By Mohan Munasinghe
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Extra info for Computers and Informatics in Developing Countries
Policy and Issues for Third World Development 25 Command of information technology will shift power among individuals and groups, and create new elites, modes of behaviour, and traditions. A prudent policy might seek to use the technology to decrease the income disparities and dualism that characterize most developing societies, thereby reducing social tensions and fears (some of them caused by information technology itself). Finally, allowance will have to be made for socio-cultural constraints, including religious preferences, gender based roles and differentiation, language and attitude to change.
In the missions in USAID-client countries, there is a good deal of flexibility in negotiating with the local government the details of technical and financial assistance, within the framework of the approved 'Country Development Strategy Statement', the strategy for implementing t h e broad agreement between USAID and the government regarding the objectives on which USAID assistance will focus. Inclusion of computers and information technology assistance depends on the demand of the government, and t h e inclination of t h e USAID staff.
Donor Agency Perceptions The US Agency for International Development (USAID) USAID does not have a stated policy with respect to support of computer applications and informatics in developing countries. 'Policy' appears to be developed through approvals of expenditures by USAID Missions in client countries, or by offices in A I D / W a s h i n g t o n , on a case-by-case basis. A recent example of a combination l o a n / g r a n t arrangement with ExportImport Bank support of establishing t h e capability for manufacturing mainframe computers in India, amounts to an investment of several hundreds of millions of dollars.