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ICT4D 2.0: Where Next for ICTs and Development?

31 August 2009 5 comments

Are we seeing a phase change in use of ICTs for international development?

The “ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto” argues that we are; moving from phase 1 (late-1990s to late-2000s) to phase 2 (late-2000s on).

The paper outlines some of the emerging characteristics of ICT4D 2.0, based on research from the University of Manchester’s Centre for Development Informatics, and other sources.  Feel welcome to comment and add your own observations to this list:

a)    New Hardware Priorities: a need for innovation around low-cost, broad-reach terminals, telecommunications, and power.  A need to bring the hardware success story of the last decade – mobiles – even more centre stage.  The paper also discusses implications of broadband, cloud computing, and individualisation of hardware devices.

b)    New Application Priorities: the growth of participatory content creation, and the use of ICTs to create new income and employment for the world’s poor.  The paper also discusses implications of FOSS, and the growth of applications to address urban poverty, security, economic growth, and climate change.

c)     New Innovation Models: the growing need for – and potential of – innovation that moves beyond top-down, laboratory-type models.  This includes collaborative (para-poor) models that work alongside poor communities.  It also means greater attention to the grassroots (per-poor) innovation that is arising from within those communities.  The paper also discusses the new innovation intermediaries that are emerging in private and NGO sectors.

d)    New Implementation Models: based on the limitations of ICT4D 1.0 projects, there will be greater emphasis on sustainability, scalability and ICT4D project evaluation.  This will necessitate more process than blueprint approaches to implementation, and better techniques for closing design—reality gaps.  The paper also discusses new funding mechanisms and new organisation forms that are increasingly seen.

e)    New Worldviews: effective ICT4D 2.0 policies, strategies and projects will require “tribrid” champions.  They must understand enough about the three domains of computer science, information systems, and development studies to draw key lessons and to interact with and manage domain professionals.  Training programmes and working group formation must reflect this need.

The paper also discusses the need to move beyond ICT4D mainstreaming, to plan ICT4D policy structure and process as much as content, to engage with the growing “Development 2.0” agenda, and to shape ICT4D research priorities accordingly.

Above all, it argues, ICT4D 2.0 will require a new worldview of the poor; no longer characterising them as passive consumers but, instead, seeing them relate to ICT as active producers and active innovators.

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Attitudes to Science and Technology: Global South vs. Global North

14 July 2009 1 comment

Here’s an interesting piece of research on attitudes to science and technology in different countries from the Relevance of Science Education project that surveyed 14-16 year olds in 25 countries.  Countries covered were (roughly) low-income African (e.g. Uganda); low/mid-income Asian (e.g. India); high-income European (e.g. England).

There are three main findings:

– There is a significant inverse relationship between level of development (human development index score) and the rated importance and benefits of science and technology to society; though the decline from global South to global North is relatively small.

– There is a significant inverse relationship between level of development and desire to work with technology.  The differences are quite large: African and Asian youth are on average positively inclined; European youth negatively so.

– The gender gap in attitudes to science and technology is greater in industrialised countries than in developing countries; very significantly so in relation to getting a technology-related job.

There’s a generic conclusion.  Given the importance of S&T to economic growth, the global North is in big trouble unless it can keep importing science and technology graduates from the global South.

There’s specific conclusion no.1.  If you’re working on ICTs, focusing on ICT4D is a good bet: you’ll find a more receptive and faster-growing audience for research in developing countries; a more receptive and faster-growing training audience; and those might (er, ignoring the odd structural factor!) be more gender-balanced audiences.

There’s specific conclusion no.2.  Developing country audiences may be more techno-centric and less receptive to information systems-type approaches to ICT4D, which place less emphasis on the technology and which tend to be less optimistic about technology.

And there’s a question.  Why?  Why should it be that the poorer your country, the more positive you feel about and the more you want to work with technology?

Because you’ve been less exposed to technology?  Because you can see that technology makes a real, positive difference to your country’s problems?  Because . . . [fill in your answer here]

(My thanks to Roger Boyle for pointing out this survey.)

China Bans Gold Farming!! … Er … But In Fact It Hasn’t

The blogosphere has been awash with reports of the demise of gold farming (production and real-money sale of virtual currencies, items and accounts in online games), which is big business in China; worth US$1bn per year and perhaps more.  (Click here for the full analytical report on the history, size and trends in gold farming.)

