ICT in rural development in developing countries

ICT in rural development in developing countries - @ERITISH...

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Unformatted text preview: @ERITISH LIE AYAZ GHANI NFSM Engineering Document Deliverv / NFSM PME—4TESITOS NFSM MEMORIAL UNIY OF NEWFOUNDLAND OUEEN ELIZABETH II LIE INTERLIERARY LOANS 13E Newtown Rd St. John, NL ATTN: PHONE: FAX: E—MAIL: PME * REGULAR TITLE: YOLUME/ISSUE/PAGES: DATE: AUTHOR OF ARTICLE: TITLE OF ARTICLE: ISSN: SOURCE: DELIYERY: REPLY: SUBMITTED: 2D1D—D2—28 19:53:45 PRINTED: 2D1D—D3—D3 11:34:1T REQUEST NO.: PME—4?281TDS SENT VIA: World Wide Web PATRON TYPE: Graduate COPY JOURNAL NEW MEDIT: MEDITERRANEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS, AGRICULTURE AND ENYIRONMENT vol:?: no:l:season:winter: quarter:D1' SD — 5? 2DDS—D3—D1 Gaiani, Silvia, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES [ICTS] FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN DEYELOPING COUNTRIES 1594—5685 shelfmark EDS4.4SSSDD DSC E—mail Link: [email protected] E—mail: [email protected] This document contains 9 pages. This is NOT an invoice. Be advised that all books obtained through Dooument Deliverv Servioes must he picked up and dropped off at the Queen Elizabeth II Ciroulation desk. Oueries:—?D9—?3?—3195 or email:[email protected] Memorial Universitv [NFSM] / East Coast Relais Consortium NEW MEDIT N. 1fl008 Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Rural Development in Developing Countries 1. Introduction: the role of ICTs in an interconnected world Nowadays, we are living in a chaotic period of tran- sition to a new age charac- terized by global competi- tion, rampant change, faster flow of information and communication, in- creasing business complex- ity and pervasive globalisa- tion. This new environment is marked by more far- reaching technological ad- vances and by a knowl- edge-driven economy, em- phasising the fact that the current contribution of knowledge is very much the dynamo of economy. Knowledge plays a cru- cial role in fostering inno- vation and, at the same time, innovation has be- come central to achieve- ments in the business world where new challenges are always emerging. Technological innova- SILV/A GAIANI* jel classification: Q 160, O 330 Abstract Rural areas of the developing world are the last frontier of the infomiation tech— nology revolution. In these areas, telephone and Internet access is very limited if compared with developed countries. The presence of few means of electronic communication with the outside world is just one source of rural communities and economies isolation from the forces of national and global integration, al- beit an important one. In recent years, numerous interesting experiments have been carried out to ex- tend low-cost telephone and Internet access to low-income rural communities. But how can Information and Communication Technology contribute to rural development? What are the channels through which impacts can be realized, and what are the practical means for realizing potential benefits? This paper analyses two main ongoing projects that aim at providing ICT-based services to rural populations in Maharashtra (India) and Morocco. The goal of such projects is to reach the commercial sustainability that supports scalability and, therefore, more widespread benefits. The analysis highlights the common building blocks required for successful im- plementation and the relative strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. Keywords: rural development, information technology, economic growth, In- dia, Morocco. Résumé Les zones mrales des pays en de'veloppement représentent la derniérefiontiére de la revolution des technologies de 1 information. Dans ces zones, I ’acce‘s an re'seau (téléphone et Internet) est trés limité par rapport aux pays (le'reloppés. La présence de tre‘s pen de moyens de communication électroniqne est 1 ’nne des raisons principales erpliquant l 'isolement des économies et des communautés rurales par rapport our forces [1 'intégration nationale et internationale. Ces derniéres anne'es, bon nombre d ’erpériences inte'ressantes ont été mises en wnvre pour permettre atLr commtmantés rurale (ifaible rei'enn d ’avoir acce‘s an téléplzone et a Internet (i bas cozits. Mais comment la technologie de I'injbrma— (ion et de la connnnnication pent—elle contribner an de'veloppement écono- mique? Qnels sont Ies canaiLr par lesqnels des impacts peuvent se produire? Et queIs sont les moyens pratiqnes par lesqnels les be'néfices potentiels peuvent se réaliser? Cet article passe en reme deux ptojets en conrs dont le but nltime est defimr- nir atLr populations mrales ale Maharashtra (lnde) et dn Maroc des services [1 base des technologies de 1 ’information et de la commzmication. L ’objectifde ses tions, especially those in projets est de produire une durabilité commerciale capable de supporter des Information and Commu- nication Technologies (ICTs), delivered the Infor- mation Age and converted it into the Knowledge Age'. By