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ACCELERATING THE EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUTH  
ICT

Information & Communication Technology

Information & Communication Technology (ICT) is is a sub-theme under NAM CSSTC’s recurrent themes in economic field. It is the key to accelerate development and self-reliance among NAM member countries. However, the implementation of ICT on a global scale has caused widening digital divide, not only between developing and developed countries but also among NAM member countries.

Establishing the NAM CSSTC Networking System with NAM Member Countries

Ensuring universal access to lCT facilities is critical to overcome this growing disparity. But this can be difficult in developing countries-including in many NAM member countries-where mere basic infrastructure such as electricity and telephone lines, especially in rural areas, are not available.

With this in mind, NAM CSSTC held an expert group meeting in March 2001 in Jakarta to discuss establishment of a NAM CSSTC networking system. Representatives from five regions-East Asia and the Pacific, Africa, South and Central Asia, Latin America and West Asia-reported on their networking status and plan. The countries in these regions have varying levels of connectivity and e-readiness with, in general, a much lower penetration ratio than developed countries.

The meeting therefore recommended that the goal for the establishment of the NAM networking system should be encouraging and furthermore, producing regional policies to develop ICT capacity and capability of NAM member countries in order to narrow the digital divide.

What benefits would NAM member countries gain from joining the network? First, they would have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of other NAM member countries with regard to, for example, ICT policy, infrastructure, regulatory framework and so on. They would also have access to training programme and information on conventional and innovative initiatives for cost-effective networking; access to funding resources and skill databases; and channel for finding partners to collaborate on various projects. A major benefit would be the collective voice which could increase bargaining power in international forums.

With the rapid expansion of ICT capacity and e-commerce in an increasingly liberal world market, the need to establish a networking system is very urgent. The meeting therefore concluded that immediate action should be taken to establish regional e-linkages in West, South and Central Asia, as well as Latin America, all are linked to the NAM Networking System. For East Asia and the Pacific, the target is to develop the interconnectivity and interoperability frameworks to establish such a system. In the Africa region, meanwhile, the priority is to develop capacity and capability to establish regional networking. The meeting recommended that e-NAM Task Force be formed, with associated working groups, working on organisational and technological infrastructure issues in order to realize the NAM Networking System.

 

Setting Up e-linkages Among NAM Member Countries Through NAM CSSTC

Establishing regional electronic linkages among NAM member countries and strengthening their ICT capacities have been a major thrust of NAM CSSTC's activities in 2001. The expert group meeting in March recommended several immediate actions to set up the NAM Networking System. As a follow-up to this, a meeting was held in August to discuss the technical feasibility of establishing regional linkages, one of  important products of the meeting was a series of manuals on e-readiness: "Self-assessment for E-readiness" (one volume), "Improving E-readiness" (three volumes, for basic, developing and advanced levels) and a supporting reference, "Computer History and Development".

With the self-assessment manual, the forthcoming e-readiness survey will yield accurate figures on e-readiness at national level. This would also be an important first step towards establishing regional e-linkages.

Participants discussed various means for promoting the participation of NAM member countries in the NAM CSSTC Networking System; this included the enhancement of NAM CSSTC's website, for example, by hyperlinking it to individual member country websites, and improving Internet security issues.

Experts from the different countries raised various issues on this topic, among others the need to recognize the importance of regional groupings in the network, the need for databases, and the need to make member country governments aware of the importance of ICT diffusion and connectivity.

Eliciting government support is crucial since NAM CSSTC itself is not in a position to fund infrastructural upgrading in the respective countries-this has to be the responsibility of the countries themselves. However, e-leadership seminars and trainings could be arranged at regional or national level by NAM CSSTC in cooperation with the respective countries. The feasibility of finding low priced computers for electronic tele-centres in the rural areas is being examined.

 

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19 - 23 November 2018  
Dispatch of Experts: Advanced Training on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness & Advanced Training on Essential New Born Care

  

  

  

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