International Bank for Reconstruction and Development Archives — Page 2 of 3


Starting a business in Sri Lanka is not the easiest task in the world but how far that impedes Sri Lanka’s entry to global knowledge economy? This is one of the key questions posed by the World Bank publication The report identifies the business environment; information infrastructure; an innovation system; and human resources as four pillars of the knowledge economy. Challenges faced by Sri Lanka in becoming a knowledge economy are examined and the report proposes possible ways that Sri Lanka could move forward to build its knowledge economy under the country’s development strategy as outlined in the Mahinda Chinthana. ‘Building Sri Lanka’s Knowledge Economy’ to be launched Tuesday March 25, 2008 at 4th Floor, DFCC Bank Auditorium 73/5, Galle Road Colombo 3. LIRNEasia is happy to be a partner in publicizing this report perhaps for the first time seriously SWOTs Sri Lanka against similar countries and points out what it can learn from others.
India’s finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said Monday in Washington, “Regulation must stay one step ahead of innovation”.  He said the developed countries’ financial authorities are not keeping up with the new and complex financial market instruments that lay behind recent credit market turmoil.  “Thanks to the present crisis which originated in the advanced economies … I think developed economies will listen more to the developing economies’ point of view,” Chidambaram remarked.  “In the name of innovation, regulators or governments in the advanced economies have fallen behind the curve.” The time has come for the developed world to attend to its own problems, and stop lecturing emerging economies about what is right and what is wrong, he said.
As LIRNEasia plans its research program for 2008-09, the issue of money transfers through mobiles (first raised in the academic literature, to the best of my knowledge, by Professor Jens Arnbak  in his contribution to a book that I co-edited in 2002) is rising in importance in the news as well as in our own thinking.    Migrant Cash Is World Economic Giant – Forbes.com _ India is the world leader in remittances, taking in $23.7 billion in 2005 and an estimated $26.9 billion last year, the World Bank says.
The Aga Khan Foundation is the owner of Afghanistan’s first mobile operator, Roshan.   It is surprising that this social investment has not received a quarter of the publicity received by Grameen Phone in Bangladesh. Do Business and Islam Mix? Ask Him – New York Times Roshan has 1.3 million subscribers and is adding 60,000 a month.
For World Telecom and Information Society Day, I wrote a column on the wrong-headed telecenter policy being implemented by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka with World Bank funds, where I referred to lessons from South Africa that were taken into account in the design, but ignored in the implementation. Here are some more lessons from Africa: Creative destruction: izi killed the public phones « abaporu project on technology appropriation All of a sudden, users don’t need the ‘public phones’ any more. In Senegal most of these télécentres have gone out of business. Bassirou Cissé, the general secretary of Unetts(*) says that “In 2000, there were 18,000 télécentres in Sénégal, accounting for 33% of the Senegalese operators’ revenues and 30,000 jobs. Today, most of them have closed down.
Readers of this website will know that from 2005 we have been pushing hard for action to reduce the risks of disasters and to better prepare people to save their lives.  Starting from an effort to get government to create a national early warning system, we shifted to community-based disaster preparedness work at the last mile in association with Sarvodaya.   It is heartening to see the risk reduction focus gaining acceptance worldwide:  News & Broadcast – Global Gathering Seeks to Reduce Disaster Risk Nations and institutions are looking for other ways to protect an estimated 3.4 billion people living in areas prone to at least one natural hazard, such as flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes. A Global Hotspots Analysis conducted by the World Bank and Columbia University estimates 105 million people are exposed to three or more natural hazards.
LIRNEasia’s Director of Organizational Development has been awarded a competitive scholarship for the International Program for Development Evaluation Training offered every Summer by Carleton University (Canada) and the World Bank. This signifies LIRNEasia’s continued commitment to the values of a learning organization.   Last year, LIRNEasia’s Lead Economist Dr Harsha de Silva was awarded a scholarship at the MIT Poverty Research Lab.
Report on the 11th LIRNE.NET Executive Training Course on Regulation, 25 February – 3 March 2007, conducted by LIRNEasia and CONNECTasia Forum Pte.Ltd.
LIRNEasia regulatory website assessment has been mentioned prominently in an official Pakistan government document, The Economic Survey 2005-06 from the Ministry of Finance “Best Regulator’s Website Of Asia Pacific Region LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation capacity building organization funded by IDRC and infoDev of World Bank. The organization evaluated 27 websites from the Asia Pacific region covering 62 economies. The website of PTA was declared as the best website among all the national websites of regulators of Asia Pacific and regional economies. The website was declared best on the basis of availability of legislative & consumer information, future plans, continuous updating, user friendliness, links to external sites and availability of information on mission statement, organizational chart, contact and online forms.”
An executive course on telecom regulation, including World Dialogue on Regulation Expert Forum on Sector and Regulatory Performance Indicators Offered by LIRNEasia and CONNECTasia Forum Pte. Ltd. February 25th – March 3rd, 2007. Changi Village Hotel, Singapore The 2007 course is designed to enhance the strategic thinking of a select group of senior decision makers in the telecom and related sectors in the Asia Pacific and elsewhere. The focus will be on the most current strategic issues.
Dhaka, Nov 9 (www.bdnews24.com) – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report for 2006, launched globally Thursday, revealed that Bangladesh had shown impressive gains in water and sanitation sector although Asia’s emerging giants were lagging. “Income matters, but public policy shapes the conversion of income into human development,” said the report, entitled “Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis.” “India may outperform Bangladesh as a high growth globalisation success story, but the tables are turned when the benchmark for success shifts to sanitation: despite an average income some 60% higher, India has a lower rate of sanitation coverage.

