2006 April


LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO LIRNEasia’s research from the outset has focused on the conditions for greater investment in the ICT sector. The effects of the larger political environment on the cost of capital in the ICT sector is one that was discussed in the research, but not fully supported by evidence. It appears that the sad deterioration of the political environment in Sri Lanka offers a natural experiment in assessing how the qualitative and sudden deterioration (as opposed to gradual decline) of the political environment effects investment in ICTs. It is hoped that the Sri Lanka team of the 2006-07 research cycle will capture the evidence as it appears.
Avanti Moonesinghe, Harsha de Silva, Neluka Silva & Ayoma Abeysuriya April 2006, Version 2.2 Version 3.0 The latest in the series of Teleuse on a Shoestring papers is now available for comment.  It is often claimed that access to telecommunication facilities is a propeller of economic prosperity in developing countries.  Mobile phones in particular are considered pivotal in encouraging growth.

Questioning ICT Myths

Posted by on April 24, 2006  /  219 Comments

At an ICT policy consultation meeting in Dhaka, organized by the APC (http://www.apc.org/), two participants prompted a much needed reality check for a room full ICT4D professionals. Mridul Chowdhury, a research affiliate at the IT Group in the Berkman Centre, Harvard University also a director of D.Net, kick-started the discussion with a presentation that questioned some of the key assumptions that that form the premise to much work in the ICT4D space.
The Association for Progressive Communication (APC), perhaps the most prominent international grouping of civil society organizations active on ICT issues, is holding a regional consultation on ICT policy for South Asia in Dhaka, April 19-21, 2006. LIRNEasia was invited and is represented by Ayesha Zainudeen, with a cameo role played by Rohan Samarajiva. The first prsentation by LIRNEasia was on the subject of what civil society can do in ICT policy and regulation. The basic thesis was that attention should be paid to industry fundamentals, rather than the easier topics of simply keeping prices low and increasing connectivity by subsidizing more. The short talk of less than 10 minutes was based on an illustration of an intervention by LIRNEasia in the policy debate in the host country on making good use of the submarine cable that is currently connecting a cable station in Cox’s Bazaar to the world, while the questions of connecting Bangladesh to Cox’s Bazaar and connecting multiple operators to the cable remain unresolved.
IEG Conference on Effectiveness of Assistance for Natural Disasters | Independent Evaluation Group LIRNEasia’s partner in the last-mile hazard-information project, Sarvodaya is representing the non-governmental sector at the above major conference.  This is very significant because Sarvodaya is among the few organizations that are capable of, and already active in, building community-centered disaster preparedness.
The Webhamuva Project was showcased at the World Bank’s launch of the Small Grants Program (SGP) 2006 in Sri Lanka on April 6, 2006, as an example of the previous year’s funding under the same program. www.webhamuva.org was launched last year to ensure that the voices of the tsunami affected were heard widely and their interests and input were taken into consideration during the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase. Divakar Goswami, Director of Organizational Development and Projects at LIRNEasia made a presentation on the project and highlighted some of the findings.
OECD Broadband Statistics, December 2005 In December 2005, four countries (Iceland, Korea, the Netherlands and Denmark) led the OECD in broadband penetration, each with more than 25 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Iceland now leads the OECD with a broadband penetration rate of 26.7 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Korea’s broadband market is advancing to the next stage of development where existing subscribers switch platforms for increased bandwidth. In Korea, fibre-based broadband connections grew 52.
:: Daily Mirror – FINANCIAL TIMES :: Services Sector The Services sector maintained its importance in the economy, recorded a 5.9 per cent growth and contributed 53 per cent to overall economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2005. This growth was largely driven by the performance in the post and telecommunications, domestic trade and financial services sub sectors. Of these sectors, the Transport, storage and telecommunication sector expanded by 11.8 per cent during this period.
Mangroves failed to protect coastal villages in ‘04 tsunami – INQ7.net “The World Conservation Union, also known as IUCN, and other nongovernmental organizations earlier reported that mangroves saved lives in Sri Lanka and India — a finding they said could motivate hard-hit communities across Asia to consider replanting mangroves. A quarter of mangroves have been destroyed in tsunami-impacted countries since the 1980s due to development and the rapid growth of shrimp and fish farms. But Baird, of James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, and his co-authors argued that governments would be better off putting their resources into an early warning system and evacuation plans. They also called for many coastal communities to be moved to higher ground.
LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO Wired World 03 April 2006 12:24:30 Sri Lanka’s new computer sales to grow 11% by 2011 Apr. 03 (LBO) – Computer sales in Sri Lanka are forecasted to grow 11 percent by 2011, largely driven by demand from public sector, telecom and financial sectors, an IT study released Monday said. In 2005, sales of new computers rose 11 percent to 102,208 in Sri Lanka, despite risky peace talks and the after effects of tsunami, with Hewlett Packard being the favourite brand said the International Data Corporation who surveyed three South Asian countries. The report which covered Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan said new computer sales in these countries grew 16 percent to 851,735 units in 2005. Pakistan with a 19 percent growth, led the table followed by Bangladesh (13 percent) and Sri Lanka (12 percent).