Inclusive innovation for development: The contribution of the Internet and related ICTs

6 November 2012 - A Workshop on Internet Governance for Development in Baku, Azerbaijan

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SEVENTH ANNUAL INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN

SUSTAINABLE HUMAN, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

6 NOVEMBER 2012

16:30 CET

WORKSHOP NO. 142

INCLUSIVE INNOVATION FOR DEVELOPMENT:

THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE INTERNET AND RELATED ICTS

 

 

 

 

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This text is being provided in a rough draft format.  Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.

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     >> VERENA WEBER:  Welcome to the workshop on inclusive innovation for development, the contribution of the Internet and related ICTs.

     One first housekeeping notice.

     Since we all want you to contribute because there are not that many people in the room, please don't lean against the wall because you will fall over and won't have any chance.

     Please stay away from the walls.  That will be great.

     I'm Verena Weber from the OECD.

     I'm delighted have so many interesting panelists today who have dealt an inclusive development from so many different angles and perspectives.

     I want to begin by introducing each of the panelists and then I would like to launch the discussion using research currently underway at the OECD on exclusive integration for development.

     Let me start to my right.

     We have room, founding chair and CE off of ICTs policy and regulation think tank active across emerging economies in southeast Asia and Pacific.  Before setting up learn Asia Rohan was a team leader at the ministry for economic reform, science and technology, where he was responsible for infrastructure reforms including the participation and design of the east Sri Lanka initiative.

     Maybe he can tell us more in a second.

     Then we have Siri Oswald, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she is currently working on increasing public access to information technology and to promote public libraries.

     Before she joined the Gates foundation, she worked in Washington for CRDF global, which is a not for profit organization that is focused on promoting peace and prosperity through international scientific collaboration.

     She told me she has been in Azerbaijan four or five times is that correct?  Extensive background on emerging country and development issues.

     To my right we have Anriette Esterhuysen, prior to joining she was the executive director of one of the members, sga net, an Internet service provider and training institution.

     Then to my left we have Wesley chang, director at oi consulting and there he is responsible for the regions of central ash and the Caucasia region, everything going to Mongolia, he told me a second ago.

     He has an extensive background in the private sector.  So his pass experience includes working at smart tone mobile and BTA south Pacific.

     Finally, to the far left, we have Anne?Rachel Inne, the chief operation officer and responsible for the development, implementation and management of budget at AfriNIC.  Prior to joining there she was manager of regional relations at ican where she was the primary link to the African community.

     So welcome to all of you.

     .

     We also have Alice Munya, but she is at a workshop and might join in a second.

    

     I would like to quickly introduce the topic.

     I'm afraid I have to go over to the laptop.

     The first question is why do we organize this workshop.

     And why do we care about inclusive innovation for development.

     So let me start with the term innovation.

     We really like the word at OECD but some people say it's pretty much a Buzz word.

     Why does innovation matter?  Because it helps drive social benefits and economic growth.  And any time these days that you say the word growth, policy makers will be really excited because that is what they are looking for desperately at the moment.

     But innovation can also be unbalanced if only certain members of the society have tools to innovate.

     If only certain segments of the population are benefiting from innovation.

     So this is why it's so important to focus on how innovation can be inclusive and how it can be applied effectively to development.

     Now, in the area of the Internet and related ICTs, we find innovation tools at several layers.

     One important layer is the infrastructure and the layers.  One the networks, and second the devices that operate on those networks.

     What we can see is that if you look at the chart, significant progress has been made to equip people around the world with the power of communication.

     So namely the mobile phone.

     So in the year 2000 we had, could you please switch this?  Perfect, now you can see thank you very much.

     At the year 2000 there were just over 700 million mobile subscribers but that number, in only 11 years, grew up to six billion mobile sub subscriptions around the world.  Tremendous growth.

     The world has much better access to mobile phones and these can be learned to support innovation throughout the economy and society.

     Now, the interesting question is how this has impacted the digital divide that we have seen a couple of years ago.

     So what you can see on this slide is the number of mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.  And the blue line is the developed world, and the green line is the developing world.

     You can also see that only a couple of years ago we had a digital divide, 2006?2007, and you can see in recent years, 2010 on, the divide is actually narrowing.  So very food news on this side.

     If you think of it, mobile phones are key part of the innovation puzzle because they are increasingly viewed as portable computers.

     So in fact we have long time used the term PC to refer to personal computers, but maybe we have to rethink it, and we have to term it pocket computer in the future.

     This is a chart from OECD countries, but what you see here is that mobile subscriptions are overtaking fixed line subscriptions, first over taking in 2009, and by now we can see there are roughly two mobile broadband subscriptions for eve fixed line subscriber in the OECD area.

     In fact this ratio is significantly higher in emerging and developing countries because fixed line networks have not been widely adopted, too pricey, or not very successful.

     Now, when we look at the digital divide for mobile broadband, this is a very interesting graph.

     So you remember the graph I just showed to you.  This is the graph for mobile broadband subscriptions.

     In fact you see that for both the developing world and the developed world, mobile broad brand subscriptions are increasing, but what you also see is that in the developed world, this is taking place at a much faster pace than in emerging and developing countries.

     So here you see a clear digital divide.  And the question will be, will this divide close, so will this curve just follow the other curve in a couple of years, or is this digital divide increasing actually.