A deep breath and a read of what was actually announced suggests otherwise.

This is a government restriction on the use of the quasi-Paypal-like currencies (mainly QQ coins) that are used extensively in China to pay for virtual game stuff.  As announced they can now only be used to pay for virtual stuff, and you can’t buy real things with them as game companies were allowing to happen, nor can you gamble.  This therefore is not about what gold farming clients do: use real money to buy these virtual currencies; it’s the mirror image.  And it’s not about the major trade in gold farming such as World of Warcraft, which relates to other types of virtual currency.  And it’s not about buying/selling in-game items.  And it’s not about the power-levelling of avatars.  Bottom line: it’s not about gold farming.

Two other things to say.  The Chinese government appears to be this very odd mixture of fantastically effective (think Olympic Games) and fantastically ineffective (think rules on piracy and intellectual property) when it comes to implementation.

Second, this mirrors quite closely something that happened in Korea around 2006 based around a game called “Sea Story”.  A huge amount of gambling and then illicit political payoffs arose around use of the Sea Story currency.  Government then banned trade in virtual currencies.  I’m not aware of any reports about damage to gold farming that resulted and – as might be the case in China – the legislation in Korea may have been as much about political posturing and being seen to be doing something (i.e spin) rather than an implemented reality.

Both these points remind us that announcement is not implementation.  If this regulation does come to fruition, it will relate to finance and defence of the RNB yuan.  Yes, it may affect some types of games in China but, no, it as yet appears unlikely to have much of an impact on gold farming.

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Grassroots ICT4D Innovation

13 June 2009 8 comments

Innovation – especially that associated with ICTs – has often held to a rather traditional R&D model, with the innovation being undertaken in laboratories and research centres based in rich, urban locations.  Viewed from the perspective of those based in the world’s poor communities this is a top-down, outside-in approach.  ICT4D developed this way can often fail because of large “design—reality gaps“: design requirements and assumptions are inscribed into the technology which mismatch on-the-ground community realities.

A common solution to the problems of “laboratory innovation” has been “collaborative innovation”: research outsiders and community insiders working together in some way to develop a new ICT4D application.  Many donor-funded ICT4D innovations work in this way.  A key issue will be the nature of the collaboration and participation of community members: something that does not always run smoothly.

But the steady diffusion of ICTs and ICT-related skills into poor communities has enabled emergence of a third model.  This is “grassroots innovation”: innovation from within the community itself; akin in some ways to the patterns of user-led innovation identified by Eric von Hippel.

The design—reality theory of grassroots innovation is a positive one.  By creating innovation by and within poor communities, their design features will match community realities.  These innovations are therefore more likely to be successful.

That’s the theory, but what about the reality?  Where are the grassroots innovations in ICT4D?

These are questions that I’d invite you to comment on with pointers.

Some anecdotal ideas I already identified in writing about ICT4D 2.0 were:

  • New processes e.g. beeping (or flashing) that allows a message to be communicated without the call being completed.  Street vendors use this to receive free “I want to buy now” messages from known customers.
  • New business models e.g. use of airtime as currency has allowed mobile phones to metamorphose into mobile wallets.  Those who own phones in poor communities have therefore been able to use them for payments or for receipt of remittances from distant relatives.
  • New products e.g. back-street rechipping of phones.  Informal-sector enterprises are emerging that strip and resell the circuitry from high-end phones, replacing it with basic calls-and-SMS-only functionality.  They then sell the resulting high-end-body-with-low-end-organs as a unique hybrid for those who want the latest look but lack the budget to match.

The 2009 IDRC PAN-ALL conference in Penang threw up another new product: the “wokbolic” which can dramatically increase the range of local wi-fi hotspots using a wok, a PVC tube, and some tin foil; doing the job of a parabolic antenna for around one-twentieth of the price.  See: (Google Translate will make its usual “close but no cigar” job of changing the page from Bahasa Indonesia into English.)

These examples raise a couple of questions:

  • How scalable are these innovations?  Beeping and airtime-currency have spread like wildfire; but others may be more limited.
  • How grassroots are these innovations?  Some uses of mobiles that one sees are clearly developed by the individual users; but others like beeping are viral and came from who knows where originally; others still – such as the story of Pak Gun and wokbolic – are developed by those working with or within poor communities, but who themselves are not (or are no longer) members of those communities.

