General — Page 31 of 245 — LIRNEasia

I used to say that regulation is public administration done well. We take decisions based on evidence and broad consultation. We try our best to reduce regulatory risk and create the best conditions for investment. Basically good governance. I’d been engaged with services trade since around 1990 when I was intrigued by why Canada wanted the free trade agreement with the US more than the US.
Mr Banerjee, Ms Duflo and several others economist conducted a research to investigate whether a multifaceted graduation program can help the extreme poor establish sustainable self-employment activities and generate lasting improvements in their well-being. Multi-pronged approach is relatively expensive to implement, but the theory of change is that the combination of these activities is necessary and sufficient to obtain a persistent impact on poor. The program targets the poorest members in a village and provides a productive asset grant, training and support, life skills coaching, temporary cash consumption support, and typically access to savings accounts and health information or services. In each country, the program was adjusted to suit different contexts and cultures, while staying true to the same overall principles. Research conducted six randomized trials in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru, with more than 10,000 poor household, they concluded multifaceted approach to increasing income and well-being for the ultrapoor is sustainable and cost-effective.
Colombo was recently the host of the South Asian Urban Forum 2015 that was held from 21st-23rd September 2015. The main objective of this event was to encourage researchers to approach the rapid urbanization of South Asia from the viewpoint of South Asians. LIRNEasia researchers working on the Big Data for Development research participated in the forum and presented our ongoing research at the Researchers’ Forum that was held on the third day at the Department of Town and Country Planning of the University of Moratuwa. The audience included experienced researchers in urban infrastructure and planning, was held at the department of town and country planning of University of Moratuwa. Danaja Maldeniya and Kaushalya Madhawa presented their ongoing work.
We’ve been working on nudges, randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews for years. Now, with big data, we’re proposing experimentation. This is what governments in the developed economies are doing. Perhaps even more than new ideas, the behavioral group is bringing a new approach to government. Experimentation is the key: Different nudges are tried systematically, results are quantified and, even after the best approach is selected, the team goes back to see how things are working.
The story in Live Mint starts with revenue shares. The Big Three (Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea) now have 70 percent of revenues. But what caught my eye was what was going on on the data side. Again the numbers can be used to illustrate this: As the uptake of data, the next growth driver for the industry, increases, the big three GSM incumbents are again poised to gain disproportionately. All three players have over 90% active customers, and also enjoy subscribers of higher quality, as reflected in their average monthly revenue per user numbers, which are higher than their peers in the industry.
We’ve been promoting time-sensitive tariffs to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka since 2013. They were available to commercial customers, but we wanted them made available to residential customers as well. Three years down the road, it looks like the dam has broken. CEB is offering a low-user tariff effective from 2230 to 0530. This will help address CEB’s baseload problem but of course it will also help those who run electric cars.
India has withdrawn a really stupid piece of legislation. But can you imagine what would have been the outcome if informed and articulate experts such as Pranesh Prakash of the Center for Internet and Society were not there to tell the government the dangers of following the advice of its house “experts”? Responding to a chorus of criticism, Indian officials on Tuesday hastily withdrew a draft policy on encryption that would have required users of social media and messaging applications to save plain-text versions of their messages for 90 days so that they could be shared with the police. The proposal, which many condemned as both draconian and impractical, came as an embarrassment days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Silicon Valley to try to attract investment and promote India as an emerging market for digital technology. Mr.

Coding for a cause

Posted on September 21, 2015  /  0 Comments

While the rest of the Sri Lanka slept peacefully, a considerable number of young and enthusiastic programmers gave up sleep this weekend – but for a good cause. Anyone dropping in to the WSO2 offices in Colombo the early hours of Saturday or Sunday morning would have been greeted by the sight of exhausted but determined coders hunched over laptops, tapping away. Among them were three teams working on a problem put forward by LIRNEasia. This was the scene of the Code4good hackathon which started on Friday evening (18th) and ran non stop until Sunday evening. Though the intense work happened this weekend, preparation began much before.
China Unicom has built the US$50 million China-Myanmar International (CMI) terrestrial link. But it is yet to be activated for unknown reasons and Myanmar keeps suffering from outages. Now Beijing has ceremoniously announced its plan to build a Sino-ASEAN submarine cable network without revealing any details. South Asia and Southeast Asia has become the hotbed of Sino-Japanese rivalry, especially after the formation of AIIB. This new development bank has gained unprecedented global membership at a lightning pace.
The European Union Joint Research Center-Institute of Prospective Technological Studies is convening a workshop in Sevilla on Big Data for the analysis of Digital Economy and Society on 22 September 2015. LIRNEasia has been invited to speak on Big data for development: New opportunities for emerging markets. The slideset is here.
It has been estimated that submarine cables carry traffic associated with over US$10 trillion in transactional value globally per day. It is being also claimed that submarine cables transport 99% of the international data worldwide. These are largely true, yet exaggerated marketing pitch. Terrestrial cables also carry huge volume of international data traffic across the borders, especially within Europe and across the Eurasian routes. It, however, makes no difference with the consumers as long as they remain online.
The Doing Business Report, published annually by the World Bank, analyses laws, regulations and administrative requirements affecting various aspects of private enterprise in 189 countries. Lawyers, judges and notaries are the main data sources for this report due to its focus on legal and regulatory arrangements. This data is used to create a composite index to rank countries based on how pro-business their legal environment is. However, do de jure processes adequately represent the true functioning of an economy? This question is addressed by Mary Hallward-Driemeier and Lant Prichett in their paper, How Business is Done in the Developing World: Deals vs Rules.
Back in 2013, UN ESCAP, in partnership with the ITU, published an online map of the cables that carry Internet traffic in the Asia Pacific. We at LIRNEasia were very happy about this because we had been working with ESCAP since 2010 and Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan who worked up the idea of highlighting the importance of international backhaul has been engaged with the process ever since. One usually expects novel policy initiatives to occur in the developed market economies and then to be replicated in the developing regions. In this case the order was reversed, though it is possible that the ESCAP-ECA-ITU maps may lack the level of granular detail the US map appears to be backed by. It may not look like much at first glance, but a map created by University of Wisconsin computer science professor Paul Barford and about a dozen colleagues took around four years to produce.
An online publication has written about Grace Mirandilla Santos’s presentation at a recent Youth Congress on Information Technology: Citing various studies, Santos also revealed that 80% of all elementary schools or some 38,000 schools nationwide are not connected online. According to Santos’ study at LIRNEasia, ISPs give us 70% to 80% short of what they promise. “Ideally, there are more kilobytes per second you receive for every piso you pay. But it shows here that one kilobyte per peso is what we get, which is very low compared to other countries,” Santos explained. She added: “Of all the ISPs we tested, Philippine ISPs offer the lowest value for money, and that means that Filipino Internet subscribers are pretty more oppressed.
The Eleven News recently carried an article on propaganda being spread on Facebook. LIRNEasia disseminated the findings of a nationwide ICT baseline survey in July this year, and the numbers related to users of the Internet, and users of Facebook which we highlighted at the dissemination has been quoted in this news item. The original Myanmar version of the article can be accessed here. The translated English version is available here.
Myanmar takes another giant leap in telecoms. Burst Networks of Myanmar has engaged Swedish telecom infrastructure specialist Flexenclosure to build a multi-million dollar Tier 4 data center. This customized prefabricated modular facility will be built in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone in Yangon. Construction will take place at Flexenclosure’s factory in Vara, Sweden, with deployment in Myanmar in early 2016. It will comply with the Uptime Institute’s highly stringent classification of redundancy, fault tolerance and availability.