Beyond markets for mobiles: the development sector

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Nov 12, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Beyond markets for mobiles: the development sector
and pro
-
poor impacts of ICTs



Ben Garside


Researcher


Sustainable Markets Group

International Institute for Environment and Development

Presentation for
Mobile phones: the new talking drums of
Everyday Africa?

Workshop in
Leiden , Netherlands, 9 December 2010

Background


Mobile subscription rates booming


Prices coming down, coverage
increasing


Subscribers still predominantly in
cities but slowly changing


Boom has been predominantly driven
by the market


Increased competition


Innovation from free market





Context


Passive diffusion versus active
intervention


why?


A short history of ICT4D


The role of government


The private sector and passive
diffusion


From access to impact


what
evidence


Challenges going forward







Development interest and ICTs


ICTs are part of the MDGs (Goal 8,
Target 18, Indicators 47
-
48)


ICTs have an impact on achieving other
MDGs


ICTs can negatively impact MDGs

Goal 8: Develop a global
partnership

for development


Target 18: “In cooperation with the private sector make
available the benefits of new technologies,
specifically information and communications.”

Indicators:


Total number of telephone subscribers per 100
inhabitants


Personal computers per 100 inhabitants Internet
users per 100 inhabitants


ITU


Digital access index


infrastructure,
affordability, knowledge, quality

Development interest and ICTs


1980’s


little or negative interest


Mid 90’s


big infrastructure projects


Digital Divide push


Predominantly focused on telecentre model

Telecentres
-
> Access to ICTs
-
> Provide services
-
>Assist development


Continued to mid
-
2000s


Gradual donor and practitioner dis
-
interest


Efforts to mainstream ICTs in development



Perceived contribution of ICTs to development (Heeks 2008)

ICT4D evolving in a bubble


Disciplinary foundations for development informatics research (Heeks 2010)

Yet lots of examples of innovative
active intervention


E.g. knowledge centres. ALIN in East
Africa, MS Swaminthan Research
Centre in India


Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN)


Information/communication for what?


Participatory approach in tailoring information
services to communities


Use of informediaries and local CSO/NGO for
sharing and dissemination


How to better understand model & adapt/scale



Public sector and ICTs today

overview of telecoms sector reforms In Africa (InfoDev 2008)


Public sector and ICTs today


Commonwealth African Rural Connectivity
Initiative (COMARCI)


De
-
regulation of incumbent telecoms companies
partial success


Weak regulators


PRSP’s and cut/paste e
-
strategies


World Summit on the Information Society (2005)


UN ICT task force


"lend a truly global dimension to the multitude of efforts
to bridge the global digital divide, foster digital
opportunity and thus firmly put ICT at the service of
development for all”


Football!



Private sector and passive diffusion


Lots of citizen innovative uses of mobiles
e.g.
flashing, bumping, beeping, Ushahidi (to some extent)


What of bigger business?


Focus on access, pre
-
pay models etc


Access divide greater than perhaps imagined


E.g. Ghana 83% city, 16% other urban,0.4% rural


Sharing varies hugely by culture e.g. India and Sri
-
Lanka only 7% share with non
-
householders


Sharing improved by interventions


e.g. Grameen
village phones Bangladesh


s

Private sector & passive diffusion


Beyond access to ICTs
-

to services


Bigger business not so many pro
-
poor
targeted services


Example 1
-

M
-
PESA


13 million users in Kenya alone, expanding rapidly


Evidence of impacts on poor, including
unanticipated benefits


Builds on traditional payment practices


Extensive network of trained distributers


Private sector & passive diffusion


M
-
PESA started with DFID challenge
money


Worked with smaller company and MFI
(Faulu)


multi
-
stakeholder & active
intervention


Product evolved with consumer use


Smart regulation key


Kenya vs India

Private sector & passive diffusion


Example 2


Google Trader Uganda


Based on learning lab.


Grameen applabs


Google


MTN


Local NGO (Busoga Rural Open Source
Development Initiative)


HIVOS support


Built on trust networks to produce Farmer’s
Friend

From access to ICTs


to use of ICTs


Many examples of access but little uptake


e.g. national telecentre rollouts across SSA


Ghana,
Tanzania, Uganda


Many examples of “successful” pilots but failed
replication


“success” very undefined


ICT4D field has tended to be technology rather than
people led


“neat” solutions and latest tech


sometimes left to private sector


Mainstream development has ignored or ‘mainstreamed’
ICTs


Lots of exciting example of innovation coming from
local developing contexts


Passive diffusion mantra is strong


Evidence of livelihoods impacts?


Market pricing systems mixed results,
from Keralan fish (Jensen) to Tanzanian tomatoes (Molony)


Lack of evidence that ‘mobiles are a tool
to solve development problems’


ICTs and growth causality weak


Perhaps the wrong question


Types of information and communication needs


ways ICTs can fit with socio
-
cultural context
to deliver them

Measuring what works


From outputs to outcomes and impacts


Not only information but money, skills, motivation, trust,
confidence, existing knowledge


Multi
-
disciplinary research into better measuring impacts


Frameworks Infodev ICT Rural Livelihoods knowledge map


Synthesising new approaches


Heeks ICT impact compendium


People
-
centred solutions taking considering socio
-
cultural contexts


“the poor” as innovators as well as consumers


Long term sustainability


fostering demand,
creating incentives


Challenges going forward


1.
Better measuring impacts


Development sector needs to engage


Mainstreaming ICTs won’t work

2.
Fostering learning labs


Multiple stakeholders


3
rd

way between passive diffusion & active intervention


How to engage business?

3.
Public sector integration


Smart regulation


National strategies linked to e
-
strategies


Grounded in local ownership, innovation, & diversity

Thank You