M4D conference – Karlstad Sweden

The first presentation is by Richard Heeks who has authored quite a number of academic papers and articles one of which is ICT4D 2.0 – The next phase of applying ICT for International Development.
Some of the interesting insights I picked were the different models of research.
Pro-poor innovation: innovation undertaken in the north for the poor populace.

Pra – poor: innovation alongside poor people

Per-poor: innovation driven from the grassroot.
Now we are talking, as the best solutions are best developed by those in the inside looking out.

The mobile phone should be sen as a means of production as opposed to consumption.

Book of note: The Bottom Billion
The book suggests that, whereas the majority of the 5-billion people in the “developing world” are getting richer at an unprecedented rate, a group of countries (mostly in Africa and Central Asia but with a smattering elsewhere)[1] are stuck and that development assistance should be focused heavily on them. These countries typically suffer from one or more development traps:

* The Conflict Trap – civil wars (which cost c $100bn each) or coups.
* The Natural Resource Trap – excessive dependence on natural resources which can stifle other economic activity and lead to bad governance and coups/conflict[3].
* Landlocked with Bad Neighbours – poor landlocked countries with poor neighbours find it almost impossible to tap into world economic growth.
* Bad Governance in a Small Country – terrible governance and policies can destroy an economy with alarming speed

He suggests a number of relatively inexpensive but institutionally difficult changes:

1. Aid agencies should increasingly be concentrated in the most difficult environments, accept more risk. Ordinary citizens should not support poorly informed vociferous lobbies whose efforts are counterproductive and severely constrain what the Aid agencies can do
2. Appropriate Military Interventions (such as the British in Sierra Leone) should be encouraged, especially to guarantee democratic governments against coups
3. International Charters are needed to encourage good governance and provide prototypes
4. Trade Policy needs to encourage free-trade and give preferential access to Bottom Billion exports. At present “Rich-country protectionism masquerades in alliance with antiglobalization romantics and third world crooks”

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.

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