 


Join the Conversation

Joseph R. Vito
September 27, 2010

I'm a 25 year technology executive of the financial services industry ... and for those who don't think technology is the answer should have been around when early in my career India was third world country who nobody thought would become the powerhouse that it is today

This past year, rather then offering cash contributions through third party charities, I invested my time/money and visited Malawi in Africa in an effort to help drive a new program to integrate business/development efforts in that region of the world.

The questions you raised are great especially considering the fact that that experienced IT and business leaders have seen many waves of energetic/creative newcomers challenge the experienced establishment with client servers (the mainframe is dead), web storefronts (no more brick/mortar) ... BUT, what about the developing world who are quickly becoming connected ... after spending time in Africa and watching what they do with rudimentary cell phone technology ...

This article prompted me to share a very interesting piece that perhaps sheds light on an acceleration of the trickle-up effect
This article raises the questions as to whether or not we are facing a generation of energetic/creative newcomers (Millinniels) who are the embodiment of incredible advances in digital components and personal computing?

If you belief in this developing world scenario ... it's not a far stretch to see the culmination of thirty years of emerging consumer markets experimenting with technologies may very well play out in the developing world?

Think about it

Globalization ... our kids are using VOIP technologies on XBox and PlayStation's to play computer games with opponents around the world ... including part of Africa where bandwidth is achievable

Virtualization ... there is enough evidence to suggest there are efficiencies to using social media in a more transparent workflow of information ... remember the developing world has no idea about ERP systems, and they may be the very resources to power crowd sourcing capabilities

Cloud Computing ... we could leverage microblogging and online communities riding the cloud to drive sales operations, yet we continue to force our sales organizations to enter opportunities in CRM solution with predefined organizational hierarchies

Bottom line, we could be on the verge of accelerating innovation, if only the professional development organizations will see the potential

Cindy Gallop
October 09, 2010

There is way too much talking in this world and too little doing. That's why I conceived and launched - a radically simple web-meets-world platform designed to turn good intentions into action, one microaction at a time. We tap into two powerful dynamics in the marketplace today - crowdsourcing and the power of small increments - to actually make stuff happen. We have microfinance with Kiva; microblogging with Twitter; taking that to the next level, is microactions. We're only 7 months old in beta but have already had an extraordinarily positive response from all around the world. I've just returned from South Africa, one of a number of countries where people have reached out to say we'd love to help make IfWeRanTheWorld happen on the ground here (we're not just a crowdsourced platform, we're a crowdsourced venture). Jim, I'd love to talk to you about how IfWeRanTheWorld could help World Bank with its goals - please email me at [email protected].

Cindy Gallop
Founder & CEO