World Bank to launch consultation to utilize ICT in developing countries

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The World Bank will launch a global consultation to get input on a new strategy for helping developing countries mobilize information and ICT for growth and poverty reduction, according to a press release from the organization.

According to World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the multilateral wants to support the use of mobile phones and internet as platforms for social services, green growth and social accountability, while also improving the well-being and incomes of poor people.

Inger Andersen, VP for sustainable development at the World Bank, said that because the ICT field is moving quickly, the organization's strategy should be to leverage external expertise and make it available to clients. He also recommended using the World Bank as an intermediary to connect countries to solution providers to help them address challenges.

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The World Bank said it has worked to support telecom market reforms in the developing world over the last 10 years, resulting in privatization of state-owned telecoms providers, liberalization efforts, human capacity development and ICT applications in public administration, health and education.

In total, the World Bank has provided more than US$7.7bn to fund ICT components in projects. According to the organization, it has supported more than 20,000 small and medium-size enterprises in some 80 countries through infoDev's incubator network. Additionally, the bank says it enabled more than US$30bn in private sector investment between 1997 and 2007.

In other efforts, World Bank organization IFC invested US$3.2bn in more than 200 private sector projects in developing countries, ultimately leading to 225mn new mobile subscribers and 57,000 IT jobs.

Individuals and organizations interested in contributing to the consultation can do so during one of three webcasts that the World Bank will host this month, or on the organization's ICT strategy website until the end of March.

Use this link for more information.