revolutionising the way societies interact, avantages plus répandns. L ’analyse met en evidence anssi bien Ies ingredients commnns nécessaires pour mettre snr pied an programme de sncce‘s que les paint de forces et defaiblesse des diflérentes approelzes existantes. Mots-ele's: développement rural, teclmologie de 1 'information, croissance économiqne, Inde, Mame. conduct their businesses and compete in interna- tional markets, ICTs are setting the world e- conomies and the devel- opment agendas. ICTs consist of hard- ware, software, networks and media for collection, storage, processing, trans- mission and presentation of information (including voice, data, text and im- ages). This simple and un- constrained definition of ICTs encompasses the old- est as well as the newest ICTs (mainly mobile and intemet) and, as a result, promotes the widest par— ticipation of countries across the globe. Information goods typi- cally have the characteristic that one person’s use of them does not reduce their availability for another per- son. Thus, many people can display messages or news, simultaneously or sequen- tially. Standard economic characterizations can be used to classify the differ- ent kinds of information. For example, entertain- ment, personal communi- cations and sometimes news are final goods. Educational material, job announcements or specific news (weather news for farmers, for instance) are intermediate goods, typ- * Faculty of Agriculture, University of Bologna. ' Pasternack B.A. and Viscio A._]., 1998. The Center/err Corporation, Asia Pa- cific Journal of Human Resources. ically used for improving income-earning opportunities. ICTs are dramatically increasing the share ability of in- formation — by enabling societies to produce, have access 50 Supplied by The British Library - "The world's knowledge" NE\‘\"r\lEDlT N. 1/2008 to, adapt and apply greater amounts of information in a more rapid manner and at reduced costs — and they are en- hancing business productivity and economic activity. In the framework of rapidly developing information and communication technologies, the Milan Declaration on Communication and Human Rights2 (1998) has asserted that communication media have a responsibility to help sustain the diversity of the world’s cultures, languages and !economies, and that they should be supported by legisla- tive, administrative, and financial measures. In the spirit of the Milan Declaration, ICTs are proving to contribute to strengthening democracy, increasing social participation, competing in the global marketplace, remov- ing barriers to modernisation and making poor populations the main stakeholders of the sustainable development V process. The purpose of this paper is to provide a snapshot of ICTs in the developing countries. By presenting two ongo— ing projects in India and Morocco, the intent is to analyse the benefit of ICTs usage in rural development and to as- sess the socio-economic benefit deriving from their func- tioning. ' 2. ICTs, economic growth and development Today, we truly live in a global village, but it is a village with privileged information "haves" and many information "have-nots". To face the unprecedented challenges brought on by the changing global economy, dynamic political con- texts, environment degradation and demographic pressures, and to make critical decisions, people at all levels of socie- ty - especially the food-insecure and the organizations that serve and represent them — should be able to have easy ac- cess to critical information and to communicate. In assessing the potential for ICTs to promote an eco- nomic growth to the benefit of the poor, two central ques- tions remain to be answered. First, is there a definite causal relationship between ICTs and the economic growth? Sec- ond, is the resulting growth in favour of the poor? And, if not, what conditions could make it so? Several comparative studies have been carried out to analyse the difference in productivity gains in different countries and regions of the world. While the extent of the impact may differ, there is a general consensus that ICTs have a clear impact on economic growth by increasing the productivity. A comprehensive international study3 comparing the pe- riods 1989-1995 with 1995-2003 uses separate measures of ICT investment, non-ICT investment, and several meas- ‘ http://na.amarc.org/?p=The_Milan_Declaration. ’ International Telecommunication Union, “\Vorld Telecommunication De- velopment Report 2006. Measuring ICT for social and economic develop- ment", Executive Summary, 2007. ures of labour in order to determine the correlation be- tween changes in ICT investment levels and GDP growth across different regions. According to this study, the group that benefited the most from ICTs was the G7, where al- most one third (27%) of the GDP growth that occurred from 1995-2003 was due to ICT investment. However, in major developing and transition countries, ICT capital played a smaller (although increasing) role. Sub-Sahara Africa shows similar economic impact from