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Citing Southern Innovator: Books And Papers | 29 November 2015

Southern Innovator was initially launched in 2011 with the goal of – hopefully – inspiring others (just as we had been so inspired by the innovators we contacted and met). The magazine seeks to profile stories, trends, ideas, innovations and innovators overlooked by other media. The magazine grew from the monthly e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions published by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) since 2006. A selection of books and papers citing stories from the magazine are featured below to aid researchers, in particular those interested in health and human development and the role of innovators in international development. 

The first five issues of Southern Innovator from 2011 to 2014. Called a “Beautiful, inspiring magazine from UNDP on South-South innovation.”

Books

Innovation Africa: Emerging Hubs of Excellence edited by Olugbenga Adesida, Geci Karuri-Sebina and João Resende-Santos (Emerald Group Publishing: 2016)

“Innovation is critical to growth and development in Africa. In the context of a continent characterized by fast growing economies as well as an array of socioeconomic challenges, such as high levels of poverty and inequality, innovation in Africa must be understood in an encompassing manner. Africa needs to support the emergence of its own Silicon Valleys, but it must also foster the invention and adoption of cleaner technologies that limit respiratory illnesses, deforestation and combat climate change. This book contains a number of analytical case studies that examine the nature and origins of emerging high-end innovation hubs in Africa. These “hubs” or ecosystems are both understudied and little known inside and outside the continent. With this analysis, the book highlights and draws lessons from some of the most promising and successful innovation cases in Africa today, exploring the key factors driving their successful emergence, growth and future prospects. Relevant for scholars, policymakers, and business leaders, the book provides both inspiration and useful policy advice that can inform strategies and concrete measures to speed up the pace of innovation in Africa today.”

Innovation Africa: Emerging Hubs of Excellence.

Beyond Gated Communities edited by Samer Bagaeen and Ola Uduku (Routledge: 2015)

“Research on gated communities is moving away from the hard concept of a ‘gated community’ to the more fluid one of urban gating. The latter allows communities to be viewed through a new lens of soft boundaries, modern communication and networks of influence.

The book, written by an international team of experts, builds on the research of Bagaeen and Uduku’s previous edited publication, Gated Communities (Routledge 2010) and relates recent events to trends in urban research, showing how the discussion has moved from privatised to newly collectivised spaces, which have been the focal point for events such as the Occupy London movement and the Arab Spring.

Communities are now more mobilised and connected than ever, and Beyond Gated Communities shows how neighbourhoods can become part of a global network beyond their own gates. With chapters on Australia, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, this is a truly international resource for scholars and students of urban studies interested in this dynamic, growing area of research.”

Chile in Transition: Prospects and Challenges for Latin America’s Forerunner of Development by Roland Benedikter and Katja Siepmann (Springer: 2015)

“The economic, political and social situation in Chile shows a country in transition. Some observers anticipate a broad “reboot” of the nation. While Chile is still seen by many as an example of progress in South America and of developmental potential in the global South, it faces a complex political constellation, particularly in the aftermath of the re-election of Michelle Bachelet. Many wonder how social and institutional innovations can be incepted without interrupting the country’s remarkable success over the past decades.

This book provides an interdisciplinary analysis of Chile’s situation and perspectives. In particular, it addresses the questions:

  • What is Chile’s real socio-political situation behind the curtains, irrespective of simplifications?
  • What are the nation’s main opportunities and problems?
  • What future strategies will be concretely applicable to improve social balance and mitigate ideological divisions?

The result is a provocative examination of a nation in search of identity and its role on the global stage.

Roland Benedikter, Dr., is Research Scholar at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, Senior Research Scholar of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs Washington D.C., Trustee of the Toynbee Prize Foundation Boston and Full Member of the Club of Rome.

Katja Siepmann, MA, is Senior Research Fellow of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs Washington D.C., Member of the German Council on Foreign Relations, and Lecturer at the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Cultural Sciences of the European University Frankfurt/Oder.

The volume features a Foreword by Ned Strong, Executive Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, and a Preface by Larry Birns, Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Washington D.C., and Former Senior Public Affairs Officer of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America (Santiago, Chile).”

