Regional: Information and Communication Technology-Based Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction in the Pacific

Sovereign Project | 43046-012

Summary

This policy advisory technical assistance will enable the Secretariat of Pacific Community to better assist Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) in assessing options for accessing regional connectivity infrastructure, making informed choices, and preparing investment proposals. The TA will explore appropriate and innovative ICT services and applications to help Pacific DMCs promote inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

This TA comprises two sets of outputs to be achieved through two phases over 12 months.

Latest Project Documents


Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

Project Name Information and Communication Technology-Based Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction in the Pacific
Project Number 43046-012
Country Regional
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 7399-REG: Information and Communication Technology-Based Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction in the Pacific
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 70,000.00
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Partnerships
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector Information and communication technology - ICT industries and ICT-enabled services
Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Description

This policy advisory technical assistance will enable the Secretariat of Pacific Community to better assist Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) in assessing options for accessing regional connectivity infrastructure, making informed choices, and preparing investment proposals. The TA will explore appropriate and innovative ICT services and applications to help Pacific DMCs promote inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

This TA comprises two sets of outputs to be achieved through two phases over 12 months.

The first phase will (i) help selected Pacific DMCs develop financing plans and business models to enable their participation in the regional backbone initiative; and (ii) conduct a thorough assessment of the existing and proposed ICT initiatives and applications to identify models and opportunities, constraints and gaps, and appropriate actions to identify how the people of the Pacific, especially the poor, disadvantaged, small and medium-size enterprises, and remote outer island and rural populations can benefit from ICT services. It will draw on international best practices and lessons from ADB and other partners' ICT interventions in general and account for the special conditions that affect ICT application in the Pacific. The particular needs of businesses and the potential to enhance the delivery of essential public services will be considered. Priority areas will be confirmed through consultations with Pacific DMCs and development partners. Relevant regulatory issues will be identified. Potential ICT interventions and useful resources identified through the assessment will be catalogued at the SPC website for wider dissemination. The results of the study will be disseminated through a regional workshop.

Based on the outcomes of the first phase, the second phase will assess possible ICT investments in selected Pacific DMCs. Institutional set-up and regulatory-reform needs will be assessed. A matrix of potential interventions will be developed, with three to five priority areas identified for in-depth consultation with partners and feasibility studies. The criteria for selection will include (i) the potential impact on growth and poverty reduction by reducing the cost of service access or use, (ii) proven demand, (iii) interest from governments and the private sector, and (iv) the ease of developing feasible models for public-private partnership or private sector initiatives. Subject to partner commitment, one to two priority areas will be further developed into investment projects.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

ADB's Pacific Strategy 2005-2009 identified information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and human resource development as an important element for private sector-driven socio-economic growth in the Pacific. Following this strategy, ADB has provided technical assistance and investment funding in PDMCs to support Pacific e-learning network with the University of the South Pacific, Samoa's SchoolNet and distance learning program, and Papua New Guinea's e-government program.

The rapid expansion of ICT and broadband infrastructure has increased efficiency and global productivity. ICT expansion has brought an increase in business and job opportunities, as well as greater outreach and delivery of education and other social services. As part of the Pacific Plan, the Pacific Regional Digital Strategy fully recognizes the important role of ICT in regional development. A Pacific ICT Ministerial Forum meeting in March 2006 endorsed regional ICT priorities as (i) improving access to communication technologies through both cable and satellite technologies, (ii) reducing ICT costs, (iii) providing more bandwidth to the global ICT backbone technology, and (iv) strengthening ICT skills. These priorities were reconfirmed at the Pacific ICT Ministerial Forum (Connect the Unconnected) in February 2009.

The mere presence and availability of connectivity is not, however, sufficient to realize the full benefits of ICT. Education and health services can be improved, in terms of both access and quality, and business has expanded with the enhanced availability of ICT. It remains largely unknown, though, how the Pacific may more efficiently realize the benefits of ICT, especially in the pursuit of socially inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

In the Pacific, poverty or hardship is described as lack of access to (i) income-generating opportunities; and (ii) social services, especially primary education and health care. ICT could directly generate income in only a few areas. Indirectly, however, it could open up new opportunities through improved market information, which may create new jobs and markets. Savings in communication costs will contribute to the efficiency of Pacific DMC economies. Better communication services, possibly backed up by technological solutions such as mobile banking, will allow more secured financial transactions. ICT can also assist governments in providing basic services to outer islands. Especially, ICT-supported education can improve access to, and the quality of, education and prepare a workforce ready for the global economy. Disaster management is another area where ICT can contribute. In addition to an ICT-based early warning system, reliable communication is essential for fast, coordinated response.

A thorough analysis of increased access to ICT infrastructure will help maximize the benefits from it. The analysis should examine the types of ICT services that are capable of delivering tangible and sustained benefits. It will help stakeholders identify areas in which catalytic investment would ensure better utilization of the planned connectivity infrastructure in the interests of people currently unserved. It will inform discussions among governments, the private sector, and donors about demand and incentive structures to encourage more ICT use for inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

Impact Improved access to ICT among the poor and in remote areas.
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome The realization of investment in ICT applications and services for the poor and low income groups and in remote areas
Progress Toward Outcome

The TA completed its key deliverables which include ICT application pilot, sector assessment and analytical work, knowledge event, advisory support and consultations to facilitate inclusive ICT investments and application in selected Pacific countries.

