How Mobile Financial Services and Healthcare bolster each other

Title: How Mobile Financial Services and Healthcare bolster each other
Source:GLG News
Publisher:Gerson Lehrman Group
Date (published):16/11/2010
Date (accessed):17/11/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„mHealth and Mobile Financial Services (MFS) sectors are inextricably linked to one another. Success of one sector will drive success of the other since MFS is vital to healthcare payments and healthcare is a critical use case to spur adoption and usage of new mobile payments systems. In other words, they drive demand for one other. Together, they also have the potential to extract efficiency gains around costs and improved overall service since they rely on common user bases, infrastructure “plumbing,” business operations and financial elements, and policy concerns. Recognizing these synergies and working cross-sector, stakeholders in both industries will be able to achieve greater impact, ultimately providing better access to healthcare and financial services for the unbanked. ”
via https://twitter.com/#!/auerswald

Capacity Building for ICT in Education

Title: Capacity Building for ICT in Education
Source:Digital Opportunity
Date (published):20/10/2010
Date (accessed):16/11/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„Capacity Building for ICT in Education, an infoDev-commissioned paper by Price Waterhouse Coopers India, says most South Asian nations need to complement their basic ICT4E infrastructure needs, such as computers, connectivity, and physical resources, with investment in mass-based learning networks, content support and development initiatives.
...
The infoDev / PWC India report identifies the main challenges to ICT4E capacity-building in South Asia:
* Increase in the use of ICT in education has not occurred at the same pace as the increase in overall ICT infrastructure, and the overall increase in ICT availability has not yet reached a stage of providing access to most people in South Asia
* Absence of integration and interaction across the South Asian region restricts sharing of information resources and creates duplication of efforts, resulting in ineffective use of ICT
* Absence of trained teachers of high quality and caliber
* Restrictive access to ICT facilities results in a lack of ICT enablement
* Absence of authentic and adequate data on access and use hampers policymakers
* Narrowly focused interventions limit the overall gain from ICT and miss the broader vision and goals of the sector
* Continued need for a minimal level of physical and complementary infrastructure
* Low use of ICTs’ potential”

Universal broadband for all: ANC

Title: Universal broadband for all: ANC
Source:MyBroadband
Date (published):15/11/2010
Date (accessed):16/11/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„In the ANC’s latest newsletter the ruling party punts the importance of broadband to all South Africans.

The ANC supports, among other things:

* Asymmetric interconnect rates for operations in rural areas;
* Re-farming voice spectrum to be used for broadband provisioning in rural areas;
* Prioritizing high capacity spectrum for wireless communications in rural and urban poor areas will be needed.”

Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on M4D - Mobile Communication Technology for Development

Title: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on M4D - Mobile Communication Technology for Development
Editors:Jakob Svensson, Gudrun Wicander
Pages: 355 pp.
Publisher:HumanIT (Karlstad University, Sweden)
Date (published):03/11/2010
Date (accessed): 15/11/2010
Type of information:proceedings
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf, 9.1 MB)
Abstract:
„This years conference contributions covers a wide field of mobile technology uses, from mHealth to mAgriculture, from mCommerce and mGovernance to mLearning and Best Practices. The papers encompass aspects from ICT developments in sub-Saharan Africa to mobile telephony in Latin America, from oral telemedicine in Botswana to privacy issues in Bangladesh, from mobile Internet pricing in rural India to mobile money use in Uganda. These few examples from the rich diversity of papers in this volume bear witness to the prominence and importance of mobile technology for development”
via https://twitter.com/#!/mberg

Analysing e-Government Project Failure: Comparing Factoral, Systems and Interpretive Approaches

Title: Analysing e-Government Project Failure: Comparing Factoral, Systems and Interpretive Approaches
Author:Carolyne Stanforth
Pages: 17 pp.
ISBN:978-1-905469-14-7
Source:Manchester Centre for Development Informatics, iGovernment Working Paper
Publisher:Centre for Development Informatics, Institute for Development Policy and Management, SED, University of Manchester
Date (published):05/11/2010
Date (accessed):13/11/2010
Type of information:research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
„It is a well-known secret in the computer industry that information systems projects are more likely to fail than not. Academic studies by e-government researchers provide the analytical findings that confirm this practitioner insight. Failure and success are subjective assessments that vary over time and with the standpoint of those making the judgement. Evaluation results are often contested, with the dispute based on political, legal or contractual matters – and even differing academic points of view.

