The WSIS Round Table on “ICTs as a tool to achieve the Millennium Development Goals” has just ended. The main ideas debated were:
- Countries need to develop a national plan if they are going to achieve the goals. Without the plan, there is no chance for success by 2015.
- There is a debate on which comes first, development or ICTs. One side is saying that basic development needs to occur before the country can put scarce resources towards ICTs. The other side is proposing investing in ICTs as a way to increase development.
- Community access centers are going to be key to expanding access in the developing world. Many countries are currently making plans to have these centers as ways to reach the furthest regions of their countries.
- There are two digital divides, one external among countries, and the other INTERNAL within the country. Many speakers highlighted that this internal divide is the most severe and is the most urgent to address.
Some quotes of interest:
“Community access centers will guarantee ICT access to most of our population, converting the digital divide into a digital opportunity“, by Mr. Leonel Fernandez REYNA, President, Global foundation for democracy and development (FUNGLODE)
“There should be an open source fund for a foundation that would help developing economies gain access to inexpensive software needed to fuel the information society“, by Mr. Askar AKAEV, President of the Kyrgyz Republic
“Jobs will follow training and expertise“, by Ms. Tae Yoo, Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy, Cisco, USA, (in suggesting how education can play the initial role that will help attract the investment needed to fuel ICT development and growth)