Author Archives: npham2

Vietnam National ICT Resources

Bhatia,Deepak T. (2012). Vietnam – Vietnam – ICT Development : P079344 – Implementation Status Results Report : Sequence 09. Washington, DC: World Bank. Retrieved from HERE

DETAILS

            Author: 
Deepak T. Bhatia

            Document Date: 
8/5/2012

            Document Type: Implementation Status and Results Report

            Report Number: 
ISR6477

            Language: 
English

            Unit Owning: Information & Communication Tech (TWICT)

            Document Name: Vietnam ICT Development: P079344 – Implementation Status Results Report: Sequence 09

           Agency: WorldBank

           Brief Description: Status and current results of Master IT Plan

Economic Intelligence Unit (EUI). (2010). Digital Economy Rankings: Beyond e-readiness. Retrieved from HERE.  

DETAILS

            Author: Economic Intelligence Unit (EUI)

            Document Date: 
2010

            Document Type: Report of influence of ICT in economic and social progress of country

            Language: 
English

            Unit Owning: The Economist Group, IBM Institute for Business Value

            Document Name: Digital Economy Rankings: Beyond e-readiness

            Agency: EUI

           Brief Description: Digital economy rankings of countries to assess the quality of a country’s ICT infrastructure and the ability of its consumers,    businesses, and governments to use ICT to their benefit.

Elmer, Laurel. (2002). Vietnam: ICT Assessment Synthesis Report. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Retrieved from HERE.

 DETAILS

            Author: Laurel Elmer

            Document Date: 
June 2002

            Document Type: ICT Assessment Synthesis Report

            Language: 
English

            Unit Owning: USAID ICT Report

            Document Name: Vietnam’s ICT Enabling Environment: Policy, Infrastructure and Applications

            Agency: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

           Brief Description: Summary of government ICT and policy programs, a synthesis and update of the USAID ICT assessment, and provides recommendations for priority government actions and strategic donor assistance

International Telecommunication Union (ITU). (2011). Information Society Report. Retrieved from HERE.

DETAILS

            Author: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

            Document Date: 
2011

            Document Type: ICT Assessment Synthesis Report

            Language: 
English

            Unit Owning: ICT Data & Statistics Division within the Telecommunication Development Bureau of ITU

            Document Name: Measuring the Information Society 2011

           Agency: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

           Brief Description: Features the latest ICT Development Index (IDI) and ICT Price Basket (IPB), two benchmarking tools to monitor information society developments worldwide.

The World Economic Forum (WEF). (2012). Global Information Technology Report. Retrieved from HERE.

DETAILS

            Author: The World Economic Forum (WEF) & INSEAD

            Editors: Soumitra Dutta (INSEAD) & Beñat Bilbao-Osorio (WEF)

            Document Date: 
2012

            Document Type: The Global Information Technology Report

            Language: 
English

            Unit Owning: WEF

            Document Name: The Global Information Technology Report 2012: Living in a Hyperconnected World

           Agency: World Economic Forum’s Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance and the Industry Partnership Program for Information Technology and Telecommunications Industries

           Brief Description: Analyzes in detail the main drivers and impacts of the ICT-enabled hyperconnected world and contributes to the work of the World Economic Forum’s recently launched Hyperconnected World Initiative, which establishes a holistic means of understanding the systemic nature of change in a hyperconnected world. Also include 142 economies from both the developing and developed world.

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). (2010).National e-Strategies for Development: Global Status and Perspectives. Retrieved from HERE.

DETAILS

            Author: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

           Editors: Monika Muylkens, ITU consultant

            Document Date: 
2010

            Document Type: National e-Strategies Report

            Language: 
English

            Unit Owning: ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and the ITU General Secretariat

            Document Name: National e-Strategies for Development Global Status and Perspectives: 2010

            Agency: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

            Brief Description: Provides a high-level update and an overview of the progress countries have made in their effort to develop national e-strategies, ICT strategies and sector e-strategies, analyzing as well the extent into which ICT have been incorporated into poverty reduction strategies and other national development plans.

Notes: 

Sources are not hard to find,but you must search with specific keywords (i.e. Master IT Plan,Vietnam ICT Strategies) that relates to ICT. Government published documents are difficult to find, but many great analysis reports by non-governmental agencies are published. There are many reports about the trends and ICT strategy evaluation are available online for access. Most documents found have an English version as well as other languages. It was more difficult to find information pertaining to the current status of ITC plans and progress of reforms made to the Master IT Plan. 