ICT capital growth over time — about 10% — while most other groups have lately showed a greater impact. Latin America jumped considerably from the first time period to the sec- ond (Figure 1). Figure l — [C T Z? contribution to economic growth. ICT Capital’s Contribution to Economlc Growth America Europe Saharan and Middle (15) (15) (14) Africa East (28) (11) Source: ITU adapted from Jorgensom and Vu, 2005. Note: The Group of 7 (G7) refers to the following countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and USA. The results suggest that the contribution of ICT to eco- nomic growth depends on a number of factors including the market’s regulatory framework and the ability of countries to develop skills and transform their organisational envi- ronment. Significant network investment and expansion are needed before ICTs can begin to effectively affect growth in low- income countries. As far as development is concerned, information and in- frastructures are essential for bringing about social and e- conomic change. ICTs promote greater inclusion of indi- viduals within networks and, even more important, they in- crease the diversity of participants by overcoming the bar- riers of physical distance and social standing. The immedi- acy and reach of ICTs also promote faster, more efficient, and ultimately better decision-making across all fields of endeavour. The role of ICTs in people’s lives goes beyond the issue of access and infrastructure as these tools have become im- portant in improving health services, in environmental monitoring, in bridging the gaps of the rich and the poor in various countries, in empowering women, and so on. The figure below tries to conceptualise the social and economic development that ICTs help in bringing about in developing countries where distance and illiteracy are barriers to the improving of living conditions. Supplied by The British Library - "The world's knowledge" NEW MEDIT N. 1/2008 Healthcare . V. .7 h .‘ l_ ‘ Education i g .. , Public 1‘ Governance 7 "cu Funding Private [,1 ,/ i'ufiflfififihrmatltf; <7, Rural stability V t 1 r ‘ Dl$fiifi?flllltéfiéiii.f’ ** ‘ “ " 1 Poverty For example, the impact of ICTs is witnessed in many as- pects such as: - Natural disasters management in low-income countries. For example, the World Bank’s hazard management pro- gramme in high-risk areas of Andhra Pradesh (India) in- volves ICT components in cyclone waming, communica- tion and response, awareness raising, education and com- munity involvement in hazard reduction activities. - Efficiency of government. The Automated Systems for Customs Data (Asycuda), developed by UNCTAD, is now used by over 70 developing countries to manage tariff col- lection and reduce frontier corruption. The system speeds up goods movement, reduces transport expenses, and costs US$ 2 million to install (Kenny et al., 2000). - Children education. In Mexico, over 700,000 second- ary—school students in remote villages now have access to the Telesecundaria program, which provides televised classes and a comprehensive curriculum through closed- circuit television, satellite transmissions, and teleconferenc- ing between students and teachers. Studies have found that the program is only 16 % more expensive per pupil served than normal urban secondary schools, while students bene- fit from much smaller student-to-teacher ratios (De Moura and others, 1999). — Access to cultural resources. ICTs have also played an important role in preserving and identifying threatened or marginalized cultural artefacts and traditions. Some commentators, however, hold much more sceptical views of the benefits of ICTs for development. They argue that access to ICTs largely depends on education, income, and wealth and that the so—called digital divide is only a part of a much broader development divide. Limited education, inappropriate language skills or lack of resources could prevent disadvantaged segments of the pop- ulation from accessing ICTS, ultimately exacerbating infor- ‘ Mainly Internet and mobile phones. ’http://www.unescap.org/icsrd/applications/rurallCT/Building%20€Comun ity%20Centres%20Report.pdf Figure 2 — 1C T—based Development ModeL Social Development 1 Economic Development Transparent Market Place 1 Time Funding Arte—r" ‘Expense Job creation Source: ITC for economic and social development, EU regional workshop, Sept. 2005 mation gaps and increasing income in- equality between and within countries. It is often argued that developing countries have other, more pressing investment pri- orities, such as food, safe water, educa- tion, and public health, and that devoting limited resources to ICTs must be justi- fied on the basis of its opportunity costs relative to other development agendas. 