Re: [GKD] Invitation to Content for Community Needs Programme (India)

2005-06-24 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I wish I had the time and money to be with you in New Delhi at the end
of the month.

100,000 telecenters is progress, but how much depends on the
architecture of the information and the infrastructure of the
communication component.

How do the content providers know what information is going to be the
most valuable in the community where the kiosks are to be located? In
the main, we choose from afar (I am in New York) and decide what
information a villager needs, and when it comes to local information
what we know is rather a small subset of what the village already knows.
I was in Afghanistan about 12 years ago, and British World Service was
planning an agriculture education services to help tell farmers what
best to do. I was at a meeting where content was being discussed, and I
believe the idea was dropped when local people pointed out that there
were significant differences on farming practices from the north side of
the valley to the south side of the valley. Bluntly put, how the hell
were the experts wherever going to get planting dates right? Local
people know a lot more than we give them credit for.

The Transparency and Accountability Network (Tr-Ac-Net) database has a
different information architecture than the British World Service idea
.. Tr-Ac-Net seeks to help get key information from the community onto
the record so that this information can help the community attract the
resource assistance it needs for socio-economic progress. When there is
management information available about community progress, and the
various activities that have gone on to get this progress, then there
can be efficiency improvement in the use of resources.

Will the 100,000 telecenters being planned make it possible for
villagers and community leaders to communicate with a web enabled
database system like the one envisioned by Tr-Ac-Net, or will the
information flow merely be top-down. I will argue that information
flows in both directions, as well as horizontally between local
communities and local people, is several orders-of-magnitude more
valuable than the simple top-down approach.

I would be very interested to have other people's views on the 
OneWorld / Mission 2007 project, and the Tr-Ac-Net vision for a
community database.

Sincerely,

Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
Tr-Ac-Net in New York  212 772 6918 [EMAIL PROTECTED]
The Transparency and Accountability Network
With Kris Dev in Chennai India
and others in South Asia, Africa and Latin America 
http://tr-ac-net.blogspot.com



On 6/17/2005, Veronica Peris wrote:

 OneWorld South Asia's (OWSA) http://www.oneworld.net/ under the aegis
 of Mission 2007 http://www.mission2007.org/ would like to invite you
 to a Content for Community Needs Programme meeting (30 June and 1 July
 2005; India International Centre, New Delhi.)
 
 OneWorld will introduce the concept of 100,000 Telecentres and the
 opportunities that exist for content developers/providers in the
 immediate future.
 
 One of the practical ways of using ICTs, we feel, is to set up
 Telecentres (Rural Advocacy Centres/Information Kiosks) that contain
 information relevant to the needs of the rural/urban communities. Such
 Telecentres would facilitate Communities' access to
 information/facilities/services without their having to waste any time
 in procuring/accessing the same. To the worker at the community level,
 having to procure such information would mean in real terms, having to
 drop out of work for at least a day -- often forgo a days wages -- and
 the resultant food for him/her self and the family. For this purpose
 there is an urgent need to digitise a content repository for community
 needs to reach out to rural/urban India at large, as well as tailor the
 data to the respective needs of the communities.

..snip...




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Re: [GKD] RFI: How Can A Grassroots Project Obtain Financing From Private Donors In Rich Countries?

2005-06-16 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I would be very interested in the answer to this question myself.

Speaking for the Transparency and Accountability Network, and our new
program to help raise money for relief and development activities, we
are looking for activities that demonstrably improve the quality of life
in a community. This requires some baseline information about the
community, some information about the planned activities, and a review
of the community metrics periodically after the activity has been
implemented. Something that costs $100 should facilitate an increment in
community value of some multiplier of this ... perhaps as much as
$1,000.

From our perspective, external funds are only valuable when they help
make local resources, especially human resources and local natural
resources, productive. Our expectation is that funds used for one
purpose will get repaid, and then go on to facilitate some other needed
work.

We are not very interested in the organization that implements the
activity. In fact the less organization the better, since too much of
relief and development assistance funding is used to strengthen an
organization rather than delivering activities to the intended community
beneficiaries. Having said that, an organization that has successfully
done relief and development activities and can show results is a plus.

In order to be put in our funding pipeline we need information about the
community, the activity, the implementing organization ... if you want
more specifics I would be pleased to send them.


Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
Tr-Ac-Net in New York  212 772 6918 [EMAIL PROTECTED]
The Transparency and Accountability Network
With Kris Dev in Chennai India
and others in South Asia, Africa and Latin America 
http://tr-ac-net.blogspot.com




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Local Governments Should Adopt a Business Model

2005-05-31 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Mymoena Ismail and Colleagues:

I do not know the legislation in South Africa, but it would be normal
for the legislation to expect that entities account for every cent paid
out and received.

When there is reference to cash basis accounting it refers to how cash
receipts and payments are handled in the accounts, and how invoices and
accruals are handled. Most government systems ignore invoices and
accruals...which is, in my view, a ridiculous situation...but legal for
most government entities and funds, while being illegal since around
1880 for the corporate world. Talk about a double standard!

When you talk about the South African Municipal Financial Management
Act, does it require an entity to maintain balance sheet accounts and
do its financial reporting with a full balance sheet as well as an
income and expenditure statement? It might. Some progressive countries,
notably New Zealand, have pushed forward to improve public sector
accounting, but most countries firmly stick to weak and outmoded
accountancy requirements that facilitate poor management of resources
and grand corruption.


Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
Tr-Ac-Net in New York  212 772 6918 [EMAIL PROTECTED]
The Transparency and Accountability Network
With Kris Dev in Chennai India
and others in South Asia, Africa and Latin America 
http://tr-ac-net.blogspot.com



In a message dated 5/27/2005, Mymoena Ismail wrote:

 Not all local authorities work on a cash basis. In South African
 legislation (i.e., the Municipal Financial Management Act) requires
 local authorities to account for every cent spent and income received.
 The City of Cape Town recently implemented a SAP ERP solution to better
 manage its finances but also to ensure that there exists one back-end
 system to support all related e-governance projects.
 
 
 On Mon, May 23, 2005, Peter Burgess wrote:
 
  Following up on postings by Janice Brodman and Ed Cherlin ... the
  interesting thing about a company is that the stakeholders who are
  interested in its value look at both balance sheet and the profit or
  cash flow past and future. This is very helpful in thinking about what
  works and what does not. Governments (including local governments) do
  their accounting on a cash basis that cannot reflect the financial
  performance of the government entity in a meaningful way because
  expenditures that have life beyond the current period are essentially
  off the books. It is a weak system, and I am sure has stayed in
  vogue for that very reason.




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Use of GIS to Support Local Administration of Municipalities

2005-05-24 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I find the conversations we have very frustrating ... they take time and
rarely tell me what I need to know.

 http://www.gisdevelopment.net/thesis/thesis1/less4.htm
 http://www.suny-cld.edu.lb/ui/systems.aspx

Interesting ... but what do they really tell us. In the case of GIS
words like will and designed to suggest that there is an element of
marketing and hype, rather than hard performance information.

