The ICT sector is growing rapidly in many developing countries, and ICTs have shown great potential for improving firm productivity and enabling better social outcomes in health, education, and public governance. In fact, ICTs provide an extraordinary opportunity to extend the reach of development initiatives into all sectors and strata of society. Capturing that potential involves creating the right enabling environment, building human and institutional capacity, and attracting private sector investment and entrepreneurship. Integra takes an “ecosystem” approach to ICT infrastructure development that deals with strengthening the enabling environment, providing connectivity, facilitating demand for ICT services, and ensuring the creation of valuable ICT enabled services.
Strengthening the ICT Enabling Environment
Through USAID’s Global Broadband and Innovations Program Integra is working with seven developing countries to strengthen ICT governance by building capacity in Universal Service Funds, and in some cases to develop a national broadband strategy that will guide the government’s involvement in the ICT sector. These strategies will streamline government processes related to broadband expansion and ensure that private sector operators deal with transparent, predictable regulation.
Expanding ICT Infrastructure on the Rural Edge
Integra works with mobile network operators (MNOs) and equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to identify low cost technologies that can be used to profitably supply connectivity in very remote areas. We also work with MNOs regulators to construct business models and regulatory regimes that allow for scaling these technologies. This work is conducted under the firm’s Connectivity on the Rural Edge (CORE) program.
Assessing and Facilitating Demand for ICT
Integra conducts assessments of ICT sectors of developing countries at the request of the USAID missions. These assessments include an examination of patterns of demand, the penetration of ICTs, and how the public sector is leveraging these technologies. E-government services are an important part of creating demand for ICT services, and strong demand is crucial for making sure telecommunications networks are large enough to have significant effects on economic development. Integra also works closely with governments and with technology companies to facilitate the expansion of school computing programs that give children ICT skills at a young age.
Creating Valuable ICT Enabled Services
INTEGRA has experience in creating web content and managing online communities. The website www.gbiportal.net is USAID’s online ICT4D hub. Further, INTEGRA works to create and support networks of local ICT developers and entrepreneurs that can design and build localized applications and services.