IT for Decision Makers A Strategic Approach to Developing a National IT Policy By Taholo Kami for UNESCO Disclaimer: These materials have been produced with support from UNESCO. The author is responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts in the materials and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization Strategic Approach to IT Planning How Important are ICTs?: Is access to Information a RIGHT for ALL? Does access to information enable a Government to better fulfill its role to its people? Can a community afford to be left out of the information economy? Global Participation – The Internet makes local issues instantly available to a global audience. Is this desirable? Do we have a choice? What are the opportunities? How does IT extend our traditional boundaries?What is the role of the Overseas island community? Scarcity Can an IT strategy improve our traditional means of making economic decisions? How can IT enable the 4 “e”s (efficiency, effectiveness, empowerment, enterprise? Implementation Governments role versus Private sector, civil society or other established institutions: Who will do it BEST? How should Government be involved? Strategy What are our Strengths as a nation? Human Resources (education / culture / Attitudes) Natural Resources Private Sector What are the Obstacles? Where do we want to be in future? Threats and Opportunities are in a global context Can we optimize our “smallness” ? Where do we focus our resources to achieve objectives? Developing a Platform for a Knowledge Society... Leadership Good Governance Supportive Regulatory Environment Infrastructure Access (affordable, universal) Human Capacity Relevant Applications (health, education, ecommerce) Enabling ICTs eCommerce eGovernance Telehealth Education Community Networks Global Participation ECONOMIC GROWTH Leadership, Good Governance, Regulatory Environment, Infrastructure, Access, Human Capacity, Relevant Applications The Policy Platform Leadership Vision - know what you want to achieve with your information strategy Political Will Identify your Champions Commit Resources Examples - Costa Rica / Estonia / Singapore / Malaysia have recognized ICTs as critical to fulfill their national development strategies …. Governance: Transparency Regulatory and legislative process should be transparent and open. Citizens should have access to all laws, decrees, regulations and judicial rulings including draft laws and regulations in print and through the Internet. No one should be subject to any rule that is not published. Governance: Public Access / Participation Phased approach to public access Public access booths / learning / communications centers Content development / info and culture Scheme to encourage computer purchases School Curriculum develops IT skills and awareness Government incentives for upskilling Regulatory / Legal Issues Intellectual property Taxation - Internet tax policy should neither penalize e-commerce nor inhibit the offering of electronic services. Digital contracts - Laws recognizing credit cards, cybercash and digital signatures Consumer protection Competition and Licensing in Telecommunications and media Privacy protection Computer crime - Effective measures to deal with online fraud, hacking while preserving anonymity and limiting government monitoring Telecom Participation Critical Liberalization of the industry has driven increased access in key countries Small Islands - Cooperation and Coordination may be the solution to domination of major telecommunications multi nationals Setting benchmark targets in terms of Access to basic services Cost of basic services Establishment of new services Infrastructure The MOST information needed for decision making is from a local / national source. We need to improve national / local information infrastructure National Telecommunications Backbone Government Intranets Rural Access Is your national Telecom committed to national development? Should it be? Human Capacity Develop your human resources according to mid / long term national priorities Set clear objectives and actions to achieve human capacity targets Incentives for IT training schemes Short / Long term goals for improving capacity Basic IT Usage skills. E.g. Every Government Employee at certain level will have an ICT Passport. Programs and courses for IT expertise with institutions or private organizations. ICT integrated into High School Syllabus with every form 4 graduate having …?.. IT skills by 200?! Human Capital Identify gaps in terms of IT Skills and action plan to fill gaps Raise overall awareness of population of IT opportunities Strategy for ensuring Basic User skills at all levels of community and Public service Encourage a culture of initiative and innovation. Affordable Access Even if Internet access was FREE, how many people can access it? Invest in rural infrastructure Financing initiatives for computers. Incentives for investors Incentives for developers eCommerce Commitment from financial institutions to enable Automated Online Financial Transactions Tax incentives for setting up companies or foreign Investment in ecommerce ICT applications that enable participation in ecommerce - beyond just web pages. Incentives that FOCUS development of eBusiness applications into priority areas rural development, Agriculture, Tourism, Niche Industries. eCommerce Investigate opportunities for leadership through IT capacity in specific industries where competence exists or can be developed through Business to Business or Business to Consumer applications Rotating Private enterprise policy discussion panels - get the beneficiaries involved! Streamlining private sector interaction on regulatory / policy issues with integrated response mechanisms from all departments. One Stop portal for businesses to interact with Government. (tax, customs, business registrations, quarantine, immigration, etc) Privacy / Security concerns Support Entrepreneurship Supporting regulation and Access to financing for startups Reduce risk of Government Intervention - build Investor confidence and trust Regulatory bodies independent e.g. Communications companies / regulators Local Barriers to Internet development New Opportunities for reform... Policy Principles Information is Global and Borderless: Impossible for one government to control Open standards, access for all Decentralized: no gatekeepers Abundant: low barriers to entry, no scarce spectrum Inexpensive: everyone a publisher User-controlled: e.g., encryption, filtering Interactive Conclusion An effective ICT/Internet strategy begins with a clear national vision and objectives Identifies Local barriers to Internet development and Opportunities for reform Develops platform for implementation with cornerstones of; affordable access, human capacity development, investment in infrastructure, good governance Start with National Development Priorities - build ICT capacity around national priorities. Conclusion Leadership is Critical: “Removing the obstacles ….letting people fly” Leadership is... making believers - Kami 2001 empower your people!