I do not know how conclusions can be reached that the ICT GIS support is
good unless there is some clear understanding of how much it cost, and
exactly what results were obtained  and a rigorous comparison with
how much an alternative would have cost and how much the alternative
would have delivered.

When I was a corporate CFO, the staff kept trying to justify new
investment when what they really needed to do was to operate the
equipment they already had with some level of enthusiasm and competence.
We used to refer this as a process of spending ones way out of
trouble. I did not like it or accept it in my corporate life, and I do
not see why it should be acceptable in the Official Relief and
Development Assistance (ORDA) world.

In an environment of scarce ORDA resources, the other piece of analysis
that should be done is to look at the cost and the results from one use
of the resources and compare it to the use of these resources in the
best possible way in the country, but perhaps in a different sector. I
don't think the ORDA community ever does this, and as far as I am
concerned this is a disgrace. Millions of people are dying because not
enough money is reaching priority areas in crisis ... this is a choice
the ORDA world and all of the experts are making, and it is creating
death not much different than the holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s.

John Perkins' book Confessions of an economic hit man raises some
awful questions, and while I don't want to believe the book there is
part of me that says he is 100% right ... and it stinks. I tried to
highlight corruption through interaction with World Bank officers back
in the 1980s, and was not welcomed with open arms, to say the least. Too
much of John Perkins book rings true. How many of us are parties to the
hits without knowing it?

So back to this website information ... some nice projects. But can
anyone help get the information that is really needed in order to say
that they are good projects? Where is the practical application of
Transparency and Accountability?


Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
Tr-Ac-Net in New York  212 772 6918 [EMAIL PROTECTED]
The Transparency and Accountability Network
With Kris Dev in Chennai India
and others in South Asia, Africa and Latin America 
http://tr-ac-net.blogspot.com



On 5/17/05, Barbara Fillip wrote:

 The Geographic Information System (GIS) dramatically increases the
 accuracy of information utilized in municipal operations and planning
 through computerized 'mapping' of more than seventy layers of physical,
 financial, and personal data. Electronically linked to administrative
 and financial databases, the system provides a wealth of information
 that will be used in the planning, inspection, audit, assessment, and
 collection processes. The GIS is a powerful tool that can be used by
 municipal councils in assessing the needs of the community, and in
 identifying, implementing, and sustaining economic development projects
 related to tourism, industry, agriculture, and other sectors.
 Importantly, use of the GIS will enable decision-makers to promote
 transparency and accountability in the appraisal and collection of taxes
 and fees, ensuring that, for example, outdoor advertising licenses and
 construction permits are issued appropriately.
 
 From the SUNY / CLD web site: http://www.suny-cld.edu.lb/ui/systems.aspx
 
..snip...
 
 Lessons that can be learned from using GIS in LGUs in developing
 countries (part of a larger student thesis):
 http://www.gisdevelopment.net/thesis/thesis1/less4.htm




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Can ICT Help Improve Local Governance?

2005-05-19 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

ICT has enormous potential for improving socio-economic conditions in
rural communities, but seeing practical results that will improve the
quality of life in rural communities requires a lot more than just a
computer with Internet access.

Almost all the ICT initiatives that have been funded by the official
relief and development assistance (ORDA) organizations have been heavy
on technology (hardware), but weak on information and communications.
But surely, it is information and communications that create the most
value from an ICT intervention.

Community centric sustainable development (CCSD) is a process that
works. It is facilitated by a thorough understanding of the
socio-economic status of the community. In general this information is
well known in the community, though it may not be written down and
organized in a particularly systematic manner. However, it is almost
totally unknown outside the community, especially within the
organizations that plan and fund relief and development initiatives.
This information would be enormously useful in establishing a systemic
way of monitoring progress of development and relating progress to
specific fund flows and development initiatives. This could be the
foundation for a system of management information for development.

At some level the logic of this information for the community is similar
to the logic behind the UN System of National Accounts that was
developed by Dr. Stone at Cambridge in the 1950s. Though rarely
discussed the UN SNA is widely used at the national level ... but in my
view is not very useful because the national level has too much
aggregation and is therefore difficult to interpret meaningfully.
Similar information at the community level has the potential to be used
in a very practical way to encourage incremental investment and funding,
and to measure results.

But communicating this information efficiently is a challenge in most
rural areas. The communications dimension of ICT is vital ... and while
today the technology is efficient and very low cost, the enabling
environment to deploy this technology and make a communications
infrastructure affordable and sustainable is absent. The rules governing
deployment of communications technology need to allow best technology
infrastructure to be deployed without the monopolistic constraints that
seem to be everywhere. This needs to change.

If there is community level communications infrastructure ... and it is
linked to the global Internet efficiently ... local governance can be
improved in all sorts of ways. In addition to the management information
already referred to, it is possible to have electronic banking and money
transfers, information flows about market prices and supplies, calls for
help and guidance in medical emergencies, support for teachers and
students, and so on. The possibilities are endless.

Practical plans to do these things exist. The enabling environment to
let plans get turned into reality is a big part of the problem. The good
news is that this may be changing for the better, but not everytwhere
and not very fast.


Sincerely,

Peter Burgess
_
Peter Burgess
Tr-Ac-Net in New York 
Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Tel: 212 772 6918 
Transparency and Accountability Network
with Kris Dev in Chennai, India
and others in South Asia, Africa and Latin America




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Re: [GKD] RFI: ICT Demand Patterns in Africa

2005-04-27 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Peter Baldwin,

I would very much like to see the data that you are able to collect
about ICT demand patterns in Africa, and have a chance to do some
analysis on the data.

There is a huge need for information, but most of the information that
is available in the north about the south including Africa is either
too detailed or too macro. There is very little of management
information that can be used to control and help make best use of scarce
resources. An enormous amount of community information never gets
beyond the community because it is often assumed that this information
does not exist. In this connection, I often remind myself that if I
don't know it, it does not mean that it is not known.

There is a huge need for communications. Very little of the available
information is communicated. I would very much like to know the history
of all the ICT projects that have been funded by the official relief and
development assistance (ORDA) community ... how much was disbursed and
how much value was realized ... and while this information is almost
certainly available, there is hardly any mechanism for this information
to be communicated. I don't think this is any accident; the ORDA
community is apparently not very interested in transparency and
accountability when it comes to looking at development performance. If
any such communication process exists I would like to know about it.

With respect to technology, there exists low cost and very powerful
technology. But why is so much regulated so that the best cannot be
deployed. Why is/was VOIP so difficult to deploy? Why is/was radio
regulation the way it is? Why is monopoly use of technology the
preferred way to develop when it is no longer technologically and
economically favorable for national development (at any rate from a
people perspective).

From my limited knowledge and understanding of development it seems that
there is a huge gap in the information needed to make a success of
development and very limited transparency and accountability. Good
things are not being identified enough and funded, meanwhile bad things
are not being made transparent and visible and appropriate
accountability and sanctions applied.