Nonetheless, as innovation goes hand-in-hand with diffusion, we can look forward to ever-more examples of grassroots ICT4D innovation.

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Bill Gates and ICT4D

18 April 2009 5 comments

I thought I’d report on meeting, talking and listening to Bill Gates today at the ICTD2009 conference in Qatar (pitiful name-dropper though this may make me).


First, why does he matter to the ICT4D world?  Because he is financially influential via the Gates Foundation agenda, and the various relevant bits of Microsoft: Unlimited Potential, Community Affairs, MS Research Technology for Emerging Markets, etc.  And because he is strategically influential: when he talks, people listen.  His views on ICT4D therefore make a difference.


His views seem to have softened since the earlier notion that he had an “anything-but-ICTs” view towards development and the Gates Foundation agenda.  In fact, his underlying worldview probably hasn’t changed: he is very much metrics-focused, and thus will believe in, argue for, and invest in what he perceives to deliver the best quantitatively-impactful bang for his development buck.  That’s why health is a prime interest – not from any subjective or complex rationale – but simply because that’s where his money can have most measurable impact (in terms of quality of life indicators).


Back in the 1990s, when he started to become really engaged with development issues, ICTs had little to offer because the infrastructure was not in place.  Now they’ve become a more important part of delivering measurable outcomes in health, education and governance; they figure more in Gates’ agenda for development.


He, nonetheless, remains very un-hyped about ICT4D, recognising the failures, the pilots that will go nowhere, the applications that are not delivering.  And his strongly metrics-based view of development is challenging but also refreshing; particularly for those of us in an academic environment that can sometimes get itself wrapped up in a lot of qualitative and/or post-modern crap.


If I was to critique his position, that could potentially come from three directions:


i.             A metrics-based view of development can lead to various lacunae; for example, it could struggle to deal with issues like capabilities, rights, politics, and the like.  However, Gates at least has a decent grasp of governance issues.


ii.            He is focused on social and (to the extent of transparency) political development, but seems to have much less to say on economic development; despite the centrality of financial poverty to the development agenda.  We discussed this a bit and I was surprised by how antithetical he is to micro-finance, and hard to convince about ICT-enabled micro-enterprise.  It seemed to me the underlying issue here is – perhaps in line with the Jeff Sachs’ view of development – that Bill Gates is only interested in massive-scale solutions.  Again, it’s down to metrics.  Vaccines that can eradicate a disease for the entire world – good; ideas on micro-enterprise that might produce a few tens of thousands of jobs – less of a priority for his money and attention.


iii.          This is therefore a top-down, “big development” model.  It is looking for laboratory-developed, massively-scalable innovations.  There is little or no room for more bottom-up, flexible models of the William Easterly-type approach to development.  There is little room for the idea of grassroots-innovations; e.g. looking at the ICT-based adaptations that poor communities are themselves making, and finding ways to harvest, evaluate and scale such innovations.


As per my IEEE Computer article on “ICT4D 2.0”, then, the Gates’ view on ICT4D seems rather stuck in a social development/poor-as-consumers mindset; it does not yet encompass a mindset of seeing the poor as active producers and innovators with ICT.


But finally, sitting across the table, I found those 1980s photos of him as uber-techno-geek kept crossing my mind; thinking what a long, long way he’s come.  Indeed, he has really metamorphosed since stepping down from full-time work at Microsoft; from a technology guy to a development guy.  But a development guy who, at least in part, will be going round the world inspiring geeks and others to find ways to address technology to the problems of development.  Which can’t be all bad for us ICT4Ders.


A video of Bill’s keynote address to the ICTD2009 conference can be found at:

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The Godfather of ICT4D, and ICT4D’s First Computer

1 January 2009 3 comments

When did ICT4D start?  Conventional histories might typically cite the World Bank’s 1998/9 “Knowledge for Development” World Development Report, released in October 1998 (in which case, we should’ve just celebrated ICT4D’s 10th birthday).


But the use of digital technologies to achieve development goals goes back much further than that.


To 1956, and the installation of the developing world’s first digital computer: the HEC-2M.  It was used to undertake numerical calculations at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, including statistical analyses for India’s national plans such as the Second Five-Year Plan (1956-61).  We should thus have already celebrated the golden jubilee of ICT4D.


Even more intriguing, one of the original team members that worked with the HEC-2M is in his 70s but still very much around: Prof. Dwijesh Dutta Majumder, who is now Professor Emeritus at the ISI, and currently researching particularly on medical image processing.


