Global Alliance for ICT and Development
The people in attendance were good, and I had many exciting conversations. The chair of the effort is Craig Barrett, Intel's chairman. My main concern is that the outputs seemed to be focused on predictable Silicon Valley lobbying objectives, which went under the label of creating an enabling environment. This means getting rid of telecom monopolies, competition based on open standards, adequate intellectual property protections and so on. Don't get me wrong, I think that these lobbying objectives are actually correct: the poor will probably be better off if these things happen. but, it did seem indirectly connected to poverty reduction, improved education and improved health.
One of the key points made repeatedly was that the Global Alliance for ICT and Development has no money. In spite of that, it would be great if GAID could outline some big ideas about using ICTs to make real impact on the global poor. A cogent vision could mobilize some substantial resources. I've decided to work on this, not as an alternative to the enabling environment goals but to complete them. So, watch this space for an essay on what GAID could really do. My focus will be on commitments to creating local content and delivering fundamental access to technology and content.