Sincerely,

Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
Transparency and Accountability 
a global not-for-profit Network 
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Tel: 212 772 6918 
___
Kris Dev - Tr-Ac-Net in Chennai India
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://Tr-Ac-Net.blogspot.com
[EMAIL PROTECTED]




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Re: [GKD] Soros: Transparency Can Alleviate Poverty

2005-03-30 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I ought to be pleased that someone with the stature of George Soros is
talking about transparency and suggesting that it can alleviate poverty.
But frankly, it is not such a big deal unless there is a significant
pick up of the idea by a whole lot of corporate, government and relief
and development assistance (RDA) leadership. And so far, there has been
not much practical change by the big organizations.

The issues of corruption, inappropriate corporate behavior and
mismanagement of resources have been around for a long time, maybe
indeed for ever. But the scale of economic enterprise of various sorts
is now much larger than in the past and the economic distortion caused
by a whole range of inappropriate behaviors is far bigger and far more
damaging than in past decades.

What I find so distressing is that the cost of technology that can help
in delivering excellence in accounting has dropped by maybe a factor of
one million since the beginning of my career...yet accounting,
transparency and accountability are worse now than years back. This is
ALL about leadership and the ethics of our modern society. It is time
for change, and we can make change happen.

I welcome the observations of George Soros, and the initiatives he
described, but a lot more is needed. There is a huge need for
accountability...it is missing almost everywhere. Organizational
leadership seems intent on avoiding transparency and accountability, and
to the extent that organizational leadership won't do what needs to be
done, then it will have to be done externally rather than internally.
There is enough information now in the public domain to be able to build
a systemic framework that will make fund flow information much easier to
access and understand.

It is already apparent that there are some organizations doing amazing
work with few resources, and conversely it is becoming clearer and
clearer that other organizations consume a lot of scarce resources
without doing that much of tangible value. As more and more information
is compiled and organized, it is going to be interesting to see which
organizations are effective and those that are not.

In the relief and development assistance (RDA) community, it is
interesting to compare performance from the donor perspective and the
beneficiary community perspective. Most poor communities get NOTHING
tangible from the official relief and development assistance (ORDA)
resource flows...and this is playing out right now in the SE Asia
tsunami affected areas and in a lot of places around the world,
especially in Africa. There is a lot of talk about much more money for
ORDA activities in order to end poverty. It seems to me that first we
should do a far better job of getting the existing fund flows to be used
significantly more effectively.

Management information for RDA is a wonderful way to use ICT. Organized
information about great community based activities will help to
benchmark the activities of the big ORDA organizations and show how
costly simple things become when they are done using the prevailing ORDA
methodologies. By using standard costing we can get a much better idea
of the huge value generated by unpaid volunteers and community workers.
By understanding corporate value chains we can identify the value
destruction in the host communities and countries while super-wealth is
being generated for foreign shareholders.

There is a lot of work to be done...but it is getting interesting.


Peter Burgess
Transparency and Accountability 
a global not-for-profit Network 
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Tel: 212 772 6918 
___
Kris Dev - Tr-Ac-Net in Chennai India
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://Tr-Ac-Net.blogspot.com
[EMAIL PROTECTED]




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[GKD] E-Governance Is Not Getting The Job Done

2005-03-01 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

Kris Dev made some interesting points in recent messages. He has
observed that one of the fundamental reasons that big organizations,
like governments, big international multilateral organizations and
international NGOs have embraced E-Governance is to control more and
service less. This is a challenging remark. Big organizations have
failed to embrace transparency and accountability that empowers people
and sets the stage for a high quality of service, and instead, are
working on strategies that make more and more control possible, while
doing rather little for people and their communities.

E-governance should not separate people and community-based civil
society from the big institutions, but help make people and community
based organizations more effective in progressing socio-economic
development. Instead of ICT being implemented on top of the people and
the community it should be implemented with the people and in the
community.

The Tr-Ac-Tool (formerly E-Administration) addresses this issue head on.
With a good system, an organization can focus on providing service
excellence, and on having the data that facilitates transparency and
ensures accountability. In the recent experience of Tr-Ac-Net, lots of
people want to see excellence in transparency and accountability, but
suprisingly few big organizations are interested at all in such
excellence. This is a terrible signal that these big organizations have
too much to hide, and cannot stand a public light shining on their
internal fund flows, their systems, procedures and performance.

Some organizations are actively working on better transparency and
accountability. More are talking about it. But not enough are heavily
committed to the idea ... and at the moment the prognosis is that big
organizations are quite happy with the status quo and being able to
operate with virtually no transparency and accountability.

Tr-Ac-Net is having an interesting time trying to track Tsunami fund
flows ... there is talk about transparency and accountability ... but
not much actual sharing of the information needed to have it. Tr-Ac-Net
will keep trying. It is too important to stop.

For more information please contact myself or Kris Dev.

Sincerely,

Peter Burgess


Peter Burgess, Tr-Ac-Net in New York [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Kris Dev, Tr-Ac-Net in Chennai [EMAIL PROTECTED]




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[GKD] Tsunami Disaster and Business Response to the Crisis

2005-01-07 Thread Peter Burgess
 where
every service is a right, or the market model which mainly
encourages anything goes greed. The most promising way to implement
the recovery stage is a community centric approach that takes full
advantage of local resources and possibilities, and is culturally
appropriate.

In community centric development, the priority is community progress
with external investment as beneficial as it can be and used so that
people are facilitated to do what they can do. Equity needs to be
addressed, and that can probably best be done by a loan regime of
assistance rather than grants. A single thematic focus is probably
wrong, because each community is going to have a different set of needs.
And external investment should be brought in on terms that are
advantageous to the local community. This is where the international
business community, foreign direct investment and government controls
have historically failed, and the repeat of past errors should be
avoided. Unfortunately, it is not clear that the international business
and investment community really is committed to the idea of investment
in combination with a value chain that makes local communities
economically successful. I wish I was wrong, but the facts seem to
suggest that corporate stockholders are far more important than
corporate citizenship and host community citizens.

What is the goal of recovery? First, to start moving back to a working
local economy. But it should be much more. Merely to re-establish the
level of poverty previously enjoyed by the communities is not enough.
Recovery and development should facilitate something more ambitious. I
like to think this is something that is going to happen. And I also like
to think that this is what should be happening with development
everywhere.

So back to the beginning. I am delighted to have the leaders of the
business community thinking about the tsunami disaster, and want to see
them engaged in the operation of a productive economy. But I also hope
that they can be a big part of community development success, rather
than being, more than they should, a part of the problem of endemic
community poverty.