This short paper reviews the three main categories of diagnostic approach being used in the study of failed e-government projects – factoral analyses, systems approaches and interpretive studies. It shows that each category derives from a separate academic discipline, is based on differing theoretical constructs and entails a particular epistemological stance and research methodology. The story is told of the author's own experience in deciding on an appropriate research strategy for the study of a failed e-government project in Sri Lanka. Practical conclusions and recommendations are drawn to guide future research.”

Educator's guide to student questions for this paper

Voice Search in Underrepresented Languages

Title: Voice Search in Underrepresented Languages
Authors: Pedro J. Moreno, Johan Schalkwyk
Source:Google Research Blog
Date (published):09/11/2010
Date (accessed):12/11/2010
Type of information:blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„Today we’re introducing Voice Search support for Zulu and Afrikaans, as well as South African-accented English. The addition of Zulu in particular represents our first effort in building Voice Search for underrepresented languages.

We define underrepresented languages as those which, while spoken by millions, have little presence in electronic and physical media, e.g., webpages, newspapers and magazines. Underrepresented languages have also often received little attention from the speech research community. Their phonetics, grammar, acoustics, etc., haven’t been extensively studied, making the development of ASR (automatic speech recognition) voice search systems challenging.

We believe that the speech research community needs to start working on many of these underrepresented languages to advance progress and build speech recognition, translation and other Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies. The development of NLP technologies in these languages is critical for enabling information access for everybody. Indeed, these technologies have the potential to break language barriers.”
via https://twitter.com/#!/RitseOnline

Survey reveals bridging digital divide between urban and rural Africa represents major growth opportunity

Title: Survey reveals bridging digital divide between urban and rural Africa represents major growth opportunity
Author:Denise Duffy
Source:ModernGhana.com
Date (published):03/11/2010
Date (accessed):12/11/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Connecting rural communities has become a major issue for the telecommunications industry in Africa, according to a recent survey conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media. 75% of respondents* surveyed said that the improvement of access to and adoption of telecommunications services in rural areas is “very important” to their business. A further 20% thought it “moderately important”.

Commissioned as a part of Informa Telecoms & Media's Rural Connectivity in Africa research, which is due to be published this month, the findings of the study reveal how the mobile revolution has failed to touch all parts of Africa. That this is the case is holding the continent back from becoming a fully joined-up member of the global knowledge economy.
...
Access to power emerges as a recurrent theme throughout the results of the survey as a barrier to greater rural connectivity. When asked what is the single biggest barrier facing operators in the greater adoption of ICT services in rural areas, over a third of respondents from Africa cited “access to power” as the single biggest obstacle for operators, ahead of cost of ownership and lack of awareness. Very low electrification rates across sub-Saharan Africa and especially in rural communities, where they tend to fall well below 20%, have a huge impact on the availability of ICT services in remote areas."

Does ICT Benefit the Poor? Evidence from South Africa

Title: Does ICT Benefit the Poor? Evidence from South Africa
Authors:Stefan Klonner, Patrick Nolen
Pages: 35 pp.
Date (published):01/03/2010
Date (accessed):12/11/2010
Type of information:research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
„We study the economic effects of the roll-out of mobile phone network coverage in rural South Africa. We address identification issues which arise from the fact that network roll-out cannot be viewed as an exogenous process to local economic development. We combine spatially coded data from South Africa's leading network provider with annual labor force surveys. We use terrain properties to construct an instrumental variable that allows us to identify the causal effect of network coverage on economic outcomes under plausible assumptions. We find substantial effects of cell phone network roll-out on labor market outcomes with remarkable gender-specific differences. Employment increases by 15 percentage points when a locality receives network coverage. A gender-differentiated analysis shows that most of this effect is due to increased employment by women. Household income increases in a pro-poor way when cellular infrastructure is provided.”
via https://twitter.com/#!/LisaCespedes

