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Journal: Why IT Development is slow-paced in developing nations ?

Journal by bibekpaudel

Mass adoption of Information Technology through Free and Open Source softwares would provide a huge benefit to the people and governments of third world countries, both in terms of cost and benefit. But things don't seem to be happening the way they should.

Jwalanta Shrestha has an interesting insight about what might be slowing down IT development in third world countries. In his blog post [0], he compares and contrasts two similar events that he has witnessed in his country Nepal, a land-locked nation in between India and China, where a bloody civil war ended recently [1].

A group of students in Kathmandu developing a Linux-based software that he thinks is very useful to Nepalese computer users, organized an impromptu event where developers came to look at the prototype and give feedbacks. This "highly productive" event was organized at the cost of a few phone calls and mailing-list posts. The only problem for the further development of the students' project is the lack of fund and resources.

The next day, he was at a five-star hotel in Kathmandu, to attend a program "Demonstration & Interaction Programme on Rural Information Gateway Portal." But actually it was about a website named www.telecenters.org.np. He had mistaken the event for the launch of the website. It turned out that it's only purpose was feedback collection. People lunched and spent one whole day at a luxury hotel, just to give feedbacks?

He writes, "The website building process is even more interesting. The project was initiated by USAID [2] and it handed over the development works to HLCIT [3]. HLCIT being a government body, called for a bid which Mercantile Communications [4] won. Mercantile Communication again did a bid which was won by Winrock International [5]. Winrock further did a bid and finally Magnus Consulting [6] got the job of developing the website. The result - it is not even Web2.0 and I bet, with Drupal, I can create a better site in ONE day!"

Telecenters, for which the said website is being made, have apparently failed in Nepal. Lots of money was spent on this zero-productivity event. He estimates the maximum life-expectency of the website to be not more than a year!

What do you have to say about this? Is this how things are going in other developing countries also? What might be the possible reasons for slow paced development of IT in such nations? How can things be improved or will they never? Lets have a discussion.

[0] http://jwalanta.blogspot.com/2008/03/why-it-development-is-so-slow-paced-in.html
[1] http://blog.bibekpaudel.com.np/2008/04/the-aftermath-of-nepalese-elections-long-entry/
[2] http://nepal.usaid.gov/
[3] http://www.hlcit.gov.np/
[4] http://www.mos.com.np/
[5] http://www.winrock.org.np/
[6] http://www.magnus.com.np/

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