A Sociological Approach to Health Determinants by Toni Schofield (Cambridge University Press: 2015)

“A Sociological Approach to Health Determinants investigates how the social works in determining health and health inequity. Taking a global perspective, the book shines a light on how experiences of health, illness and health care are shaped by a variety of complex social dynamics. Informed primarily by sociology, the book engages with the WHO’s social determinants of health approach and draws on contributions from history, political economy and policy analysis to examine issues such as class, gender, ethnicity and indigeneity, and the impact they have on health. A Sociological Approach to Health Determinants is a comprehensive resource that provides a new perspective on the influence of social structures on health, and how our understanding of the social can ensure improved health outcomes for people all over the globe. Toni Schofield is Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. She specialises in research and teaching in sociology, and public policy and administration.”

New Directions in Children’s and Adolescents’ Information Behavior Research edited by Dania Bilal and Jamshid Beheshti (Emerald Group Publishing: 2014)”This book comprises innovative research on the information behavior of various age groups. It also looks at special populations such as ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, and users with disabilities. The book presents research and reflections on designing systems that help the new generation cope with a complex knowledge society.

Papers and Reports

Afro-futurism and the aesthetics of hope in Bekolo’s Les Saignantes and Kahiu’s Pumzi by Mich Nyawalo, Journal of the African Literature Association, Volume 10, 2016, Issue 2

Autonomous Systems in the Intelligence Community: Many Possibilities and Challenges by Jenny R. Holzer, PhD, and Franklin L. Moses, PhD, Studies in Intelligence Vol 59, No. 1 (Extracts, March 2015)

Autonomous Systems in the Intelligence Community: Many Possibilities and Challenges by Jenny R. Holzer, PhD, and Franklin L. Moses, PhD, Studies in Intelligence Vol 59, No. 1 (Extracts, March 2015).

Decoding the Brand DNA: A Design Methodology Applied to Favela Fashion by Magali Olhats, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina Florianopolis, 2012

Economy Reports for APEC Economies on demographics, policies & ICT applications for people with Special Needs (Seniors and People with Disabilities), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group, January 2013

Edible Insects and the Future of Food: A Foresight Scenario Exercise on Entomophagy and Global Food Security by Dominic Glover and Alexandra Sexton, Institute of Development Studies, King’s College London, Evidence Report No 149, September 2015

Evaluation of Kenyan Film Industry: Historical Perspective by Edwin Ngure Nyutho, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Nairobi, 2015

Evaluation of the Regional Programme for Africa (2008-2013), UNDP Independent Evaluation Office, 2013

Evaluation of the Regional Programme for Africa (2008-2013), UNDP Independent Evaluation Office, 2013.

Evaluation of UNDP Contribution to South-South and Triangular Cooperation (2008-2011), Evaluation Office, UNDP 2013

Exploring the Concept of QR Code and the Benefits of Using QR Code for Companies, Ji Qianyu, School of Business and Culture Degree Programme in Business Information Technology, Lapin AMK Lapland University of Applied Sciences, 2014

Fashion: Tyranny and Revelation, Editor: Damayanthie Eluwawalage, Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2016

Financing Renewable Energy in Developing Countries: Analysis of Business Models and Best Practices, Resources Future Publication, Pakistan Office, July 2018

Gastrodiplomacy: foreign experience and potential of the republic of Uzbekistan by M. Abduazimov, International Relations: Politics, Economics, Law, 2017 

High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation Seventeenth Session: Framework of operational guidelines on United Nations support to South-South and triangular cooperation: Note by the Secretary-General22-25 May 2012, New York

The Leapfrogging opportunity: role of education in sustainable development and climate change mitigation, Background paper prepared for the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report: Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all, 2016

Milk Production Potential and Major Browse Species Consumed by Dromedary Camels in Tshabong by Katsane Kgaudi, Eyassu Seifu and Demel Teketay, A Special Issue on Botswana Notes and Records’ Golden Jubilee Volume in Honour of Sir Ketumile Masire, Volume 50, 2018

Mobilising Finance for Infrastructure: A Study for the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Cambridge Economic Policy Associates Ltd., August 2015

Modelo de Negocio para la Visibilizacion de Atributos Culturales Y Ambientales de Sistemas de Produccion Indigena. Caso de Estudio: Municipio de Puerto Narino – Amazonas (Colombia) by Juan Sebastian Romero Berbeo, Universidad Piloto de Colombia, Facultad de Ciencias Ambientales Programa en Administracion y Gestion Ambiental, 2016

