1. National ICT Policy/Plan/Strategy
Digital Morocco is Morocco’s national ICT policy and was originally launched in 2004 by the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and New Technologies. The current plan is Digital Morocco 2013. The policy was originally in French, but the current policy is in English.
2. Government Websites/webpages:
3. Case Study:
Organization: GENIE Program’ (GENeralization of Information Technologies and Communication in Education in Morocco)
(USAID and National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency/ANRT)
Time Frame: 2005- Present
4. Other Non-Government Resources:
c. https://www.itu.int/net4/itu-d/icteye/CountryProfile.aspx (Morocco)
5. Morocco is a very interesting nation to study ICTs and it certainly helps to know some french!
While we certainly learned about a number of dos and don’ts in program- in particular ICT4D programs- implementation, I think that one of the most valuable lessons to be learned in ICT4D is the idea that one needs to be flexible. While many programs may have great ideas and plans, they are worthless if they cannot be amended or adapted when issues or unforeseen changes arise. One cannot plan every possible difficulty into a program design, but you can leave room and allow for adjustments when needed. And that can create much better results in the end.
Before this semester, I can’t say I really realized how much of a difference ICTs make, especially in development. It truly is something we take for granted in our daily lives and the ability to communicate with each other, access information at almost any time, and access other things like bank accounts among others have become such important parts of how our societies function. This course has helped me reevaluate the way I see ICTs- which I hope will not only help me be a better development professional in the future, but also a better person.
China is not a country that has explicitly laid out its plans for information and communications technologies development, but they have published a few documents that outline some of the ways they plan to improve these areas of development. The closest document they have to a ICT4D policy is called, “China’s Informatization Strategy and its Impact on Trade in ICT Goods and ICT services”, was published by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and General Office of the State Council of China in 2006. China’s 5 year plans published by the National People’s Congress, most recently published in 2010, also contain some information related to ICTs.
China’s Informatization Strategy
China’s 12th 5-Year Plan can be found by searching for it, but is only available in downloadable .pdf files
Other Agency and Organization Publications:
Rural Informatization in China can be downloaded from the World Bank. This is a working paper, so new versions are published when major changes need to be made.
IDC’s Top 10 Predictions for China’s ICT Market in 2014 and Beyond is a press release from a data analysis company highlights some of the more important indicators and what they might mean for the future.
Remember that the Chinese government is not keen on publishing documents that are clear in their intentions or expectations. So, market trends, data indicators, and other sources of information are the best way to understand China’s relationship with ICT4D’s.
This semester I have learned an incredible amount about the pros and cons of ICT4D, and their importance in development. The main lesson that I have learned is that the best projects are those that are the most realistic and specific to the people they target. Throwing 100 laptops at a group of people struggling to survive a drought in Africa is helpful to no one and a waste of time. Thoroughly researching the location you are trying to provide with aid is a necessary step that is often skipped over in the process of providing “help” to those in need- what works for a village in Rwanda may not work for city-dwellers in Bangladesh. There is no one size fits all solution in ICT4D. What does work is educating those who live in the area being addressed on how to use the technologies provided, and making sure that this technology is suitable for the people to use- giving smart phones to a village with one DSL internet connection is nowhere near as effective as placing funding toward pre-existing structures to improve what is already existent in the community. The desire to create “flashy” projects that look good on paper should be superseded by the desire to fund projects that actually work.
Something specific I have personally learned this semester is that Twitter can be a valuable resource in the ICT4D community. While this may sound trite, I had never used Twitter before my week in this class, and had no idea how interactive it could be. I had previously viewed Twitter with disdain as a form of social media where people could shoot off short, random thoughts into the atmosphere with no real depth or meaning- I had no idea how connective the resource can be, or how useful it could be in disaster and development situations. The ability to get news out fast and provide different organizations to communicate with each other, with experts in the field, and with those in need is incredibly important.
