ICTD 2012


ICT infrastructure in the former conflict areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka is not far behind the rest of the country. One can get a mobile signal almost everywhere; 3G is available in parts of the Northern and Eastern province and even ADSL in Jaffna. But access differs. The latest 2009/10 household income and expenditure survey revealed that household access to basic amenities, including communication (TV, radio, phone) in these two provinces was the lowest in the country. Yet our Teleuse@BOP4 survey reveals that amongst the poor, usage is not very different.
I expected there’d be more techies in the room when we presented on mobile apps for “people not like us” at ICTD 2012 in Atlanta on March 15th. But still, we were gratified we had a full room for a parallel session on the last day. here is the slide I started the session with. To view the video, you need to click here.
In North America, Eli Noam is an agenda setter and has a knack for catchy titles. His article “Let them eat cellphones” set the agenda for a session at ICTD 2012 in Atlanta. The session was, unusually for a North American event, highly international. Judith Mariscal of Mexico (and our sister organization DIRSI) chaired. Carleen Maitland of the US National Science Foundation talked about the importance of fiber for national research and education networks in Africa.
Yesterday I heard a speaker at the ICTD 2012 conference in Atlanta say that 80% of the USD 4.2 billion spent by the World Bank on ICTs had been labelled as a failure by the Independent Evaluation Group. I had read the study in detail, and had blogged about it. I still wonder how language such as that below, taken from the report, can be interpreted thus: In other priority areas, including ICT applications, the Bank Group’s contributions have been limited. Targeted efforts to increase access beyond what was commercially viable have been largely unsuccessful.