The New Middle Class and Urban Transformation in Africa: A Case Study of Accra, Ghana by Komiete Tetteh, The University of British Colombia, 2016

Problems and Prospects of Development of Apitourism in Kazakhstan, Zh. N. Aliyeva, R. M. Baiburiyev, David D. Lorant, A. S. Shagyrbay, Z. K. Kaliaskarova, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary, Bulletin of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan, ISSN 1991-3494, Volume 6, Number 382 (2019), 45-53 (https://doi.org/10.32014/2019.2518-1467.144)

Propagating Gender Struggles Through Nollywood: Towards a Transformative Approach by Nita Byack George Iruobe, Geonita Initiative for Women and Child Development, 17 July 2015

Reberberation: Musicians and the Mobilization of Tradition in the Berber Culture Movement by TMG Wiedenkenner et al, The University of Arizona,  2013

Recasting ‘truisms’ of low carbon technology cooperation through innovation systems: insights from the developing world by Alexandra Mallett, Innovation and Development, 5:2, 297-311, DOI: 10.1080/2157930X.2015.1049851, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2015

“Slam the Slums”: Understanding architecture through the poor by Malini Foobalan, November 26th, 2009

Song Lines: Mapping the South African Live Performance Landscape: Report of the CSA 2013 Live Mapping Project Compiled by Concerts South Africa, Samro Foundation, 2013 

Strategic Framework of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, 2014-2017Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Office for Project Services, 27 to 31 January 2014, New York

Wearing Your Map on Your Sleeve: Practices of Identification in the Creation and Consumption of Philippine Map T-shirts 
by Pamela Gloria Cajilig, paper presented at the 6th Global Conference (2014): Fashion: Exploring Critical Issues, Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom, 15th to 18th September 2014

Young Girls’ Affective Responses to Access and Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Information-Poor Societies by Dania Bilal et al, New Directions in Children’s and Adolescents’ Information Behavior Research, Library and Information Science, Volume 10, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014

Youth Empowered as Catalysts for Sustainable Human Development: UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017United Nations Development Programme, Bureau for Development Policy

Southern Innovator can be read online here:

Scribd

Issue 1: http://www.scribd.com/doc/57980406/Southern-Innovator-Issue-1

Issue 2: http://www.scribd.com/doc/86451057/Southern-Innovator-Magazine-Issue-2

Issue 3: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106055665/Southern-Innovator-Magazine-Issue-3-Agribusiness-and-Food-Security

Issue 4: http://www.scribd.com/doc/128283953/Southern-Innovator-Magazine-Issue-4

Issue 5:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/207579744/Southern-Innovator-Magazine-Issue-5-Waste-and-Recycling

Google Books

Issue 1: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Q1O54YSE2BgC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Issue 2: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Ty0N969dcssC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Issue 3: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AQNt4YmhZagC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Issue 4: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9T_n2tA7l4EC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Issue 5: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6ILdAgAAQBAJ&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator is held in the following library collections:

Biblioteca Nationala a Republicii Moldova: http://cc.sibimol.bnrm.md/opac/bibliographic_view/399949;jsessionid=C516885A73E277718AE64598E869BC70

British Library: http://tinyurl.com/jfudl3z

Centre multimédia sur l’environnement et le développement Dakar, Senegal: http://www.enda-sigie.org/bases/sigie/format_liste.php?lang=fr&onglet=1&link=O&format=court&sort=Date%20DESC&Chp4=CONCEPTION+DE+BATIMENT

Library of Congress: http://catalog.loc.gov/vwebv/holdingsInfo?searchId=15784&recCount=25&recPointer=0&bibId=17462965

Malaysian Academic Library Union: http://malcat.uum.edu.my/kip/Record/ukm.vtls003513851

Princeton University Library: https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/9892864

Toronto Public Library: http://vc4kb8yf3q.search.serialssolutions.com/?V=1.0&N=100&L=VC4KB8YF3Q&S=AC_T_B&C=southern+innovator

Uganda Martyrs University: http://library.umu.ac.ug:81/cgi-bin/koha/opac-MARCdetail.pl?biblionumber=33335

United Nations Library Geneva: Issues 2, 4, 5: Click ‘Get It’: http://pmt-eu.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?SFGlobal=southern+innovator&submitGlobal=Go&fn=search&ct=search&initialSearch=true&mode=Basic&tab=default_tab&indx=1&dum=true&srt=rank&vid=41UNOG_V1&frbg=&vl%28freeText0%29=southern+innovator