     The second interesting thing to look at besides infrastructure and devices are applications, so what did you do with your devices, how do you do it, how do you use the Internet, how do you do business.

     What we can see in our report was that multiple new applications have developed in very important areas such as health, education, agriculture.

     What we also see is that especially for the disadvantaged groups, main benefits mainly came from a better access to quality information that these people didn't have before.

     So at this stage, we're still in an area where the biggest layer is access to information and not so much what you do with more sophisticated applications.

     Now, in terms of challenges, we could identify two main challenges.

     First of all, project sustainability is not great.  That means many applications that have been founded by foundations go out of business after, well, not many years left, or we can see there are no sustainable business cases.

     Applications work at the beginning but then fail and basically shut down.

     The second challenge that we see is it's very important to increase K O.

     Many applications work like a charm for small communities but the question is how do you make it available for larger group of people.

     This leads to key questions for discussion.

     First key question is inclusion versus exclusion.

     Does the Internet through related ICTs contribute to more inclusive or maybe exclusive development.

     Second area we would like to discuss, okay, if you want to take action, what should we do.  What are best practices.  What does work and what does not.

     And here we have a panel where people come from different regions, have different backgrounds, so it will be very interesting to bring those ideas together.

     Finally, what of course the OECD is interested in, what does that mean in terms of policy, what kind of policy do we have to develop in order to foster inclusive development

     I would now like to invite our panelists to comment on the experiences they have made in terms of inclusive development.

     So what have you seen, what are you working on, what has worked, and when needs improvement.

     And we might want to start with Rohan, thank you.

     >> ROHAN SAMARJIVA:  Thank you

     I was thinking that I'll talk about organizational innovation and inclusive growth at the same time, if I could.

     And then try to drag in the World Conference On international telecommunications if possible

     I run a think tank called learn atia, and we have been doing it for eight years.

     In this eight years we have done a lot of organizational innovation.

     I'm not going to be able to tell you all about it, but a little bit will come in here and there.

     Basically our thinking was that there were two issues, one that Verena referred to, too many pilot projects, too many isolate initiatives that were not sustainable and went out of business when the done nor money went April way.

     Our analysis was this was because policy and regulatory environment, particularly in record to infrastructure, the ICT infrastructure, was problematic, was wrong.

     Just to illustrate this, lots of people have started little projects in Indonesia, but the real problem in Indonesia according to us was that lease lines are extraordinarily expensive and nobody could sustain the payments being extorted from the ISPs who had to provide Internet services and there were not providing at levels of quality or price that were appropriate.

     So we did context specific, Indonesia and regional specific research and it took a year or two, but we engaged with the government.

     We used the line that said the leases were 48 times the price of India.  You can see we were using memes, comparative data, context specific information, and we got the prices down.  They were reduced by more than 50 percent.

     Now, I would argue that we have done more to bring Internet closer to the people of Indonesia than a lot of the people who with all good faith tried hard and volunteered and did hard work on the various pilot projects that crashed and burned.

     We can debate this.

     The issue is that we argue if people have more access to Internet, which is lower price, usually gets you more access, they tend to be able to do more things, either small businesses or as individuals, and that tends to contribute to inclusive growth.

     The macro studies, the correlations exist.

     So this is our contributions for inclusive growth.

     This is one story, we do this in a large number of countries.

     The question is, we would not be able to do it without a whole series of organizational innovations

     I went back to Sri Lanka in 1985 and tried do work like this and felt like a fish out of water.  I had no access to prior literature and was in trouble.  Two years later I packed up and went back to United States to teach.

     Today I don't think about access to prior work because in fact my access to the policy relevant literature from our region and from outside is actually much better than through one of the best libraries, university libraries that I had access to 10, 15 years ago.

     The great literature is easier to get through the Internet than through a library.

     I don't miss the library.  I do various things, but we can do our work with this organizational innovation.

     We run a virtual organization.  We have Skype conferences.  We use videos that we download from the Internet for our colloquia and training.

     We using it all the time and couldn't function without the Internet.

     Without us functioning I would argue you wouldn't get cheap Internet and inclusive growth.

     There is the linkage.

     Is there a danger?  Yes, the danger is called the World Conference on International Telecommunications.

     That is certain interests are proposing something called sending network party page, regime which didn't work for voice telephony, that they impose on the Internet.

     Bottom line is whenever I send or one of my researchers sends a request to a server in another country and the server gives us a video or big report, 4 or 5 mb report, the network would have to pay, the network that I'm on, a certain financial payment.

     Now, leave aside all the transaction costs that would make this a nonviable proposal, but I am making the request.  And somebody somewhere else has got to pay the bill, which is quite illogical.

     Now, if this were to go through, there are two possible things that will happen.  One is balkanization, which whole parts of the world will be cut off because we don't have enough purchasing power to make us attractive enough in advertising driven world.

     The other is that some other content will have to move behind payrolls.

     An organization like mine which does funded research might be able to jump over the pay walls but it would still increase our transaction costs considerably.

     And it would make the current organizational model that we have innovated to contribute to using the Internet and to contribute to inclusive growth quite unviable and we would have to rethink all that.  Which is one reason why I oppose these ill thought out, ill considered proposals to put the Internet in a straight jacket.

     Thank you.

     >> SIRI:  Most people probably know the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation primarily for work in healthcare, polio, HIV aids, or in agricultural development or financial services such as Mpesa, or if you live in the United States for work in secondary and post secondary education.

