. Theme 5: Transfer of Information Technology and Knowledge - Development and Underdevelopment
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. (Last updated: October 10th, 2005)
 
 
   
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  The Urgent Need to Rewire and Reboot the WSIS Machine  
  Amy West, Researcher  
  ARTICLE 19: The Global Campaign for Free Expression, Manchester, Connecticut, USA  
     
  Audrey Selian, PhD Candidate  
  Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, Manhasset, New York, USA  
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  ICTs ascribe a cosmetic sense of progress and modernization counterproductive to developing countries burdened by the effects of poverty, illiteracy, conflict and health crises. Our paper explores the dangers of a WSIS that assumes ICTs bring development, information and participation while overlooking the ramifications of funding technologies inappropriate to the capacity of targeted populations and their governments.  Most research concerning ICT project implementation fails to acknowledge the variance of political systems and social strata existent in the developing world.   There is a clear dearth of best practice related to the way ICTs can empower the marginalized to exercise their rights and responsibilities, as part of a cohesive network pursuing sustainable development.  
     
 

Based on technology and policy research, along with interviews, we consider a number of alternative approaches to communication infrastructure. We start by analyzing governmental structures responsible for the adoption of ICTs in the effort to deliver “basic services” to their citizenry. We then investigate a number of communities in the developing world, and employ a micro-analytical lens on several cases.  Through these, we assess the relevance of ICTs (such as computer technologies, use of government portals on the internet, etc.) and juxtapose this with the presence of more informal, low-tech communications.  Research will be conducted in the Caucasus and sub-Saharan Africa, as we use examples from the developing world to argue a) against transplanting ICT solutions from one country to the next; b) for hybrid solutions to ICT penetration and connectivity in areas with critical infrastructure and capacity challenges.

 
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  The Global Spread of the Internet:  
  The Role of International Diffusion Pressures and Politics in Technology Adoption  
  Helen V. Milner, B.C. Forbes Professor of Politics and International Affairs  
  Woodrow Wilson School & Department of Politics, Princeton University  
  Princeton, New Jersey, USA  
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  What factors have promoted and retarded the spread of the internet globally? Much as other technologies, the internet has diffused unevenly across countries. The main proposition is that its spread is neither purely economic nor entirely domestic. International diffusion pressures exert a powerful influence. The adoption of new technology depends on domestic policy, and this in turn depends on the choices that political leaders make about rules governing new technologies. I examine the impact of international diffusion pressures on political leaders, testing the role of five types of such pressures. The distribution of capabilities globally may shape the spread of the internet, as dominant power(s) may directly or indirectly coerce others into adopting. Patterns of adoption may also be shaped by competitive pressures from the world market. Technological change especially may depend on network externalities, involving the number of adopters already in existence. Learning from other countries or from participating in international organizations may stimulate adoption. Finally, countries may simply copy the policies and hence the adoption patterns of other countries with whom they share sociological similarities. Data from about 190 countries since 1990 shows that diffusion pressures matter, even when controlling for domestic factors. Economic competition and sociological emulation play consistently important roles in affecting the spread of the internet. The effect of democracy is also strong.  
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  New Forms of Structural Inequalities in the World,  
  Regional Subglobalization and Dependent Modernization of the Balkans  
  Ljubisa Mitrovic, Professor  
  Faculty of Philosophy, University of Nis, Serbia and Montenegro  
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  In the paper, the author discusses, starting from the paradigm of the world-system analysis and the theory of dependence, the sources of structural inequalities in the modern world. A special emphasis is laid upon the exploration of new forms of dependence embodied in an information gap between the developed and the underdeveloped countries and in the monopolies over new technologies and mass media. In this context the role of symbolic power and “symbolic repression” (Pierre Bourdieu) in the production of structural violence, in the reproduction and expansion of the culture of dependence and cultural imperialism is analyzed.  
     
  The author at the same time especially analyzes contradictions and peculiarities of the regional subglobalization of the Balkans illustrating it with numerous indicators and pointing out critically to the devastating consequences of the process of cloned dependent modernization that has brought about peripherization of economy and societies of the Balkan countries. At the end of the paper, the author puts an emphasis upon the necessity of the region’s Eurointegration since it is the necessary prerequisite of its pacification, democratic transition and development.  
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  Open Source Software, Digital Divide, and Development  
     
  Giampaolo Garzarelli, Professor  
  Universitita degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy  
     
  Bjorn Thomassen, Lecturer  
  Department of International Relations, The American University of Rome, Italy  
     
