IT: bringing both growth and headaches for developing nations

By David Bicknell

A number of developing nations are turning to IT to drive economic growth and create new employment opportunities.

Rwanda in Africa recently attracted the interest of the US Carnegie-Mellon University to invest in the country. French writer Francis Pisani is also visiting Rwanda on his global innovation tour.

But investing in IT can create headaches for developing countries too. For example,  a lack of money is threatening to halt the implementation of a Government IT project planned to increase Vietnam’s e-Government capability.  

The project, originally approved by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in September 2010, has largely failed to get off the ground.

Part of the project’s plan was to apply e-Government at all State-owned agencies from communal to central levels.

But according to the country’s Ministry of Information and Communications, Vietnam News reported, to date, 31 out of 63 provinces and cities across the country have not developed plans to implement the project. Most local authorities say they don’t know where or how to start.

Cao Dang Phuong, head of the ministry’s representative office in Da Nang City, said only seven out of 16 provinces and cities in the central region had plans to carry out the project.

Ho Quang Thanh, director of the Department of Information and Communications in central Nghe An Province, said that the biggest problem for most localities was the lack of funds for implementation.

To Thi Thu Huong, deputy director of the ministry’s IT Department, said: “This is a big project and to bring it into practice is a challenge as there is no financial source for it.”

The ministry has registered to carry out part of the project in 2012 at a cost of VND55.4 billion (US$2.6 million), but the lack of funding has hindered its implementation.

Nguyen Van Hai from the ministry’s IT Application Promotion Department told Thoi bao Ngan Hang (Banking Times) newspaper that VND100 billion (US$4.8 million) had been approved to execute plans at different ministries and localities this year, but it seems that is much too small to drive the successful IT development Vietnam needs.

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