New World Bank focus on ICT for development

DEVELOPMENT

|
Image: By World Bank
New World Bank focus on ICT for development

The World Bank Group has released an ambitious new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy aimed 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.

“Information and communication technologies can help reduce poverty, boost economic growth, and improve accountability and governance,” said World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte.  “The World Bank Group’s new strategy will help our client countries take advantage of the opportunities that ICT offers across all sectors of the economy, drawing on our unique expertise in public-private partnerships in the ICT sector.”

The new strategy for 2012-2015 builds on the Bank Group’s experience working with client countries on ICT sector reforms, infrastructure development, and electronic government:

Over the 2000s, Bank support for ICT sector reforms helped attract an estimated USD30 billion in private investment for mobile network infrastructure in the least developed countries.  The IFC’s USD2.3 billion in telecommunications infrastructure investments and MIGA’s USD550 million in political risk guarantees also supported private investment in mobile service providers in difficult and high-risk environments. 

Bank Group support for ICT applications has grown rapidly over the last decade, and over 70% of the 1,700 projects in the Bank’s active portfolio now have ICT components.

Since 2007, the Bank Group has intensified its support for public-private partnerships for broadband and high-speed Internet, helping bring down retail prices and increasing the take-up of services, in some instances by a factor of 10.

“The Strategy recognizes the vital role of the private sector in improving access to information infrastructure and services in developing countries,” said Rashad-Rudolf Kaldany, IFC Vice President for Global Industries.  “IFC works with the private sector as an advisor, financier, and standard setter, to help unlock the potential of ICT for development.”

Stakeholders from 17 low- and middle-income countries and 4 OECD countries provided inputs for the new strategy, which emphasizes the transformative potential of ICT – in areas such as accountability, energy, and health – while maintaining a steady focus on ICT-enabled innovation and ICT infrastructure.  Bank Group support will be directed to three priority areas:

- Transformation: Making development more open and accountable, and improving service delivery – for instance, by facilitating citizen feedback to governments and service providers.

- Connectivity: Scaling up affordable access to broadband – including for women, disabled citizens, disadvantaged communities, and people living in remote and rural areas.

- Innovation: Developing competitive IT-based service industries and fostering ICT innovation across the economy – with a focus on job creation, especially for women and youth.

The World Bank, IFC, and MIGA will work together to assist countries in unlocking the opportunities offered by ICT.  For instance, the World Bank will provide support for appropriate policy, legal, and regulatory frameworks, as well as catalytic investment in ICT backbone infrastructure; IFC will provide financing and advisory services to mobile operators; and MIGA will provide guarantees to support the roll-out of telecommunications networks and services.

“MIGA has contributed to the rapid growth of access to ICT services in emerging countries by mitigating the political risk of investments.   Under the new WBG strategy, MIGA will make available its insurance capacity to further accelerate ICT investments in higher-risk countries, notably fragile and post conflict countries, where ICT will be key to growth, job creation, sharing of knowledge, and governance,” said Michel Wormser, MIGA’s Vice President and COO.

The ICT strategy will adopt a new approach to implementation, including country diagnostics to help prioritize Bank Group interventions at the country level and leverage more partnerships with external sources of expertise.  A results-based framework will be used to track progress. 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Sage Foundation launches in Africa

Sage has launched the Sage Foundation across Africa at the 2016 Sage Business Partner Conference, currently underway at the Sandton Convention Centre in South Africa. Read More

Airtel Ghana supports ICT education in Kanjarga community

Airtel Ghana has supported Kanjarga community through its flagship CSR programme, Airtel Touching Lives, in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region with equipment to improve the ICT skills training in the community. Read More

MTN rewards top performers

MTN SA Foundation is rewarding top performing matriculants with bursaries and laptops to assist them with furthering their studies and give them access to the technological tools that are critical in their studies. Read More

Agritech Expo to focus on agri successes and challenges

The third edition of Zambia’s Agritech Expo will be staged in Chisamba from 14-16 April 2016. Read More

Airtel Kenya employees spread Christmas joy

More than 2000 children from various children’s homes in Kenya celebrated Christmas courtesy of Airtel. Read More

MTN Foundation-MINESEC Digital Schools Programme connects Loum

MTN Foundation has opened a multimedia centre at the government high school at Loum in the Littoral region, as part of its Digital Schools programme. Read More

Airtel Ghana launches ‘Evolve with STEM’

Lucy Quist, Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, has launched an initiative, dubbed ‘Evolve with STEM’, to promote the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Read More

Airtel Ghana donates to Human Compassion Orphanage

Airtel has made a donation to the Human Compassion Orphanage as part of its ongoing employee led “12 Days of Giving” initiative. Read More

Twenty SMMEs graduate from MTN SA Foundation Accelerated Business Development Programme

This year twenty students are graduating from the MTN SA Foundation sponsored Accelerated Development Programme (ABDP). Read More

Caterpillar launches free e-learning website for future technicians in Africa

Caterpillar has launched the pilot phase of an e-learning website for people who have the ambition to become a technician in Nigeria, Mozambique and DR Congo. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks Unlimited

FEATURED STORY

Viber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats Viber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats

Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664 million unique users worldwide, has opened its latest social channel ‘Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East. 

IN DEPTH

Poised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year WinnerPoised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year Winner

Roshi Motman is not your average CEO. Since taking up the reins as the first female CEO of Tigo Ghana in 2014, she has led the Tigo brand through a remarkable transformation.