Broadband before bridges: can digital technologies leapfrog the obstacles to development?


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This episode discusses the potential of digital technologies to change infrastructure priorities in developing countries. Experts from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST) consider what counts as infrastructure, whether ‘leapfrogging’ is a useful term, emerging digital divides, and the impact of foreign (particularly American and Chinese) tech giants in this space. This fourth episode in the Crossing Channels podcast series is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones, and features guest experts Dr Stephanie Diepeveen (Bennett Institute), Professor Stéphane Straub (IAST), and Dr Rehema Msulwa (Bennett Institute). Listen on your preferred podcast platform including Spotify and Apple podcasts. Episode 4 transcript The Crossing Channels podcast series is produced by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and IAST. Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse #CrossingChannels Audio production by Steve Hankey. Podcast editing by Annabel Manley More about our guests: Dr Stephanie Diepeveen is a research associate at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, as well as a research fellow at Overseas Development Institute. Her research focuses on digitalisation and politics. She recently published the book, "Searching for a New Kenya: Politics and Social Media on the Streets of Mombasa", which investigates the democratic value of street-based and online public debates. Dr Rehema Msulwa is a Research Associate at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. Her research is on the intersection of policy and the design and delivery of capital-intensive infrastructure projects. She has engaged and worked with government bodies, research institutes and consultancies in several countries, including the UK, India, Nigeria, and South Africa. Stéphane Straub is Professor of Economics at the Toulouse School of Economics, where he is the head of the Behaviour, Institutions and Development group. He works on issues of infrastructure, procurement, and more generally institutional development in the context of developing countries. He has held academic positions in the US, the UK and France, has been a lead Economist with the Sustainable Development Practice Group at the World Bank in Washington DC (2016-17), and is a consultant for several international institutions such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union, and the Asian Development Bank among others. He is currently president of the European Development Network (EUDN).

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