A forward-looking observatory
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 1999. A forward-looking observatory. Spore 84. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46605
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore84.pdf
Think of an observatory and you think of a place where people observe the heavens and other natural phenomena. Nowadays the word is used to describe an organisation which keeps an eye on developments in society. In the 1980s, observatories sprang up...
Think of an observatory and you think of a place where people observe the heavens and other natural phenomena. Nowadays the word is used to describe an organisation which keeps an eye on developments in society. In the 1980s, observatories sprang up all over Europe to monitor social and technological changes, and in the 1990s observatories monitoring press freedom and journalism ethics were established in several African countries. CTA s Observatory on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) was established in 1998 to keep up-to-date with the uses of computers, and computer-based communication such as the Internet, that are relevant to agricultural and rural development in ACP States. Its role is largely advisory, providing information for national stakeholders across the entire range of ICT issues, and encouraging information networking between practitioners. The issues range from broad policy questions (such fiscal measures to help the financial stability of rural telecentres, or policies to guarantee power supplies), through technical barriers, to capacity building and training, and financial issues. Following a recommendation made at its second meeting in Wageningen in October 1999, this advisory work will now be streamlined via a technical advisory group, to be known as the ICTAG. This is undoubtedly an area of rapid change and tremendous interest. Late in October 1999, the African Development Forum in Addis Ababa on ICTs in Africa brought together eight hundred specialists from policymakers to practitioners, including presidents, ministers, ICT industry leaders, telecentre operators, women s groups, trade unions and NGOs, yet the role of ICTs in agriculture and food security was rarely touched on. There is clearly a great need for a pro-active CTA Observatory to help ACP agriculture get online, whilst, as readers letters on this page stress, remaining realistic.