Financing the Information Society in the South: A Global PublicGoods Per

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  • Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 01:03:32 +0500
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    • Financing the Information Society in the South: A Global Public Goods Perspective

      Pablo Accuosto and Niki Johnson

      Prepared for the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) by the Instituto del Tercer Mundo, Montevideo, Uruguay

      June 2004


      This paper sets out to look at the question of financing the provision of information
      and communication technologies (ICTs) in the South, within the context of the
      United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society, and advocates adopting
      a "global public goods" perspective on the issue. The paper first examines how the
      question of ICT financing has been debated during the WSIS preparatory process
      and the first phase Summit (Geneva, December 2003). Particular attention is paid
      to Senegal’s proposal for the creation of a "Digital Solidarity Fund", and the
      reactions to it of the different stakeholders -- governments, from both North and
      South, the private sector and civil society -- participating in WSIS. The following
      section explores the potential for addressing the issue of financing ICT expansion
      from a global public goods (GPG) perspective. First the authors provide an overview
      of what such an approach means in conceptual terms, looking both at general
      definitions of GPGs and the applicability of the concept to ICTs. They then review
      the debate that has been taking place around the specific issue of which existing or
      alternative innovative financing mechanisms might be used for GPG provision,
      linking the proposed strategies whenever possible to the ICT sector. Finally, in the
      conclusions the authors offer a concrete proposal with respect to what we consider
      to be the most appropriate financing mechanism for funding expanded ICT access
      in the South.


      Pablo Accuosto (accuosto at chasque dot net) is a senior editor at the Instituto del
      Tercer Mundo's portal

      Niki Johnson (niki at chasque dot net) is a researcher at the Institute of Political
      Science, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay.

      read complete paper (PDF; 169kb) at