Unless there are any other nominations, I think Prof. Majumder should be christened the godfather (or perhaps midwife?) of ICT4D.


You can find out more about the HEC-2M and Prof. Majumder’s role in a couple of Dataquest articles, one from 1985 and one from 2006.  I am happy to report that the HEC-2M – ICT4D’s first computer – was designed by a professor in a UK university.  (Sadly it wasn’t me and it wasn’t Manchester; it was Prof. Andrew Booth at Birkbeck and the computer was built in the UK by the forerunner of ICL (for whom I used to work, so I can claim some connection!).  More details on Booth’s work here.)


Prof. Majumder also recalls that, although not automated and not “proper” computers, the first analogue computers in the developing world were separately but simultaneously developed and demonstrated in 1952 at the ISI and .. .. where else but ICT4D’s mecca, Bangalore, at the Indian Institute of Science.


IISc itself doesn’t appear to lay claim to this first, but I like this historical alignment of past and present.


Barring new information, India seems to take the ICT4D first computer prize.  For other continents, I can get back to 1960 for both Africa ( and Latin America (  But I suspect those can be bettered; e.g. O Riain, Sean (2006) Dominance and Change in the Global Computer Industry: Military, Bureaucratic, and Network State Developmentalisms. Studies in Comparative International Development, 41 (1) pp. 76-98 claims the Brazilian Navy installed its first computer in 1958 but no source is given and I can’t find any corroboration.


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Impact Assessment of ICT4D Projects

3 December 2008 11 comments

What have we got to show for the billions invested in ICT4D projects?


By and large, we’re not sure because relatively little impact assessment of ICT4D projects has been undertaken; and what has been undertaken often lacks clear framing and rigour.


Impact assessment is therefore pushing its way up the ICT4D agenda.  For example, a number of ICT4D agencies have IA programmes; perhaps the biggest being the joint Gates Foundation/IDRC IPAI programme.


As a feed-in to that programme, staff with the University of Manchester’s Centre for Development Informatics created a “Compendium on Impact Assessment of ICT-for-Development Projects”.  IDRC – the sponsor for its creation – has given permission for this Compendium to be shared, and it is attached here (2MB .doc file): idrc-ia-for-ict4d-compendium


The Compendium is arranged into three parts:

·        Overview – explains the basis for understanding impact assessment of ICT4D projects (including the ICT4D Value Chain), and the different assessment frameworks that can be used.

·        Frameworks – summarises a series of impact assessment frameworks, each one drawing from a different perspective.

·        Bibliography – a tabular summary of real-world examples of ICT4D impact assessment.


This is an ongoing work, and comments or pointers to similar resources are welcome.


ICT4D and the Bottom Billion

13 November 2008 1 comment

Paul Collier’s book, “The Bottom Billion” is a key recent text for development policy.  What are its implications for ICT4D?


I’m not going to systematically either summarise or critique the book.  If you wish, you can see some of the book here via Google, read a synopsis here by Ethan Zuckerman, and a critique here by Paul Hoebink.


Instead, I’m going to assume that it may be having an influence in development, and to ask what implications the book’s agenda might have for ICT4D priorities.  I draw out six points.


1.    The Bottom Billion.  Collier argues that we should be focusing on the “bottom billion”: a set of (irritatingly never explicitly identified) 58 countries that are static or declining as the rest of the world pulls away.  Taking national borders as the basis for development is questionable: what about poverty, oppression, inequality, etc in non-bottom-billion countries?  Nevertheless has ICT4D research and practice focused too much on the Indias and Philippines and Brazils of the world, which will likely solve their own problems, and not enough on the Chads and Tajikistans and Haitis?  Shouldn’t we be doing more in the bottom billion nations?


2.    Growth.  Collier argues that growth has been neglected: “The exaggerated suspicion of growth by those who are concerned about development has manifested itself in the adjectives with which the word growth is now routinely encumbered.  In strategy documents the word is now generally seen only in the context of the phrase ‘sustainable, pro-poor growth.’  Yet overwhelmingly, the problem of the bottom billion has not been that they have the wrong type of growth, it is that they have not had any growth.  The suspicion of growth has inadvertently undermining genuinely strategic thinking.” (p11)


This really chimed with me as I’ve long argued (e.g. in a Development Studies Association presentation) that we have focused too much on using ICTs as a tool of consumption, largely driven by social development goals; and too little on using ICTs as tools for productive growth.  Moves such as UK DFID’s creation of the International Growth Centre suggest development agencies are listening to Collier.  We need those same arguments to filter more strongly into the ICT4D agenda.