     But all of these elements have something in common, which is access to information.

     Which is why the Gates foundation has been funding work in public libraries for over 15 years, because we believe that access to information is crucial, as you said.  You can't live without the Internet.

     The sustainability issue and the scale issue you highlighted really strike a chord with me because it is specifically where the Gates foundation has chosen to partner with public libraries.

     There are over 230,000 public libraries in the developing world alone.  So that doesn't even count all the libraries in the developed world.

     These are 230,000 potential partners for development initiatives.  These are 230,000 preexisting institutions that have staff, that are trained, that are members of the community, that are trusted, and these are 230,000 places that are already receiving government funds.

     These institutions have received government investment already and just are not at moment being used to their full potential.

     We work in public libraries and with public libraries as partners for development efforts because we see this as an opportunity to maximize investments that governments are already making in development efforts.

     When you talk about the networks and devices, there's one other piece that I think needs to be layered on, and that is how.  How are people accessing these resources when that divide that was so nicely illustrated in the graph still exists.

     May be narrowing but doesn't mean it's not there.  We really need to be investing in other opportunities for these development efforts to take place.

     We see public libraries as actually a sustainable institution because of the government funding already invested in them and because of the commitments you see at local and national levels, these are not institutions that have been grated because a donor came in and decided to do a pilot project.  These are institutions that existed before a donor ever arrived.

     When you talk about scale, I think 230,000 represents a really nice scale and one that we should be maximizing in our work.

     I'm excited to hear more, and I'll stop right there.  But I just think that I want to champion public libraries as a solution to both of those challenges that you proposed.

     >> Thanks, Verena.

     It's interesting to launch right into the issue of pilots.  And I will touch on that.

     But just to tell you a little bit more about what my organization does, APC Association For Progressive Communications.

     We address this issue of innovation and ICTs for development on two levels.  On one level, application level.  For example, we would be doing support with projects that involve woman and small scale agriculture with a lot of capacity building and developing and supporting ideas for using technology, and they work.

     And on the other hand, we also work at the level of policy.

     And policy analysis and research which draws entirely on work of think tanks like learn Asia, and we also work closely with learn Asia's counterpart in Africa, ICT Africa, works on two areas, access firstly.

     Affordable access to infrastructure is really fundamental to innovation for development.

     But then we also work on policy that affects what people can do with that access once they have that.  That ranges from policy that impacts on intellectual property, for example, copyright, as well as freedom of information, freedom of expression

     I think that what we also do with our policy work on access, we try to identify issues that are currently creating bottleneck.

     A few years ago we worked on national broadband policy, and we worked in a few countries in Africa to try and create bottom oppression advocacy from civil society and business in partnership with government to create more open approaches, to the creation of national broadband, to get governments to understand they don't need to do it all themselves.

     What they need to do is to create an enabling environment for that infrastructure to be developed.

     Then we would also hone in on an issue that we are currently working on which is spectrum and particularly the digital migration process, and how that has the potential for making more spectrum available for mobile broadband.

     Think just a note on that.  When I looked through your report, it seemed to me at times there's an assumption that mobile broadband is about having smart phones at the other end.

     But in fact in areas where there is no mobile broadband, mobile brand band is broadband for laptops, for servers, just the infrastructure we need.

     But now to comment on the issue of pilots.  I think, I always feel there are three design flaws in ICT for development innovation and this constant problem that repeats itself, that upscaling doesn't happen and pilots fail

     I think the first one is sequence, and I think Rohan touched on that.  Unless you have the infrastructure available, it has to be cheap enough, many initiatives are not going to be sustainable

     I think what happened with the donor communities, there was a tendency to implement and develop applications before the infrastructure environment was ready for it to roll out.

     That is not necessarily a bad thing because one does learn a lot through that process

     I think the second design flaw a really just how the projects are designed.

     I'm not an engineer, though I think I would like the have been one.  But there is an assumption that you develop something that works on a small scale, and if it works well on a small scale, you can then roll it out at a legislature scale.

     And actually that just doesn't often work out, because when you design something to work on a small scale, you design it very definitely from how you would design something that is intended to work at large scale

     I think this is something the business community understands.  I don't think development agencies and the donor community necessarily understands this all that well.

     Then I think the third design flaw has been time frames.  I think many of these pilots have just not been given enough time to work

     I think again here, I think the business community again is better at dealing with this.  It's generally less risk averse, it's more of an understanding that failure is part of the innovation process, and that a certain percentage of your start?ups are not going to work

     I think in the donor community and the development community, there's very low tolerance for that.

     Just to think model, just to end on what I think is a more effective model for us to think about, rather than upscaling, is replication

     I think in ICT for development, often innovations, in the case of public access for libraries working well in one library or country, can work well if you replicate it, but replication in other sites or places with customization, with change, with adaptation

     I think in our kind of innovation for development world, that is often a better model than simply going, assuming you can go from pilot to upscaling.

     I'll leave it that the for now and come back later.

     >> Okay, Anriette mentioned business knows how to do the trick.  How to do with scale and time frames, looking forward to your statement.

     >> Thank you, IGF, and thank you for the invitation for me to share.

     Before we go into specifics I just look at research.  You talk quite a bit about infrastructure.

