July 22, 2000
Contact: Colin Maclay
International Technologies Group
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
HARVARD RESPONDS TO WHITE HOUSE CALL TO ACTION ON GLOBAL DIGITAL DIVIDE AND LEADS GLOBAL NETWORK READINESS AND RESOURCE INITIATIVE LAUNCHED AT G-8 SUMMIT IN JAPAN
The Center for International Development at Harvard University, responding to President Clinton's Call to Action on the Global Digital Divide, answers requests from developing nations for assistance in the formulation and implementation of National Information Technology strategies. A newly formed coalition with partners will include a Global Task Force for advice to developing nations.
July 22, 2000, Tokyo, Japan
The G-8 Okinawa Charter on the Global Information Society and President Clinton's Global Call to Action on the Digital Divide have already won support from leading companies, foundations, academia, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral agencies. The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University is among the leaders of this response. The Global Network Readiness and Resource Initiative, a public-private partnership co-founded by the CID, launched its program today in order to help create digital opportunity for developing nations.
"There is a tremendous hunger in developing countries for reliable information and advice on how to more fully participate in the Networked World. Leaders in developing countries are looking for exactly the kind of support that this initiative will provide," said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center of International Development (CID) at Harvard University. "We are pleased to provide leadership to such an important endeavour."
The Global Network Readiness and Resource Initiative will enable developing nations seeking strategic guidance in policy, regulatory and network readiness development to access leading-edge resources as they become full participants in the global information economy and society.
The Global Network Readiness and Resource Initiative will consist of two major components. First, through a partnership of private and public stakeholders, the Initiative will develop country-specific network readiness and self-assessments based on the pioneering work of CID's Readiness for the Networked World: A Guide for Developing Countries (http://www.readinessguide.org). This is the initial step in establishing the enabling environment to attract major investment in information infrastructure and matching information technology to the basic development needs of health, education, environment, trade and others.
Second, the initiative will create a Global Task Force to deliver pro bono advice to developing nation governments and private sector entities on crafting the appropriate strategic mix of telecommunications competition, public policy to support Internet and electronic commerce growth and enabling entrepreneurial environments for social and economic development. The Global Task Force will be staffed by leading experts from academia and the private and public sectors.
The CID, along with co-founding partners Markle Foundation, World Economic Forum (WEF), IBM, United Nations the Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Foundation (UNF), is inviting all categories of development partners and others to join this undertaking.
"The resources that this coalition is offering to the developing world should provide an important boost to both planned and existing efforts to use information technologies for positive social and economic development," said Geoffrey Kirkman, Managing Director of the Information Technologies Group at CID. "We firmly believe that IT can play a huge role in the development process, and we are very pleased to help developing countries tackle such an important priority."
About the Center for International Development at Harvard University
The Center for International Development (CID) is Harvard University's primary center for research on sustainable international development, and a world leader in promoting a cross-disciplinary approach to problems of sustainable development. The CID's Information Technologies Group's (ITG) work focuses on the spread and impact of information and communication technologies in the developing world. Earlier this year, the ITG published Readiness for the Networked World: A Guide for Developing Countries, a self-assessment tool that developing country leaders can use to improve their strategic planning relating to information and communication technologies. The Guide's methodology and the CID's experience in advising developing nations will be core components of the Global Network Readiness and Resource Initiative. This initiative will build upon the ITG's current IT strategy work throughout the developing world, including Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Indian sub-continent.
More information on the Guide can be found at http://www.readinessguide.org, at the CID's website at http://www.cid.harvard.edu, and the ITG's site at http://www.cid.harvard.edu/ciditg.