Knowledge for Development in the Information Age
Notes for the Preliminary Consultation on Global Knowledge 97: Knowledge for Development in the Information Age, Montreal, PQ, April 7, 1997, by Lewis Perinbam Senior Advisor (External Relations) // The organisers of this Consultation, the World Bank and the Government of Canada, have stated that its main purposes are: to understand the role of knowledge and information in economic and social development, and the challenges and opportunities posed for developing countries by the information revolution; to share strategies, experiences and tools in harnessing knowledge for development; to build new partnerships that will empower the poor with information and knowledge and build the knowledge resources of developing countries. // While each of these objectives is important in its own right the second and third are particularly significant. This is because the context and the infrastructure for using the new and developing technologies are as vital- and perhaps even more so - than the technologies themselves. The tendency to transplant technologies without regard for cultural, social and other considerations or to use them simply because we possess them must be resisted. Useful as the technologies are their value is in doing the job that needs to be done. // The development era has passed through several phases in the past four decades. In the early post-war years the focus was financing physical infrastructure - to enable developing countries to build much needed roads, railways, power plants and ports. The World Bank and major bilateral aid donors concentrated in providing capital assistance for these purposes.