Sincerely,
Peter B

Peter Burgess
Tr-Ac-Net / WISPforD / CCCDO in NewYork
Tel: 212 772 6918 
Web: www.afrifund.com
Email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Databasehttp://www.afrifund.com/wiki/index.pcgi?page=DBOrganizationS
Blog: http://taame.blogspot




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Win-Win Business Models

2004-12-24 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

Allen L. Hammond posted to the GKD-DOTCOM focused discussion about the
upcoming WRI sponsored Eradicating Poverty Through Profits Conference
in California. I did not go, (budget decision) but I have not seen that
much dialog after the conference. I would imagine there was a lot of
corporate sponsor hoop-la, but rather less about how to really have a
win-win in practical terms where part of the win is the needy community.

I tried to follow up on Allen's suggestions by following the links in
his message, and it was interesting, but nothing in the way of numbers
that showed the win-win that everyone wants to talk about.

I am quite worried that when people use the win-win, and there is a
corporate presence, what this really means is my corporate product can
be sold into the community and I win because I have profit and cash, and
they win because they have my product. The fact that the product that
they now have is going to help bankrupt the community (nation, family,
whatever) is not part of the equation.

For a military equipment supplier a sale of guns or gunships is a
win-win. The company has a sale, and the country is now in a stronger
security situation. Sorry...but this is pure B___ S___ but is what
corporate win-win too often looks like.

For the oil company win-win means something again. I have had a few
interesting exchanges with oil company spokespeople and it is just as
well they do not work in the accounting department of the oil companies,
because some of what they tell you would surely bankrupt the company or
certainly make it lose out against the competition. But the bottom line
is that the international oil company is a total 'lose' situation for
most communities anywhere near where they operate. It is a lose
situation because oil companies have tended to empower the government
over the society, the people and the community, has encouraged property
law that has wrecked traditional history and has encouraged a lot of
behavior that your mother would be ashamed of. The oil companies may
have a win-win for government leadership and oil company stockholders,
but people and communities and the environment are big big losers.

Let's take ICT for a moment ... and specifically printer ink. How much
does it cost to keep a printer supplied with ink (ink-jet or laser).
Everyone knows that the printer is sold merely to generate ink sales
... but exactly what is the moral justification for the ridiculously
high prices being charged for ink. But I never hear this talked about in
the sustainability dialog about ICT in development. Who is kidding who?
HP, Cannon, Brother, Epson, Lexmark, et al may not have illegally
conspired to create an oligopoly, but none of them is breaking ranks to
get ink prices where they reflect costs ... rich countries aren't
particularly bothered ... but a Community Internet Center (CIC) in the
middle of Kenya, for example, is going to find the prices tough.

Net-net, most countries would be better off if the multinationals had
not been around during the past 30 years. FDI is almost always a 'lose'
for the country and the people, even though it has been put into fashion
again in the last 20 or so years. FDI is not much different from
colonial exploitation, it just isn't called by the same name.

Please can we continue to tell stories about development, but can we
also add in some numbers so that the real issue about sustainability can
be understood. And when people talk about win-win, please show the
numbers so that we know what is really being talked about.

Sincerely,

Peter B

Peter Burgess
TRACnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 
Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Web: www.afrifund.com
Database: http://www.afrifund.com/wiki/index.pcgi?page=AfrifundDatabase
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Blog: http://taame.blogspot.com


On 11/12/2004, Al Hammond [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 For Tom Abeles and others who have joined the conversation recently, I
 would like to point out that we have documented a number of what we
 believe can be win-win models, and even sustainable models, in
 connectivity, agriculture, finance, health care, and other sectors, in
 detailed case studies that can be found on www.digitaldividends.org or
 with links under the resources page of the conference website,
 http://povertyprofit.wri.org. We have also posted earlier in this
 discussion detailed market data characterizing the size of the
 low-income or bottom-of-the-pyramid markets in a number of developing
 countries. Many of the companies coming to the Eradicating Poverty
 Through Profits conference in San Francisco next month are seriously
 exploring how to serve such markets in ways that generate real local
 value, while also yielding a profit.




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[GKD] Community Planning Models - What is Everyone Using?

2004-12-09 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

There was a point in my career when I used the newly invented
spreadsheet technology to build village models. Because of memory
constraints, I recall we had to use a lot of linked sheets! But the
results were very interesting.

I am now rethinking these models...but instead of me doing the thinking,
I thought I would ask you what village or community development models
you are already using.

My economic training was in the Keynsian school, and, over the years, I
have tried to combine typical corporate thinking about business
financial projections with Keynsian economic behavior (which in my view
is very pure in a remote village environment). One of the things that
is very clear, if the model truly reflects the Keynsian mindset, is that
the sequence of development initiatives in any community is a big
determinant of the outcome, and frankly, it explains why the relief mode
for development investment does almost nothing to support development
success.

The sort of modelling I am looking for is a (much simplified) village
version of the UN System of National Accounts developed, I believe, by
Dr. Stone at Cambridge in the 1950s. The important essence of Dr.
Stone's work was the idea that the assets of the entity (nation or
village) should be in the equation...and of course, that is what
corporate accounting does.

I would be very interested to get some help in modernising my ideas
about community economic modelling...and look forward to seeing what is
now being done!
  

Peter Burgess 
[EMAIL PROTECTED]




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Win-Win Business Models

2004-12-01 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

The dialog has been / is being very stimulating, with a good number of
the participants with significant contributions to make to have success
in development ... and I think we probably have a reasonable common
understanding of what we believe success in development to be.

However, a win-win business model is not enough, as several contributors
have indicated over the past weeks. It is a win-win business model AND a
win-win community model (on up to a win-win national economy model) that
we need.

I have done a lot of village development models over the years using a
combination of accounting and economics and it is very clear that the
value chain that generates development value needs to be one where ALL
the participants are winning. This requires not only thinking about
whether the little community ICT business will make a profit and
survive, but also whether the user of the service truly benefits, and
generates more family wealth as a result of using money for the ICT
service. Will the community end up richer as a result of ICT, or any
other development initiative.

Using micro-finance as an example ... more and more people with their
micro-financed businesses probably ends up with a whole lot of
marginally successful entrepreneurs. But in addition, putting money into
a local production facility that is going to be able to preserve fruit
and sell products that would otherwise go to waste really adds value in
the society. We have to work on both levels...good for individual...good
for community.

My current view is that we need to start looking very hard at how human
resources in communities can be used best to produce the most ... and
then market to get the most cash revenue  and at the end have the
most value for the community as a whole.

A community truck to haul firewood and water could save a lot of labor,
and if the labor then was used to do tree planting to rehabilitate land
.. and funds were made available for local people to fix local roads
.. and buy local food that is now more abundant because people were
farming rather than carrying firewood ... we make community progress.
And, by the way education and health and ICT might get paid for.

In my view this is the sort of community financial and economic
modelling that should be going on ... and we should be getting resources
into communities where the money is going to have a chance to generate
real value. We need to channel resources to build value, and then
locally generated value can start to take care more and more of local
problems ... and bit by bit put the international humanitarian relief
industry out of business.

To the extent I can help  I am at the end of an e-mail.

Sincerely,

Peter B 

Peter Burgess
in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 
Email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Is Profitability Essential for Sustainability?

