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How important is the Internet and Technology to the Progress of Developing Countries Iain McNaught.

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Presentation on theme: "How important is the Internet and Technology to the Progress of Developing Countries Iain McNaught."— Presentation transcript:

1 How important is the Internet and Technology to the Progress of Developing Countries Iain McNaught

2 Big Divisions … Percentage of Continent using Internet* – Africa = 2.7% – Asia = 9.0% – Europe = 35.2% – North America = 68.2% Clearly a big divide – Is it a concern though – do developing countries really need to be online at this stage. *Internet World Stats-

3 Reasons for the Divide Many African governments have unbeneficial policies concerning technology – Protection of large public Telco Governments often dont allow smaller regional telecomms companies to connect countries locally – would damage the large Telco Illegality of VOIP – Only for the benefit of the public Telco Would you drive from here to Dundee and back to go to Morrisons? Probably not… Most routing in Africa has to go through North America – Africa spends $400million talking to itself – ITU Important for the people to support local projects, lobby the governments for change, companies should host content locally even if its more expensive in the short term

4 So what can technology and the Internet actually do for a Developing Nation 3 Key areas – Health – Education – Business

5 Health Many health websites on the internet Unclear how much of the information can be trusted Reliable information could be used to help give information on how to combat certain disease Problem is that major diseases are borne out of poverty itself – Hard to see how technology can help fight against AIDs, Malaria, TB. Would it not be better to spend money training a handful of professionals rather than providing lot of data to many

6 Health - Satellife Charity setup to bring health information to the developing world via technology – 10,000 people in 120 countries sharing information electronically Various projects – Recent project involved providing health care workers with hand held computers Easy access to information

7 Education Students in developing countries miss out on wealth of information Internet offers School in Uruguay - $100/book – Due to high cost of importation – $100/subject/class = Many$ – Only teacher can have a copy $100 can now actually get you a laptop

8 $100 Laptop MIT have formed a non-profit organisation called OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) Target is ambitious – 1Billion Children worldwide to have a laptop each So how so cheap? – No need for sales, marketing, distribution and profit – Modern day laptops consume a lot of power in running bloated applications. – Comparable with a large suspension cable – most of the strength ends up being in supporting itself These laptops will run lightweight Linux Operating System and rely upon open source software Challenge is to then get these machines online

9 Business Information is very important for businesses Everybody at every level of a business needs access to information Investors, students, employees, citizens in general need information about: – Operation of organisations – Re-selling to other business users or to customers – Choosing goods and services to make Information comes in various forms – business journals, textbooks bulletins, reports, standard specifications, and correspondence Can be very hard to locate and store masses of information – Technology can play a key role here

10 Business Many tales of developing world business doing great things through internet – San Salvador man who sold coffee beans for a record price using the internet – Disintermediation – man was able to sell directly to his distributors. Interesting to here such stories but lets take a closer look at what the Internet can do for a small third world village

11 Rovieng, Cambodia Very primitive village – No telephone service – Houses connected by dirt track – Locals made money working in the rice fields – Very disconnected from the Western World Could compare to middle of the Amazon jungle Eskimos in Northern Canada So very remote indeed

12 Experiment: Internet In Rovieng American aid organisation gave the funds for handful of desktops and a satellite for internet connection What were the results? – Locals started making scarves again Traditional art that died out during Khmer Rouges reign of terror – Used the Internet to sell scarves

13 Profits Profits from scarf selling were used to start pig farming business in the village Good money was made from pig farming – Local people were now making as much money in a month as they did in a year in the rice fields Children could finish their education instead of dropping out to work to support their family

14 Sustainable Development Sustainable development defined as – a characteristic that enables a development program to survive once the proponents disassociate themselves Very important that people can support themselves and continue to do so – even after help is no longer being given – Better to give a man a fishing net than a fish Signs of this in Rovieng as the people showed enterprise and are now making money for themselves – Aid agency still paying for the running of the satellite however

15 Success Story? In this example this village were very lucky to get the help they got – Aid agencies have limited budgets – How much of these budgets should be geared towards projects such as this one – Cant really start installing satellites in places that are even worse off – I.e. no clean water Cases like this then money could be better allocated – Its possible that projects such as this are not cost effective in the long run Really depends on how enterprising the people can be

16 Conclusions Internet and other technology have a definite place in terms of developing nations – Can be useful in health, education and business – Helps contribute to sustainable development Integration of technology should be gradual and should not impede too much on budgets for other things e.g vacinnations, infrastructure, sanitation

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