ICT for Greater Development Impact
26 July 2012
The World Bank Group’s new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy aims at helping developing countries use ICT to transform delivery of basic services, drive innovations and productivity gains, and improve competitiveness. The strategy reflects rapid changes in the ICT sector over the last decade, including a dramatic increase in use of mobile phones and the Internet, plunging prices of computing and mobile internet devices, and the increasing prevalence of social media.
Guided by the previous 2001 ICT Strategy, the Bank has had impact in supporting sector reforms and attracting private investments into mainly mobile communications. Since 2007, the Bank Group has intensified its support for public-private partnerships for broadband and high-speed Internet, bringing down retail prices and greatly increasing the take-up of services, in some instances by a factor of 10.
The Strategy's Three Pillars
Transform: Making development more open and accountable, and improving service delivery – for instance, education, health, and financial services.
"ICT has contributed to global growth and democratization and is transforming governments and people’s lives."
-Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Kenya.
“Now is the time to make use of all that we have built [ICT infrastructure] so this strategy comes at the right time. We now have to move to the other two pillars – Transform and Innovate. And delivering quality education comes on top of our list.” -Parvez Iftikhar, former CEO of USF Co., Pakistan
Innovate: Developing competitive IT-based service industries and fostering ICT innovation across the economy – with a focus on job creation, especially for women and youth.
“It will be important for us to look at how young people in urban areas are already at the forefront of using ICT to address the issue of information poverty and to create an enabling environment for them to grow and flourish.”
-Anantha Krishnan, Director of Research and Development, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Connect: Scaling up affordable access to broadband – including for women, disabled citizens, disadvantaged communities, and people living in remote and rural areas.
“Broadband access is still limited and concentrated in urban areas in many countries. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) will be necessary to achieve further network deployments and upgrades as neither operators nor the government will be able to achieve country-wide broadband coverage by themselves. However, not all countries have experience in PPP of large infrastructure projects and therefore many countries will benefit from global experiences.” -Luis Scheker, Indotel, Dominican Republic
To read full version of World Bank's ICT Strategy, click here.