A regional report identified several areas for futher feasibility study, and through stakeholder consultations, priority areas such as health, e-government, and universal service for small islands countries are identified.

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Phase 1: (i) Financing plan and business models for different options of regional backbone network and in country facilities in selected Pacific DMCs; (ii) Regional study of ICT interventions for inclusive growth and poverty reduction based on assessment report and stock-taking exercise; (iii) A catalogue of online resources in key areas of ICT intervention uploaded to SPC website; (iv) A regional workshop to share the study and build understanding and firm up commitments among partners.

Phase 2: Investment proposals for one to two ICT interventions for ADB and other partners

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

The TA was extented until Phase 3 from 30 June 2013 to 30 September 2014 to carry out environmental and social impact assessment and economic, poverty and gender assessments in selected Pacific countries.

The overall TA outputs include:

Phase 1:

(i) Study on the new technological option (medium-orbit satellite communication) with case studies in Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, Vanuatu and Marshall Islands. The scope of this output has been modified to complement other development partner's assessment on submarine cables in the region.

http://www.e-pic.info/en/component/k2/item/317-final-adb/spc-o3b-report-aug-2011

(ii) Report on the past and ongoing initiatives in the Pacific and review of good practices that can be replicated in the Pacific to harness ICT for poverty reduction and inclusive growth. The draft study was discussed among the Pacific Islands Country officials and provided recommendations in a regional workshop held in October 2010. The final report was completed in January 2011.

http://www.e-pic.info/en/component/k2/item/284-ict-based-inclusive-growth-and-poverty-reduction-in-the-pacific

(iii) Interactive, one-stop, portal website on ICT for development issues in the Pacific, co-funded by the European Union (EU), and currently being hosted and maintained by SPC. It was launched in 2010 (http://www.e-pic.info).

(iv) Regional workshop to discuss the findings and recommendations of the regional studies. This was run by SPC with participation from 13 Pacific developing countries.

Phase 2:

The second phase was focused on the use of ICT solutions for governance, social sectors (health and education), and expanding access to rural and remote areas. The following outputs have been delivered:

(i) Pilot of mobile health information system in Enga and Milne Bay provinces of Papua New Guinea. It was successfully completed and well received by the government. It provided capacity building to frontline health service providers to use mobile phones in improving health information, referral and stock management. The outcome and lessons learned were incorporated in the ICT sub-component of the ADB-funded Rural Primary Health Services Delivery Project.

(ii) An assessment on the use of ICT to improve social service delivery in Tonga and Solomon Islands. This served as important inputs to the design of TA 8487-SOL: ICT for Better Education Services and mHealth application in Tonga under TA 8540: Pacific ICT Investment Planning and Capacity Development Facility.

(iii) Support for the integration of government databases and the introduction of the single identity number for improved public service delivery, along with a draft ICT Policy in the Cook Islands.

Phase 3:

The TA supported sector assessment and advisory requests specifically: (i) report on broadband status and submarine cable demand assessment in Timor-Leste; (ii) Fiber Optic Feasibility study in Cook Islands; (iii) ICT industry assessment and advisory support in Palau and Solomon Islands including donor coordination assessment; and (iv) advisory support on cable options and corresponding institutional structure in Samoa and assessment of follow-on ICT support in Tonga. This analysis guided government ICT plans and investment decisions particularly on optimum connectivity options and delivered last mile inputs to package an ICT investment in Solomon Islands, Palau and Samoa.

Geographical Location
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

- Conduct consultations with stakeholders to build commitment and ownership of the outputs.

- Write feasibility studies in consultation with ADB, SPC, and selected country stakeholders.

During Project Implementation

- Across all assistance, stakeholders' understanding of the benefits of ICT is identified as the key to ownership and success.

- Will help stakeholders identify areas in which catalytic investment would ensure better utilization of the planned connectivity infrastructure in the interests of people currently unserved.

Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

International Consultants (14.5 person-months)

National Consultants (1.5 person-months)

Procurement No procurement requirement.
Responsible ADB Officer Ninebeth Carandang
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division Urban, Social Development & Public Management Division, PARD
Executing Agencies
Asian Development BankGi-Soon Songgssong@adb.org6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550 Metro Manila Philippines
Timetable
Concept Clearance 10 Sep 2009
Fact Finding 02 Nov 2009 to 09 Nov 2009
MRM -
Approval 03 Dec 2009
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 26 Aug 2009
Last PDS Update 02 Mar 2015

TA 7399-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
03 Dec 2009 - 03 Dec 2009 31 Dec 2010 30 Sep 2014 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
70,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 20,000.00 90,000.00 03 Dec 2009 443,255.90

Safeguard Documents

See also: Safeguards

No documents found.

Evaluation Documents

See also: Independent Evaluation

No documents found.


The Public Communications Policy (PCP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.