Webhamuva: Tsunami Voices Final Report

Posted on October 23, 2006  /  0 Comments

LIRNEasia and Sarvodaya initiated the Webhamuva program with assistance from the World Bank’s Small Grants Program to give voice to the people whose opinions go unheard in the post-tsunami reconstruction work. The final report is available here (PDF): WEBHAMUVA: Report on People’s Consultations on Post Tsunami Relief, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka The findings from the report indicate that people are dissatisfied with the pace of reconstruction and rehabilitation. Most of the tsunami-affected spoken to have yet to recover their normal lives in terms of livelihood, permanent housing and their sense of safety and security. The feeling of helplessness and despair is quite prevalent especially when people do not have the capital or means to engage in sustainable livelihoods. Needs assessment from the donors has not been very effective because there seems to be a large discrepancy between what people need and what is supplied to them.
LIRNEasia was invited to a meeting by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Mahaveli Development to discuss dam safety, based on the concept paper we developed last year in collaboration with a large number of partners. Work is underway to develop a project for World Bank funding that includes dam safety and the upgrading of hydrological and metereological information systems connected to the Sri Lanka’s water resources. The World Bank task managers present emphasized that the project development as well as its implementation must be done in adherence to the principles of consultation, participation, ownership of the project by all parties, and transparency. LIRNEasia was the only non-governmental entity at the meeting that had 30-40 attendees. In my comments, I expressed our appreciation of the invitation and offered to share our expertise in the handling of public consultation projects and community involvement in last-mile disaster warning.
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.

Webhamuva yields bicycles

Posted on January 12, 2006  /  0 Comments

As part of our partnership with Sarvodaya on using ICTs for disaster management, LIRNEasia is managing www.webhamuva.org.  The excerpt below is from the Daily Mirror of 10th January 2006(www.dailymirror.

LIRNEasia at WSIS, Tunis, Nov 17

Posted on December 6, 2005  /  1 Comments

Pro-Poor, Pro-Market ICT Policy and Regulation World Summit on the information Society, Matmata Room, Kram Centre Tunis, November 17, 2005, 9:00 – 16:45 LIRNE.NET and the World Dialogue on Regulation (WDR), LIRNEasia, Research ICT Africa (RIA), Diálogo regional sobre la sociedad de la información (DIRSI) Sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and The Information for Development Program of the World Bank (infoDev) 9:00-9:15 Welcome Randy Spence 9:15 – 10.15 ICT Demand, access and usage by the poor Chair: Heloise Emdon, IDRC Telecom Strategies on a Shoestring (Household Income Below USD 100/Month)(PDF download) (LIRNEasia) Ayesha Zainudeen, LIRNEasia team Digital Poverty in LAC (DIRSI) Roxana Barrantes Measuring ICT Access and Usage in Africa (RIA) Alison Gillwald, Christoph Stork 10:30-12:00 Core Networks and Policy Issues Chair: Olivier Nana Nzepa, RIA Having a Backbone; Making Best Use of What You’ve Got (LIRNEasia) Harsha Vardhana Singh, Rohan Samarajiva SADC Universities Connectivity Initiative (RIA) Lishan Adam Telecoms Funds & Regulatory Challenges (DIRSI) Hernan Galperin Universal Service Funds, Access Deficit Charges & Least-cost Subsidy Auctions (PDF download) (LIRNEasia) Harsha de Silva, Payal Malik African Regionalism, National Policy Formation and International Governance (RIA) Lishan Adam, Andrew Barendse 12:00 - 13:15 Extending Access Networks Chair: Ben Petrazzini […]