IFAD Panel
Eradicating rural poverty by connecting rural
communities"
Elements of good policies + strategies to ensure
meaningful use of ICTs in rural areas: The role of
Governments and Private Sector
Aida Opoku-Mensah
OIC, DISD
Economic Commission for Africa
17 November 2005
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Content
1.
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5.
Policies and Strategies
Building Capacity for Policy Implementation
Developing Tools for Policy Implementation
Main Challenges
Rural Development + MDG Challenge
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Policies and Strategies
E-strategy process known as the National Information and
Communication Infrastructure plan (NICI) is based on ECA’s
African Information Society Initiative (AISI) to leverage the
benefits of ICT for a people-centered, free market based and
export-oriented socio-economic development.

Mission:
To achieve higher growth rates in all spheres of socio-economic
activities using ICT as a platform to implement applications and
provide services.
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Policies and Strategies
E-strategies increasingly have to address poverty
reduction and rural development concerns and calls for
- Mainstreaming strategies in the PRSP processes
- Strengthening pro-poor approaches and linkages
with MDGs
Some countries established the linkages:
- Comoros: reflecting PRSP concerns in national estrategy
- The Gambia: PRSP focus areas integrated
- Niger: HIV/AIDS/Poverty reduction – some of the
key areas
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Policies and Strategies
• E-Strategies and Rural Focus: Role of
Governments

Adopt policies and strategies to increase access to information
and communication facilities, prioritizing rural areas, grassroots society and other disenfranchised groups, in particular,
women and youth

Emphasis on public access issues; rural development in
Comoros, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Swaziland
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Policies and Strategies
Policy objectives
•
Enabling Environment:
Ghana e-strategy focus on Deployment and Spread of ICTs in
the Community to: promote equal and universal access to
information and communications technologies services and
resources to all communities, emphasis to ensure and
facilitate equal access for women, the disadvantaged, the
disabled, and rural and under-served communities

Initiatives include Community Information Centres, EAgriculture strategy of Ministry of Agriculture; E-commerce
initiatives
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Policies and Strategies
Enabling Environment:
Niger e-strategy focus: ICTs in the poverty reduction
Strategy to: support economic growth using ICTs in productive
Sectors
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Initiatives include ICTs in the development of agriculture and
livestock; fight desertification and the management of natural
resources; creating an information and communication system
between rural producers and market centers using ICTs
Network of local radios now regional centers of information for
development – RURANET – Key instruments in Policy
Implementation
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Policies and Strategies
Enabling Environment:
Democratizing Policy @ Community Level through Village
Information and Communication Infrastructure policy process:
Ghana and Swaziland based on MDGs+PRSs
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To promote Integrated rural development - Shared rural public
access telecentres, kiosks, mobile computing and
telecommunication resources
Creating the necessary conditions for private sector
involvement in rural areas
Support for ICT development at local level examining
connectivity and content issues
Developing appropriate technologies – broadcasting/SMS
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Building Capacity for Policy
Implementation
•
Activities

ECA’s ITCA has been building the capacity of women
Entrepreneurs from Francophone and Anglophone Africa. 45
Women trained with support from CISCO/InfoDev/Govt. of
Japan
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Developing Tools for Policy
Implementation
•
Applications + Tools

Touchscreen kiosks for land management information in
Amharic, the national language in Ethiopia for an Addis Ababa
Municipality to improve service delivery, e.g. the provision of
information about required documents or service charges of
land administration.
In local languages for accessibility
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Main Challenges
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Infrastructure: still limited in rural Africa
Investments: Governments need to do more and budget allocations
should factor ICTs in rural development concerns
Policies: should be implemented more vigorously to ensure rural
and community access (legal/institutional/regulatory frameworks)
Integration of ICTs in sectors that support rural development:
agriculture, forestry, etc
Private Sector involvement still limited – incentives needed
Supporting R&D: more support needed for innovation and appls
Building e-rural economy: using ICTs to open up the rural economy
and introduce new wealth creation opportunities especially for
women and youth
Stronger lobby on ICT and Rural development issues
More applications/local content + use of local languages
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Rural Development + MDG
Challenges
Impact
ICTs + Rural Dev.
ICTs in rural economy
Economic empowerment
(trade/commerce, agric produce, and
handicrafts, increase livelihoods)
MDG 1
ICTs in rural education
Address knowledge deficit in rural
areas
MDG 2
ICT & Rural Women
Rural women can benefit from ICTs for
economic empowerment and
education
MDG 3
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Rural Development + MDG
Challenges
Impact
ICTs + Rural Dev.
ICTs/Health
Access to healthcare, diagnosis,
health management, tracking for
epidemics and disease control, etc.
MDG 4, 5,6
ICTs + Natural Resource
management
Greater opportunities for better
management of community resources
also avoid environmental degradation
and natural disasters using GIS tools
MDG 7
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Thank-You !
http://www.uneca.org/aisi/
[email protected]
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