The overarching goal of the Andean Competitiveness Project (ACP) is to increase the economic competitiveness of the Andean Region, while the IT component focuses on the role of information and communication technologies as they pertain to competitiveness -- and leveraging them for growth.
The first stage of the project began with research on each nation's Readiness for the Networked World. Preliminary results were presented in multi-sectoral workshops held in each country (except Venezuela, where the local partners combined a workshop with a survey). We asked each group to respond to a complex set of challenges relating to the ICT environment and use in their nation.
As the workshops drew to a close, there was commitment in each country to continuing the efforts begun that day, and cooperating across sectors to design projects and policy initiatives to help their community to benefit more from ICT. ITG has continued to work with these self-appointed task forces.
In addition to drawing on colleagues at CID, ITG has had very fruitful collaborations with: Universidad Católica Boliviana - Insituto de Investigaciones Socio-Económicas, La Paz, Bolivia; Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia; Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL), Guayaquil, Ecuador; Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Perú; and Venezuela Competitiva, Caracas, Venezuela. There have been numerous other contributors in the process, including the project sponsor: Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF, or Andean Development Corporation).
Our partners prepared the following papers in conjunction with ITG:
ITG is responsible for the IT Component of the Harvard Dominican Initiative at CID, a project beginning in the summer of 2001. In close cooperation with the Economic Competitiveness and Children's components of the Initiative (being carried out by other colleagues at CID), the IT component of the Dominican Initiative will aim to complete the following, with the involvement of the Dominican private sector, NGOs and government:
The Sustainable Access in Rural India project (SARI) seeks to show that viable markets exist for information and communication services in rural poor areas by inventing and deploying innovative technologies, assessments, and business models. The ultimate goal is to link these activities to sustainable human development objectives. SARI is part of the Digital Nations consortium of the MIT Media Lab and Harvard's Center for International Development; other key partners include IIT-Madras and the I-Gyan Foundation.
Through the development and introduction of appropriate and enabling technologies and applications, SARI will foster economic development and improve health and learning. It will do so in a financially sustainable way, even as it reaches into the poorest and most disadvantaged communities. SARI's diverse partnership of universities, non-profits and the private sector has begun to implement a unique project that will begin by wiring approximately one thousand neighboring rural villages in each of two Indian districts.
Why connect so many villages? SARI's magnitude is essential because it will allow us to benefit from the Network Effect, which will be far more empowering than a few connections placed only in more urban areas. The large number of users helps support financial viability by aggregating demand, develops richer content and community by integrating and aggregrating people, and provides a powerful environment for research.
There has been a great deal of enthusiasm about the value of information and communications technologies but precious few unqualified successes and little or no rigorous evaluation. The SARI project counts on a collaborative and interactive research agenda drawing on the expertise of Harvard's Center for International Development, IIT Madras and the MIT Media Laboratory. The key research areas include: 1) technology, applications and content, 2) assessing social and economic impacts, 3) and business models for financially viable and self-sustaining access.
The Center for International Development has selected Mozambique as the first country in Africa to collaborate with on ICT policy development. Mozambique, a country that is one of the fastest growing countries of the world, and one of the poorest, is eager to enter the information age. The Information Technologies Group will work closely with the ICT Policy Commission, headed by Prime Minister Mocumbi, to make this happen. The ITG has conducted an initial Readiness Assessment (www.readinessguide.org) and explored areas of further collaboration as they relate to the use of ICT’s for development and economic competitiveness.
The main goal of this project is to provide assistance to the government of Mozambique in the area of ICT development. The ITG will manage provision of this assistance to the Mozambican government through the Commission which has taken initial steps to build awareness to the public on the potential of ICT for development and has elaborated an exhaustive and comprehensive ICT Policy for Mozambique. The ITG will work closely with the Commission on joint research, awareness building on IT-related issues, transfer of knowledge to the public and private sectors, and the interchange of information, personnel and students between Harvard University and Mozambique.