     In terms of international connectivity, in terms of summary cables, mobile brand bad as way to bring broadband service to the developing countries and especially the less disadvantaged communities.

     In that sense, I'd like to share a little bit of my practical experience.

     When we think about infrastructure, there are better ways and smarter ways to implement in a more cost effective way.

     Just keep your example, the region I'm operating, central Asia and Caucasia, many of these countries are historical link into Russia.

     Even today the most popular e?mail address is dot RU even though I'm sending an e?mail to the guy next to me, say going to Moscow and coming back.

     Many of the social networking, popular sites also based there.  I'm sending a photo, sharing with my friends in a local community, but the traffic still going back and forth.

     Building up infrastructure internationally is expensive.  So alternatively, smarter way, in some of the countries in this region start to realize, they start to develop ITC data center and invite those service providers to host e?mail service, social networking service in a data center located locally.  So the traffic does not need to travel all the way back and forth.

     So this is one way to get a better communication without spending a lot of money.

     The other thing about national broadband and very much linking to mobile brand band as shown in the chart, our view is actually a cost effective Internet broadband in a country is a mix of fiber or mobile or wifi and even satellite.

     If you think of a so?called poor country or developing country, there are big cities there, lots of concentrated economies where you will find laying fiber is more cost effective than going for mobile.

     And for small villages, if you have a village of 50 people, 100 people, what is the point to cell mobile phone?  You can go next?door instead of calling someone

     I remember the issue of National Geographic, when I call someone, I go to his room and call.

     In that case a satellite network might be more effective in terms of shared Internet usage for education, for e health.

     Our approach when we think of rolling out broadband network in a country, especially developing countries where we have huge experience, we believe infrastructure wise we should be a mix carefully designed to automatize.

     Then the research report that I read also talked about surface charge of broadband Internet service as a measurement of the affordability, and see how popular that is.

     My real experience is when we talk about affordability, it's not just the service charge, it's the entire value change, including devices.

     In many countries that I'm operating, I found that one of the key barriers is not about a service charge.  Many of the telecom service providers are telling me that, hey, we have 3 G network but no one is using.  Why?  Because people cannot buy a phone.

     When we think about especially Internet phone, so when we think about how to promote Internet service, even to disadvantaged people, not necessarily mobile is the answer.  Really depends on situations.

     So a little bit of sharing on the technology behind.

     Then going back to the inclusion and exclusion of the Internet.

     Bawa has helped launch national broadband network in many countries.

     What we found is definitely the benefit of such projects helping those countries, especially the large scale projects, which we found that is very useful.

     Actually job creation, if you think there's many research talking about different countries when they roll out huge Internet infrastructure like that, the reason report I read, Germany ten years to roll out national broadband.  But in the construction itself you create 980,000 jobs directly linking to that.

     Then it stimulates about 400,000 jobs because of the innovation and service applications.

     So job creation is a direct impact.

     Then there are many research reports including a research report by w world band economics, saying every ten percent increase leads to 1.5 to 1.3 growth GDP.

     So there's a direct linkage between broadband penetration and GDP.

     When I think about inclusion and exclusion, I'm not just thinking within the society the rich and poor.  It's also international wise.  There are some less advantaged countries, who we can help them to build up the national competitive advantage, competitive edge.

     So this kind of Internet project, especially national level, definitely can bring up the national competitiveness from a country perspective.

     So that I think is also to the good point.

     The last thing is very easy to understand is on the e education and e health, when we launch Internet.

     Just to conclude my introduction, when we talk about all these inclusions, what you realize is many of the benefits are not directly linked to any individual commercial entity.  GDP improve.  What does that mean to Bawa or telecom operator?  Job creation has very minimal value for a purely commercial.  But it's really serving the community, the country, most of the country men benefit.

     This is why for projects like this it should really lead and drive by the government who are having all these benefits.

     I'm not saying the government should do it, should put the money itself, but should take the leadership and structure the framework which I think we will address at the end of the third question.

     So government really plays a very important role in bringing this forward.

     Here I would like to finish my comments.

     Thank you very much, and thank you OECD for inviting me on this panel.

     I'm here also as one of the representatives of iTOC, the Internet technical advisory committee of the OECD.

     And basically it's a collection of technical organizations that is composed with regional Internet registries, people like ICANN, ISOC, and a few others that help to shape policies in terms of looking also, when policies are done, as Verena was saying, what could be their impact if the thinking about the infrastructure hasn't taken place.

     So we do believe that, and we see a direct correlation between the development of infrastructure, local content, and economic growth.

     Infrastructure, one of the things we do as regional Internet registries, and I come from the African one, today the distribution of the IP protocol version 6.  It's not so, no longer such, let's say, normative thing, but it is the one thing that would actually help us bring up even more services and things in whatever economic growth we can see on the Internet next.

     So this is one of the things that we're dealing.

     And when I take that one part exclusively in terms of inclusion and execution, we can see its impact in terms of development of infrastructure.  The development of infrastructure leads to also development of content when there is, as anriette was saying, the policies that are put together in terms of the appropriation and use of IPV 6 in countries are essential to make sure that this growth happens.

     So we definitely, this is one of the things that we have been working on.

     Related with that then, networks need to, as Wesley was saying, to be talking to each other, but also in talking to each other, what they do, they bring the information.  The local information.  To people.

     As some of us said here, the information is very important for people.

