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How Can ICTs Shape the Future of Myanmar?

By Aaron Mason on July 24, 2013


Technologically speaking, Myanmar has had it rough. With a history of human rights violations and a military-controlled government, access to technology has been incredibly limited. In the last few years, however, the military has been easing restrictions and for the first time the government is drafting a country-wide ICT policy, building a foundation for the technology sector to grow. With new GSM licenses awarded and a palpable air of excitement around investment potential the country, by many accounts, is a dam ready to burst.

But before we’re blinded by the hype, we need to ground ourselves in reality. The country still sits atop a number of divides, socially, politically and technologically. Access to mobile phones, computers and the Internet is drastically limited. Rule of law, the role of the military, corruption, property rights, social tolerance are among the very real challenges facing Myanmar’s leaders.

With these challenges in mind, please RSVP now to join us on July 29th for the next Technology Salon in San Francisco.

We’ll look at the role of ICTs in framing the discussion and supporting solutions. Our lead discussant is Pwint Htun, a Burmese-American consultant with the World Bank. With a background in telecommunications industry, she is currently focused on fostering mobile financial services in Myanmar and lead us in a discussion seeking answers to these questions:

  • How can ICTs help address the urban / rural divide?
  • How can ICTs support healthcare, education and other issues in rural areas?
  • What opportunities are forming around the recently identified GSM-license recipients? What other kinds of business opportunities exist?
  • How do we build a new generation of developers in the shortest timeframe possible?
  • What can we learn from other countries in how they’ve used ICT?
  • How can the South-East Asian nations’ ASEAN community in general model the EU for economic development leveraging ICT?
  • What can we learn from Africa’s mobile innovation revolution?

Please RSVP now to join a select cohort of thought leaders and decision makers for a lively discussion at the intersection of technology and development:

We’ll have hot coffee and donuts for a morning rush, but seating is limited at Vodafone. Once we reach our 30-person capacity there will be a waiting list.

Even if you cannot join us, we’ve opened up a public Google Doc for suggested readings. Please review the list and feel free to add resources you think will help charge the discussion.

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Written by
Aaron Mason is a technology and development expert with experience in design, analytics, ICT and disaster response. Follow him on Twitter: @Aaron_Mason
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