The most useful theoretical framework I learned from this class regarded the top-down/supply different approach and how it differs from the bottom-up/empowerment focused approach. I believe that the people centered model, which advocates access to information for all groups in the population, is an extremely important message that should be perpetuated in all ICT4D endeavors. Information and communication technology needs to be used as a tool to build self-reliance and empowerment in developing nations- if they are reserved for the upper classes or those with access to wealth (perpetuating the digital divide) they cannot succeed. Something I would like to learn more about is how organizations are handling this issue- what factors are changing in new and impending projects to increase sustainability and self-agency?
1. ICT Policy last updated January 8, 2010, “Policy and Procedures for ICT Usage in Government (e-Government Policy). Written by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), published in English. This policy outlines the application of ICT4D for development via Sri Lanka’s government endeavors.
2. “e-Sri Lanka: Smart People Smart Island” ICTA
3. “e-Sri Lanka: Transforming a Nation through Information Communication Technology”. Published by ICTA in 2010. PDF linked article, “e-Society and Researching the Rural Poor through Tele/Knowledge Centers- Nensalas”. Project conducted through “e-Sri Lanka” involving installation of telecommunication centers throughout rural Sri Lanka and other ICT4D endeavors in the nation.
4. World Summit Award Article, World Summit Award: Smart e-Content for Smart People.
Kevin Donovan’s “ICT4E in India and South Asia- Sri Lankan Country Study.”
5. I found it very easy to find resources on Sri Lanka thanks to it’s extensively published e-policies online. Sri Lanka has partnered with the World Bank to create a well-developed “e-agenda” that has been a great success over the past 8 years, and is a good example of a nation working towards development through ICT4D successfully.
Throughout this semester I have learned so much about the concepts, configurations, and frameworks of ICT4D. We have discussed general themes and ideas in addition to case studies in class, and I have been able to reflect on these class readings and discussions for my own country reports. From this, I have taken away that the most important thing to remember when dealing with ICT4D is not to over-design. As a society, we have this habit of always wanting what is shiny and new, thus causing us to throw out the old so we can get the new. But when dealing with ICT4D, we cannot have this same philosophy. We cannot crowd developing nations with complex hardware and software that, though they may have good intentions, are complex. These complexities in ICT have greater potential to fail, thus putting a society right back where they started, yet with lower self-worth, less hope, and piles of useless e-waste that is unable to be recycled in their environment.
In addition, during this course, I was able to reflect on what types of project I am personally drawn to, and how I can utilize my own personal set of knowledge and skills in the field. And, not to my surprise, this course has only reaffirmed my passion of bridging the rural to urban gap. Yet, because I did not know much about ICT4D before this course, my ideas to do this were much different. With the tools and opportunities that ICT provides for development, I feel that this is a great asset for bridging this gap in many countries. The one thing that is important to remember, though obvious, is that models vary based on time, place, and overall relevance. As IDEV students, we are told that the “one size fits all” approach is garbage and to always take into account local conditions, but this is often easier said than done. If a project is attractive and successful in a certain instance, it is so easy to say that the same thing should be done elsewhere without really thinking about the nature of the model and potential implementation site. I know that I am only reiterating what IDEV students hear over and over, but I still feel that it is the most important concept in the development field.
1. ICT Policy layout written in 2007 in English by Valerie Betancourt from GIS. Note: This is an analysis and lay out the policy, the White Paper, but I am unable to find an online link of this specific document in Spanish or English. The White Paper Was written by CONATEL in 2006.
2. CONATEL and SENATEL wrote the White Paper in collaboration with each other.
3. Case Study: Conserving Ecuador’s Mangroves with ICT’s, project by C-CONDEM, and the project has already gone through a phases and is currently in independent continuation with GIS.
4. GIS analysis of policy (linked above), ITU’s National e-Strategies for Development Global Status and Perspectives Report 2010
5. There were certain thing that were pretty easy to find for Ecuador, but this was mostly broad statistics and information. My biggest struggle, however, was not necessarily finding information, but finding current information. I really did not find much after the year of 2007 or 2008, making it difficult to evaluate the current ICT situation of the country.