Issue 1: http://pmt-eu.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo_library/libweb/action/display.do?tabs=detailsTab&ct=display&fn=search&doc=41UNOG_Alma21105606680002391&indx=1&recIds=41UNOG_Alma21105606680002391&recIdxs=0&elementId=0&renderMode=poppedOut&displayMode=full&frbrVersion=&dscnt=0&frbg=&tab=default_tab&dstmp=1424959330694&srt=rank&mode=Basic&&dum=true&SFGlobal=southern+innovator&vl%28freeText0%29=southern%20innovator&vid=41UNOG_V1&submitGlobal=Go

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Libraries: http://ent.library.utm.my/client/en_AU/main/search/detailnonmodal/ent:$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f820$002fSD_ILS:820407/ada?qu=Youth&rw=1200&ic=true&ps=300

University of Cape Town Libraries: http://aleph20.calico.ac.za/F/?local_base=uct01pub&func=find-b&find_code=OCLC&request=%28ocolc%29870179464

University of Saskatchewan: http://sundog.usask.ca/search/t?SEARCH=southern+innovator&sortdropdown=-&searchscope=8

If you would like hard copies of the magazine for distribution, then please contact the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation: Website: http://ssc.undp.org/content/ssc.html. If you would like to either sponsor an issue of Southern Innovator or place an advertisement in the magazine, then please contact southerninnovator@yahoo.co.uk.

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Computer ‘Gold Farming’ Turning Virtual Reality Into Real Profits

The rapid spread of the internet around the global South is bringing with it new forms of work. One of these trends is so-called “gold farming”: making money in the virtual world of computer gaming by trading in virtual money, prizes and goods for busy gamers who don’t have time to do it themselves. This work now employs 400,000 people – mostly men and mostly in China, but also elsewhere in the South, according to a new report.

Working out of internet centres where they can get access to high-speed or broadband internet connections, “gold farmers” use the global trade in virtual goods for online computer games in the same way stockbrokers trade shares on the world’s stock exchanges. The trade operates similarly to the stock market, with prices fluctuating based on demand and changing by the minute.

And as the report discovered, this trade is acting as a gateway into the world of information technology employment, where computer-literate young men are able to earn an income they could not have done otherwise.

It is a trade that can provide gold farmers with US $145 a month in income. They are often given free food and accommodation to do it, and many have few other economic choices.

“You can probably think of two models,” said the report’s author, Professor Richard Heeks of Manchester University’s Development Informatics Group. “They could play as an individual at a local cybercafe doing their own in-game farming and then selling to one of the trading sites (that buy from farmers at one price, then sell on to player-buyers at a higher price). Or they could be organized into a small/medium enterprise by an owner, all working together in a room full of computers.”

There is a dark side to gold farming too: there have been reports of youths forced to gold farm by gangs who make them work 12 hour days. Crime gangs sometimes become involved and scams proliferate.

Heeks says the downside is the result of governmental ignorance. “The main problem is a lack of understanding about ICT and ICT enterprise generally in some governments in developing countries and in particular a relative lack of understanding about the spread and implications of computer games.”

Supporters see gold farming as a flourishing Southern economy that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and exposes participants both to information technology skills and the wide horizons of the virtual computing world. Its defenders say it shows that those who dismiss the expansion of IT infrastructure as a waste of time are missing the emerging economic opportunities it is creating.

Heeks said we still know too little about this fast-evolving sector, but that “gold farming does seem to be providing income/livelihood for young men who would otherwise be unemployed. There are claims that it has helped mop up youths who had otherwise been involved in crime, but we don’t yet know how generalized such claims are.”

The number of players engaged in online gaming has grown by 80 percent per year, and Heeks sees the rise in gold farming as linked to a bigger trend: “in both North and South, we will spend increasing amounts of work and leisure time in cyberspace. Couple that with the growing penetration of ICTs into developing countries, including into poor communities, and there will be growing opportunities for this kind of ‘virtual outsourcing.’”

Currently, more than 300 million people worldwide have access to the internet through fast broadband connections (mostly in developed countries, although this is changing quickly), and more than 1.1 billion of the world’s estimated 6.6 billion people are online.

