The potential of ICT as a development tool rests on its ability to improve the way people do things. The rapid changes and advancements in modern technology present a unique opportunity for developing countries to leapfrog intermediate steps in development while improving the quality and broadening the reach of public services.
The strategic and effective use of ICT—combined with a reform-oriented mindset, necessary set of skills, institutional structure and capacity, appropriate business models, as well as policy and regulatory environments—can facilitate fast and efficient delivery of public services in key sectors.
ADB has incorporated innovative strategies for the application of ICTs in its policies for key sectors:
ADB support for telecommunications and ICT is changing lives across the region. Farmers and fisher folk receive timely weather forecasts through their mobile phones, remote village schools connect to educational resources through internet -enabled computer labs, and citizens transact with their governments more efficiently through online systems. ADB is also helping to expand telecommunication networks, provide shared ICT access facilities like Community e-Centers (CeCs), and develop innovative and relevant ICT applications.
ICT can improve the efficiency and quality of education at all levels. Part of ADB's strategy to support itseducation policy principles is promoting "experimentation with, and dissemination of, innovative strategies and technologies in education." This involves developing appropriate e-applications to help DMCs leapfrog conventional means of learning and teaching . For example, Uzbekistan’s Information and Communications Technology in Basic Education Project, supported by a $30-million ADB loan, is bringing education to remote rural areas and benefiting 540,000 students.
ADB encourages governments to adopt both innovative approaches and modern technologies to promote good governance. This is done not just by shifting from manual, paper-based processes to automated systems, but also by creating new skills, building human and institutional capacity, and creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment to facilitate public sector reforms.
ICT can be a powerful tool for improving health and related services. ADB projects are helping to improve dissemination of public health information, bridge the gap in consultation, diagnosis, and treatment between resource-rich and resource-poor hospitals, facilitate learning, enhance the ability to monitor diseases and other health issues, and make health administration more efficient.
ADB’s ICT efforts are raising agricultural productivity and the quality of life of farmers and the rural poor by improving information flows, communication, and access to reliable, up-to-date information. This enables strategic decision-making by farmers and prevents or mitigates losses caused by natural disasters.