2004-11-29 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I will not make this a long post. From what I learned as an engineer and
economics student, and then as an accountant and involved with business
management and consultancy, and then relief and development ... it is
absolutely clear that profitability is needed for sustainability. The
word for profitability can be changed to suit the not-for-profit world
or the public sector ... but nothing survives in the long run unless its
value creation is greater than its cost.

In my view there can be enormous value in using modern ICT to facilitate
productivity improvements ... but as private practitioners know,
governments and regulators and incumbent controllers of local monopolies
are not encouraging new innovations, but rather are discouraging
valuable innovation. Hopefully enlightened leadership will soon embrace
the great possibilities of modern ICT and make progress possible.

My favorite major development project ... one that resulted in enormous
improvement in US productivity was the US Interstate Highway System ...
initially promoted by President Eisenhower ... and eventually built at
tax-payer expense for the profit of almost everyone in the USA. The cost
was huge but the incremental economic value was many times as much. And
the capital markets encouraged the program. From the perspective of the
US economy as a whole this was a profitable investment, though costly
for the government.

In contrast the information highways in developing countries are not
getting built and the political and business leadership and the
financial community (capital markets) have not yet become committed
beyond the easy high profit elite (rather than universal) market.
Hopefully this is now changing and will soon change a lot more.

Some time ago I evaluated an FAO - UNDP project. It was an excellent
project that did not cost much, and made a huge difference to a quite
large rural community. The project was sustainable ... bit it did not
sustain because, in this case, the country itself could not sustain
anything beyond mere subsistance. The country had become totally
dependent on foreign donor funding  and then landed in the vicious
cycle of guns and diamonds and all that. Sad. But the lesson is that
both micro (the entity) and macro (the nation) need to be profitable to
be sustainable.

Sincerely,

Peter Burgess


Peter Burgess
in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 
Email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Win-Win Business Models

2004-11-19 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I would also like to thank List Members for their interesting
contributions, and I would very much like to hear from other list
members about financing modalities to implement a real win-win for
socio-economic community development.

I very much like the small-scale low cost business model that starts
slow and grows organically as fast as it can. (Pam McLean's CAWDNet
approach in Nigeria). I also like the big initiatives like BusyInternet
in Ghana that struggle to overcome big local constraints to attempt to
be of international quality and profitable.

The win-win of ICT needs to be funded, but the mechanisms for doing this
really don't exist at the present time. The UN Year of Microcredit
starting today is going to help improve access for some  but there
also needs to be mini-finance for small business operations and
muni-finance to help communities pay for what the community needs in
common. All of these finance segments can be profitable and support a
proper sustainable finance sector based on value-adding that happens in
the local community.

Sadly, the viability and profitability and sustainability becomes much
more difficult when the borrowing or lending is international and
denominated in a currency such as the dollar, Euro or Yen and exchange
risk is factored in.

I look forward to getting some help about financing opportunities for
community-based for-profit ICT initiatives.
  
Sincerely 
  
Peter Burgess 
in New York 
212 772 6918 
www.afrifund.com 
[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
http://TAAME.blogspot.com



On 11/18/2004, Arrigo della Gherardesca wrote:

 Now, how could one go about financing the TeleCentres, on a reasonably
 wide scale? A mix of donor-grant and debt financing? Does anyone on this
 List have any experience in this and would like to share it?




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Re: [GKD] Knowledge Bank Evaluation Criticizes Dev. Gateway

2004-03-19 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I hope that others will pick up on the cost issues relating to World
Bank and other Official Development Assistance (ODA) initiatives. Value
for money is what will drive success in development, and it is
abundantly clear that the process being used in development, and the
organizations involved at the center of the process just do not get it.

As an aside, two big building projects in the middle of Washington DC
with very big cost overruns were the World Bank building and the IMF
building just a few years back. Is it any surprise that projects in
development do not get implemented cost effectively?

The problem of costs and cost effectiveness runs very deep. Very few of
the staff of the World Bank (and other ODA organizations) have ever been
in charge of operations where cost control and efficiency was the
determinant of success or failure. Few (maybe even none) of the staff
have had experience of the stress of making payroll, so the interest
in cost and cost effectiveness is at best an academic interest. After
more than 25 years of exposure to the World Bank and its methodologies I
don't think it has the capacity to reform. I think the President of the
World Bank would have done reform if reform could be done.

So what to do? Give up on development? Or perhaps we should start to
think through what it is that will work.

My starting point is to start asking about what will work in Lima and
Lilongwe (but maybe not Liverpool!). And since I have already done a
considerable amount of this over my consulting career in development I
want to be ready to respond to their priorities with something tangible
and easy to use when we get their replies. There are all sorts of
details and little issues that can get in the way, but it is fairly easy
to discern some common threads. Though I don't want my ideas to get in
the way of the ideas from Lima and Lilongwe, I think there will be
issues around enterprise financing, missing infrastructure, problems
with regulation and governance, access to relevant information, access
to useful enterprise support services, lots of need in the communities
and no funding to turn need into purchasing power ... and others around
these themes.

In most cases I want merely to insist that resources are used to do
good, and that whoever funds (or provides other non-financial resources
to) the activity is remunerated and the funds (resources) are repaid on
time. I also want to insist on accounting and accountability and
transparency. I do not want to define local priorities, but I do want
the local economy to be sustainable.

There are cases where there is social good and not much purely financial
return. There is every reason to get these works funded, but the source
of funds has to be the philanthropic world. My goal is that most
philanthropy is derived from locally generated profits near Lima and
Lilongwe and not merely from the accumulated wealth of the NORTH. In my
view the goal of sustainable development is achieved when local profits
are big enough to satisfy ALL the needs of the local community. And this
is achievable as long as the needs are primarily defined by local input
and not thoroughly distorted and made unrealistic by unachievable global
norms.

Give education a chance, and then have ways in which young people can
put their learning to work. Jobs. Opportunities. There is plenty to be
done. The right mix of resources is needed for it to get done, and get
done driven by local initiatives and local entrepreneurs.

And yes, there is a profitable market in the NORTH for some products and
services. And by all means have the SOUTH earn some of the profits (in
our own case we are working on ICT outsourcing and coffee marketing
 both to get more of the profit into the hands of African
stakeholders).

But we need an alternative organization other than the World Bank and
the ODA establishment to manage all this. All the pieces are available.
It just needs putting together.

Sincerely

Peter B


Peter Burgess
ATCnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 
Email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://www.afrifund.com  
http://www.afrifund.com/wiki/index.pcgi?page=DevelopmentDialog
http://www.afrifund.com/wiki/index.pcgi?page=DevelopmentData




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Re: [GKD] Knowledge Bank Evaluation Criticizes Dev. Gateway

2004-03-11 Thread Peter Burgess
 gets used in the ODA community for so
little value. Especially when there are so many good things going on
with great results and rather little funding. I want to see an
independent development management information system emerge that
systematically calls for performance feedback on the whole portfolio of
ODA projects. And for good measure, I want to see the same methodology
applied to foreign direct investment (FDI), especially FDI from the oil
and gas industry and other resource exploitation initiatives.