China is working hard to capture the economic power of the internet. The country’s economic boom has helped create an affluent urban middle class clamouring for the social aspects of internet access like chat rooms, while the government has been driving the roll-out of internet access in rural areas.

The country’s largest Cyber Park is under construction in Wujin New and High-tech Development Zone of Changzhou. It will be a technology incubator, a research and development centre, and a place for small and medium-sized enterprises to innovate.

China’s most ambitious digital media industry development is the Beijing Cyber Recreation District (CRD), a collection of digital media academies and company incubators spread over 100 square kilometres, creating the world’s largest virtual world development. It is already home to more than 200 game and multimedia content producers in western Beijing.

And even in Africa, where broadband penetration rates are very poor, countries are now looking to the mobile phone companies to provide their populations with access to the internet, as they struggle to find a place at the digital table.

Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean strategically close to Africa and better known for tourism and luxury hotels, wants to become the world’s “cyber island”, and Africa’s e-gateway. Armed with the first 3G network in Africa (the third generation of mobile phone technology – offering high-speed internet access and video telephony), Mauritius is moving fast to make good on this advantage. And it is even moving to the next level of mobile-phone speed, High-speed Download Packet Access (HSDPA) – allowing even greater quantities of information to be exchanged.

Mauritius joins a select few countries, including Japan and South Korea, at the forefront of access to 3G. Wireless – or wi-fi – computer access is available in three-quarters of the island.

By David South, Development Challenges, South-South Solutions

Published: September 2008

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.  

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Southern Innovator Issue 1: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Q1O54YSE2BgC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 2: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Ty0N969dcssC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 3: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AQNt4YmhZagC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 4: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9T_n2tA7l4EC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 5: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6ILdAgAAQBAJ&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

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Mongolia Looks to Become Asian IT Leader

By David South, Development Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

A Mongolian information technology company founded by a woman has shown a way to thrive in the country’s often-chaotic economic environment. With the global economic crisis moving into its third year, Intec’s strategies to survive and thrive offer lessons for other IT start-ups in the South.

While the global economy’s prospects are still uncertain, on the positive side, many believe the best place to be is in emerging economies like Mongolia, with some foreseeing healthy growth for the next 20 to 30 years. Mongolia’s information technology entrepreneurs are looking to prove this is the case. The country has made great strides in improving e-government – jumping from 82nd place to 53rd in the UN e-government survey 2010 (http://www2.unpan.org/egovkb/global_reports/10report.htm) – and is now aiming to become an Asian software and IT services outsourcing powerhouse.

A Northeast Asian nation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolia) sandwiched between Russia and fast-growing China, Mongolia grapples with the combination of a large territory, a small population (2,641,216) and limited transport infrastructure connecting it to its neighbours. Historically, it is a nomadic nation with a strong animal herding tradition. But during the Communist period, it industrialized and became more urban. After the collapse of Communism at the beginning of the 1990s, the country experienced a terrible economic and social crisis, with rapidly rising poverty rates and high unemployment.

Despite its infrastructure obstacles, Mongolia has been able to develop a lively information technology sector, often with the assistance of the United Nations. During the late 1990s, as the internet revolution exploded, the UN led on supporting infrastructure, skills development, innovation and legislation.

Information technology consulting and services company Intec (www.itconsulting.mn) , founded in 2004, has been able to thrive through the global economy’s ups and downs by identifying an under-serviced niche as a consulting, research and training company. Intec now has five full-time staff and works with a broad network of Mongolian and international consultants.

As is often the case with new businesses, Intec initially found that many doors were closed to start-up enterprises.

“The major challenges which I faced were to make people understand about the consulting services,” said Intec’s founder, Lkhagvasuren Ariunaa. “The consulting services concept was new to Mongolia and Mongolians at that time and not many organizations were willing to work with consulting services. The international and donor organizations were keen to work with consulting services companies; however, they were requiring companies to have a list of successfully implemented projects, which was difficult for a new starter like Intec.

“For example, registering with the Asian Development Bank consulting services database required companies to be operational for at least three years. So, we got registered with ADB consulting services database only in 2008. Meanwhile, personal connections and communication skills helped to find jobs and opportunities for Intec.”

Ariunaa had worked for the Soros Foundation (http://www.soros.org/) but it closed its offices in Mongolia in 2004. Faced with unemployment, Ariunaa went about seeing what she could do next: a dilemma many people face in today’s economy.

