It's hard to think of a facet of human endeavor that is not being somehow transformed by modern information and communication technology. Mobile phones and big data, for example, are being used in innovative ways in dozens of fields, from controlling disease outbreaks to planning smarter, greener transport routes. Innovators seeking to apply Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to development challenges – ICT4D in shorthand – have made their mark on World Bank projects as well: a large percentage of the Bank’s development projects now contain ICT components.
This approach has been supported by the Republic of Korea since 2008. The $15 million trust fund, administered jointly by the ICT Sector Unit and infoDev, has supported activities that serve as inputs in the preparation of projects in three areas:
- e-Transformation Across Sectors: Using ICT – with a focus on mobile applications – to transform the efficiency and accountability of service delivery in various sectors and to track results (with an emphasis on food security, social services, and IT industry development).
- Green IT: Implementing “Green IT” solutions that improve the energy efficiency of electricity networks and urban infrastructure (including transport networks), or improve the climate resilience of agriculture and water resource management systems.
- Broadband Connectivity Infrastructure: Increasing access to affordable broadband infrastructure services through policy and regulatory interventions, and where needed, through catalytic public-private partnership investment, with a focus on mobile broadband.
Proposals are submitted periodically to the Korean Government for their review and approval.
The Korean Trust Fund for ICT4D has funded activities such as feasibility studies, training modules and strategic plans, supporting World Bank projects all over the world and across sectors.
Recent results include:
- Supporting the creation of a comprehensive Broadband Strategies Toolkit, a guide for policy-makers, regulators, and other relevant stakeholders that includes practical examples from countries that have addressed broadband-related matters.
- The very successful EVOKE, a social network game that empowers young to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems. EVOKE ran from March to June 2010 and attracted more than 19,000 players and social innovators from 150 countries.
- A sharing of experiences between Korean and Russian officials and professionals and a feasibility study identifying high priority Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) for St Petersburg, Russia, in support of the proposed National Urban Transport Improvement Project.