Nokia Taking a Rural Road to Growth

Title: Nokia Taking a Rural Road to Growth
Author:Kevin J. O'Brien
Source:NYTimes.com
Publisher:The New York Times Company
Date (published):01/11/2010
Date (accessed):04/11/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"On Saturday at dawn, hundreds of farmers near Jhansi, an agricultural center in central India, received a succinct but potent text message on their cellphones: the current average wholesale price for 100 kilograms of tomatoes was 600 rupees ($13.26).

In a country where just 7 percent of the population has access to the Internet, such real-time market data is so valuable that the farmers are willing to pay $1.35 a month for the information.

What is unusual about the service is the company selling it: Nokia, the Finnish cellphone maker, which unlike its rivals — Samsung, LG, Apple, Research In Motion and Sony Ericsson — is focusing on some of the world’s poorest consumers.

Since 2009, 6.3 million people have signed up to pay Nokia for commodity data in India, China and Indonesia. On Tuesday, Nokia plans to announce that it is expanding the program, called Life Tools, part of its Ovi mobile services business, to Nigeria."

Why Have Mobile Phones Succeeded Where Other Technologies Have Not?

Title: Why Have Mobile Phones Succeeded Where Other Technologies Have Not?
Author:Jenny Aker
Source:Global Development: Views from the Center blog
Publisher:Center for Global Development
Date (published):03/11/2010
Date (accessed):04/11/2010
Type of information:blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"A few weeks ago, I was sitting on a panel for a conference on Information and Communications Technology and Development. The debate on my panel was a lively one, and came down to one issue: Can information technology (by itself) lead to development? Obviously there has been a lot of buzz about this topic — Jeffrey Sachs has called the mobile phone the “single most transformative technology” for development, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame once stated that mobile phones were becoming a “basic necessity” for Africa. Previously, I have argued that mobile phones are not the silver bullet for development (and I still believe this). But just because something doesn’t save the world doesn’t mean that we can or should dismiss it as the latest development fad, either. Mobile phones have something to teach us about the adoption of other technologies, and I think we have something to learn.
...
While this is a complex question, from a qualitative perspective, the answers might not be so difficult:

Unlike many technologies, mobile phones have multiple uses (voice, SMS and internet) and multiple purposes...
Many of these benefits are tangible and immediate...
Mobile phones (especially the voice operations) are fairly easy to use...
Not everyone needs to use a mobile phone to benefit from it...
Mobile phones can be easily adapted to local contexts...
The mobile phone distribution system – handsets, SIM cards, scratch cards and charging services – extends into urban and rural areas (Coca-Cola, anyone)?"

Free digital access to 30 years of UNEP-WCMC publications and reports

Title: Free digital access to 30 years of UNEP-WCMC publications and reports
Source:AgInfo News from IAALD
Publisher:International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD)
Date (published):01/11/2010
Date (accessed):04/11/2010
Type of information:blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:

Since its creation in 1979 WCMC has produced well over 1500 books and major reports. UNEP-WCMC has selected 380 of the most important books and reports from this collection, and has worked with the Biodiversity Heritage Library to make these freely available online.

These documents include a significant body of information of value to audiences around the world ranging from researchers to the general public, and from educators to decision-makers. Items are available in 9 different formats, for maximum accessibility, and are published according to open access standards in a forum which welcomes and encourages both use and contribution, while respecting attribution rights.

The internet archive website has instant download statistics, and items rank highly in Google searches. In only a few months the UNEP-WCMC materials had already been downloaded 9,307 times (by 14th Oct 2010) - with no specific promotion other than through informal networks.

The UNEP-WCMC archive can be found at http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=wcmc and will soon be incorporated into the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Will broadband internet establish a new development trajectory for East Africa?

Title: Will broadband internet establish a new development trajectory for East Africa?
Author:Mark Graham
Source:Poverty matters blog, guardian.co.uk
Publisher:Guardian News and Media Limited
Date (published):07/10/2010
Date (accessed):10/10/2010
Type of information:blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"East Africa is in the process of reinventing itself. The government of Rwanda has invested heavily in IT infrastructure to bring high speed internet connections to even the most remote parts of this small, resource-poor country. Kenya, similarly, has ambitious plans to become a highly wired nation and attract a share of the growing market in international business outsourcing.

Only a year ago, east Africa was the last major region on Earth without fibre-optic broadband internet connections. People were forced to rely on painfully slow and prohibitively expensive satellite connections. However, the recent arrival of three submarine fibre-optic cables into the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa has now fundamentally altered the connectivity of the region.
...
Nobody knows whether the East African gamble on IT and outsourcing will pay off. Vast resources have been invested, and there are high hopes among many in the public and private sectors that changes in connectivity offer opportunities for economic growth. But important questions remain. Will altered connectivity really allow firms in east Africa to become hubs in the global economy? Or will improved connections simply allow foreign firms to better exploit the demand in east Africa for IT services? Perhaps most importantly, who stands to benefit? And who will be left out of these transformations?

The answers to these questions are unclear. But it is likely that the sense of expectation and change in Kenya and Rwanda will be enough to bring about significant economic transformations, whatever they may be."

