New World Bank focus on ICT for 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


Samsung leaves legacy of hope in Uganda

Nsangi Secondary School in Uganda’s Wakiso District has received a Solar Powered Internet School from Samsung. Read More

Botswana takes its atomic and nuclear energy stance to world stage

Recently, Botswana’s Minister of Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi addressed the rare and august gathering of the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to convey Botswana's plans for the sector.  Read More

MTN, Ericsson announce e-waste disposal partnership in Côte D’Ivoire

Ericsson and MTN Côte d’Ivoire have announced a partnership to drive the awareness and collection of electronic waste (e-waste).  Read More

Innovative designer takes e-waste to another level

Gladys Muyenzelwa is a Gaborone based artist and designer who has an eye for ethnic and contemporary design. But unlike other designers, Muyenzelwa has found a way of using e-waste to make her creations.  Read More

Barefoot college grads get ‘stately’ welcome home

A team of women has returned home to Botswana after a six-month mission to learn solar technology skills in India. Read More

BDC supports clean energy for sustainable growth

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) continues to lead the charge in driving debate and provoking impactful ideas on how to champion increased sustainability.  Read More

Venmyn Deloitte predicts shift to more decentralised power generation

With the Southern African power pool facing a net power deficit, Venmyn Deloitte says coal-fired energy will continue to remain relevant. Read More

Huawei, SATA to drive ICT development through partnership

Huawei has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Southern Africa Telecommunications Association (SATA). Read More

Safaricom, USIU launch student mentorship programme

Safaricom has partnered with USIU–Africa to launch a one-year mentorship programme that will see students undertaking various degree courses at the university paired with mentors from the telecommunications company.  Read More

Stanbic Ghana rolls out solar ATMs

Stanbic Bank has rolled out what it believes to be the first solar powered offsite ATMs in Ghana. Read More


Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika


Connectivity critical for Nigeria's ICT sector, says SES chiefConnectivity critical for Nigeria's ICT sector, says SES chief

Connectivity is vital for any country to fully optimise the huge potential of cyberspace, SES Sales Manager for West Africa Joy Nma Emenike tells Kokumo Goodie.


High tech homes: Just press playHigh tech homes: Just press play

High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.