While reading Chapter 5 of Unwin, I was intrigued by the heavy influence he put on cooperation and coordination between the public sector, the private sector, and civil society in the promotion and implementation of ICT4D. Recently, I have been doing research on a Panamanian organization called Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge), which has developed a university-like campus in the midst of Panama City. The purpose of the city is to bring together international, notional, governmental, and civil society organizations to promote development in Panama. There are organizations focusing on biosciences, environmental management, human development, business management and entrepreneurship, and information technologies.
These organizations use the City of Knowledge campus to hold conferences and collaborate in order to foster innovation in all the fields mentioned above, which provides an atmosphere for ICT innovation to work together with other development interests. The city also emphasizes education, which Unwin also mentions as a field that can benefit immensely from ICT4D. The city has various universities on site, which exchange research and internships with on site organizations.
I believe that this model of bringing multiple actors in development from different fields and sectors into the same environment is a very efficient strategy of creating cooperation and cohesiveness while promoting development. The dedication of an entire sector of the city to information technologies demonstrates a commitment to promote ICT innovation as well as integration into other aspects of development. I encourage you to navigate the Ciudad del Saber website and decide for yourself how effective this strategy is. Does it effectively accomplish a multi-stakeholder partnership? Could the concept be replicated elsewhere? Is it being used to its full potential? I believe that the City of Knowledge has huge potential to become a hub of knowledge for not only Panamanian development, but development of the entire hemisphere.
Fun fact: Scott Cowen and other Tulane reprisentatives visited the City of Knowledge last year to see what it was all about. Check it out.