Presentation to TAP UG/DTU on ICT4D by Dr. Romeo Bertolini, July 2005
ICT – A Powerful Tool for Development • For over 30 years, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has been promoting Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in its development agenda. • With the rise and expansion of digital technologies, such as mobile phones and the Internet, ICTs for development (ICT4D) have taken on a new role • As an area where social and economic endeavours complement each other well to produce significant leverage effects. • However, ICTs not only constitute an objective in their own right but represent an indispensable means in the creation of global partnerships for development, stipulated as Goal 8 in the UN Millennium Development Goals. • Here, public efforts and private endeavours combine to form a promising fusion of productivity, partnership and progress.From digital divide to digital opportunity • This is why it is the Federal Governments believe that integration of ICTs into the various areas of development cooperation and peoples daily lives must be continued: o to make our work more efficient and o to advance poverty reduction through the delivery of basic social infrastructure as well as through social and political empowerment. • It is our aim to galvanize political will and action among public, private and civil society stakeholders to move towards an inclusive yet diversified information society while continuing to ensure the benefits of ICTs are used to the advantage of all.Germanys ICT4D StrategyMainstreaming • The German government is convinced ICTs are best employed as an enabler to increase impact in different areas of development. • Therefore, mainstreaming ICTs into development areas such as a central component of our ICT4D strategy. Mainstreaming activities include: o Conceptualizing ICT strategies to be included in national poverty reduction and development strategies.
o Integrating ICT components in development activities to increase their efficiency and effectiveness and promote the innovative use of ICTs for development o Monitoring and evaluation of activities to measure effects on poverty reduction • Together with our partner countries we aim to overcome international and regional "Digital Divides" by enriching our mainstreaming activities with capacity building measures, the promotion of local content and ownership. We thereby increase impact and enable people in developing countries, especially in rural areas, to participate in the global information society.Policy Development o The development impact of ICTs can only be harnessed if activities are conducted within an enabling policy environment. o support governments in partner countries in the creation of an environment favourable to the use of ICTs. regulatory issues, freedom of expression and the free flow of information but also investment in service development and local content. o Furthermore, ICT strategies need to be streamlined into national poverty reduction strategies, thereby connecting their deployment directly to the larger development agenda.Making ICTs Work for the PoorICT for EducationWhether used to convey IT skills, conduct teacher training or improve administration, ICTsoffer many possibilities to improve education systems in developing countries.Education is a crucial development factor. It serves as a prerequisite to health, economicprosperity and socio-political participation. ICTs facilitate cost-effective and geographicallyexpansive access to content and tools, furthering education, equality of opportunity and,thereby, empowerment.Global Trade Training – Portal of LearningGTT is a public-private partnership (PPP) between the South African Government and aleading German logistics company. Together they founded a trainee institute portal
(www.globaltradetraining.com) to meet the rising demand for skilled personnel in processinginternational trade in South Africa and to facilitate "on the job training" in this field.ICT for HealthThe ability of ICTs to transmit medical information irrespective of distance and availability ofmedical specialists is just one reason why it has become vital to health sector employees indeveloping countries.The right to life and health are inherent dignities of the human persona. ICTs enableimproved service delivery, personnel schooling and speedy information exchange betweenvarious medical, governmental and administrative actors. They are therefore anindispensable tool to reduce infant mortality and stop the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.ICTs in the Health Sector at District LevelThe project is an integral part of the health sector reform programme Germany is supportingin Tanzania. Access to relevant public health information for regional health structures hasbeen improved through the introduction of an ICT-based information exchange system,including epidemiological and clinical data as well as specific case-related studies to assistevidence-based decision-making. In addition, a user friendly portal has been developed toinform the public about issues connected to reproductive health: www.chezasalama.comICT for Good GovernanceEmbedded in a reform-friendly environment and a wider policy framework, the use of ICTwithin the public sector can help promote good governance.ICTs in the public sector can not only increase the transparency and efficiency oftransactions between government bodies or government and businesses. ICTs can alsocreate new ways for governments to communicate with citizens – thereby increasingparticipation and accountability.Geo-database cadastre and land registry systemAs part of the Georgian public sector reform programme, the project has produced a country-wide, IT-based cadastre and land registry system and a ground atlas for the sustainable useof small farm fields. As a result, a synchronized, transparent property market has beencreated in Georgia, regulating land usage and making it more efficient. The governmentsaccountability towards land-owning or -purchasing citizens has been increased.ICT for Private Sector Support
ICTs offer a number of possibilities for small and medium enterprises in developingcountries.ICTs can help increase competitive capacity, raise the efficiency of business processes andpave the way to new markets. However, with no support, SMEs in many partner countriesare left without access to these new technologies and are thus prone to the dangers of fallingfurther behind, widening the digital divide. German development cooperation is running anumber of programmes to enable SMEs, their service providers and associations to use ICTsand to create ICT solutions that will meet local demands.Information Technology for CooperativesThrough capacity building activities, the project it@coops provides cooperatives in SouthAsia with basic IT skills and stimulates better cooperation between these economic entities inorder to allow more professional and efficient use of skills. The exchange of information andappearance as an association on the market strengthens the competitive position of thecooperatives involved.Engaging in Partnerships – Creating SynergiesTo us, ICT4D is a joint venture – stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civilsociety, research institutions and development agencies need to work together to implementsustainable ICT solutions.The BMZ is part of a ICT4D network including many different international and localorganisations such as o infoDev o PPIAF o Development Gateway o Schoolnet Africa, o APCTo us, partnership means sharing responsibility as well as sharing the benefits, creating awin-win situation for all stakeholders involved.Cooperation with the Private Sector
This is especially true for cooperation with the private sector: investments in developingcountries are a chance for private companies to enter unsaturated markets, openingopportunities for innovation, unleashing creative potential and new ideas.In addition, investments are made in a risk-rewarding environment, where officialdevelopment assistance complements private-sector engagement to create substantialleverage effects.We are employing approved instruments to encourage financial cooperation in partnershipwith the private sector, such as equity, debt and mezzanine funding. Furthermore, our PPPprogramme supports innovative partnerships between the public and the private sector. Theinvolvement of the private sector is continually gaining importance within Germandevelopment cooperation, because it successfully combines long-term developmentexpertise and private entrepreneurship.