Communication Is Key

In International Development, ICT is an aspect that many people have many doubts about. This is because a majority of ICT initiatives in developing countries fail or because sustainability is difficult in the ICT4D field. The concept of ICT4D can include work with disadvantage population anywhere, but there is a stronger focus with its application in developing countries. The idea of applying IT for poverty reduction is most commonly known by people not within the International Development field. However, ICT can be applied to more whether it is directly to benefit the disadvantaged population or indirectly assist organization (governmental or non-government) to improve a wide variety of socioeconomic conditions. This is something I too didn’t take into account. Before this course, I mainly viewed ICT4D as a concept in International Development that deals mainly with utilizing computers to improve the quality of life for developing countries and help them reduce their poverty rate. However, this semester, I learn that this is not the only case. There are a wide variety of subdivisions within ICT4D. They can range from e-health, to e-business, to e-government, to many more sparking to concept of ICT4D 2.0. The concept of ICT4D 2.0, a new concept to me before this course, is something that will help me as a development professional.  Sparking from the late 2000s, the idea of ICT4D 2.0 focuses on reframing the poor, where ICT4D 1.0 was about marginalizing them. Rather than creating a supply-driven focus, ICT4D 2.0 allows a demand-driven focus. ICT4D 2.0 sees the poor as active producers and active innovators. There is now a less “needs” thinking but more of a “wants” thinking in which we access what the poor themselves actually demand.

This is where the concept of information becomes valuable. Information is important because in order to create changes in development, communication of information with those receiving the help is needed. Information is a tool and resource for those receiving help to build self-reliance, empowerment, civil society, and knowledge for the people. On the other hand, often at times donors or organizations think that they know what the poor and marginalized need, but they often don’t. Gathering information from exchanges through communication will allow donors and organizations to find out what the poor needs and find effective ways to delivery those needs. For example, when you go into a country trying to decrease HIV/AIDS rate, you need to gather information on why there is such a high rate of HIV in the area.

Communication is needed because often times, ICT in development tends to concentrate first on technology and only later addresses potential that ICT offer to the poor and marginalized. Communication will allow us to understand and determine what those we help truly need. It is essential in participatory research and development where the researcher will development a relationship and understanding for the community they work in. It is a way to share information and issues that those who need development help want and need, so we can development a plan most suitable to their needs. The gathering of valuable information is done through communicating such as talking and discussing with the population that you are working with in order to have successful delivery of initiatives. The central idea to me about communication is to educate the people so they would accept your work. Ultimately, apart from having a great idea, acceptance from the working population will lead to success. This is something I will take away from the course and remember as I move forward with my career in development. Regardless of if the project is ICT4D based or health based, this concept can be critical; therefore, I would like to see it highlighted more in the future.


Will The Cloud drive up the cost of cyber insurance?

We previously discussed about cybersecurity and more recently we discussed about ICT trends, and The Cloud relates to both topics. As new ICT trends emerge, The Cloud has taken center stage as the new “it” thing. The Cloud is certainly centralizing computing power and standardizing data. As stated by this week’s guest speaker, Adam Papendieck, the subscriptions to The Cloud is based on Software as Service (SaaS). There is greater increase in data center expansion that allows easy access for everyone hosted on the web. This will allow a decrease in dependence and significant level placement on personal computers. This can encourage grassroots organizations to access data as information become less exclusive. This is great, but as Adam stated, this bring up the issue of protection of the beneficiaries, where the idea of “do no harm” is fully emphasized. When data is so easily accessed, a double edge sword can be formed. This was clearly seen during the Haiti disaster where crowdsourcing through Ushahidi data collection allow specific identification of vulnerable populations to potential criminals.

While I believe allowing easy access to data and democratizing data is great, but I can’t help but think of the risks it create. What is happening with these data as they are being accessed? Who exactly are accessing these data about us and what are they doing with the information? The question of cybersecurity is definitely a concern. This when I happen to stumble across an article that questions whether or not The Cloud will drive up the cost of cyber insurance.

