Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): An enabling tool for international cooperation

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are transforming the way governments, business and individuals learn, work and communicate with each other. If they are employed strategically within development programmes to promote access and sharing of relevant knowledge as well as fostering participation of the poor and marginalised in decision- making processes that affect their lives, ICTs help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

SDC focus

The focus of SDC from 2001 to 2008 was to support international mainstreaming efforts of ICTs in development processes, e.g. through supporting a series of targeted publications, thematic roundtables and particularly through strengthening to the development perspective and the multi-stakeholder process in the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS). In addition to a direct support to the WSIS process and the promotion of the active participation of Civil Society Organisations from the South and the East therein, SDC has directly participated in and supported a whole range of organisations and networks active in the area of ICT4D (see below).

Support for most of these organisations was phased out between 2008 and 2010. The Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) is responsible for Switzerland’s commitments in this area, in collaboration with the ECOSOC Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The SDC is currently focusing on the integration of ICTs in its own projects and programmes (as a strategic instrument).

Background

ICTs encompass a full range of increasingly converging technologies, including traditional and emerging devices such as interactive community radios, television, mobile phones, computer and network hardware and software, the Internet, satellite systems, and podcasting. The effective use of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) is not just a question of infrastructure and software. It also requires an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework and the development of human capacity and relevant content. Holistic and contextualised implementation of ICTs is complex as it depends considerably on the sector or theme in which they are employed as well as the overall socio-economic context (access and affordability of infrastructure, human capacity, cultural habits). Thus ICTs should not be seen as a panacea for all development problems but rather an important tool to be applied as part of a broader strategy for sustainable development.

ICTs can be employed fulfilling three partly overlapping functions:

  • Access: Using ICTs to facilitate access to and sharing of timely and relevant information and knowledge.
  • Voice and Communication: Using ICTs to strengthen the voice of poor, excluded and disadvantaged people in decision-making and self-expression of their culture.
  • Networking: Using ICTs for networking and human communication while fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve effects on a larger scale (up-scaling).

The transformative potential of ICTs as a tool can be particularly harnessed to

  • increase efficiency: reaching more people while reducing transaction costs.
  • increase effectiveness: in terms of process, ownership, participation, networking and improvement of governance and better delivery of basic services such as education agricultural extension, microfinance and health.
  • improve innovation and productivity: for example for micro, small and medium enterprises through better access to information, credit, markets and procurement using ICT tools in management, marketing and distribution channels.

Links

Documents

Connecting people for a better world
Are information and communication technologies (ICT) such as computers, TV or mobile phones effective instruments to empower people, reduce poverty and improve lives? This book offers new answers to these questions.
Publication ICT4D – Connecting people for a better world (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Up-scaling pro-poor ICT-policies and practices
a review of experience with emphasis on low income countries in Asia and Africa
[en] (PDF, 1.9 MB, English)

Building Bridges across Time and Space – Experience and Success of a Telemedicine Pilot Project in Mongolia
Asia Brief - May 2013
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 4, 413.9 kB, English)

Information and Communication Technologies and large-scale poverty reduction - SDC/Panos 2005
Lessons from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Edited by Kitty Warnock and Ravi Wickremasinghe in cooperation with John McGill and Gerolf Weigel. Published by Panos London.
[en] (PDF, 799.0 kB, English)

ICTs and Education – Public-Private Partnership to connect Schools to the Net
A National Model in Switzerland - Summary of the Final Report
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 11, 1.7 MB, English)

Deepening Participation and Improving Aid Effectiveness through Media and ICTs
A Practical Manual Translating Lessons Learned into Daily Practice – SDC Working Paper
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 25, 632.2 kB, English)

Un seul monde
No 4/03 - Société de l'information
[fr] (PDF, 1.5 MB, French)

Chennai Statement - on Up-scaling Pro-Poor ICT Policies
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 6, 143.3 kB, English)

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Poverty Reduction?
Discussion Paper - World Summit on Information Society WSIS 2003
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 71, 759.0 kB, English)

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Poverty Reduction
in Sub Saharan Africa - A learning Study (Synthesis)
[en] (PDF, 454.3 kB, English)

Current projects

Object 925 – 936 of 936

Partnership on Sustainable Urban Development - Phase II

01.07.2012 - 30.06.2023

The WB Trust Fund for Sustainable Urban Development - Phase II, is a continuation of the existing strategic cooperation with the World Bank on sustainable urban development. It will support cities in developing countries to sustainably plan and manage urban development with the help of evidence provided by the program.


The Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH

01.07.2012 - 31.12.2021

IDH is a neutral convener that brings together companies in a safe pre-competitive arena, acts as facilitator to organize cooperation between companies, NGOs, governments, knowledge institutes, banks and trade unions. IDH kick-starts sustainability programs by co-funding and de-risking private investments, and helps exploring new concepts that will help create scalable, self-sustaining solutions that deliver impact at scale on Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on: improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers and increased, decent incomes for workers to help end poverty (SDG1), promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth (SDG 8), improve gender equality (SDG 5), nutrition (SDG 2) and help to halt deforestation (SDG 15) and reduce toxic loading.


Syrdarya Water Supply Project

30.05.2012 - 31.12.2021

In 2011, the World Bank approved a large water management project in the predominantly rural Syrdarya region with a WB-IDA-share of USD 88 million, in which the participation of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO with a parallel financing was sought. The SECO project is a complementary and self-contained operation. It comprises (i) an investment component aimed at the rehabilitation of the Beshbulok water pumping station and its well fields, a backbone of regional water supply and of Gulistan the capital of Syrdarya province (260'000 inhabitants). It also includes targeted physical investment measures in selected villages in the vicinity of Beshbulok- and (ii) an institutional component consisting of a corporate development programme for three pilot water utilities (Bukhara, Samarkand, Syrdarya) and a limited number of selective and targeted regulatory framework measures. The objective of the institutional component is the creation of a sound basis for financial and operational sustainability of the three water utilities.



Waste Water Treatment Plant in Thala and Feriana

01.03.2012 - 31.12.2021

This project aims at implementing wastewater infrastructure in the cities of Thala (15'000 inhabitants) and Fériana (27'000 inhabitants) in the Governorate of Kasserine, Tunisia. The infrastructure includes the financing of the treatment plants, the extension of the wastewater networks and pumping stations for both cities.


Europe and Central Asia : PPP Transaction Advisory Program

01.06.2011 - 31.12.2022

The ECA Program, managed by the International Finance Corporation IFC, is providing infrastructure transaction advisory and capacity building services to the public sector authorities to promote Public-Private Partnerships in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia.


Pamir Private Power Project II

01.03.2011 - 31.12.2021

In July 2011 the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO approved the financing of a Phase II project comprising a more targeted lifeline subsidy scheme benefitting the poor (2012 - 2014) and the early completion of the ongoing metering programme (pre-requisite for the efficient and equitable operation of such a subsidy scheme).


Water Programme Zenica and Tuzla

04.12.2010 - 30.09.2021

The project, which SECO co-finances with the German Bank for Development (KfW), contributes to ensuring reliable and affordable water supply in the municipalities of Tuzla and Zenica in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. To a lesser extent the project also support the rehabilitation of the sewerage network in Zenica.


Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries (SREP)

01.01.2010 - 31.12.2028

The Scaling-Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program (SREP) of the Climate Investment Funds is empowering countries to transform their economies by demonstrating the viability of renewable energy to increase energy access and economic opportunities. SREP financing is channeled through five multilateral development banks (MDBs).


Dam Safety Monitoring and Rockfall protection, Phase III

01.01.2010 - 31.12.2023

The overall objective of the Contribution is to assist the competent Albanian Institutions and the Albanian Power Corporation KESH in raising the safety of the dams at Drin and Mat River Cascades to European standards.


North Tajik Water Rehabilitation

01.01.2010 - 31.12.2021

Based on a request of the Tajik Government, SECO and EBRD started to develop a programmatic and integrated approach to replicate the successful Khujand Water Supply Projects in secondary cities throughout the country, including the North.


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The project aims at supporting financial stability in Peru by strengthening the country's financial regulatory and supervisory framework, promoting efficient consumer protection practices and supporting the implementation of a national anti-money laundering - combating the financing of terrorism strategy. It further aspires to encourage financial inclusion by creating a favorable legal framework conducive to the development of new financial products and increasing financial literacy of existing and potential customers. The direct beneficiaries of this program are Superintendencia de Bancos y Seguros (SBS) and regulated stakeholders, including financial intermediaries, private pension managers and insurance companies. The indirect beneficiaries are the public in general an final services consumers in particular.

Object 925 – 936 of 936