a speech by Executive Director Rohan Samarajiva
In one of my intemperate moments I’ve said that Asia is a category that is of use only to international bureaucrats. There is little that the entire region holds in common. This is the area that has the largest concentration of poor people in the world.
Asia is seen, however, as driving the world economy. The Asian Tigers, and the Juggernauts of China and India. If you look at the ICT issues, you get into this orgy of self-congratulation, but if you really look at the number – developing Asia is a straggler. And what about people? This LIRNEasia organization is about people. We have people, the only problem is that our people flourish in Australia, in Canada. When we are here, there seems to be some problem with the system.
Taiwan, China has highest mobile penetration 110 mobiles per 100 individuals. But the Afghanistan and Bangladesh bring up the rear with 1/100 and 1.01/100.
Korea has the highest Internet, while Sri Lanka and India are way behind. They have 23.33/100 broadband connections, while India has 0.01/100. Broadband is cheapest in China (10$/month) while I was surprised to see that Sri Lanka is 11th, at 22$/Month.
What is the bottom line? The bottom line is that Asia is held back by laws, policies, and regulation. We are not poor because we don’t have natural resources.
We think LIRNEasia will be a catalyst for change. A catalyst is a small entity that reacts with larger entities to produce great change.
The immediate objective is to build a world-class team here. What we want is applied research and dissemination. The end objective is, of course, money in the pocket and hope in the heart.
We will also work on context-specific training for executives and rapid-response interventions. In Bhutan we had a wonderful demand-driven course. It got people at the time when they were interested. We need to go for those moments.
What we think is that we’ll have a little administrative core surrounded by rings of an extended network. We will emphasize Asian expertise, but we won’t be exclusive about this. We do case studies, but our policy is to abstract from the complexity to produce information that other countries can use.
* Eastern Nepal and Sri Lanka least-cost subsidy auctions
* Innovating at the markets (Indonesian WiFi)
* India’s universal service fund
* Replicating Grameen Bangladesh
* Demand-Side subsidies
* Microeconomic assesments, etc
* Focus on lack of backbone
* Annual Sector and Regulatory Performance Indicators
* Ongoing training programs
We specialize in usable, actionable knowledge.
1. Creating (research)
2. Disseminating (multi-mode)
3. Creating conditions for learning
We will be independent and respected for expertise by multiple sides and parties. We will do work that leads to implementation. We will be passionate and committed.