LIRNEasia has been studying food supply chains almost from inception. Our then Consultant Lead Economist Harsha de Silva had been trying to fix problems in the Dambulla DEC, the country’s largest agri wholesale market from even before that. So we were understandably unhappy when the government shut down the wholesale markets in the context of the COVID-19 response. First thoughts were in this op ed. Given the difficulties many potential users have had in understanding the difficulties of scaling up the customer facing side of e commerce it should come as no surprise that there is even greater ignorance about the far end of the supply chains.
LIRNEasia Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan and I have been pointing out the vulnerabilities of the many Asian countries that rely on a few undersea cables for their international connectivity since 2010. We’re happy we’ve managed to shift the discourse and include language in various resolutions, but we have yet to see traffic flowing in mesh networks. The intriguing story of a deep-diving submarine that saw all its crew die in an accident is opening up the conversation in broader way, showing the problem is not limited to Asia. Because the internet can reroute data when cables are damaged, Western analysts have often dismissed the dangers of sabotage. But considering the vital role of data in Western institutions of all kinds, Professor Zysk said, simply applying pressure by degrading the network could be enough.
I was hoping we’d get more reports about congestion caused by changing use patterns caused by people confined to their homes. Here is a report on India. Despite the impact on their business, India’s operators have complied with regulatory requests aimed at encouraging subscribers to stay at home. These included providing free voice minutes as well as making prepaid accounts valid for a longer period. While subscribers are evidently topping up their airtime less under the lockdown, they do not appear to be using their devices any less – quite the contrary.
E commerce vendors in Sri Lanka were having a hard time making sales. And these were companies that were dealing with items that do not go bad. The demand that spiked in the past weeks was mostly for goods such as dairy, fruit and vegetables that require care in storage and transportation. Obviously, any system that is designed for a low level of use will experience difficulties when there is a sudden spike in demand. And with perishables for which the greatest demand arose, the systems had to be developed from scratch.
This short note allows for easy comparison of the options available to policy makers considering the introduction of remote voting in the context of the current pandemic conditions.
Contextualizing digital solutions to COVID-19 in developing Asia, via AfterAccess. Updated daily.
Coronavirus (the virus causing the disease Covid-19) has two universal problems: no vaccine or drug has been developed as yet, and the diagnostic tools are scarce. This combination has dangerously multiplied the risk of infecting Bangladesh. Because, our population density is much higher than those countries that have been fatally hit by far (see the graph). Covid-19 is not the last pandemic virus. And nobody knows when the next one will attack, followed by another.
This tour d’horizon examines the possible of uses of data to help stop or slow the spread of COVID-19 directly. It gives weight to what can be done in the short term.
Drägerwerk is a world leader in the production of ventilators. In an interview, company head Stefan Dräger, 57, discusses the challenges of keeping up with current demand as the corona crisis accelerates. Following is the excerpt: DER SPIEGEL: The German government has contracted you to build 10,000 ventilators. How far along are you? Dräger: The contract has a detailed delivery plan that spans the entire year.
Inclusion is central to everything we do at LIRNEasia. We are also cognizant of windows of opportunity for getting issues on the policy agenda. Thus this oped on elections in a time of pandemic. EVMs can be designed to allow persons with disabilities to exercise their right to vote. They can reduce errors in tabulation and speed up the release of results, but they do not eliminate the need for people to congregate.
In light of the lessons emerging from international experience, it is important to avoid local-government authorities from being tempted to sign exclusive agreements before becoming fully informed of the implications. What positive contributions can be made by higher levels of government? What network and facility sharing will be allowed? Is there value in providing general guidelines and model contracts, while allowing for normal negotiations to take place, perhaps backed up by some forms of low-cost dispute resolution mechanisms? When lamp posts and similar public fixtures become sophisticated sensing devices that pull in massive amounts of data, questions of who has access to the data under what terms will become important.
Access to the right devices (internet-enabled smartphones), affordable internet services, relevant content in a language known to the user, and the appropriate skills to make use of these digital services are collectively seen to be important to ensure economic and social development.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a huge role in our economy. It is estimated that 52% of Sri Lanka’s GDP comes from the SME sector. Therefore, if SMEs perform better, the economy as a whole will perform better. But how can SMEs improve their business? Our AfterAccess SME survey in Sri Lanka conducted in early 2019 (pre-COVID19) showed that SMEs who are more digitally connected SMEs are more successful in their businesses in various aspects.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Sri Lanka that make use of the internet and ICTs for business are better off than those that do not.