$45 Million Open Government Challenge Stresses Mobile Tech
Public-private partnership looks to develop Web and mobile technologies for better governance in Africa and Asia.
IBM Smarter Cities Challenge: 10 Towns Raise Tech IQs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a competition to develop Web and mobile technologies that can be used to promote open government in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The competition, called Making All Voices Count, is the result of a public-private partnership among USAID, the Swedish government, the U.K.'s Department of International Development and Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife.
The competition will start accepting proposals in spring 2013 for tech projects aimed at improving government performance and helping new governments serve their citizens. The effort is aimed primarily at nations in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Organizers point to the proliferation of mobile technology as making the time right for this kind of open government initiative. Three-quarters of the world's population has access to mobile phones, according to a USAID spokeswoman. Over the past two years, subscriptions to wireless services have grown from under one billion to more than six billion, with the majority of growth in developing countries, she said.
In South Africa, mobile penetration has reached 100% of the population, while in Indonesia and Kenya, it stands at 75% and growing, according to USAID. "This mobile revolution has the potential to not only deepen citizen engagement, but facilitate the government's response," she said.
Competition organizers have established a $45 million fund to support the effort. USAID is contributing $15 million, with the balance coming from the other three partners.
"The problem we are trying to solve is a lack of evidence around what works in terms of citizen-government collaboration," the USAID spokeswoman said. "Therefore, metrics for funds we provide will be specific, measurable, additive and time-bound."
The competition was inspired by the Open Government Partnership, a group of more than 50 countries that have endorsed the principles of open government and adopted individual action plans in each member country. The United States is one of eight founding members.
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
2018 State of the CloudCloud adoption is growing, but how are organizations taking advantage of it? Interop ITX and InformationWeek surveyed technology decision-makers to find out, read this report to discover what they had to say!
Cybersecurity Strategies for the Digital EraAt its core, digital business relies on strong security practices. In addition, leveraging security intelligence and integrating security with operations and developer teams can help organizations push the boundaries of innovation.