Building the Domestic Internet Economy

This is the continuation of the article by Bevil Wooding from yesterday

By Bevil Wooding

Part 2

The Internet

Local Content & Applications

Encouraging, branding, packaging and ultimately, utilizing locally developed content, applications and services is fundamental to the development of the local internet economy. Countries can debate the merits of nationally coordinated initiatives versus uncoordinated market-efforts to support local innovations and content development. No one can argue, however, that a multi-faceted approach is necessary to create a comprehensive and sustainable local content industry.
Initiatives can span from online Government service delivery, to support for e-transactions. It includes digitization of critical national archives from libraries and warehouses and the creation of globally-accessible online repositories. It covers media houses making the transition from print and live broadcast to online and on-demand assess to content. It also involves software developers and entrepreneurs building applications and businesses that leverage the power and reach of the web.

Human Capacity and Creativity

Perhaps the most important enabler to drive development of the domestic internet is the availability of a creative and competent local human resource pool. It takes people to transform the Internet from being just a set of inter-connected computer networks into a living, dynamic social network where ideas, experiences, expertise and life can be exchanged.

This living Internet is built on innovators, and pioneers; individuals, businesses and institutions who are not content to simply follow the status quo, but to constantly challenge it, to push it to its limits, and ultimately, to ensure that it is relevant to their needs and objectives.

A first goal of governments, academia and civil society groups therefore must be to increase literacy and participation in the ICT sector. Non-ICT organs can play a major role in facilitating both capacity building, and paradigm shifting required for people to believe that their contributions actually matter.

Local stakeholders are best positioned to fashion the local Internet. They already contribute by printing newspapers; running radio and television stations; creating music, art and films; building businesses; delivering government services; conducting research and mobilizing around common interests.

The task is now to fully leverage the Internet to amplify and extend the impact of these stakeholders. We can harness creative local resources to produce relevant local content, riding on local infrastructure, governed by local legislation, transacting in the local markets, to meet local needs. This is the ‘Local Internet’ and the key to building a robust technology driven economy.

Bevil Wooding is an Internet Strategist with the US-based research firm, Packet Clearing House and the Chief Knowledge Officer at Congress WBN, an international non-profit organization.
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