“It took me about eight months to develop a business plan and directions of operation of the company. I started in a big room at the national information technology park building with one table, chair and computer.

“It has been quite challenging years for bringing a company to the market and finding niches for us. We have franchised the Indian Aptech WorldWide Training center (http://www.aptech-worldwide.com) in Mongolia – may be one of the few franchising businesses in Mongolia. Currently that center is now a separate entity/company and it has over 20 plus faculty staff and over 300 students.”

Ariunaa had been active in the sector for over 10 years, but while knowing many of the players and organizations, she spent time researching what niche Intec could fill in the marketplace.

“Looking at the ICT market, there were quite a number of internet service providers, mobile phone operators, a few companies started developing software applications, and services etc. However, there were only two to three consulting companies in the ICT sector which to my knowledge at that time were providing consulting services, and still there was a room for Intec.”

Intec then focused on three areas: consulting services, training and skills, and research. Intec found they were pioneering a new concept in Mongolia.

Intec’s first contract was a job with the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin in the United States to organize a three week course for American students to learn about the digital divide in Mongolia. But the global economic crisis hit Mongolia hard in 2009.

“It was challenging to survive and continue working the same way,” Ariunaa said. “There were few ICT-related jobs in Mongolia at that time, and one of our major clients left Mongolia and we had to find other clients in the market.

“One of the ways of approaching this was that we were not asking for fees, instead we would have a barter agreement – we will deliver them services and they will provide some services for us. For the company itself, we needed to find ways of financing and covering costs for renting of premises, paying salaries for staff on time, paying taxes and other expenses.”

The environment in Mongolia is being helped by the Information and Communications Technology and Post Authority (ICTPA) of Mongolia (http://www.ictpa.gov.mn) , which has been driving forward an e-Mongolia master plan. With 16 objectives, it ambitiously seeks to place Mongolia in the top five of Asian IT nations, competing with South Korea, Singapore, Japan and China.

Ariunaa believes Mongolia has many competitive advantages. “Mongolia is known for a high-literacy rate and math-oriented training and education, and ICT specialists are targeting to become a software outsourcing country for other countries. Another advantage of Mongolians is that they can easily learn other languages: we are fluent in Russian, English, Japanese, Korean, German and we believe that with these two major advantages, we will be able to do a good job with outsourcing of software development.”

While men still dominate the ICT sector in Mongolia, Ariunaa has not found being a woman a disadvantage. “In Mongolia, as gender specialists say, there is a reverse gender situation. Women are educated, well-recognized and well-respected. There were situations, when I was the only women participant in the meeting with about 20 men. But I never felt somewhat discriminated or mis-treated and I think that’s the overall situation towards gender in Mongolia.”

Intec’s success working with Aptech WorldWide Training’s franchising contract brought many advantages for a start-up. “It’s a faster way to do things, and you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.”

As a Mongolian company, Intec has found it best to play to its local strengths. “National companies have knowledge, expertise and experience of local situations, know players and understand about legal, regulatory matters. … partnership or cooperation are one of the means of cooperating with big global players.”

Intec’s success is also down to Ariunaa’s enthusiasm: “It’s fun and I love doing it – just usually do not have enough time!”

Resources

1)  Advice on starting a business and succeeding in tough economic times. Website:http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?topicId=1073858805

2) Changing Dynamics of Global Computer Software and Services Industry: Implications for Developing Countries: A report from UNCTAD on how computer software can become the most internationally dispersed high-tech industry. Website:http://www.unctad.org/templates/webflyer.asp?docid=1913&intitemid=2529&lang=1

3) Afrinnovator: Is about telling the stories of African start-ups, African innovation, African made technology, African tech entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. Their mission is to ‘Put Africa on the Map’ by covering these kinds of stories from all over Africa. As their website says, “if we don’t tell our own story, who will tell it for us?” Website:http://afrinnovator.com

4) TechMasai: Pan-African start-up news and reviews. Website: www.techmasai.com

5) Ger Magazine Project: Mongolia’s first online magazine pioneered communicating on the web. Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ger_magazine

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Launched in 1997 in a major crisis, the UN Mongolia Development Portal (www.un-mongolia.mn) became the country’s largest online bilingual publisher and an award-winning pioneer of web content. It proved Mongolia had the potential to innovate in digital.
Story featured in the UN E-Government Knowledgebase and E-Government Survey in Media.