ITID Archives


In the course of reviewing Jonathan Donner’s After Access: Inclusion, Development, and a More Mobile Internet (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015), I realized why we always had trouble fitting in at most ICT for Development conferences and perhaps why our papers (and those of RIA) had trouble getting accepted. It was because were not doing conventional ICTD interventions (the first described below) but were removing barriers or roadblocks (the subtitle of our first book). One form of intervention, privileged in this book, is initiated by an external actor who knows what effective use is, for the benefit of the subjects who do not. The other form seeks to remove barriers to innovation by users of ICT and by those who seek to supply ICT goods and services to such users. This generally takes the form of legal or policy reform to enable certain actions (e.
A early paper based on LIRNEasia’s work on big data was presented at the 2014 CPRsouth conference in Maropeng, South Africa. The journal article based on that has just been published. The abstract: Rapid urban population growth is straining transportation systems. A big data–centric approach to transportation management is already a reality in many developed economies, with transportation systems being fed a large quantity of sensor data. Developing countries, by contrast, rely heavily on infrequent and expensive surveys.
LIRNEasia was early in getting into systematic reviews. We have faced considerable challenges when communicating the findings. We are working on pulling together what we learned in the process for a special issue of Information Technology and International Development here at a nice, quiet hotel in Galle.

Full e commerce, courtesy of Google

Posted on December 2, 2011  /  0 Comments

In our work on mobile more than voice services in 2008-10, we pointed to the need for delivery services, if e commerce was to catch in emerging Asia. Google is offering to close the gap, for consumers and retailers in the US. Who will close the gap in Asia? In another foray into commerce, Google is working on a delivery service that would let people order items from local stores on the Web and receive them at their homes or offices within a day. The service is in an early testing phase, and it was described by three people briefed on the project who were not authorized to speak about it publicly before it was announced.
The spread of mobile telephony, especially among the poor, is one of the greatest public-policy successes of all time. Not because government officials went around identifying the deserving poor and handing them telephones manufactured in government factories, but because they focused on removing barriers to participation in the supply of communication services and allowed private suppliers and customers to collectively evolve new business models that connected hitherto unimaginable numbers of people at hitherto unthinkably low prices. The mobile revolution was building up a head of steam from the 1990s, but really took off at the turn of the century, with massive growth occurring in South Asia since around 2004. That is when LIRNEasia started work, with a focus on South Asia. At the urging of Randy Spence we began the Teleuse@BOP demand-side survey.
A research article that will shortly be published in Information Technology and International Development got me thinking about Engel’s Law, which states that as income rises, the proportion of income spent on food falls, even if actual expenditure on food rises. The article is by Aileen Aguero, Harsha de Silva and Juhee Kang. It’s not about food prices, per se, but about some extensions that allow the identification of necessary goods and luxuries. Their interesting finding is that voice telephony is a necessity in Asia (in the six countries covered by LIRNEasia’s teleuse@BOP research), while it is still a luxury in Latin America. How could the same thing be a luxury in one place and a necessity in another?
LIRNEasia Mobile 2.0 research on potential use of mobile money services among the BOP in emerging Asia has been published in the latest edition of ITID (Vol. 6, Issue 4). The paper entitled, “M-money for the BOP in the Philippines” is authored by Erwin Alampay, LIRNEasia Research Fellow, and Gemma Bala. Abstract This paper explores the reach and use of m-money among the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) in the Philippines using survey data from LIRNEasia’s 2008 Mobile 2.
In September 2009,  LIRNEasia Chair and CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, participated in the second Harvard Forum on “Connection and human development” held at Harvard University, USA. Harvard Forum II was convened by Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen and Michael Spence, in collaboration with Randy Spence and theInternational Development Research Centre. Its aim was to bring together leading thinkers in the area of development to discuss how ICTs could contribute to poverty reduction in developing countries, both now and in the future. It was a follow-up to the Harvard Forum I held in 2003, where several needs in the ICT for development (ICT4D) area were identified (including ICT governance and regulatory reform, especially in the telecommunication sector).  One of the outcomes of Harvard Forum I was the funding of organizations such as LIRNEasia that seek to remove policy and regulatory barriers to the use of ICTs.
A research report entitled, ‘Internet Presence as Knowledge Capacity: The Case of Research in Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Reform’, authored by Sujata Gamage and Rohan Samarajiva has been published in the Information Technologies and International Development (ITID) journal (Spring 2008). The full report is available online; an abstract follows: Abstract: Knowledge is an important driver of development. As the production and dissemination of knowledge become increasingly mediated by the Internet, the Internet presence and connectivity of researchers are becoming more valid than the conventionally used publication- and citation-based indicators. This article presents a methodology that includes the use of the Google Scholar search engine to locate knowledgeable individuals in Asia in a policy-relevant field, paying particular attention to locating researchers in developing countries or in nonacademic settings in Asia. Internet presence is not a guarantee of quality.