Information Society Observatory Newsletter, September 2010

ITU/UNESCO: Broadband Commission releases its outcome report

Title: ITU/UNESCO: Broadband Commission releases its outcome report
Source: The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS)
Publisher: United Nations
Date (published): 20/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: press release
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"On the eve of the MDG Summit, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development released its outcome report A 2010 Leadership Imperative: The Future Built on Broadband. The report calls on global leaders to ensure that more than half of all of the world’s people have access to broadband networks by 2015, and to make access to high-speed networks a basic civil right. It also includes a High-Level Declaration calling for “Broadband Inclusion for All.”

The report was presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a side event held in conjunction with the Summit. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, speaking at the 19 September launch, said, “Broadband is the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology. It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity, and underpin long-term economic competitiveness. It is also the most powerful tool we have at our disposal in our race to meet the Millennium Development Goals, which are now just five years away.”

Mr. Ban noted the power of technology to inject new impetus into the development paradigm. “Information and communication technologies are playing an increasingly important role as drivers of social and economic development, but it will take partnerships such as the Broadband Commission to ensure that those technologies live up to their extraordinary potential,” he stressed. “The Commission’s report is an important contribution to our efforts to ensure that the benefits of information and communication technology can further the United Nations goals of peace, security or development for all.”

The report includes a detailed framework for broadband deployment and ten action points aimed at mobilizing a wide range of stakeholders and convincing government leaders to prioritize the roll-out of broadband networks to their citizens."

Mobile Phones Connect Ugandan Farmers to Agricultural Information

Title: Mobile Phones Connect Ugandan Farmers to Agricultural Information
Author : Phillip Kurata
Source: America.gov
Publisher: Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State
Date (published): 20/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"“My goat is sick. Its neck is swollen. It can’t eat,” an old woman in a remote village in Uganda said. She spoke to a man passing by with a mobile phone.

“Let me see if I can help,” said Laban Rutagumirwa.

He sent off a text message that read “goat bloat.” The message went to an agriculture information service devised by the Grameen Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A response came back shortly with instructions to mix a half kilo of rock salt with a liter of water and have the goat drink it. Two weeks later, Rutagumirwa was passing through the village and came across the old woman. She happily reported that her goat had recovered.

The woman was lucky that the passerby was Rutagumirwa. He is one of about 140 employees of the Community Knowledge Worker program that is bringing “relevant, actionable information” to poor, remote farmers in Uganda, according to David Edelstein, the Grameen Foundation’s technology center director.

The program started in 2009 in Uganda’s Bushenyi and Mbale districts. Trusted local residents, such as farmers, agriculture extension workers, shopkeepers and school teachers, were trained to disseminate and gather information about agriculture using mobile phones. The workers help the Ugandan farmers treat not only sick goats, but also blighted bananas, coffee berry bacterial infections, discolored tomatoes and other plant and livestock problems. In addition, the mobile phone-equipped workers have put farmers in touch with markets and weather forecasts"

Internet bandwidth prices cut to half in Ghana

Title: Internet bandwidth prices cut to half in Ghana
Author Editor:
Source: My IT Ghana
Date (published): 24/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The National Communication Backbone Company (NCBC) has reduced the wholesale prices at which it sells international and national bandwidth capacity to Internet Service Providers (ISP) by half as other international bandwidth providers enter the market, B&FT has gathered.
NCBC, which manages the SAT3 on behalf of Vodafone and the national broadband fibre-optic cable, has since the beginning of this month dropped the US$4,500 price tag at which it sells ... to ISPs to US$2,100.
Additionally, the average national bandwidth price has also dropped by about 53% amidst fears the existing carriers may lose customers ahead of the new cables landing in the country...
The fears, however, is that even as the wholesale prices of both international and national bandwidth drop, ISPs, who provide internet services to homes and offices, will keep their prices still high in an attempt to milk the consumer as cut down prices may not reflect at the retail level."
via http://twitter.com/phat_controller

5 ways ICTs can support the MDGs

Title: 5 ways ICTs can support the MDGs
Author Editor: Linda Raftree
Source: Wait… What? blog
Date (published): 17/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"I’ll be speaking on a panel called ICT4D, Innovations and the MDGs next week during UN Week in New York and another on Girls and Mobiles hosted by Mobile Active. So, I’ve been putting together my thoughts around girls, child rights, ICTs and the MDGs. The angle I’m taking is not from the large donor, top down, huge institutional program side, but instead, looking at examples from the work I’ve been closest to over the past few years at the community and district level, mostly focused on child and youth participation in the development process...I’m listing below 5 ways that ICTs can facilitate accountability and transparency, citizen engagement, and public debate, all of which are necessary to bring about development improvements and achieve the MDGs. Obviously these are not the only ways ICTs can support the MDGs, but this post would have been miles long if I’d listed all the initiatives that are out there."

Because I am a Girl 2010: Girls and ICTs

Title: Because I am a Girl 2010: Girls and ICTs
Author: Linda Raftree
Source: Wait… What? blog
Date (published): 22/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The urban and digital environments are the 21st century’s fastest-growing spheres. Both offer enormous potential for girls around the world, but prejudice and poverty exclude millions of girls from taking advantages of the transformative possibilities that cities and information and communication technologies (ICTs) can offer. Exploitation and the threat of violence exist in both urban spaces and in cyberspace, especially for the most marginalized and vulnerable girls.

Since 2007, Plan has published annual reports on the state of the world’s girls. The 2010 ‘Because I am a Girl report’ is called Digital and Urban Frontiers: Girls in a Changing Landscape. It focuses on girls in these two rapidly expanding spaces: the urban and the digital."
The report is downloadable from the above address.

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