By Narayan Ammachchi
As Third World countries struggle to build knowledge economies, the World Bank is quietly supporting their battle, contributing money to ICT infrastructure projects and programs designed to generate skilled workforces in far flung nations. Over the past decade, the Bank has invested more than US$1.3 billion in standalone ICT projects around the world – from Bangladesh in the East to Nicaragua in the West.
Given the Bank’s own assessment, its investments have helped countries to attract over US$30 billion in private sector investments in ICT sector. The best example is Nicaragua, the Central American country where Chinese telecom companies are rolling out 4G networks.
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Beside investing in standalone ICT projects, the Bank made sure that every project it finances has IT component. Today there are about 1,700 such projects under implementation. If these investments are taken into account, the World Bank’s spending on global ICT sector may exceed US$7.5 billion.
MexicoFIRST, eGhana, eRwanda and eBenin are the standalone projects, to name a few. MexicoFIRST and eGhana are specifically designed to support the ITeS and outsourcing industry. While MexicoFIRST provided ITeS training to over 40,000 Mexicans, eGhana program has helped to create over 1,000 jobs in the ITeS sector over the past two years. The Bank has planned to train more than 6000 people in call center services with its eGhana project.