The article state that “International Computer Security Association Labs is working on a new initiative aimed at helping cyber liability insurance companies more accurately assess risk associated with cloud computing.” Even though cyber liability insurance protects against risks associated with data breaches and network interruptions at the customer level for years, the introduction of The Cloud computing has caused challenges in assessing the overall risk. At the end of the day it’s about if one can take the risk of their data/information stored on The Cloud. If you can assume the risks, you purchase insurance to eliminate the problem, but those that don’t have the financial ability to purchase one of these policies, what happens to them? With more demands for cyber insurance as there is an emerging trend of The Cloud usage, cost are bound to increase. What will happen then? The above article brings up a very good point. Perhaps, as we advance in technology to make data access more obtainable, are we doing ourselves a disservice by putting our privacy at risk as well as risking additional costs for cybersecurity?


Nigeria vs. Cybercrime

Cybercrimes currently has taken a center stage in the developing world. However, as technology grows combined with globalization, cybercrimes have grown in prevalence in developing countries. Nigeria is currently experiencing a huge surge in cybercrimes causing threats to potential ICT development. There are now increase measures taken by the country’s government to ensure that the problem with cybercrime will decrease as the country aim to become an ICT hub in the African continent. At the Lagos State Chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) conference this past month, attendees were trained with workshops and seminars to increase knowledge on cybercrime prevention, detection and investigation. Belonging to a series of conferences under the Continuing Professional Education program to develop strategies to curb cybercrimes in Nigeria, the Vice President of the association, Mr. Peter Ineh stated that it is urgent for IT professionals in Nigeria to be trained in strategies and ethical practices that will detect cybercrimes to help the country from suffering through ICT setbacks as it aims to further develop its ICT4D field.

The average Nigerian is a target regardless of what profession or his/her economic status. Cybercrimes affect both individual and corporate bodies that can lead to diminish consumer confidence, loss of productivity, loss of trade secrets and refusal by most merchants to include Nigeria in e-commerce transactions. Thus, it is important that ICT professionals and as many people in Nigeria as possible to be properly trained for cybercrime detection and prevention. It was also suggested that the federal government should establish agencies for specific cyber security promotions and regulatory agencies to prevent damages by cybercriminals. The main priority now should be creation of government bodies to promote awareness and partner with private organizations to advocate for cybercrime prevention.

I think with government agencies initiatives on public and private partnerships and activities, cybercrimes in Nigeria can be reduced. However, this will require laws and regulations that ensure close monitoring of this growing problem.

More Information can be found HERE


Facebook vs Asia’s Top Social Networks

Social media and social networking have grown increasingly in number within recent years. The front-runner in the social networking world is Facebook. Most people you know probably has a Facebook account and continuously update their statuses and communicate with their friends from all over the world.  With its current trend, Facebook is project to grow at exponential rate to over-take many other popular social media platform in other countries. Facebook is now internationally used, even in countries that block the social networking site. However, users still manages to over-ride this restriction by the government. Countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China have a large population of social media users. China has RenRen, South Korea has Cyworld, Japan has Mixi, and the US has Facebook, but it is projected that Facebook will soon take over the realm of social media in these countries and cause a decrease in those already existing social media websites. However, for Facebook to be widely adapted in these countries, mobile usage function and a user-friendly platform are needed.

A prime example, in South Korea the incumbent, long-running largest social network, has been seeing massive user migration to Facebook. Just in February 2012 alone, there was a 52.4% user reversal. For a foreign company and social networking site fairly new to South Korea, currently 1 out of every 5 Koreans are on Facebook and the 10 million users benchmark had been reached. Cyworld has been around for over 10 years in Korea through SK Telecom, the number one Korean mobile carrier with 52% of the market share. Cyworld could be said to have invited the Virtual Good market in South Korean with over 90% of the entire Korean population being active on the site. It is surprising that Cyworld is currently losing users to Facebook, a foreign company. South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and known to utilize “home grown” entities, it is interesting how Facebook has garnered so many users. This could be due to the widespread usage of smart-phones, such as iPhones, where Facebook is already built into the system. Perhaps, it is the international widespread appeal that lead South Koreans to switch over to Facebook, but one things is certain it trend is here to stay. There are now many functions on Facebook that enables its international expansion, such as language settings where Facebook can be displayed in a wide array of languages. Facebook isn’t just making wave in South Korea, but other technology giants in the world. I do believe that as Facebook expand in users, it will soon over shadow these foreign social networking sites in those countries like it did to Myspace in the US.

More information can be seen HERE.