     So how do you make that information available.

     One.

     Second.  How do you make it affordable.

     Third, how do you make sure that this is something that is really used on a daily basis.  Because there's no latency, because the network is available 24 x 7, so the infrastructure is following on a regular basis.

     So IXPs, the Internet exchange points, the IP addresses, the DNS services in general in countries.  And of course things like having instances of root servers which are some of the things that we're doing in helping the communities to install them so that there's less latency in, you know, reaching the information is something that is very important.

     We have welcomed actually an OECD study on interconnection that has been praised by the African union, and this is one of the things that shows that when people realize what can be the benefit of this thing, then the policies follow.

     This is one study that was done by OECD but is now being taken by other regions because it's really something that has shown that it is important to keep traffic local, to make it affordable, and to make sure that it's accessible to people.

     So that is really important.

     And we have definitely, we welcome that one.

     We also have worked with, we are hoping that we will continue to actually work with the OECD on the global intersection thing because this is one of the things that we have seen is at the crux of what Rohan was talking about earlier on in terms of what is going on today into the ITRs, international telecommunications regulations, making content accessible, making sure that it doesn't cost more.

     For those who are still not there.

     One of the things that we have to realize is that we still, not that many on this Internet thing.  Compared to the many who are out there still not connected.

     So when we get there, funny enough, we were discussing yesterday, the next billion users are so going to be more of the talking users in terms of the mobility of the devices that they have, but also because they come from emerging areas where people are less literate in the regular languages that we have today on these devices.

     How do we make sure first that their languages are accessible on the Internet

     I was just on a panel on internationalized domain names, and we can see that is also, it's there but it's still not being taken up as quickly as we thought it could to domain names were available in people's languages.

     Korea, one of the best case studies, is still having issues.  Why?  Because the devices are not recognizing some of the applications that are on the devices.

     So how do you say, your mobile phone is not recognizing a browser, information that speaks Arabic or is written from right to left or from, you know, top to down.

     So these are all the issues that still need to be worked on.  So in taking action, of course, we talked about some of the things that have to be worked on, equipment makers, browser industry, the coding people.

     Then the policy, the policy issues also.  Because unless there is a will also from countries to talk about, to bring content in languages that people understand, it won't happen.

     In a lot of countries, in my region, in Africa, for example, a lot of the content we have right now is only in what we call official languages.

     Those official languages are not accessible.  Even though the information is there, they are not accessible to the guy who is, you know, is not literate.

     He still wouldn't know.  Though the information is available, he still wouldn't know how to go get, ask for my birth certificate because everything is written in the language that is not really reachable to him.

     So these are all in a nutshell, going from the IP addresses all the way to the policy issues, this is really some of the things that we're working on not only at, you know, the technical level, but really involving the local communities and working with anywhere from the education people, we have funds that help research and education, for example, to one of the awards that we will give tomorrow for example is the Public Medical Journal online, which is really absolutely fantastic.

     But again it is only English right now, for example.

     So we need to make the effort to render that information in many more languages that will be accessible to even more people.  Anywhere from the disadvantaged to the youth to women to the professionals who really want to go in there but are literate in other languages

     I will stop here and then we can have a discussion.

     Thank you.

     >> Thank you very much to you all for your presentation

     I would like to ask participants in the workshops, do you have any questions for the people on the floor regarding their presentations.

     And could you please quickly introduce yourself.

     Thank you.

     >> Hi, I'm Troy lane, I'm here with, can you hear me?

     Okay.

     I'm hear wearing my World Bank hat.

     Two questions for wawa and Gates foundation.

     In September Reuters quoted the CEO of wawa saying you're considering a new mobile operating system.

     I wanted to know if that is true or not.

     Sorry, can you?

     You can't hear it now?

     Okay, sorry.

     Question is whether Wawa is developing a new mobile operator system for mobile phones.

     It was reported by Reuters in September that the CEO said in case we can't work with android anymore we might develop our own

     I was wondering if it's true, and if it is, is it going to be original or a fork of android.

     The get for Gates foundation, is your libraries program at all supporting optical character recognition for turning written text into digital text.

     Then the follow on software which would be the text to voice software to deliver written materials via audio, via mobile phones.

     >> Okay, maybe I answer first.

     To your question, I think it's a little bit out of the scope of this forum.

     So I don't want to make any comment in this forum.

     Sorry.

     >> SIRI:  When we have supported those types of efforts it has been primarily to provide access to disadvantaged populations with particular needs, those who might be visually impaired might use software for example to have access to printed materials in an easier and more accessible way.

     But are we actually funding the ability to digitize printed materials, no, we are not directly funding that.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  Other questions from the floor?

     This is not a case.

     Sorry.  Yes.

     >> Did you talk about difficult to access content in local languages.

     What about government programs to connect local communities and server communities to content in local languages?  It would be a good way to improve content in the web and to improve the life of people in the local language.

     >> Can I try to address this?

     It's very interesting question in the sense that especially I go to many developing countries.

     What I found that is not just about Internet infrastructure.  It's about ecosystem to develop applications, contents and innovations are not there.

     Let me explain a little bit.

     If you are in the United States and Europe, you brilliant ideas, then very easy to find Angel fund, seed fund, and there will be companies to bring your concept into commercial product.

     Most people have credit cards and your service can post on android market and very easily cell phone nation wise.