There is work to be done. Don't wait on the World Bank's independent
Development Gateway to give the answers. The DeviPedia Database is our
contribution to a new framework for development. This is a Wiki based
database that we are using to collect and organize development dialog
and development data. The goal is to know a lot more about specifics of
development, and then to be in a position to use the information to get
better performance in development. The WiKi approach lets everyone be a
party to pulling the information together. The URL for this is:
http://www.afrifund.com/wiki/index.pcgi?page=DeviPediaHome

Looking forward to more success in development,

Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
AfriFund ATCnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 
Email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://www.afrifund.com




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Re: [GKD] Wireless Network May Replace Phones Altogether

2004-01-10 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues

The idea that a wire communications paradigm established 100 years ago
should be so powerful now is really quite ridiculous and shows how
financial clout and political power can dramatically constrain progress.
I was delighted to read the posting about the possibilities of the
wireless technology (802.nna) and will collaborate all I can.

I am optimistic that modern technology has cost characteristics that
make mass distribution financially more attractive than elitist low
volume marketing. If that characteristic is exploited it will spell real
trouble for the established incumbent telecoms . and about time too.
They have been living on borrowed time for a long time now, so good
riddance.

But there has to be thinking about security issues and identification
problems. Again technology can help if we allow it. And again laws and
regulation may well get in the way of best technological practice.

Enough

Sincerely

Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
ATCnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 
[EMAIL PROTECTED] for secure messages
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
www.afrifund.com  www.ryze.com/go/PeterBurgess
www.mothertruckerscoffee.com



In a message dated 12/10/2003, [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes:

 Some interesting information for your review and evaluation:
 
 a) $3-5 a week
 
 b) no phone bill
 
 c) free 710Kbit dedicated Internet access
 
 d) free video conferencing
 
 e) free mobile phone calls
 
 f) free instant messengers
 
 g) free SMS, free MMS
 
 h) more
 
 
 Too good to be true?
 
 Read on...
 




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Re: [GKD] Geographical Information Systems and the Developing World

2004-01-08 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I have been interested in the potential of GIS since it first arrived in
a primitive form fifteen years ago. My interest was created by work I
had been doing in development planning and the realization that most
of what was being done in this area was worse than worthless. Resources
kept getting used for emergencies that should never have happened in the
first place, and little went to development that could be sustainable.
The system kept replicating economic value destruction...without ever
realising that this was what was going on.

Some planning work that I had the good fortune to be associated with was
amazing and done with tremendous geographical and social and economic
understanding (for example the post independence health sector planning
prepared by the Namibian Minstry of Health staff - not the international
work but the locally prepared plans). But most planning (done by
international experts) was done without very much understanding of what
was possible, in part because the detailed geographical understanding of
natural resources was not easily accessible.

I have a caveat about GIS in development. It tends to need allocation of
scarce resources that arguably would be better used for other
priorities. The biggest problem is not planning and knowledge needed for
planning, it is the management of resources to get the priority work
done. Without effective management of resources, resources end up in the
wrong place, and not doing much good. Most resources over the past forty
years have been poorly used, and the system has never been fixed to
ensure that scarce resources get used as well as they possibly can be.

If management of resources can be implemented, and it can include GIS in
a cost effective manner, I would be an advocate...otherwise, I will drop
back to a simple accounting framework for resource management.

Sincerely

Peter Burgess


Peter Burgess
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Tel: 212 772 6918 
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] What's on the Horizon?

2003-11-19 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I am not sure that what I have to say can be described as valuable
input and insights!, but here goes anyway!

 1. What new high impact technologies are on the 3-year horizon? Who
 (exactly) needs to do what (concretely) to make those technologies
 widely available?

Affordable cost. What this means is that in order to have an impact in
developing situations the technology has to get mass produced and be
consumer costed. Items need to be available for $10, not $1,000 or 
even $100.

There has been a lot of talk over the past 25 years about appropriate
technology and this was often interperted to be old technology. With
ICT the most appropriate is more and more the most modern. Wireless
 minimum power using devices ... reliable .

 2. What's the most valuable area for technology development? Voice
 recognition? Cheap broadband delivery? Cheap hand-helds (under $50)?

Reliability / Affordability / better ways to get from electronic to
traditional (reduced cost ink! and paper).

 3. Where should we focus our efforts during the coming 3 years? On ICT
 policy? Creating ICT projects with revenue-generation models that are
 quickly self-supporting? Demonstrating the value of ICT to developing
 country communities?

Innovators need to be able to implement best technology for development
without running afoul of law and regulation that constrains best ICT
practice in the interest of one particular group of stakeholders. We (in
the NORTH) need to be more willing to see and listen and understand the
needs of people who might be able to benefit from ICT's use 
parents, children, educators, students, medical service personnel,
farmers, market folk .. people can use I and people can use C .
maybe we should just help to see that there is access to T, and access
to resources to implement T. We need to remember that the technology
needs to help not only those with academic training and education, but
also those who have had no formal education, but can still benefit from
more knowledge, especially practical relevant local knowledge.

 4. What levels of access should we be able to achieve by 2007 in each of
 the major under-served regions? Who (exactly) must do what (concretely)
 to attain them?

Find successful and sustainable activities. Replicate. Get constraints
out of the way. Get funding on the right basis. Let the demand pull what
is wanted.

 5. What funding models should we develop over the next 3 years? Projects
 with business plans that provide self-sustainability? Support from
 multilateral corporations? Venture capital funds for ICT and
 development?

The funding model that is needed is one that allows the SOUTH to do
value adding within its own economy. Most foreign direct investment
pulls a lot more value out of the SOUTH than it generates. So something
different is needed. From a financial planning perspective the policy
direction should be to have private local equity supported by external
loan funding. The external loan funding should be rewarded for both use
of money and the risk being taken. This is the AfriFund model that has
been described elsewhere from time to time. This is for profit, but it
is not for profit at any cost and not all the profit for the financial
stakeholder at the expense of everyone else.

Grant funding has been dangerous and has contributed to value
destruction. Grant funding pulls local resources into areas of activity
that do not have any inherent sustainability beyond the grant subsidy.
Among other things, grant work gets good local people working where they
essentially do little of real practical value, rather than having these
people serve the local interest in struggling but essentially
sustainable and priority local business (or service). This is the same
sort of damage that the project form of organization has been doing
for years, pulling good people into projects rather than having good
people working inside the mainstream local (and underfunded)
institutions.

Planning should get less funding and pilot implementation should get
more funding and replication of success should get most funding. A key
step in this is to get information about success so success can be
replicated. This is accounting and related output analysis, not the more
common monitoring and evaluation exercise that serves to satisfy
donors and grant givers, but so often does little to set the stage for
replication . the reason being usually that the project has really
failed (again) and replication is not economically worth doing.

Going forward is going to be exciting. But the policy framework and the
organizational design needs to be as modern and functional as the
technology that has emerged over the last few years.

