Microcomputers and their Applications for Developing Countries
Report of an Ad Hoc Panel on the Use of Microcomputers for Developing Countries
Microcomputers are an increasingly important tool in all aspects of development as the need to handle and assimilate vast quantities of information becomes ever more critical for both the international development community and the developing countries. In addition, the microcomputer represents the first significant technological advance that a developing country can assimilate and exploit with a relatively low capital investment and without prior knowledge or involvement in other technologies. Unfortunately this new technology represents not only an opportunity if properly exploited but a threat if ignored. The widespread and increasing incorporation of microcomputers into all aspects of the developed countries represents a major technological advance and an inevitable social change. If a developing country fails to take advantage of the opportunity that microcomputer technology represents, its level of development in relation to developed countries will be significantly lowered. Organized by the Board on Science and Technology for International Development in response to a request from the U.S. Agency for International Development, this book is an overview of microcomputer applications in developing countries and the issues associated with their use and abuse. The first section of the book is an assessment of the need for microcomputers in development. Written primarily for those in the development field and other computer-literate individuals, the second part is divided into applications in agriculture, health, energy, and municipal management. Policy concerns are addressed in the final section. It discusses the technology transfer that takes place as countries try to establish national computer policies that meet local needs while encouraging creative and useful applications.
Table of Contents
Preface -- Microcomputers and Development Needs -- Microcomputers: Opportunities and Impacts -- Generic Applications: Information and Communication Management -- Examples of Sectoral Applications -- Applications in Agriculture -- Applications in Health -- Applications in Energy -- Applications in Municipal Management -- Major Policy Issues and the Future -- Microcomputer Policy Development: A Case Study of Sri Lanka -- The Future -- Appendix: Microcomputer Hardware and Software