     In developing countries, first of all the Angel fund might not be easy to find, secondly, no one give you a technical environment to develop the product.  Thirdly, there's no commercial guidance helping you to bring concept into a product.

     Lastly, you will find difficult that because people don't use credit card, then where is your distribution channel, how do you collect the money.

     So this ecosystem is not there, which hinders the local content, the local applications, the local innovations.

     So the way I look at it, there are ways different people can coordinate.

     One of the key players that I have in mind is actually the telecom operators, especially the leading operators in those countries.

     If you think of it, what they have is they definitely know how to do business.

     So bringing product commercialized.

     Secondly, they have the technical environment.

     Thirdly, because they have the payment building relationship customers, so they are easy to distribute a service and collect the money back.

     But what is that to the commercial world, what does that mean?

     That is actually very good opportunity for operator to instead of developing service content themselves, they can by putting some seeding fund, get ownership and control of such applications and services.

     And they can promote an innovation image to the society and to the target customers they like.

     So it's actually a win?win situation

     I think that is one way to crack it instead of just say we promote local content.

     We need to fund a framework, a rule of games that makes the commercial companies have incentive to do and that also stimulates local innovations, contents and applications.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  I think both Anriette and (inaudible).

     .

     >> I agree it's an Internet approach.

     There are lots of pitfalls.  Lack of the local content, locally useful content, content in local languages is one of those very obvious development problems that I think is often solved in the wrong way or a way not sustainable

     I do think it's important for governments to create incentives, to stimulate the production of content.

     But I think it needs to be done at an ecosystem level.  For example to make sure that public education planning and systems and everyone from teachers to the ones that develop strategies, are able to understand the potential of the Internet in supporting content flows.

     It's also important for governments to make information about public services available on the Internet and in local languages

     I think the notion that you can solve this problem by governments creating content or even NGOs creating content is not always sustainable.  Because the world of information is so fluid and so dynamic.  And it's not always easy to create the content that people really want and to know that that is the content they really want.

     Public institutions definitely need to take responsibility for making content available in local languages

     I think in addition, I think the one point you might not have made, is user generated content.

     Think what we see on the Internet at the moment is this explosion of user generated content and applications

     I think that is where at your ecosystem level human development is extremely important.

     To not assume just that people are illiterate but also to make sure that there are initiatives that address that.

     The other thing that is extremely important is freedom of information, freedom of communication, an environment where people feel they can create and share and shape content effectively.

     Again, infrastructure

     I think that is one of the things, you know, the graph that you showed in your report of the growing broadband gap is an extremely disturbing, that is a very disturbing trend.  Because user generated content, user generated applications, processes that have shaped the Internet into what it is today, really do depend on broadband.

     And if you don't have broadband in developing countries, you have a knowledge gap and a content creation gap growing.

     In answer to your question, I think it's important to address it but not at a simplistic level by just creating content from the top down in local languages.

     >> They said it all but I think I'm going add one more thing, which is that for me there's at least one part that is a top?down content that can still be created by governments.

     This is about the e citizenship stuff.

     Okay?

     This is about getting my birth certificate on line.

     This is one thing that my government can do for me.

     Utilities in general, you know, in all countries are something that are still state, you know, either sponsored or owned.

     So if I can pay my bill on line, if I can pay my water and electricity bill on line, that would be perfect.

     Ask for my passport on line.

     When you think about data that is all for e health, okay, anywhere from correlating people's information all the way to making the information accessible is something that governments can still do.

     E education, curricula available on line, you know, pushing people to learn local languages

     I was on another panel talking about IDNs, as I said, and one of the things that my region is doing, yeah, for the longest time we haven't used local languages.

     We went all the way to having the ministerial African education ministerial saying that dual track education should be a standard.

     This is one of the things that should happen.

     That content should be available.  For kids, for adult literacy.

     This is part of the content that I think still has some valid top?down interest and is part of the policies that government can put in place to make that happen.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  Rohan.

     >> ROHAN SAMARJIVA:  Very happy to join in this conversation regarding innovation, particularly with the local applications

     I think what we are seeing is that particularly with the android developments that have come in, lots of young people are seeing an incredible opportunity.  Low barriers to entry in terms of developing location specific applications.

     In local languages or even in the official languages.  Oriented to particular times and places.

     One of the things that we have been looking at is agriculture.  In our own work.

     One of the main recommendations that we are making to government, there's a lot of information that is inside the government that they are having trouble getting to the farmers.

     We are saying get it out with the APIs so these young people can have the raw material to work with.

     Of course there are some sort of conditions to this.

     For example, if the buses don't actually run on time, there's no point in giving the government timetables out.  Because you do applications based on irrelevant or unreal time tables, you're not going to get something of how much value.

     But at least where there is useful information, I think it would be very useful to get the government information out with the API so that they can use it.

     One point I want to refer back to the report, since everybody seems to come back to it, the so?called mobile broadband gap.

     Everybody relies on the ITU for this information.

     We have been engaging with ITU for the last two years about how they can improve the quality of their data

     I would caution you that this particular number that they are reporting is highly problematic.

     The Internet user number that they are reporting is not worth the paper it's written on for most countries.

     Just to give an example, in Afghanistan the ratio 2010 Internet users and subscribers is one to 500, and in Burundi, a country in similar circumstances, the multiplier arbitrarily applied to the number of subscribers is 13.  Doesn't seem to make sense.