Small Business Reap From Kenya’s ICT Innovations

Small businesses in Africa often suffer huge set backs by lack of the needed finances to efficiently run their small enterprises. Having a system that manages the business such as accounts, payroll, and business transactions is not always possible due to its high cost. However, a new application through OpenWorld run by Geoffrey Kamau could help change this. This new application built upon open source software can help small businesses in Africa become more efficient in an affordable way. OpenWorld allows small businesses to move away from paper usage in their businesses, such as book keeping and payroll management. Utilizing the platform known as OpenBusiness that runs on the cloud, small businesses can subscribe monthly through a small fee, of around $7.50 USD, enabling them to manage employees, payroll, accounts, online sales, tax and point of sales through the platform. Before, this could cost up to several thousand dollars, but now small businesses can pay monthly at a low price to access the same software and manage their business. This will also allow small businesses to run consumer royalty schemes that were only available through big retailers like Uchumi, Naivas, and etc that charged small businesses more than they can afford. For example now, barbershops no longer have to keep track of customers’ visits through a handwritten notebook, but through the automated OpenBusiness. This allows small businesses in Africa to become more efficient and encourages formalization of the informal economy. This new tool was revealed at the AITEC East Africa ICT Summit in Kenya this month, hopefully utilization of the tool would be widespread soon. Optimistically, with this new ICT that is both affordable and easy to use, small businesses can become more efficient and expand, helping the developing economies in Africa.


The dark side of ICTs?

Bandi Mbubi: Demand a fair trade cell phone

The mobile phone and other electronic items are important things in our lives. An average teenager text at least 300 times a day while adults are constantly checking emails or browsing the web on their spiffy smart phones. As people passionate about international development, we constantly seek to increase technology access and capacity for ourselves and to those marginalized that often falls between the cracks of the digital divide. ICTs are seen as the super tools that will end many world problems and help us achieve success in many obstacles. Mobile phones, laptops, televisions, etc have become so embedded in our lives, that the thoughts of life without these “advancements” are unbearable. However, I have never thought about where does our technology come from? This TED Talk has given me a new angle at some of the dark aspects of technology advancement. For example, the mobile phone is seen as the tool to end hunger and economic instability in Africa as it connects and help guide people towards free improved lives. However, as Mbubi stated in the TedTalk video, mobile phones could also be an instrument of oppression. Never did it cross my mind that the mobile phone, laptop, televisions that I use can all be interconnected by tantalum, a mineral that causes bloodshed.

It is time to be asking questions about technology. Where does it come from? Who makes it? And for what?”—Bandi Mbubi

This TedTalk is an eye-opening talk that raises an important question that most of us probably haven’t ever asked ourselves — Where do my electronic devices come from? As globalization spread our society grow and exchange valuable information, we come to realize that some things are not obtained through fair trade or ethical means. We demand fair trade foods, coffee beans, with efforts for moral conduct and sustainability, but when was the last time we question about fair trade electronics? All through our ITC4D class, we have been talking about bringing these technologies filled with tantalum to developing countries in efforts to help them. Are we hurting countries like the DRC as we do this? This video makes us become more cautious of matters like this. ITCs certainly have done great things for both the developed and developing world. However, if we seek more into how the resources for our technologies are obtain, and find ways to initiate fair trade electronic like Mbubi said, perhaps ICT4D projects will be more successful and ICTs impacts can be spread on a wider spectrum than its current state.


mHealth Initiative to Combat Noncommunicable Diseases

Plan to save lives and reduce costs agreed at ITU Telecom World 2012

“Of the 57 million deaths globally, NCDs contribute to an estimated 36 million deaths every year, including 14 million people dying between the ages of 30 and 70.” This is extremely sad that there are such large statistics concerning deaths due to NCDs. These are preventable diseases! The burden of non-communicable disease is now greater than the burden of communicable diseases across all income groups. People are living longer and their lifestyles create a higher probability of developing chronic, degenerative diseases. People can control the risk factors for non-communicable diseases, but yet heart disease, neoplasm, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, myocardial infarction, and cancers still are the top killers in the US and other countries. Despite affecting so many people, some non-communicable diseases can be prevented or controlled at relatively low cost, such as type II diabetes. Major risk factors for many non-communicable diseases are tobacco use, diet, physical activity, and environmental exposures. If these risks factors can be reduced, the percentage of people developing non-communicable diseases will decrease.