Sincerely

Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
ATCnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 Fax: 707 371 7805
[EMAIL PROTECTED] for secure messages




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Misunderstanding Broadband

2003-11-11 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

Thank you, Allen Hammond, for your clarifying message. The difference
between ICT, the tool and the information that gets communicated using
the tool is, of course, fundamental.

When I used the phrase narrowband everywhere, I was not intending this
to be construed in a very narrow literal way, and refer just to, say,
the use of outmoded technology. Far from it. What I intended to have
understood is the idea that the very best of technology should be used
to get the lowest cost of communication, AND the information going over
the infrastructure is simply what is most valuable and at the same time
affordable to the user. And I should, of course, stress that value in
this case is not what I think is valuable but what the user of the tool
thinks is valuable.

And this issue of value to the user is critical to the question of
sustainability. I have written many times that there are three numbers
that are important. The cost, the price and the value. A development
initiative has the chance of being sustainable when the cost is low and
the value is high. The price needs to fall in between the low cost and
the high value, and it needs to be affordable to the users in the
context of the local economy. [As an aside, if all development projects
were put through this test during the appraisal and justification
process, most would never get approved for funding and resources would
be much less wasted].

ICT and connectivity, like so many other themes of development, tends
to be pushed into development rather than getting pulled in by the
intended beneficiaries. I cannot tell you how many times over my career
in development consultancy that local people have asked me why
development money never is available to help them get what they need,
but only for things that are in our projects [that is on our NORTH
agenda].

So back to the basic question. How to get the most value from ICT into
the beneficiary community? And my answer to that is very best technology
being used to facilitate some (rather than narrowband) electronic two
way communication everywhere. This should give the right cost, price,
value and affordability profile and therefore be sustainable.

Sincerely

Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
ATCnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 Fax: 707 371 7805
[EMAIL PROTECTED] for secure messages






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Re:[GKD-DOTCOM] Connectivity Is Not The Right Word

2003-11-05 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

Broadband is a real enemy of development.

One of my staff summed up the situation in the underdeveloped SOUTH way
back in the 1970s when he said that Every year that goes by they get
another 10 years behind.

And broadband is the sort of technology initiative that helps make this
a sad reality.

There is nothing wrong with broadband as a step forward from other
connectivity, but making broadband the standard before any other form of
connectivity is universal (not to mention a lot of other basic needs) is
a humanitarian disaster.

Once again we have an obscene allocation of scarce development
resources. We need to systemicly optimise value adding in development
and end value destruction through development and foreign direct
investment.

I agree with Simon Woodside that connectivity is not the right focus.
Export driven development has failed largely because when everyone is
exporting to drive development, the supply booms and nothing happens
with demand .. d .. the prices go down  terms of
trade tank. Development is about the quality of life in a community
getting improved, and that is about value adding in the community.
Having the ability to communicate LOCALLY is enormously valuable, and
should be done better than yesterday, but it need not be done using
broadband!

Simon has described the importance of the nodes. Absolutely yes. And the
key nodes in quality of life are those that relate to the living that
goes on in the community.

My vote is for narrowband EVERYWHERE connecting little local nodes.
Improve the local infrastructure, and don't focus just on the
international part of it. And my vote is for using technology to reduce
the cost and price of basic communication rather than to maximise
revenue for the technology producers by selling more and more complexity
that adds a lot to the visual experience but not very much at all to the
underlying messages being communicated.

Sincerely

Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
ATCnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 Fax: 707 371 7805
[EMAIL PROTECTED] for secure messages



Simon Woodside wrote:

 I was paying attention when the internet was first developing in the
 west, here in Canada in particular. I think that the history of the
 internet is largely ignored by those who are developing connectivity for
 the developing world. But ignored, at the risk of going off in the
 completely wrong direction.
 
 The internet is all about nodes. A node is a knot between strands, a
 place where many lines come together. In a computer network, it's a
 point of interconnection, where two data lines cross. What happens in
 the node, is that the data intermingles and doubles. Data that enters a
 node can exit in any direction, or in all directions at once.

..snip...

 So ... connectivity is not the right goal. The goal should be, what are
 you doing to build the LOCAL internet. Not just to connect people but to
 interconnect them by creating internet nodes?





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Re: [GKD] RFI: Computer Donations To The Third World

2003-07-10 Thread Peter Burgess
In a message dated 6/25/2003, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Does anyone know if there are computer donation programmes that go
 beyond one-off donations? What if after a while people using donated
 computers need upgrading and/or replacement? Who takes responsibility
 for meeting with the created (long term) expectations of using
 computers?

I like your question.

One of the prevailing problems with development is that all the official
development assistance (ODA) community loves to announce that they have
started a program to address some currently popular problem, but they
rarely do enough of anything to make much of a success possible.

Development should be about replicating success and ensuring that the
scarce resources are used most wisely to achieve the greatest results.
But that rarely happens. There is little knowledge used in the
management of development and the allocation of scarce resources.
Instead scarce resources are squandered over and over again starting
things over instead of optimising what one might call a continuum of
development activities.

This is not a question of capacity in the SOUTH, or of corruption in
the SOUTH. This is a creation of the ODA community and the NORTH. It
optimises (maximises) the use of consultants from the NORTH while
reducing the resources available to the SOUTH.

But the SOUTH also has to figure out how to get what it needs without
being totally dependent on gifts from the NORTH. The SOUTH should be
able to make the case for getting help because it is doing great things
with the resource help, and is making measurable progress. With the
information easily available, it is not at all clear that gifts are
doing as much good as they could ... and it should be clear .
not necessarily before the gifts are given, but certainly afterwards.

In too many cases in my experience, computers were set up, computer
training took place, but the graduates of the computer training did not
have any jobs to go to. Yet the value of computers and trained computer
operators in the right business situation could be enormous ..
which brings me back to two recurring themes .. the need for better
understanding of the development process and the need for jobs.

Sincerely


Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess
ATCnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 Fax: 707 371 7805
[EMAIL PROTECTED] for secure messages




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Re: [GKD] Attempts to Bridge Digital Divide Could Be Costly to Africa

2003-04-12 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear Colleagues,

I think Sally got it right when she said Attempts to bridge the
'digital divide' could lead Africa down a costly path and I think John
was right when he sugested that we should focus on the last sentence,
and NOT the first!. The last sentence said Good planning and
utilisation - such as making computers available for community use
outside school hours - and free 'open source' software however, can
lower costs dramatically.

Everything that is done in development in Africa has to be done on a
triage basis. Tough choices have to be made. There is just not enough
public resource to go round. And the development community has not
yet got round to addressing the crisis in the banking and finance
sector, both public finance and private financial services. Development
cannot get driven either by public initiatives nor by private
enterprise, because resources are just not available for what would do
the most good.