3.    Exports.  Beyond just growth, Collier wants a much larger effort – including aid expenditure – targeting assistance to exports.  He recognises there are many export barriers (not least competition from established Asian exporters) but also that exports bring significant developmental benefits.


I think it’s fair to say, though, that one rather rarely finds ICT4D projects or research looking at exports.  Where is the push for IT services offshoring to Africa?  Where is the work on e-business support for SME exporters?  There are bits and pieces but they fall far short of any “big push”, and they often derive from research or practice worlds that are separate from those of development.  Indeed, they can be marginalised because of the “business is a dirty business” mentality that Collier identifies as running too uncritically through some in the development community.


4.    Transparency.  Collier makes a strong claim that much more needs to be done about transparency.  Mainly transparency of budget processes to local media and civil society (e.g. citing the example of Uganda increasing the proportion of disbursed funds actually arriving at schools from 20% to 90%).  But also transparency of multinational investments.


Information systems and ICTs are fundamental to government transparency (e.g. see cases and models here).  Local media is currently the central information system for transparency (neatly demonstrated from corrupt Peruvian president Fujimori’s bribe accounts, showing he paid far more to bribe local media than, say, local judges).  But ICTs have a clear role helping circumvent local media when it is a state monopoly.  And ICTs will have a growing role both as an addition to, and support for, local media.


5.    Limited-Use Aid Funds.  There’s a lot of sneering and scathing about the use of consultants in development.  Collier, though, is a fan and he shows evidence of the value of a massive infusion of external skills, particularly for countries just emerging from conflict or state failure.  He suggests a good way to fund the use of technical assistance is to hand the budget over to the developing country government, but only allow it to be used for TA.


That rang a bell for me relating to the problems of turning ICT4D contract research into action.  The problem is, once a research contract is over, there is little or no incentive for an ICT4D researcher to put the results into action with policy or practice audiences.  Nor is there an easy way for such audiences to engage the researcher’s attention.  So, how about a limited-use fund for follow-on from ICT4D research?  Control of the fund would be given to the particular development policy-makers or practitioners, but its use would be restricted to engaging the services of a pool of ICT4D researchers.  One could use a similar approach – a kind-of voucher scheme – for actually commissioning ICT4D research.


6.    Quantitative Evidence.  I struggled through the first few pages of “The Bottom Billion”: Collier’s writing style sits uneasily with the British cultural norm of self-deprecation.  But I ended up thoroughly impressed, particularly by the bravura demonstration of using quantitative evidence to support an argument and identify priorities.


The standard critiques of macro-economics can all be wheeled out against Collier: the quality of the data foundation; the subjectivity of category selection; the ease with which correlation is blurred into causality; and the perennial “where’s the politics”.  At least he is aware of these, and makes some nods at a defence from time to time.


But, above all this, the book demonstrates how powerful quantitative research – whatever its limitations – can be in setting real-world policy and practice agendas.  I cannot imagine anyone from a qualitative tradition being able to write this kind of work.  It’s presumably no coincidence that so many recent cross-over writers reaching out from development studies to a wider audience – Sachs, Stiglitz, Easterly, Collier – are all economists.


The book is a strong counter-blast to the turn to interpretivism that can infect ICT4D from both the information systems and development studies arenas.  Equally, it’s a reminder of how poor a lot of quantitative, positivist research can be by comparison.  Above all, I saw it as a call to arms for a much greater engagement of strong quantitative and economics-based research in the ICT4D field.


A summary, then, of the Bottom Billion and its ICT4D agenda implications: more on ICTs in the bottom billion countries; more linking ICTs to growth, exports and transparency; more DC-controlled limited-use funds in ICT4D research; and more quantitative ICT4D research.


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The Obama Presidency and ICT4D

10 November 2008 3 comments

For some unfathomable reason, Barack Obama failed to put ICT4D front and centre in his campaign for the US presidency.  So what can we divine as the possible impact of his White House years on our field?


In general terms, things look good.  He “gets” new technology in a way no predecessor has.  And, not least because of his family background and work on Africa with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he may also “get” development more than any predecessor.