     They don't know how to count mobile brand band numbers and they are not admitting it.  So you're getting an undercount in some cases and overcount in other cases.

     It's sad that since it comes out of a U.N. agency everybody takes it seriously.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  If there are at the moment no more questions I would like to move to the area of pole.

     What kind of new policies do we have to develop.

     And so the scenario would be the following.

     Panelists, you would need a minister of information, communication technology, and you can put forward two or three priorities.

     What you think should be developed, what is not already in place, what kind of policies should be developed

     I would invite Rohan and Leslie to focus on infrastructure policies.

     Siri and Anriette and myself to focus on application area, and also to policies in other areas.

     So what kind of other policies there are, for instance, education, finance, et cetera, would have to be developed at the same time than pure ISP policies.

     What wants to start?  Rohan?

     >> ROHAN SAMARJIVA:  The basic issue is that wired solutions are not going to be very effective in most of the countries that we work in.

     They may be effective, as Wesley correctly said, in particular highly densely populated particular places.  But the general rule that we are talking about is that in the developed countries and in the city centers, people will be reaching the Internet across a few meters of wireless.  And in the rest of our countries they will be reaching the Internet across a few kilometers of wireless.

     One of the most important things is getting the frequencies, the spectrum story right.

     You heard the minister from Afghanistan say they had issued 3G licenses.

     Now, I would invite you to travel through India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and in none of these countries you're going to get a 3G signal.  Even though India has issued 3G licenses, you're not going to get a 3G signal because it has been so delayed and so tied up in various kinds of bureaucratic malfunctions that 3G is not available.

     I'm talking to people talking about making 4 G available in papa new guinea.

     In pilot, the 3G licenses just started last month in southeast Asia and they are going to be tied up in court a few more months.

     So that is extremely important that we make the frequencies available.  That is the raw material.  For most of the people they will come in on mow devices or dongles.  Even in telecenters people are using them to connect to mobile abuse there's more competition and play in coming through that door.

     I'm not saying anybody should decree that to be the case but that is the relate.

     The fixed wireless solutions that people had great hope in are not really playing out too well right now.

     The bottom line is we need to have low price points and a budget model, what we call a budget telecom network model.  That is what connected our people to voice, that is what will connect our people to data.

     So that is I think the highest priority.

     And around that we have to get around this whole debate about licensing and exit market entry and market exit rules, talking, corruption corruption corruption all the time isn't going to get our people connected.

     We need to get this straightened out.

     Market entry and spectrum would be my highest priorities if I were to have five minutes of my minister's time.

     Thank you.

     >> Wesley:  Okay, from infrastructure perspective, when we talk to give government bodies, what we found the common things are, first in the policy how is the guarantee of commercial service executed.

     That protection the interest of all stakeholders in terms of large projects.

     When we talk about national broadband projects, each country typically can only support one or two such infrastructure because we want to minimize the investment in terms of minimizing the duplications.

     So if someone is building such a network, how can we ensure that either rich or poor people, or walks of life, can enjoy such service.

     Universal coverage and penetration guarantee is one of the key issues.

     The other is because such network only have one or two, so fair competition and access rules, and also pricing is very important.

     On one hand, we want this network to support all service providers, all telecom operators, all participants in the value chain to be able to utilize this network.

     On the other hand, we also need to protect someone who does the investment into the single network, because if the price, if you ask all the ones who want to use it, they will say cheap price.  But then who invest, take years to invest into such huge project, they also want investment protection.

     The rules should clearly state how to let other people to using it, and on the other hand, how to protect such investment.

     The third thing is typically such a project would involve investment incentive.  Because as I said, the benefit of such improvement in Internet penetration, not just benefit.  Any commercial companies to also stimulate job creation, GDP, health, education.

     We see many governments, they trying to put incentive in terms of tax incentive, in terms of low interest rate loans.  Sometimes they participate in some of the funding.  So this will stimulate the incentive for people to invest in.

     The last part is governments set up the rules for stimulating the ecosystem establishment.

     As many of the participants and also myself, I recognize NGOs and governments are not very creative and innovative when we talk about services.

     So it's better to set up rules to stimulate, to encourage innovations and local contents and local servers, in building up this ecosystem.

     So these are the key areas.

     As from Wawa, we are no longer just selling phones and boxes, we are providing advisories to governing bodies in this area.

     So these are the key areas that we face and we are asked by many of the ministers in different countries.

     Thank you.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  Siri, do you want to continue on the application layer?

     >> Sure, so many governments are invested a tremendous amount of resources in e government services and promoting their government transparency and accountability but they haven't invested in anything in the uptake on those services.

     So I would actually challenge governments to examine the partnerships they have with a variety of institutions, and enable an environment that allows those participate ships to expand and to receive support both financial and infrastructure, to help the government achieve its goals.

     Right now there's a lot of money, to be honest, that is being a little wasted because the information is not being used in the way that it could.

     That is where I would challenge the government, to start thinking more creatively about their partnerships, look at institutions that already exist, and make sure those institutions can have access to the resources that help the government meet its priorities.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  Anriette.

