Information & Communication Technology
Communication Technology (ICT) is is a sub-theme under NAM CSSTC’s recurrent themes in economic field.
It is the key to accelerate development
and self-reliance among NAM member countries. However, the
implementation of ICT on a global scale has caused widening
digital divide, not only between developing and developed countries
but also among NAM member countries.
Establishing the NAM
CSSTC Networking System with NAM Member Countries
access to lCT facilities is critical to overcome this growing disparity. But this can be difficult in developing countries-including in
many NAM member countries-where mere basic infrastructure such as
electricity and telephone lines, especially in rural areas, are not
this in mind, NAM CSSTC held an expert group meeting in March 2001 in
Jakarta to discuss establishment of a NAM CSSTC networking system.
Representatives from five regions-East Asia and the Pacific, Africa, South and
Central Asia, Latin America and West Asia-reported on their networking
status and plan. The countries in these regions have varying levels of
connectivity and e-readiness with, in general, a much lower penetration
ratio than developed countries.
The meeting therefore
recommended that the goal for the establishment of the NAM networking
system should be encouraging and furthermore, producing regional
policies to develop ICT capacity and capability of NAM member countries in
order to narrow the digital divide.
What benefits would NAM
member countries gain from joining the network? First, they would have
the opportunity to learn from the experiences of other NAM member
countries with regard to, for example, ICT policy, infrastructure,
regulatory framework and so on. They would also have access to training
programme and information on conventional and innovative initiatives for
cost-effective networking; access to funding resources and skill
databases; and channel for finding partners to collaborate on various
projects. A major benefit would be the collective voice which could increase bargaining power in international forums.
With the rapid
expansion of ICT capacity and e-commerce in an increasingly liberal
world market, the need to establish a networking system is
very urgent. The meeting therefore concluded that immediate action
should be taken to establish regional e-linkages in West, South and
Central Asia, as well as Latin America, all are linked to the NAM Networking
System. For East Asia and the Pacific, the target is to develop the
interconnectivity and interoperability frameworks to establish
such a system. In the Africa region, meanwhile, the priority is to
develop capacity and capability to establish regional
networking. The meeting recommended that e-NAM
Task Force be formed, with associated working groups, working on
organisational and technological infrastructure issues in order to realize
the NAM Networking System.
e-linkages Among NAM Member Countries Through NAM CSSTC
electronic linkages among NAM member countries and strengthening
their ICT capacities have been a major thrust of NAM CSSTC's activities in
2001. The expert group meeting in March recommended several immediate actions to
set up the
NAM Networking System. As a follow-up to this, a meeting was held in
August to discuss the technical feasibility of establishing regional
linkages, one of important products of the meeting was a series
of manuals on e-readiness: "Self-assessment for E-readiness" (one
volume), "Improving E-readiness" (three volumes, for basic, developing
and advanced levels) and a supporting reference, "Computer History and
self-assessment manual, the forthcoming e-readiness survey will yield
accurate figures on e-readiness at national level. This would also be an
important first step towards establishing regional e-linkages.
various means for promoting the participation of NAM member countries in
the NAM CSSTC Networking System; this included the enhancement of NAM
CSSTC's website, for example, by hyperlinking it to individual member
country websites, and improving Internet security issues.
Experts from the
different countries raised various issues on this topic, among others the need to recognize the importance of regional groupings in the
network, the need for databases, and the need to make member country
governments aware of the importance of ICT diffusion and connectivity.
support is crucial since NAM CSSTC itself is not in a position to fund
infrastructural upgrading in the respective countries-this has to be the
responsibility of the countries themselves. However, e-leadership
seminars and trainings could be arranged at regional or national level by
NAM CSSTC in cooperation with the respective countries. The feasibility
of finding low priced computers for electronic tele-centres in the rural
areas is being examined.