3. Potential of lCTs for rural development Though in decline, agriculture remains the direct and indirect base for the eco- nomic livelihoods of the majority of the world’s population (IFAD, 2001). According to Albert Waterson, as quot- ed by Cohen (1987), the purpose of rural development is .1" v & saving “...to improve the standard of living of the rural population through a multi-sectorial approach including agriculture, industty, and social facilities”. Rural communities require information inter alia on sup- ply of inputs, new technologies, early waming systems (drought, pests, diseases), credit, market prices and their competitors. The success of the Green Revolution in Asia and the Near East indicates that giving rural communities access to knowledge, technology and services will contribute to ex- panding and energising agriculture. Traditional media and new ICTs have played a major role in diffusing information to rural communities, and have much more potential. There is a strong need to connect ru- ral communities, research and extension networks and to provide access to the much needed knowledge, technology and services (Form, 1999). So far, traditional media have been used very successful- ly in developing countries and rural radio in particular has played a major role in delivering agricultural messages. Print, video, television, films, slides, pictures, drama, dance, folklore, group discussions, exhibitions and demon- strations have also been used to speed up the flow of infor- mation (Munyua, 2000). New ICTs“, however, have the potential of getting vast amounts of information to rural populations in a more time- ly, comprehensive and cost-effective manner, and could be used together with traditional media. This is the reason why, recently, scholars have started to speak of “e-rural development”, which is: “... the provision of information, knowledge and business services to the people living in rural areas for improving their livelihoods using a variety of electronic means of com— mtmication.s " ICTs have the capacity to transcend physical distance and to provide communication between extended communities Supplied by The British Library - "The world's knowledge" Figure 2 A [CT-based Development Model. l— Sociai $ettetoottient Heaiiiacar Educatio ’ Private Funding Pubiic Funding £3 Govern ance gurai stahiiit’y' Ei'oiiertil Source: ITC for economic and social development, EU regional workshop, Sept. 2005 é eeonniriie §ey€§6§§¥t€tfi Eat; creation —! mation gaps and increasing income in- l equaiity between and within cottntries. it is often argued that deveio, 'ng countries have other, more pressing investment pri- orities, such as food, safe water, educa- tion, and panic heaith, and that devoting “fime iirnited resources to €955 must be insti- franspareni liv‘l arkee i’iaee Ex - a 3 ’ it 7 A :i I» it Expgnse tied on the hasrs of is opportunity eQSiS savmo reiative to other deveiopinent agendas. 3. §otentidi oi ifis tor reset deeeioptnent though decline, agriculture reniains the direct and indirect base for the eco- nornic iiveiihoods of the majority of the worid’s pcpnia‘tion tlFAifé, 2663). For exaniple, the impact of iCTs is witnessed in many as- pects such as: - Natural disasters management in tow-income countries. For exarnple, the Worid Bank’s hazard management pro- gramme in high-risk areas of Andhra Pradesh (india) volves 1C? components in cycione warning, communica- tion and response, awareness raising, education and corn- niunity invoivement in hazard reduction activities. - Efiicz'ency of government. "Ehe Automated Systems for Customs iiata (Asycuda), developed by UNCTAE, is now used by over 70 deveioping countries to manage tariff coi- iection and reduce frontier corruption. The system speeds up goods niovernent, reduces transport expenses, and costs USS 2 miiiion to instaii (Kenny et al., 266%}. - Chi’fdi‘en education. in Mexico, over 780,000 second- ary-schooi students in remote viiiages now have access to the Telesecundaria program, which provides teievised ciasses and a comprehensive curriculum through ciosed— circuit television, sateiiite transmissions, and teleconferenc- ing between students and teachers. Stitdies have found that the prograrn is only i6 % rnore expensive per pupit served than norrnal urban secondary schools, whiie stndents hone- tit from rnnch sniaiiei stadent-to-teacher ratios (De Monra and others, i999}. - Access to cuituraf resources. Eli‘s have aiso played an irnportant roie in preserving and identifying threatened or marginaiized cuiraral artefacts and traditions. Sonic commentators, however, hoid rnueh more scepticai views of benefits 0t” Kits for deveioprnent. they argue that access to iCTs iargely depends on education, incorne, and wealth and that the so-called digitcn’ divide is only a part of a broader development divide. Limited education, inappropriate iangiiage skills or lack of resonrces couid prevent disadvantaged segnients ot‘the pop— uiation from accessing iCis, iiitirnateiy exacerbating infor- niy internet and mobile phones. shttp:f/www.unescap.org/icsCdr’appiications/rum?iCTi‘/i‘miiding_g%ZOeComun ity%20Centres%20Report.chf According to Aihert Waterson, as quot— ed by Cohen {1987), the purpose of deveioprnent is “...to improve the standard qf'iivz’ng oft...
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