AfricaCom: Africa’s mobile industry needs to re-invent itself to meet tomorrow’s challenges

Title: AfricaCom: Africa’s mobile industry needs to re-invent itself to meet tomorrow’s challenges
Author:
Source:Issue no 529
Publisher:Balancing Act
Date (published):05/11/2010
Date (accessed):09/11/2010
Type of information:aricle
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„Four thousand people are slated to attend the industry’s biggest continent-wide talk-fest AfricaCom next week, which has been given the upbeat title of Driving the Next Stage of Telecoms Growth in African Telecoms. However, the mobile masters of the universe face tough challenges ahead with growing competition and the levelling off of market growth. Operators face a slalom of obstacles that will begin to separate those who have the skills from those who have simply been lucky to have been in the right place at the right time. Russell Southwood looks at whether the mobile operators have the courage to re-invent themselves and if and when an insurgent challenger will come to market with a disruptive business model.”

Can Technology End Poverty?

Title: Can Technology End Poverty?
Author:Kentaro Toyama
Source:Boston Review
Date (published):November/December 2010
Date (accessed):09/11/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„...Technology—no matter how well designed—is only a magnifier of human intent and capacity. It is not a substitute.
...
The myth of scale is the religion of telecenter proponents, who believe that bringing the Internet into villages is enough to transform them.
...
When a village has ready access to a PC, the dominant use is by young men playing games, watching movies, or consuming adult content.
...
My point is not that technology is useless. To the extent that we are willing and able to put technology to positive ends, it has a positive effect. For example, Digital Green (DG), one of the most successful ICT4D projects I oversaw while at Microsoft Research, promotes the use of locally recorded how-to videos to teach smallholder farmers more productive practices. When it comes to persuading farmers to adopt good practices, DG is ten times more cost-effective than classical agriculture extension without technology.
But the value of a technology remains contingent on the motivations and abilities of organizations applying it—villagers must be organized, content must be produced, and instructors must be trained. The limiting factor in spreading DG’s impact is not how many camcorders its organizers can purchase or how many videos they can shoot, but how many groups are performing good agriculture extension in the first place. Where such organizations are few, building institutional capacity is the more difficult, but necessary, condition for DG’s technology to have value. In other words, disseminating technology is easy; nurturing human capacity and human institutions that put it to good use is the crux."

This is a special issue of Boston Review dedicated to ICT4D:
New Democracy Forum: Can Technology End Poverty?

Can Technology End Poverty?
Kentaro Toyama
Many development experts promote information and communication technology (ICT) as a way to relieve global poverty. They should pay more attention to the human beings who use it.

Nicholas Negroponte
You don’t have to take my word for it: laptops work.
(Tues., Nov. 9)

Dean Karlan
We should carefully evaluate technological interventions and only apply what works.
(Wed., Nov. 10)

Archon Fung
We can turn the socioeconomic biases of technology to our advantage.
(Wed., Nov. 10)

Evgeny Morozov
Successfully enacting new ICT strategies requires a philosophical shift toward local, small-scale problems.
(Thur., Nov. 11)

Ignacio Mas
There is no silver bullet for development, but certain ICT projects have shown unique promise. (Mon., Nov. 15)

Nathan Eagle
Mobile phones are not just for talking; they are also tools for work and compensation.
(Mon., Nov. 15)

Jenny C. Aker
We should focus on ICT’s impact on well-being in general.
(Tues., Nov. 16)

Christine Zhenwei Qiang
Demanding that technology transform human behavior is too much to ask.
(Tues., Nov. 16)

Kentaro Toyama responds
For the world’s poorest countries, human capital, not technology, should come first.
(Wed., Nov. 17)

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