     >> I really support what Siri is saying

     I think maybe what I would say to the minister is to sit down in a room with other ministers, in fact to get the whole cabinet together, and to really think seriously about where does information and communication fit into the national vision for social human and economic development

     I still encounter that so many governments that don't have a comprehensive vision for that.  They would invest in establishing call centers, for example, and see that as a driver for revenue generation and job creation, but they wouldn't look at what are the resources that the education system needs to flourish and function well

     I think Siri's example is excellent example.

     There's so much money going into e government and not enough money going into good government

     I think that is the other thing I would say to the minister.  And that is that innovation in service delivery is not a substitute for really citizen oriented, people centered service delivery

     I think governance needs to be stronger and sounder and more robust, and there needs to be more transparency and accountability.  I think that is also very important.

     Institutions, the other thing.  Think often governments tend to once they get the idea that ICT and innovation for development an is an important area, they tend to look for pilot or show case projects they can invest in instead of investing at the institutional layer, an infrastructure where there are intermediate areas, for spin off

     I think libraries are important.  Don't have to be paper, but places where people can come for information and sharing

     I think universities, research institutions, think tanks, I think that is very important.

     Often ministers look for some quick or for a direct investment to attractively be drawn in

     I think finally, I think Siri also touched and Wesley, that it has to be multi stake holder

     I think governments cannot tackle this alone

     I think when they do, they often do it badly

     I think having partnerships with business, with civil society, also doing research, having assessment and channelling the learning of that into how ongoing development and tax base, I think is also all extremely important.

     >> Thank you, Verena.

     I'm going to throw a few flowers at OECD first.

     We will be happy to work on the interconnection following the study on exchange point.

     We have seen the value of that and seen several regions being very interested in that study.

     We also have seen in another study that we conducted together the relationship between log development, Internet development and access prices, a study available actually right now on the Internet Society website.

     It illustrates a lot.

     So I would like to also encourage the OECD to go out of their regular clan and to broaden its partnership, yes, outside of the OECD economies to ensure corporation and development.

     In doing so, one of the things that I would advocate for our community is really the take?up and appropriation of this new protocol without which there wouldn't be any Internet.

     IPV 6 which is one of the reasons also why we have been working with the governments to show them that yeah, the one Internet that we have right now has reached capacity.

     You know?  If we stay on V 4, there won't be any development.

     We need to make sure that interconnection happens, that networks talk to each other.

     Any new services that will come absolutely need that new protocol to flourish.

     That is really something that I think we can work together and make sure that infrastructure is in place.  Hopefully as Anriette, Siri and others said, if the content and holistic thinking can happen locally, we might end up with, yeah, social economic development.

     Thank you.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  Thank you very much.

     Before we close this workshop, one or two last questions from the floor to the panelists.

     Yes please.

     >> Thank you.  Mawati chango, APC.

     The previous rounds I was at this issue of user generated content.

     Actually it follows very well through the second round of discussion because one of the issues that I encounter when I have the opportunity to talk to people about this problem is that a program of the culture of information.

     We talk about the information society which will be at the basis of anything else information.

     For money or whatever

     I realize actually a lot of people, I mean there's a lack of approach to information, a lack of understanding of information as an asset, an is an information or technical artifact, how to cure ate information, how to develop information, how to manage information and categorize information so it can be quickly available for people who actually need information to create webs or any added value.

     That is, you know, was related

     I was discussing in the organization, actually in the research related to organization, there was a lady who was telling me (breaking up) from some of her colleagues, and when she went to that place to get the information which was published in printed materials, she was handed material at the right page the information was.

     The other person holding the paper to hide the rest of the pages.

     So she could only get the information that she expressly asked for.

     So I'm talking about a country, talking about Ghana, of all places, is a country where economic growth has been praised to be very advanced in the last couple of years.

     So what will happen if I find myself in charge, for example.

     If that is happening with research centers in Ghana, imagine where we are.  What needs to be done to bring that information culture, the understanding that information needs to be disseminated, information needs to be shared and created by people (breaking up).

     Maybe with a needs to be done, have you given any thoughts on that kind of thing.

     What kind of technology do we need to put in place to change that situation.

     Thank you.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  Siri, do you have a very quick answer to that question?

     >> I think you raise a really important challenge, that we all are facing with.

     And we don't have enough time to go into all of it.

     But I would say it's a cultural shift and it's a such a shift at many levels.  At the government level.  So there needs to be a government attitude that information is free and accessible and open to all.

     But then at the individual knowledge worker level.  So either the librarian or research information service provider to say whatever you are coming in to ask for should be available to you.

     And where we are seeing that shift happen in places where it has been challenging it's revolutionary

     I will also say there are institutions where librarians, it's their core mission, and it's why we're a proponent of libraries because the cultural shift has already happened.

     >> VERENA WEBER:  One last question from the floor?

     Yes, please.

     Yes, I heard it.

     In fact, this report is brand new.

     We presented it to our member countries two weeks ago.

     But we hope that it will be available on the web page in three or four weeks.

     So this is WWW OECD.org/STI/ICT.

     Otherwise write me an e?mail.  I welcome your comments and suggestions at verena.weber at OECD.org.

     You will find my name in the program and on the website.

     The name is spelled right here.

     On your right side there's a screen.

     There.

     Okay. 

     I would like to thank all the panelists for the very interesting discussion.

     Of course I would like to thank you for participating in this what I thought was a very interesting workshop, and for staying until six o'clock.

     Thank you very much.

 

 

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This text is being provided in a rough draft format.  Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.

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