Professionally, I am working to use ICT in support of development, and I
have had a long time interest in the economic dynamics of
computerization. From the early days when IBM dominated the mainframe
business to today when Microsoft dominates in the simple application
software area, the dominant force in decision making was driven by the
ideas of first IBM and now Microsoft .. and these ideas have had
nothing to do with what is best for society, or the economy as a whole,
or anything BUT what is good for IBM, and now Microsoft. The Open
Source movement can be to Microsoft what Microsoft was to IBM. And that
is good. The stage is set for big changes. In fact, I do all my work
now with Open Source software and it works just as well (for me) as my
Microsoft software used to do, and I don't have to worry all the time 
about the terribly frequent upgrade processes, and then the computer
hardware upgrades needed to keep up with Microsoft software bloat.

But is any form of computerization through public fund resource
allocation appropriate in situations where society is hungry and sick
and dying? What is the triage dynamic that should be being used. With
hunger and famine all over Africa, and health and HIV-AIDS a galloping
pandemic, and war and security and displaced people  WHAT COMES
FIRST?

The crime against humanity is that global resources are being allocated
to use that ignores the issues just recited ... it should not matter
that computerization and learning about computers is maybe 5th on the
list of priorities . but the reality is that there is not even
resources for the 1st item on the list to get fixed properly. From my
perspective, and the perspective of the poor and hungry, let's use
computing to start understanding just how badly the world's economic
resources have been and are being used  and let's start using
computing to get some analytical and management control over the
prevailing aberration of global resource allocation

With modern technology we can deliver a smart bomb into any room
anywhere in the world from thousands of miles away, yet we cannot get
development resources anywhere near where they will do the most good.
There is something terribly wrong.

Sincerely

Peter B

PS .. Please remember that within the crisis in Africa there are
elements of development excellence. The sad fact is that it is
difficult to see the good because there is also so much that is bad
.. and in a lot that is bad  the NORTH is terribly implicated

Peter Burgess
ATCnet in New York
Tel: 212 772 6918 Fax: 707 371 7805
[EMAIL PROTECTED] for secure messages

 
John Lawrence [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:  

 I am not in any way speaking for UNDP, but personally and
 professionally Please note the reciprocal contrast between first and
 last sentences in the introductory paragraph of this memo, then ask why
 the title of this email exclusively focused on the first! This goes
 beyond a classical example of the half-full, or half-empty glass.  As
 part of a team who demonstrated empirically and conclusively the
 surprising spread of e-comms in subSaharan Africa, and the implications
 for social policy in key areas of development (Perspectives in Education
 Vol 20 #2 pp 55-76), I suggest (and I think/hope there is wide
 agreement) that young African children, all over the continent, have
 inherently the right to the same opportunities for access to these
 crucial technologies as their counterparts worldwide in rich countries
 as well as poor. Public policy should recognize unequivocally the
 astounding emergence of e-comms as a new reality in business,commerce,
 and public service, thus comprising an essential educational requirement
 in the development of human resources. Unless parents and communities
 explicitly opt out, schools which ignore this reality are actively
 depriving their students of critical skills acquisition in a fast moving
 modern age. So it is incumbent on development agencies and the private
 sector to work with OSS pioneers

Re: [GKD] Security Issues and Open Source Software

2002-11-12 Thread Peter Burgess
Dear GKD Colleagues,

I am glad that Ashish Kotamkar brought up the issue of security. But
this is not really an issue about Microsoft versus Open Source ..
but is absolutely fundamental to the operation of any computer system or
network and the Internet itself. With present day hacking capacity
almost everything that is put into electronic form can be seen by
official or unofficial snoopers. Yes  almost everything. Both
Microsoft and Open Source are problems with few simple solutions.

Security has been a primary concern of my group as we have been
developing some Internet based database applications  it is quite
easy to build a database system . but it is another matter to build
tham so that they are secure and have permanent reliability . and
remain easily Internet accessible ... rather than operating simply
behind some corporate firewall.

And it is very disturbing that public policy in both free and less than
free countries is moving in the direction that secure Internet
transactions are bad policy because the authorities cannot look at what
is being transacted . yet without security excellence the Internet
is one day going to be the site of the biggest financial heist in all
of history . and an open book on everyones private information.

Our group has a solution in development . it is not ready to be
announced quite yet, but it will address some of the issues that are of
concern to anyone faced with the need for distributed secure
information, including financial information.

Sincerely

Peter Burgess
ATCnet


__
T. Peter Burgess
VP and CFO ATCnet
New York USA
Tel 212 772 6918 Fax 707 371 7805
website: www.atcnet.org 
email:   [EMAIL PROTECTED] / [EMAIL PROTECTED]

ATCnet Project for Universal Accountability
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[GKD] Re: ICT for income generation in Zimbabwe

2001-03-01 Thread Peter Burgess

Dear Participants

I have just read the contribution by Dumisani Nyoni from Zimbabwe .. and
earlier I read a message from Meddie from a UNESCO funded project in Uganda.

The issue of sustainability is absolutely fundamental to socioeconomic
progress  and is inextricably linked with the concept of value adding or
value destruction within an economy. The collapse of dot.com startups should
be coming as no surprise since their basis business model in so many cases
was pure value destruction . delivering product in volume below cost
. simply by a simple click on your web browser!!! On the other hand,
there are parts of the technology industry that are thriving . because
they are making it possible for major functions within the economy to operate
substantially more efficiently  and therefore use less resources for the
same job than before . and that is progress.

I am waiting for someone in the development community to show us exactly how
we can increase production (of needed products  like food and fuel and
electricity and water and housing and clothes and medicine and . ) in an
affordable way through ICT . how job opportunities can be increased .
how social services can be expanded within limits of affordability, both
budgetary and affordable user fees .. how government can be made more
efficient .. how issues of accountability and transparency can be
addressed . etc.

The power of ICT is enormous .. but it must be used in a way that
respects basic fundamentals of economics .. and the underlying needs of
real people.

I would welcome feedback on any of these issues . privately or through
the list

Regards

Peter Burgess
__
T. Peter Burgess
President and CEO
AfriFund Management Limited
1173A Second Avenue #221
New York NY 10021
Tel 212 772 6918 Fax 707 371 7805
website: www.afrifund.com or www.profitinafrica.com
email:   [EMAIL PROTECTED]


 
Subj:[GKD] ICT for income generation in Zimbabwe
Date:   2/28/01 11:20:35 AM Eastern Standard Time
From:   [EMAIL PROTECTED] (Dumisani Nyoni)
Sender: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Reply-to:   [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Dear GKD members,

My name  is Dumisani Nyoni. I am from the City of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and am
currently with the Youth Employment Summit, a project of the nonprofit
organization
EDC, in Massachusetts. Through SNIP SNIP

 
Subj:sustainability strategies
Date:   2/28/01 4:36:04 AM Eastern Standard Time
From:   [EMAIL PROTECTED] (Uganda National Commission for UNESCO)
Sender: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Dear friends,

I am developing a critical paper on the issue of sustainability of
Telecenters and community information centers in developing countries. As a
practitioner, I am following up key practical SNIP SNIP






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