Utilizing mobile phones to save lives, reduce illness and disability, and reduce healthcare costs significantly would be very innovative of ICTs. In addition, the idea that this mHealth initiative is building on current projects and existing health systems and platforms, and will involve partnerships between governments, NGOs, and the private sector is perfect for sustainability and working with what is available rather than trying to do something completely new. Similar to the Txt4Health campaigns, this larger scale initiative will most likely bring positive impact. Perhaps with this new m-Health initiative by the ITU and WHO, we can find ways to reduce the rate of non-communicable disease not just in developing countries but also developed countries like the US.


iCow, A Farmer’s Bestfriend!

Herding cows is something people in the agricultural sector have done for hundreds of year. However, this ancient task is getting a taste of modern technology. Developed last year, there is a now a mobile phone application called “iCow” that is changing cow herding for many farmers in Africa. With more and more technology development and African nations moving along with globalization, mobile phone usage in Africa is constant soaring at exponential rates. In order to utilize the technology available, African software developers created a cow calendar in 2011 through a US Department of State sponsored contest called “Apps for Africa.” iCow is a SMS and voice based mobile phone app for small-scale dairy farmers in Kenya. It allows farmers to track estrus stages of their cows which giving tips and information about cow breeding, animal nutrition, milk production, and many more. Each text message cost about 10 US cents.  On the iCow’s website, the app is said to “Prompts farmers on vital days of cows gestation period; helps farmers find the nearest vet and AI providers; collects and stores farmer milk and breeding records and sends farmers best dairy practices.”

I find that this app is very interesting. I think it’s a great way to reduce cow mortality rates and perhaps help produce healthier calves. This will increase earnings for farmers in Kenya and can potentially become very useful. Hopefully, this will spread to other countries heavily depending on the agricultural sector. It has been two-years since its development, and one-year since its launch. I haven’t found much data or information on its current usage rates and statistics. However, it currently has 244 likes on its Facebook page! This completely relates to our discussion in class as to how technology is changing the way we do basic things in life. Using the library isn’t the same as before, and now it is herding cows that’s changing!

http://icow.co.ke/

 


The Importance of ICT Access and Usage for Women

Gender inequality is something that lacks emphasis in the field of International Development. However, the neglect for this rising problem has only resulted in a bigger problem and continues to increase the digital divide gap for women worldwide. Men in most developing countries have more power then women regardless of how capable the women are. I understand that in poverty-stricken and rural settings, where people are making ends meet and suffering from hardships, talks of women’s rights is not a priority or view as a necessity within the communities. However, gender inequality should be stressed upon. This is because by making it clear to communities and its people that by making changes in gender relations, they will be able to better tackle problems that they endure, despite non-obvious connections to gender issues.  To tackle this problem, equal access to available ICTs is needed. As the world become more digitalized and modernized, the usage of ICT is significant in the advancement of a population.

Once women met the needs they initially identified, their confidence and skills improved. As men see the benefits of women’s involvement in decision-making in both public and private forums, they begin to place heavier value and seek women’s input and involvement in other areas. There are many examples where women contribute largely to the economic aspect of developing countries and the responsibilities of family, but yet their actions are not valued due to social views. For example, “women produce more than 55% of all food grown in developing countries, yet they are excluded from decision making in terms of which foods to produce” (“World Neighbors,” 2011).

As depicted in the video above, it is essential to provide equal opportunities to both men and women in the ICT sector. Both women and men are capable of doing business work with ICT, and it should now longer be the social assumption to view ICT work as men’s work. Access and usage of ICT can help women have a more power in decision makings and negotiations. The problem of women having more knowledge about particular agriculture process, but can not speaking up will be eliminated. This will results in positive impact for all, women, their family, and community.  As the video stated, women contribute greatly in the agricultural sectors. Hence, they must be trained in ICT to better communicate in order to become better entrepreneurs. If we can implement a program similar to that of eRwanda everywhere in Africa, we will see dramatic results. However, the program in eRwanada where gender training on ICT need to scale up to 600,000 the training that was made for 700. It is not sustainable to have such a small program. Numerous studies have indicated the powerful results of engaging women in ICT. Rwanda is starting at a good point with the eRwanda program, but it must expand to see positive results. Through Dr, Laura Murphy’s work with mobile devices in Africa, we can see that there are positive results with enabling women to access and usage of mobile phones. It is time for donors and national organizations to realize the importance of gender equality, especially that of ICT access and usage.

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World Neighbors. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.wn.org/site/c.buITJ7NRKsLaG/b.6248395/k.BEF1/Home.htm