  Yasmina Reem Limam, Affiliate (pictured)  
  Faculté de Sciences Economiques et de Gestion de Nabeul, Route Hammamet El Mrezga, Nabeul, Tunisia  
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  Computer technology is arguably at the very center of the globalization process and its attendant digital divide, namely, the uneven spread of such technology. Some studies suggest that social and economic inequalities are deepening with the ongoing globalization process since access to such technology keeps concentrating in the Most Developed Countries. This problem is most often addressed by focusing on how to diffuse computer hardware technology in the Least Developed Countries. But it is seldom acknowledged that there is a complementary aspect of the digital divide that must be overcome as well: its software counterpart. The paper therefore questions the often-made claim that the unilateral source of the digital divide is the uneven distribution of the hardware that promotes worldwide communication, i.e., computers and its related hardware (e.g., network access). We shall argue that just as computer technology is an engine of development so too is software. But the software we have in mind as an engine of development is not the proprietary one (e.g., Microsoft) but the Open Source Software (OSS) one (e.g., Linux, Apache). A fundamental advantage of OSS vis-à-vis its proprietary alternative is that it has licensing schemes that specify that the source code is available, can be freely copied, modified, and distributed. Moreover, often times OSS is also available gratis. Our argument will be grounded in an emerging theoretical framework recently developed in the economics literature – called General Purpose Technology – from which we will derive novel policy implications. (242 words.)  
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  Have Nots in the Global Academy: The Information Society and the Digital Divide in the Academic Workplace  
  Catherine Cassara, Associate Professor  
  School of Communication Studies, Bowling Green State University  
     
  Laura Lengel, Associate Professor  
  School of Communication Studies, Bowling Green State University  
     
  Bowling Green, Ohio, USA  
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  Democracies function best where there is free access to information and where unhindered discussions allow citizens to examine all sides of civic issues. Because higher education is known as a birthplace for civic debate, it is an essential partner in any society’s transition to democracy. As Tunisia, and other Middle East and North African (MENA) nations move toward democracy, it is imperative that their university teachers and researchers have access to current research literature, access to civil society debates, and access to make their voices heard.  
     
  Formerly defined as a Global North and South issue, the academic digital divide is now a resource issue that affects universities in all global regions. This paper addresses how sustainable university partnerships can bridge the academic digital divide by collaborative research, access for academics in less-privileged environments to well-funded university research databases, and online interaction between students in various international contexts. It explores the benefits of university partnerships for well-funded universities, through exposure to other cultures and perspectives on modernization and development.  
     
  Based on over a decade of research on information and communication technology in locations such as North Africa and the former Soviet Union, the paper examines the structure of inequality for university teachers and researchers in under-funded universities. The authors draw from personal interviews and a survey of academic researchers, librarians and university administrators in countries across four continents. The paper also discusses the importance of developing partnerships with government, education and industry for information and communication technology initiatives to sustain and flourish.  
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  Encountering the Information Society through a National Variation Lens: The Peculiarities of the 'Greek Model'  
  Dimitris Boucas, Researcher  
  London School of Economics, London, England, United Kingdom  
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  The concept of the ‘information society’ has been systematically deployed to denote a set of significant economic and social transformations with implications for governance and potential for development and quality of life.  
     
  This paper argues that, instead of viewing ‘information society’ as an abstract device, one should examine the rich articulation of ICTs with thick social, political and institutional contexts. In particular, it claims that the national frame is always characterised by a historically developed specific relationship between the state, the economy and the national society, which inflects global information society tendencies and processes.  
     
  Moreover, while ICT-related social change and relevant information society initiatives have been studied in both developed and developing nations, limited research has been undertaken in semi-peripheral middle-income countries. This is the gap that this paper seeks to fill, notably in the south European context. Examining the case of Greece, it attempts to highlight the ways in which the emerging information society (following EU goals and promoted through recent national initiatives) is in historical continuity with certain characteristics of the Greek social formation, namely incomplete industrialisation, complex state/industry relationships, clientelistic relations, anti-developmental state administration and weak civil society. All these can highlight potential advantages, impediments and implementation prospects and contribute to what can be called ‘a Greek information society model’.  
     
  The paper claims that such social, economic and cultural particularities have to be carefully considered, analysed and even exploited, if development and quality of life are to follow from the information society project.  
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  Transfer of Information Technology and Knowledge: The PETREL Experience  
  Adesida Adelola  
  The Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria  
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  Development has been the word since Schlumberger donated PETREL software to six universities in Nigeria last quarter 2004. Prior to this event, undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and lecturers, hardly had access to latest software technology for training and research. However, things have since changed and have led to the development and empowerment of both the trainers and the trainees in these Nigerian universities. This programme has enhanced the productivity of the trainers, empowered the students and placed within our reach the latest fast growing static and dynamic 3D modelling tool in the industry. It is indeed a transfer of technology and knowledge that has metamorphosed into a single word: development. This type of synergy between the academia and the industry should be encouraged in all other countries because it helps to bridge the divide between the have and the have-nots. Moreover, it is important for the success of our research efforts, advancement of our profession and safekeeping of our future.  
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  Transfer of Information Technology and Knowledge: The PETREL Experience  
  Olajide Adekeye,  
  University of Ilorin, Lagos, Nigeria  
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  The global development lesson for the survival of societies and nations of the future has been boldly written and document within the development context and process of the 19th century.