What about specifics?  At this stage, there are no ICT4D specifics but his policy stances can tell us a little more, in at least three areas:

a)    Technology: technology figured in some depth as an identified issue for both candidates (something hard to imagine in the UK, say).  There are pledges to give greater priority to next-gen ICT infrastructure and to ICT usage in government (with a particular emphasis on e-transparency) and in health care.  He supports network neutrality, a particular US issue, which suggests he would not be averse to regulating to promote competition in ICT markets.  There are also swipes – especially at China – on piracy and on barriers to export of US technology goods/services.

b)    Trade: pledges to open markets and stop unfair subsidies abroad (no mention of the US doing the same!), to end tax breaks for US firms sending jobs abroad, and to give tax credits to those who increase the ratio of US:non-US workers.

c)     Foreign Policy/Development: double US aid from US$25bn per year to US$50bn per year by 2012; fund debt cancellation; invest in the AIDS/Tuberculosis/Malaria Global Fund, and Global Education Fund.  Plus a range of actions on African prosperity around agriculture, SMEs, access to green technology, and access to US markets and investment.


Do pledges to support ICTs and to support development add up to a likely boost for ICT4D?  We’ll have to wait and see but there are some cautionary notes:

a)    More enthusiasm flows around green technologies than around ICTs; including a spillover into development policy.

b)    When asked what pledges might not get implemented, the only one Joe Biden mentioned was the one on doubling the aid budget which they “might have to slow down”.

c)     Although not explicitly against free trade, there are some rumblings in trade and technology policy that remind us of Democrats’ association with protectionism.  This might be bad for the IT outsourcing that has been so important in Asia and which some hold out as a possible export plank for “next-tier” nations, including some in Africa.


Perhaps above all for ICT4D – as in all the other policy and practice domains – our reflections in 2012 may be how, compared with exuberant expectations, relatively little actually changed.  For now, though, I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic and see this as one more sign that 2008 is signalling an uptick in ICT4D’s fortunes.


One final thought is that there may be a “do as I do” impact not from Obama’s policies but from his campaigning; campaigning that managed to scale up the interactive networking style of a community-organising approach to a national scale by using the power of the Internet.  As yet, such a thing might only be possible in America.  But it does suggest that “e-democracy” has a great potential; one that is largely untapped in most developing countries.


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India’s FDI Outflows Exceed Inflows: The Role of ICT

31 October 2008 3 comments week, I attended a presentation at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) by Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta speaking on India‘s great economic transformation.  It was an excellent talk, but he had raised one point in particular which caught my specific interest, which nagged at me to investigate further — that India’s FDI (foreign direct investment) outflows had exceeded inflows and that the primary recipients of this investment were North America and Europe.  This was presented as a key favourable indication of India’s strong economic development, but the question which nagged at me was what part the ICT sector had to play in this important statistic.

Non-exhaustively investigating this statistic, I’ve found pieces of information:

– India’s FDI inflows were USD 24.6 billion in fiscal year 07-08, with ‘Computer Software and Hardware’ and ‘Telecommunications’ ranking second and third respectively as sectors attracting the highest FDI inflows (source:  Fact Sheet on India’s FDI March 2008 from India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion).

– A number of online news articles, including this one from the Asia Times in March 2007 and this one from India PR Wire released at the same time, cite a report from India’s Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), ‘Study on FDI Outflow and Role of Manufacturing in the Mergers and Acquisitions Front, 2007’.  This report states that for 2007-08, FDI outflow was predicted to be USD 15 billion while inflows were exptected to be USD 12 billion.  (Searches to find Assocham’s report did not end successfully.)  However, Asia Times has this information from the report:

“Preferred investment destinations are Europe, the United States and Africa, in the last case taking advantage of that continent’s cost-competitiveness. Sectors such as pharmaceuticals and automobiles will give a major push to the FDI outflow, though information technology will continue to dominate the scene, said the report.”

– A UNCTAD report from 2005, “India’s outward FDI:  a giant awakening?“, though outdated and drawing on data from 2003, stated that indeed FDI outflows have risen sharply, and that the sector receiving the most Indian investment is manufacturing, although “Indian IT companies are actively establishing operations abroad to expand markets and to service clients better”.  The top 15 Indian ICT software and services companies had all invested abroad, and primarily in developed countries.

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