LIRNEasia CEO participated in two more events at the ITU Telecom World 2015 held in Budapest, Hungary. The ICT Economic and Industry Round Table aimed to look to the future to imagine with digital development would be. Helani spoke about state investment into the backhaul infrastructure, and about private sector entry into connecting the unconnected through zero rating. The other panel today was titled The Data Rich, Decision Making Poor: How to use Big Data for Improved Government Action. Helani showcased LIRNEasia’s Big Data research and our research inputs into the the Western Region Megapolis plan in Sri Lanka.
Rohan Samarajiva and Divakar Goswami from LIRNEasia chaired back-to-back Forum sessions at the ITU World 2006 in Hong Kong on December 7. The Building Digital Communities session, chaired by Divakar, covered a wide-swathe of topics. In his opening remarks [PDF], he outlined on some of the issues that would be covered in the presentations and discussion to follow. In his Keynote address, the Indonesian Minister of Communication & IT, Sofyan Djalil proposed that global equipment manufacturers should adopt a new business model where they share some of the investment risk with operators while deploying infrastructure in financially unviable areas in developing countries. He suggested that the current model where developing countries are only purchasers of high cost equipment and services, breeds dependency and is unsustainable in the long run.
Yesterday, I spoke to a large and restive crowd (made so by lack of air conditioning and a delayed start) in Matara (main city in the South of Sri Lanka) at the launch of the Pathfinder Foundation’s first book, a Sinhala translation of Janos Kornai’s Toward a free economy. I was asked to talk about globalization and the relevance of Kornai’s ideas for facing the challenges posed by globalization. In this talk that I pieced together thanks to time zone differences that caused me to wake up at 3 in the morning while in the US, I illustrated the issues referring to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a broad area of service exports for which efficient, flexible and low-cost telecom is a pre-condition. I think the talk provides the "big picture" of the necessity of telecom reforms of the type that we at LIRNEasia are involved in. If we are to go beyond simply giving people phones, to giving them "money in the pocket and hope in the heart" this big picture is essential.