In the 21st century, the greatest challenge facing most African nations is the digital divide challenge! Lesson from global 19th century development have shown that science and technology formed the bedrock of classification of the growth and development stations of Africa – this created the industrial divide.

In other words, we all live under the face of this planet before the Agricultural Revolution was transformed into Industrial Revolution, which consequently led to mass production of goods and services. But while some nations became conscious of the consequences and the future impact of such development phase, others were as it were, asleep and unaware.

The consequences thereafter, as we all know witness today – are that suddenly the world became classified into “industrialized” (or developed) and “non – industrialized” (or non – developed) nations. These process classifications further led to what we now know as “first world, second world, third world and so on”. That is the rich and the poor nations.

This century therefore will create a “digital divide”. And just as the industrial divide created” rich nations” and “poor nations”, so will digital divide create” super rich nations “ and” super poor nations” of the future. The equation will remain the same: that is, the competition between creative production and docile consumption.

That digital divide will occur within the next three decades is indeed crystal clear. What is not clear is how it will impact of nations who are now not consciously aware of the advantages of the momentum. The digital divide, therefore will be determined by the efforts of each nation on how timely and effectively it address issue of its national informatics development policy- both in its framework design and implementation.

The engine room of information societies is the information infrastructure software is the heart of this informatics infrastructure and will be the main determinant of future global development competition……………………
 
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  Providing Universal Access to Basic Telecommunication Services in Developing Countires - An Institutional Economics Approach  
  Thorsten Scherf, Research Assistant, Lecturer, and Doctoral Student  
  Institute for Co-operation in Developing Countries (ICDC), University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany  
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A critical element of most national telecom policy objectives in developing countries is advancing universal access. Due to specific characteristics, rural areas in developing countries are of the most challenging regions. It is widely recognized that there are limits to how well the market can or will function in extending service in these areas. Therefore telecom policy has to intervene in the market to ensure the provision of telecommunications. This paper examines some frequently implemented measures for providing universal access in rural areas: universal access obligations, universal access funds in conjunction with minimum-subsidy competitive auctions, build-operate-transfer contracts and regional co-operatives. Despite experiencing that results and satisfaction with them are far from uniform across countries, there is no systematic theoretical analysis of relative effectiveness of these measures. This article addresses this lack by applying a principal agent model to explore the incentive schemes of the announced mechanisms. This is done by taking into account the impact of economic, institutional and governance characteristics of developing countries. This paper carves out relative advantages of implementing one or another measure depending on the features existing institutional frameworks. It is shown that successful measures in one institutional setting may be only second or third best in another. Formal analysis is illustrated by some actual universal access experiences in Peru, Bolivia and Uganda.

 
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  Diffusion des TIC dans le cadre euro-méditerranéen élargi: rattrapage vs fracture numérique  
  Adel Ben Youssef, Maître de conférences en sciences économiques, ADIS – Université Paris Sud  
     
  Raouchen Methamem, Assistant en Méthodes quantitatives, ADIS – Université Paris Sud et ESSEC, Tunis  
     
  Hatem M’Henni, Maître de Conférences en sciences économiques, Faculté des Sciences économiques et de Gestion de Jendouba - Tunisie  
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L’objet de cet article est double : il s’agira, d’abord, d’examiner l’état de la diffusion des technologies de l’information et de la communication dans l’espace européen élargi composé de trois groupes de pays : les pays du sud et de l’est de la méditerranée, les pays ayant intégrer l’Union Européenne à partir de 2004 et les pays de l’Union Européenne. Notre démarche a consisté à construire des indicateurs pertinents pour l’observation et la diffusion des TIC selon leur génération. Outre les caractéristiques des évolutions constatées, nous identifions deux types de fractures numériques : la première concerne les écarts d’équipements avec des résultats contrastés et la seconde concerne l’Internet et les usages liés qui montre clairement l’existence d’un fossé numérique. En effet, les niveaux d’équipements en télécommunications tendent à converger grâce au recours croissant par les pays à des niveaux de développement faibles aux nouvelles générations de technologies mieux adaptés à leurs besoins (follower advantage). La seconde concerne les écarts en matière des usages (notamment ceux liés à Internet) où on constate l’accroissement des inégalités des usages et surtout une forte disparité au sein de chaque groupe de pays.

 
     
 

Ensuite nous avons tenté d’estimer économétriquement les délais de rattrapage qui pourraient s’avérer finalement très long si certaines conditions ne sont pas réunies, nous citons entre autres : les réformes institutionnelles, une vigueur économique plus forte, des incitations plus importantes à adopter ces technologies par les industries etc.

 
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